How are we almost halfway through the #TBPChallenge?! Craziness. I hope you guys have been enjoying the challenges so far. We love hearing about your triumphs and tribulations over on the TBP Community. No idea how we got so lucky to be surrounded by such amazing people!
Plugins are basically add-ons to your theme that each adds a different functionality. The point isn’t to go crazy on installing (it will slow your site down if you have too many) but to install the RIGHT ones.
Of course, what’s right for one blogger may be different for another but there are definitely some key plugins you’re going to want to install. These ensure your site run properly and add necessary functionalities to optimize your blog.
Here’s a list of the top Plugins to Install for your Blog:
1. Akismet – this is auto-installed with your WordPress blog, but you must make sure to activate it. If not, prepare to be hit by an exceptional amount of spam. If you’re finding you receive a lot of spam comments, you may want to look and see if you have Akismet installed.
2. A social sharing plugin – We like SumoMe but there are plenty social sharing plugins out there. This allows your readers to share your posts across social media so be sure to give them the option!
3. A contact form – Sometimes just leaving your email is enough, but oftentimes a more secure form is necessary to keep out spam. Again, if you’re finding you receive a lot of spam, it may be worthwhile to install a contact form plugin and place this on your contact page. FYI we like this contact form plugin.
4. Comment Reply Notification – ever wondered why no one responds to your comments? It’s because you aren’t letting your readers know you’ve responded! This function will email any reader who leaves a comment on your blog when you reply to them. Without this, it’s virtually imposible to have a dialogue with your readers.
5. Yoast SEO – DOWNLOAD THIS PLUGIN. It will be everything when it comes to SEO (post on this coming soon). If there’s anything you can do to increase your chances of ranking in searches, it’s to download and use this plugin!
6. Related Posts plugin – This one is not 100% necessary but it’s a nice way to allow readers to find other content that they might like. It adds a couple images and links to previous posts you’ve written that might be similar to the post they are reading. Always good to add more incentive to keep reading! We like “Related Posts by Zemanta”
7. Featured Image In Rss Feed – this plugin only applies to those of you who have a newsletter (which you should). It allows your RSS feed to pull a featured image that will appear in your newsletter emails. It also allows you to control the size of the image. I struggled trying to figure out how to get the image to appear in my emails and it was as simple as downloading this plugin. Lifesaver!
There are hundreds of thousands of other plugins out there, but these are the ones we truly love and find necessary for the everyday function of our blogs. A good rule of thumb is to not go beyond 20 plugins installed at once. Otherwise you’re gonna run into a pretty heavy load time. So pick which plugins you want to install wisely and if you find your site is loading slowly, consider deleting some that aren’t totally necessary.
New bloggers– install the above plugins and any others that are necessary for your blog (i.e. social sharing plugins, recipe plugins etc…) then show us your site in the TBP Community! Let us know which other plugins you’ve installed and why.
Experienced bloggers– clean up your plugins! If there are some you aren’t using, uninstall and delete them. Also be sure to update the ones you do have installed and use. Let us know which ones you swear by over on the TBP Community.
See you tomorrow!