Long-time readers of this blog will remember that in September, I moved my blog from Blogspot, where it had lived since 2006, and over to WordPress. It’s been a great move, and I’ve never looked back!
Now that I’ve been using WordPress for a while, I thought I’d share my top 5 WordPress plugins. I’m by no means a WP guru – for that, go find my friend Netmeg – but if you’re thinking about starting your own blog, or you already have one running on WP, I hope you find this helpful.
I can’t take credit for finding this one – again, that credit goes to Netmeg – but Jetpack is a do-it-all plugin that I absolutely love. It works on self-hosted blogs to provide features normally only available to people hosting on wordpress.com – things like simple site analytics, Akismet configuration (more on them in a second), notifications, social sharing icons, subscriptions, spellcheck, Gravatar, shortlinks – the list goes on. If you’re thinking about hosting your blog on your own domain (and you should), this is the one plugin that you can’t live without.
Akismet is a well-known blog comment spam filter. It’s pretty commonplace, but it’s saved me hours of reading through inane spam comments like this one:
“There is visibly a lot to know about this. I believe you made various good points in features also.”
Yeah. Thanks, Aksimet!
A note about comments: Even with Akismet, some spam comments do get through, so I moderate comments from first-time posters. Once you’ve posted and been nice, you’ll be automatically approved in the future; but the losers will be denied for good. It’s just easier that way.
Efficient Related Posts
When I’m reading a post on a blog I’ve never visited before, I like to see what they’re all about. A great way to do that is by checking out related posts. Unfortunately, Blogger didn’t have a good way of automating this, and I wasn’t going to do it manually – this blog is a hobby, after all!
Enter Efficient Related Posts. They use post tags to find related posts, so if you use relevant tags, you’re all set. I’ve definitely noticed that my readers explore multiple posts now, whereas before they’d just read my latest one and leave.
Yoast’s WP SEO Plugin
I’m a PPC pro, not an SEO – but I’d still like to attempt to get my blog posts ranked in the SERPs. That’s why I chose Yoast’s WP SEO plugin. The plugin makes it easy to perform basic SEO on your blog posts, simply by selecting 1-2 focus keywords. It lets you know whether you’ve included that keyword in your title tag, meta description, and post copy. Pretty handy stuff.
WordPress Backup to Dropbox
I have a confession to make – I never backed up my Blogger blog. I didn’t know how, and there wasn’t a tool I could find to do it for me. I got very lucky – in the 6 years I hosted my blog there, I never lost anything.
When I moved to WordPress, I decided I’d invested too much time and effort to lose my work. There are several backup plugins available, but the one I like is WordPress Backup to Dropbox. This plugin backs up your blog to your Dropbox cloud, on whatever schedule you choose. I selected weekly, since I only publish weekly; if you publish more often than that, you’ll want to back up more frequently. It only takes a few minutes to back things up, and it’s a big relief to know that those files are there.
This plugin requires a Dropbox account, of course. If you don’t have one, why not? Dropbox is great not only for blog backups, but for storing files and accessing them from multiple devices. I use it on all my computers, phones, and iPads. You get 2.75 GB of storage space for free, so check them out!
Bonus: Blogger Importer
After creating my WordPress blog on my domain, I was hoping to be able to bring over all of my Blogger posts. But the thought of doing that manually gave me a stomachache. Enter Blogger Importer. Blogger Importer seamlessly imports posts from Blogger. In no more than 5 minutes, all 6 years of Blogger posts appeared on my new WordPress blog. Amazing! Of course, this is a one-time use, but it sure relieved my stress.
Do you host a WordPress blog or site? What are your favorite plugins? Share in the comments!