Plugins…can’t believe that the word “plugin” is now part of my vocabulary, all thanks to the blogosphere. I must, at this point, mention that my blog platform is WordPress, so the plugins featured are those compatible with WordPress. I’m sure some of the plugins will be compatible with other blogging platforms, but to be on the safe side, do your research before installing.
According to wpbeginner, a plugin is a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your (WordPress) websites. Plugins are lifesavers. They are, in my opinion, like apps except they are for websites.
One thing I’ve learnt in my few months of blogging is that there are tons and tons of plugins out there. I didn’t even know about them until I picked my brother-in-law’s brain. He has been blogging for donkey years so it was easy for me to become familiar with plugins and how they work.
A lot of people make the mistake of installing all and any plugin they find without thinking about the effect these plugins will have on their websites. Now, I don’t claim to be an expert in all things plugin, but the plugins I’ll list out below are the plugins I currently use, and they have made blogging a bit easier for me.
Yoast SEO is a WordPress SEO plugin that exists today for WordPress users. It incorporates everything from a snippet editor and real time page analysis functionality that helps you optimize your pages content, images titles, meta descriptions and more to XML sitemaps, and loads of optimization options in between.
Let’s step away from the geek-verse for a moment and speak normal English (lol!).
When I first started blogging, reading about SEO (search engine optimization) and XML sitemaps made me cross-eyed. I still don’t know what they mean and what exactly they do, but they are important for search engines such a Google, Bing and all others.
Yoast SEO helps with all that and so much more. It helps to rank your post with its “cornerstone content”, and also assists with readability of your blog posts. If you use a wordpress website, then you need Yoast SEO.
Another plugin that I love, and is absolutely free, is Disqus. It is a blog comment hosting service for websites. It helps with social integration, networking, email notifications, user profiles, mobile commenting, to mention a few.
Before I installed Disqus, I was using the comment platform that came with my website theme. The danger of using this was that I’d usually get spam comments running to hundreds. I didn’t bother about this, until my brother-in-law (again) told me that search engines will penalize your site if they notice that you have a lot spam. This made me quickly install Disqus. Anything to please search engines.
SumoMe is a must-have if you want to grow your online traffic. It is a plugin that helps with list building, lead generation, email integration, site promotion etc. It has share buttons, image sharing tools and click-to-tweet functionality. The thing is, you can only do all these extensive things on SumoMe if you go pro i.e. upgrade from the free plugin. The free only allows you to build your mailing list and use heat maps on your site.
I, personally, use the free SumoMe for list building. Maybe I’ll upgrade to SumoMe Pro later on, when my blog clocks a year.
MailPoet helps you to create email newsletters effortlessly. I know a lot of people use MailChimp, which is another great plugin, but I use MailPoet, and it has not failed me yet.
Apart from creating newsletters, MailPoet helps you to manage lists from within the WordPress dashboard. Individual subscribers and whole email lists can be added to your mailing list in the MailPoet platform in only two steps. You can then sort or move subscribers into separate lists.
Facebook like box plugin will help you to embed and display Facebook like box on your website. There are so many of these plugins when you do a search. It basically links your blog Facebook page to your website, and people can like your page and posts easily without needing to visit the page.
It helps with blog growth and online traffic. It enables users to see how many users already like the page, and which of their friends like it too.
Since we are talking about Facebook pages, you can help grow my blog by clicking on the Facebook Like Box below. Gracias!
Shareaholic is a content amplification software that helps to increase page views, time on site, repeat visits and sharing for websites. It also helps to generate revenue from your website with personalized, unobtrusive native ads, affiliate links, and more.
I use Shareaholic mostly for post sharing. It makes it easy for visitors to share your post through different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, LinkedIn, StumbleUpon, WhatsApp, to mention a few.
It is easy to install and directions for use are very user-friendly. I didn’t have to do tons and tons of research before I could figure out how to install and use it.
Bloglovin is a tool for keeping up with your favourite blogs. A lot of bloggers turned to it after the demise of Google Reader. When you create an account on Bloglovin, you can follow any blogger, whether or not they’re also signed up. Then, you can log in and see the latest posts from all the blogs you follow in one spot. Bloglovin also has an app which enables you to read blog posts on the go.
The Bloglovin Button is a plugin that allows your visitors who have an account on Bloglovin follow your blog without having to log in. It’s easier and saves a lot of time for your readers.
That said, if you have an account on Bloglovin, please give me a follow. Just click on the Bloglovin Button down below.
So there you have it. The 7 cool and free plugins that I use on my blog. There are other plugins that I didn’t mention. You can read all about them here.
Do you use any of these plugins? Which plugins would you recommend for newbie bloggers like me? Let me know below.