It’s hard to believe that I’ve been blogging for over 2 years! When I first started, I had no idea what I was doing. I picked a random host, came up with a name (The Apron Blog) and just went with it. I taught myself WordPress and simple css and html– and it has taken me two years to understand it to the point I do today. I remember the first week of blogging, I would sit and stare at the WordPress dashboard, not knowing what to do next. It was a tough road but totally worth it!
I’ve made this list of twelve plugins today to hopefully help those out who are new to blogging. These are my favorite and most-used plugins.
Click to Tweet
This plugin allows you to insert a snippet of your post for people to tweet. This makes it VERY easy for readers to tweet about your blog. Make sure that you enter your Twitter handle in the Settings to add “via @yourhandle” to your tweets.
This is one of those basic necessities for networking! CommentLuv allows your readers to leave links to their most recent blog post. All they have to do is put in their website URL and it pulls the post for them. When people leave comments, try to go back and check out their recent post!
CoSchedule is probably my favorite out of all my plugins. It’s how I plan and schedule all my blog posts and their social media posts. It’s so useful to have the post publishing + FB/Twitter/G+ posts happening at the same time. It allows you to drag and drop ideas, leave yourself notes and tasks to accomplish, and you can color coordinate! It also allows for multiple authors so its very helpful if you blog with a team. You can read my full review here.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
It’s very convenient to have the GA dashboard installed to WordPress. This saves you a few steps when you’re checking your page analytics– you can see real time stats without leaving your site. I check this about once per day– it’s great to switch to “referral” view to see where you’re getting new traffic from.
The pretty blue bar at the top of my page that encourages you to sign up for my weekly newsletter is from HelloBar! This is a free tool that allows you to customize a bar that will stick to the top of your webpage. You have to go to their website to make a free account, design your bar, and get the code. Then you download the HelloBar button for WordPress and paste your code there. It’s helped me gain quite a few subscriptions so far!
Pinterest Pinit Button
I think most bloggers know about this one. It’s essential for a successful blog as well! When people visit your blog, they expect to find a way to pin your images. Make sure you name your image correctly. What you name your image is what will show up as the pin description. I’m still working on this habit of naming my images correctly!
I’ve just discovered the world of shortcodes. Basically, they’re little snippets of code that allow you to totally customize the look of your website. You can add lists, buttons, tabs, quotes, columns, tables, etc to posts and pages. I don’t know how I managed without shortcodes!
This is a pretty popular plugin. I like it because you can customize it to circles, squares, different sizes, and you can turn on and off the counters. One tip– please, PLEASE go into the Shareaholic settings and add your twitter handle! It’s frustrating when you want to tweet someone’s post but their twitter handle hasn’t been entered, and you have to search to find it. Please make sure you do this :)
It also allows you to add a “related posts” function to the bottom of each post.
This is a great website that will let you design your own sidebar Instagram widget, and will give you a code. You simply paste this code into an html widget in your sidebar. I like it because it creates a clean look.
Here’w how mine looks!
Simple Social Icons
The teal social icons on the right sidebar are from Simple Social icons. It’s very customizable– you can enter your own color hex codes, make them circles/squares, change the backgrounds, etc.
This plugin automatically tweets posts from your archives. It’s awesome because you can add your own additional text, hashtags, and you can set how far apart the tweets should be.
Pinterest Sidebar Widget
To get a nice clean Pinterest widget, you can visit the Pinterest business site and build your own. You just copy and paste the code into an html sidebar widget, just like the SnapWidget. You can customize and add any boards!
There you have it! My favorite plugins and widgets. Over the years I’ve kinda turned into a website nerd. I get giddy when I find a cool new plugin or widget or I’ve figured out the css code for something I’ve wanted to customize.
What plugins are your favorite? Have any to add to this list?
Are you a blogger? How long have you been blogging?