The Best WordPress Plugins for Bloggers, As Decided By Me
A few weeks ago I asked if anyone had any blogging questions they’d like me to try and answer, and both Anna and Amy asked if I could recommend some of the best WordPress plugins for bloggers. Now, I have to be honest here and say that I can’t actually give you a definitive list of the best WordPress plugins for everyone: I think that’s going to depend on what you’re looking for, and, of course, it’s not like I’ve done an in-depth study or anything like that. What I can do, however, is tell you which WordPress plugins I use personally, so here you go…
6 OF THE BEST WORDPRESS PLUGINS FOR BLOGGERS
ARQAM – SOCIAL MEDIA COUNTER
Arqam is the plugin which generates the social media “follow” buttons at the top of my sidebar. It costs $16, and is honestly a bit of a pain to set up, because you have to create API keys for each different network, but I like the way it looks, so it was worth the money/effort for me. There are, of course, tons of other social media follow buttons out there, and a lot of them a free, so it’s worth shopping around if you don’t think you can be bothered with the setup of this one.
This plugin is super-simple, but I’ve been using it for years, and on all three of my blogs, and I couldn’t live without it. It’s basically just a little calendar that sits in your dashboard (just to the right of the box you type your post into), and shows you which days you have posts scheduled for. I’ve shared screenshots of this before, but here are my Future Posts at the time of writing (which is a couple of weeks before you’ll be seeing this):
If you use WordPress, you’ve probably heard of Jetpack, which seems to be one of the most popular plugins around, and which has so many different functions it would take me forever to name them all. I actually don’t use a ton of Jetpack features, because my WordPress theme has a lot of stuff built-in, but my favourite thing about it is the ‘Publicize’ feature, which allows me to automatically publish each new post to social media, without me having to do anything. Most bloggers realise how important social media is in terms of promoting your posts, but it can be hard to stay on top of it, and to remember to publicize every single post on all of the various networks you’re a member of – particularly if you’re in the habit of scheduling your posts in advance, so you’re not necessarily online when they go live. Jetpack takes care of that for me, and means I don’t have to sit and manually update a bunch of different networks each time a new post is published.
Does exactly what it says on the tin – stops spam comments getting through to your blog. It does it pretty well, too: I very, very rarely see a spam comment get through to the blog itself (unless it’s one that’s been posted by an actual human being, as opposed to a bot, and that doesn’t happen too often, thankfully), and they rarely even end up in the spam folder, either, so I really recommend this one. It’s a great alternative to using a captcha code, or something else that might annoy your readers or put them off commenting altogether! (I had to switch this off for a couple of days recently when I was trying to work out what was stopping my Bloglovin’ account from updating, and I couldn’t believe how much spam I got without it – SO worth trying!)
This is a really handy little plugin which is designed to help with the Search Engine Optimazation of your posts: you type in the keyword phrase you’d like to optimize for, and Yoast will then analyse your content and tell you how well optimzed your post is. Your aim is to get all of the “green lights” in the list to come on, like so:
Be warned: if you’re a bit of a perfectionist at heart, you might find it a little bit too easy to get obsessed with getting the green “lights” to come on: not that I’d know, obviously…
Scribe is another SEO plugin, but this one aims to help you work out which keywords to optimize your posts for in the first place. Again, you type in a word or phrase you’re thinking of optimising for, and Scribe will not only provide keyword suggestions (complete with estimates of how many searches per month the phrase generates), it will also analyse the existing content on your site, and tell you how easy or difficult it’ll be for you to rank for each keyword. You get 60 free evaluations each month, and if you use them all up, you can pay to upgrade your account. I’d imagine you’d have to be extremely prolific to need more than 60 evaluations each month, though, so the free version should be enough for most of us!
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As I said, these may be the best WordPress plugins for me (and for now), but I make no claims that they’re the best WordPress plugins in the world, purely because I’d have to have tested them all to be able to make that kind of claim, and who has that kind of time, seriously? For every plugin I’ve mentioned here, then, I’m sure there will be other ones that do the same thing, so if you have any recommendations, please share!