Since I started my blog, I have been getting a lot of questions about which resources I use most often and the ones that I couldn’t do without!
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When you first start blogging, it’s easy to get overwhelmed with all the tips and information available, so I hope that my bite-sized lists are useful!
Last week I published my list of must-have resources that every new blogger should know about.
This week, it’s the turn of the WordPress plug-ins. First things first…
What is a Plug-In?
In simple terms, a plug-in is an extra piece of software that allows an programme (or blog in this case!) to do something it couldn’t do by itself. They’re super handy and most of them are free to download and use.
However, running too many plug-ins at once can cause your blog to run slowly so don’t install any plug-ins that aren’t 100% necessary.
What to Look for in a New Plug-in
Before you download and activate a new plug-in, make sure that you check out the reviews left by other bloggers. If other are saying they’re glitchy or that it’s been slowing their site down – AVOID!
Make sure that the plug-in has been updated fairly recently. This will ensure that the plug-in is completely compatible with your version of WordPress and it’s less likely to cause problems for your blog once it has been activated.
If there is one plug-in that EVERY blogger should have – it’s Yoast! Yoast SEO helps you make your blog (and all of your posts) as search engine-friendly as possible.
It works in a “traffic light system” rating your post’s readabilty and SEO from red, to amber to green. According to Yoast, you should be aiming to have two green lights before hitting “Publish”.
There are a few differing opinions about how useful and reliable the Readability feature of the Yoast plug-in is. Some say that sticking staunchly to their rules means that you lose your unique writing style. I tend to stick to them just to be on the safe-side, but having a green light for SEO is far more important.
I accidentally deactivated this for 24 hours when I updated my theme recently and you would not BELIEVE how many spam comments I got. Akismet catches the spam before you even see it. Let’s be real – the only comments I want to read are from people who genuinely want to engage with my posts!
Akismet usually downloads automatically when you start your blog – all you have to do is activate it and let it do the hard work for you.
Pinterest PinIt Button
We all know how much I love Pinterest. The PinIt Button allows you to pin from websites, even if haven’t got the Pinterest website open on your browser. You can pin from anywhere on the web directly to your boards.
As I’ve said before, Pinterest loves vertical images so make sure you have at least one pinnable image in every blog post. You will see that when you hover your cursor over any of the pinnacle images on your site – it gives you the option to pin it to one of your own Pinterest boards.
Building your brand doesn’t stop with your blog. Social media is a great way to interact with your audience and grow your following. If your social media links aren’t clearly visible on the main page of your blog – you’re missing out on tonnes of potential followers!
The Social Icons plug-in is the most straight-forward, no frills way to make sure that all of your social media links are displayed clearly on your blog.
Mailing List Sign-Up Forms
Most e-mail list providers have their own plug-ins. As a blogger, curating a mailing list is crucial – so make sure that it’s easy for your readers to sign up!
I manage my mailing list through MailerLite so I use the “MailerLite Sign Up Forms” plug-in created by them. Mailer Lite completely caters to your preferences – so whether you want a popup, embedded form, top bar or a mixture of all three – it offers them all.
Don’t Forget To Sign Up
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Let me know your own must-have plug-ins – I can’t wait to hear about them!