When I moved over to WordPress late last year, the first thing I did was begin researching plugins. At first, I downloaded and installed everyone one I came across that looked like it might be helpful. Then I found a lot of them weren’t as helpful as they seemed. And then the man who hosts my blog pointed out that the more gumpf you have hanging around in the background of your blog, the longer pages will take to load and the more clunky it’s likely to get. So I began to pare down!
These are the plugins I have kept, because I love them and couldn’t do without them…
I don’t know a blogger who has a WordPress site and doesn’t have Jetpack. I have a client with a WordPress site who doesn’t have Jetpack, and frankly I’m surprised by that on a daily basis. It just does so much for you, and because it’s made by WordPress, it works well without having glitches or bumps. Here are just some of the things I use Jetpack for: site stats; use of the WordPress CDN through Photon (it means your photos load faster); automatic sharing to social networks upon publication; contact forms; email subscription. There are over 30 features to Jetpack; it’s a fantastic, free resource for any blog or website.
This one is fairly self explanatory. It is a simple plugin that allows you to duplicate a post. Why would you want to do that? Ok, here’s an example: I run the Weekend Blog Hop, and every week it has the same photo at the top, the same badge at the bottom, a couple of banners, various text. A lot of it is more or less the same every week, save the linky code. It’s a pain in the bum to either write the entire post from scratch each week, or to copy and past from last week’s. With this plugin, I just find last week’s post and click “new draft” and hey presto – it duplictes last week’s post into a draft. This one’s not only useful for linkys, but really any sort of post you publish regularly: reviews; entries to linkys with the host’s badge at the bottom; regular features where you use the same graphic or disclaimer at the bottom. This one saves me so much time each week, I love it.
Anyone who comments on blogs regularly will know what CommentLuv is. In short, it’s a plugin that adds a link to a commenter’s latest post beneath their comment. There are various settings for it; you can allow users to choose from their 10 most recent posts, to only share their most recent post, or to register as a user on the site to get more posts to choose from. You can also choose whether links are nofollow or dofollow.
Evergreen Post Tweeter
I have a love/hate relationship with this one. In theory, you can set it to tweet links to your older posts, at certain times of the day, choosing from certain categories or tags, with a personal message. In practise, I’ve found that it tweets all old posts indiscriminately, regardless of which categories or tags you have selected. I prefer to have more control over my tweeting during the day, and don’t like the fact you have to have the same text with each update (you know when you see those tweets saying “a post from the archive” or “did you miss this post”). Therefore I only use it overnight, to tweet once per hour.
This is the plugin I use to list my most popular posts in my sidebar. You can change all sorts of settings in terms of what is counted and what is not, whether view counts are published at the bottoms of posts and other things. You can set it to exclude certain categories and suchlike as well. There are lots of settings for what is displayed in the Popular Posts widget; my favourite aspect of this plugin is the ability to go to any post and update the view count. This is handy if like me, you moved your blog across from another platform. I can eventually go through old posts and update the view count from my old platform. Also if a post shows in my Popular Posts widget that I would rather wasn’t there (a long since expired giveaway, for example) I can go in and edit the view count so that it doesn’t show up.
There are of course hundreds, if not thousands of plugins for WordPress; I reserve the right to change my mind on my list of favourites at any given point in the future!
Have I listed one of your favourite plugins here? If you’ve a favourite plugin that’s not on this list, do please let me know – I love to find new things that can help me with my blogging!