Welcome to this weeks edition of the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series. Throughout the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ series both myself and a group of bloggers will be sharing our experiences and advice upon a range of blogging related topics, this week we are focusing upon Plugins (small pieces of software code which enable applications or programs to do something that it may not have been able to do originally). We will be discussing which plugins are particularly useful and popular with bloggers especially those using WordPress.
What Are Plugins?
Plugins are small pieces of software or code created as an addition to a piece of software or a program in order to make said technology perform alternate or extra functions.
The Plugins I Currently Use
As a blogger I use WordPress as a platform from which to write my blog, WordPress is a fantastic base but it lacks luster in some senses which is where ‘plugins’ come in to play.
I myself use numerous plugins to power my blog, from the essential plugins such as Jetpack (a rather large plugin which powers numerous essential blogging functions such as social media sharing, contact forms, spell checks, visitor statistics, website performance and such like), WP Editor and Pipdig Powerpacks (an essential plugin designed to power my current blog theme) to Akismet (spam prevention).
Alongside the essential plugins which I would hasten to guess that 95% of bloggers currently use I also make use of the following:
Advanced Excerpt – a really useful plugin designed to display blog excerpts in a correctly written format upon the blogroll or front page of your blog.
Ascending Posts Plugin – A plugin which enables posts to be ordered as required dependent upon the category, tags, date or specific requirements.
Category Sticky Post – A small plugin which enables bloggers to set a specific post to be pinned to the top of a specific category page.
Easy Google Fonts – A semi essential plugin which enables google fonts to be displayed upon blogs.
EU Cookie Law – I would actually class this as an essential plugin as bloggers should display an EU Cookie Law acceptance box, this plugin does precisely this in whatever design or colour you fancy!
Evergreen Post Tweeter – This little tool allows bloggers to repost their past blog posts upon Twitter to aid build further readership of past posts.
Limit Login Attempts – A security based plugin designed to limit the amount of login attempts upon a blog. Whilst you cannot guarantee a blog will never be illegitimately accessed or hacked by limiting the amount of the login attempts bloggers are less likely to experience such trauma.
Meta Box – This small plugin enables bloggers to create custom meta boxes and fields within their blogs.
Nextscripts – I currently use next scripts to share my posts via StumbleUpon and whilst I was hoping to use the same plugin to autopost my blog posts upon Pinterest I found that payment would be required for this to take place. I therefore also use a website/ app called ‘IFTT’ to do precisely this along with a few other little tricks such as reposting my Instagram pictures to both my private Facebook and Facebook blog page.
PDF Embedder – This plugin very kindly allows me to upload a PDF which will then be displayed as part of a post or page enabling users to view PDF files (such as my media pack) with ease.
Regenerate Thumbnails – A handy tool to compress pictures and media uploaded to blogs.
Share Drafts Publicly – This plugin comes in really handy if you wish to share a draft post to somebody privately without having to set the post as private. I have used this countless times when writing reviews to share my upcoming work with brands and companies.
Simple 301 Redirects – Say you should change your blog post location you can redirect your readers to the new page using this nifty little plugin.
Simply Polls – I haven’t used this plugin much but I have kept it installed for if I should ever fancy hosting a poll or vote upon my blog.
Ultimate No Follow – The ideal solution to creating ‘no follow’ links without having to enter code manually.
WP Remove Category Base – This plugin enabled me to rid of the category base being listed as part of the web address within each and every post, it seemed to help tidy up my blog with very little work required.
WP Review – A great plugin for anyone wishing to write reviews, this plugin enables bloggers to add star ratings and summaries within their posts. I think the plugin creates a really professional look, posts can also be searched for according to star rating!
WP Super Cache – This should probably be classed as an essential plugin, it helps to maintain and tidy your blog by caching data correctly.
WP Optimise – This fantastic tool enables me to optimise my blog database quickly and easily by clearing post revisions, removing spam comments, remove auto drafts and such like.
Yoast SEO – An all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress which includes on-page content analysis, XML sitemaps and a traffic light system to ensure posts are written correctly in terms of SEO.
As you can see from the above list, I use a great deal of plugins all of which are useful in some way or other. Without plugins I doubt I would be able to blog half as well as I am currently able to. I am so grateful to the many plugin developers and designers for creating such fantastic tools and would certainly recommend those included within this post.
Having spoken to a number of other bloggers regarding which plugins they use or rate, here are a few of their responses:
“Editorial calendar is amazing as you can drag and drop posts from day-to-day and quick edit them. I also use a photo size reducing plugin like Smush to keep site load speeds down.”
“Second vote for editorial calendar, drafts for friends is great for brand work and sharing your posts prior to them going live, yoast for SEO, imsanity for photo reduction and ultimate no follow for easily creating no follow links!”
“I second Yoast SEO – I like how it traffic lights your readability and keyword SEO to help make the most out of writing your posts “
“I like Tweet Wheel for tweeting old posts. I just add each post to the list and it tweets a few times a day through the list and eventually back round to the beginning and starts again. I don’t even have to spend time scheduling these posts any more. It just keeps going in perpetual motion! I use the free version.”
“I really like Elementor (the free version). It makes page building so simple, even for a new blogger like myself! There are lots of videos showing you how to use the plug in on YouTube and it’s so easy.”
“Only recently gone self hosted, but so far I’d recommend yoast seo, editorial calendar, updraft plus (to back up your blog content) and askismet (it filters all your comments and sorts out the spam)”
Should you fancy being part of the series and sharing some of your own ideas or expertise then please feel free to join the ‘Blogging Behind The Scenes’ Facebook group’, we’d love to hear from you! Alternatively you can get in touch via email, drop me a message via social media or add your comments below.