For this week’s installment of my Blog Tip Tuesday series I am going to share my top ten essential WordPress plugins. (If you missed my post on how I am blogging smarter with CoSchedule, please check it out here!)
1. Akismet. Akismet is an anti-spam plugin. I know it doesn’t work well for everyone, but so far it has does a pretty good job for me. A few spam comments slip through every day, but that’s nothing compared to the number that gets trapped in the Akismet filter. I try to make commenting as easy as possible, so I’d rather have to spend some of my time dealing with spam than force would-be commenters to jump through hoops to “prove [they are] human.”
2. CommentLuv. Speaking of commenting, I like the CommentLuv plugin because it promotes networking across the blogosphere. I often use it to blog hop from the comment threads on other blogs–I hope you do the same!
3. Comment Reply Notification. Another comment plugin I have is Comment Reply Notification. If it’s working, you should get an email when someone replies to your comment that includes their reply. (I try to reply to most comments, so let me know if this is not working for you!)
4. WordPress SEO by Yoast. This plugin makes it easier to optimize your posts for search engines (SEO = search engine optimization), which is essential if you want people to be able to find your blog posts using key word searches. It shows up as a section under your text editor, and has four tabs. Most of the features are intuitive, like the green, yellow, or red “SEO” symbol that lets you know how well your post is optimized. On the General tab, I use the “focus keyword” section for ideas of how to word my titles when I’m not sure of the most common terminology–should I use “spin” or “spinning” in my Revolve Giveaway post title? When I think I’ve done everything right but can’t get my SEO symbol green, I click over to the Page Analysis tab to see where it is coming up short. Before I was using CoSchedule to share my posts, I used the “Social” tab to upload an image for Facebook sharing, since Facebook often seems to have a mind of its own!
5. Pinterest Pin It Button For Images. This is the plugin I use to add the “Pin it” button to selected images. I think there are lots of plugins that do this, but I liked the look of this one best. I have it set up so I have to manually add a “pinthis” code to each image I want the button featured on, but the Shareaholic plugin still lets people choose any image to pin.
Shareaholic. Speaking of Shareaholic, this is the plugin that adds the “Sharing is caring” social media buttons at the bottom of each post. Since I sometimes have issues with Shareaholic, I also have the Jetpack sharing feature activated. Since this post was first published, Shareaholic got some bad press for hijacking affiliate links, so now I use the Publicize feature of Jetpack for social media buttons to make it easy for readers to share a post. I also am liking the Related Posts plug in that lets me choose which posts to highlight for further reading.
7. Click To Tweet. Speaking of sharing, this is my favorite “new” sharing plugin. This is the plugin that embeds a ready-to-Tweet comment anywhere you want in your post. I like to use this feature to share other blog posts, and I’ve definitely seen more people sharing my posts using this plugin. Why don’t you try it now?
8. Tweetily. Tweetily is another Twitter-centric plugin that “periodically tweets a random post or page.” You can select how often it Tweets an old post, and you can limit the pages or categories of posts that get Tweeted. I get a decent amount of engagement through these re-Tweeted posts, and they can be a fun walk down memory lane for me.
9. Ultimate Nofollow. This plugin makes it easy to make certain links “nofollow” links, which is what Google wants you to do when you have link-backs in sponsored posts or affiliate links. Every time you add a link, you have the option of checking a box to make it a “nofollow” link. (You can do this in html by adding rel=”nofollow” in your link code, but I try to spend as little time in the html editor as possible!)
10. Broken Link Checker. Another “behind the scenes” plugin is Broken Link Checker. I got this plugin when I learned that broken links can bring down your Google ranking. When the program first ran it identified hundreds of broken links! Those were painful to go through and fix, but now it usually only finds a few new broken links a day (most frequently in commenter info fields). I try to clean them up at least once a month. Usually I can just “unlink” the broken url, but sometimes it requires a bit of editing if a page I’ve linked back to has moved or no longer exists.
What are your favorite plugins?