So you have decided to start your blogging journey, and now you want to know what plugins do you need to have a successful blog.
Great! Because that is exactly what I want to show you today in this post!
Blogging can become a full- time job even if it isn´t yours. What do I mean by that? Blogging comes with many tasks, from writing post, SEO optimization of content and images, finding ways to make your blog profitable, sharing on social media… yes, I know, I am getting overwhelmed too right now… but it doesn´t have to be that hard and there are little helpers that will save you loads of time. Who are those helpers you ask? well, my friend, they are the plugins!
If you haven’t started your blog yet and you are thinking about getting started, pin this post for later and take a look at my step by step guide to start your blogging business in less than 15 min. Once you have it set up come back to this post to get started with the plugins 🙂
But before we dive into the list of plugins…
What the heck is a plugin?
A plugin is a little program created to make your life a little bit easier and help you to have a more professional blog. You can download plugins in your site (this case WordPress) for free, and then you will have the opportunity to upgrade to a paid subscription if you decide that plugin is a good fit for you and your blog. Plugins allow you to add helpful and cool features to your website. From social media share buttons to analytics, the plugin world is full of incredible resources to help you grow and monetize your blog (we will talk about that soon!). But hang on before you go all crazy about plugins because they can also slow down the speed of your site.
You don´t want to have tons of plugins because as I said, your blog will start getting slower and people will instead go to another similar site that loads faster.
How to install a plugin on WordPress:
Installing a plugin can sound daunting, but it is very simple. This is how you do it:
Go to your WordPress Dashboard. On the left-hand side, you will see a menu, look for plugins and click on it.
On the top of the page, where it says Plugins, you have the option to click “Add new”, so let´s click on it! As you see in the image below, you can also see how many plugins you have installed, how many are active or inactive and so on. Your list of plugins will show after that part of the page.
Ok, so now we are ready to look for our new plugins. You can upload it (never tried so I won´t explain that part), look for the featured or popular ones and so on, or you can search for the one you are specifically looking for in the search bar.
Once you find the plugin you want to install on your blog is as easy as pressing on the “Install Now” button 🙂 The plugin will get installed, and then you just have to activate it. Instead of saying “Install Now” it will say “Activate”, clean and straightforward.
Many plugins will who up on the left side Menu of your site with their names, while others can be under settings. If you don´t know where the settings of your new installed plugin are, go to the plugin section, look for that plugin you want to customize or set up and press Settings.
My Favorite Plugins for WordPress
This list contains plugins that I use to run my blog, and I believe are helpful for new and advanced bloggers. They will help you get started, and you can always change them as you discover new ones or even upgrade them. You don´t have to take my word for it, every time you look for a plugin there is a “More Details” line (like in the picture above), and it will showcase what the plugin does for your site, the reviews, screenshots and more. All of these plugins are free to use and offer great features.
Tip: Always look for the last time the plugin was updated. You don´t want to have a plugin that is taking space on your site, and it hasn´t been updated for months or even years.
If you want your post to have a chance of survival in the crowded online world, you need to implement SEO in every single blog post, and the Yoast plugin is here to help you do just that.Yoast plugin is free to use, and it will help you with the SEO and readability of your blog posts.
SEO: define a keyword and introduce it to the keyword bar. Yoast plugin will let you know how many times it has been found in your blog post, if the density is low you will have to increase it. Make sure it makes sense to add the keyword to a sentence, you don’t want just to drop keywords everywhere because that will hurt your following. Nobody wants to read a post that is meant to be read by Google only. For more information about keywords visit my post…
If you need a little help getting started with Keywords and SEO visit my post SEO Basics for New Bloggers.
Add an SEO title and meta description, this is what it will show on google.
Pro tip: make your title catchy so it captures the attention of the readers faster. Remember you have a split second to get people to click on your headline.
Choose a different image to show on facebook and twitter plus you can add a personalized description for each channel.
Yoast plugin will remind you what it needs to be done to have an SEO friendly blog post. If your SEO light turns green, you are in the right way! Try to have all the circles green in every post. Sometimes it gets hard!
Readability: this will let you know how easy or complicated is to read your content. What I think is an excellent tool because personally, when I am searching for content online I really don’t have time to read complicated material, the easier, the better. It also gives you access to some fresh resources that will help you understand what makes content easy to read.
This plugin will scan every comment you get on your blog and keep spam comments out of your blog posts. You need to register but don’t worry because it will be free. Head over to the Akismet website and press sign up for an account or click on the Button below. You can either sign up through the website or through the WordPress already installed on your site. These images will help you either way because you will have to choose a plan through the website.
Follow the steps in the images.
Choose the Get Personal Plan (Unless you want to pay to get more features). Once you get int you will see it asks you for your credit card info and has a price set up. Move the price bar all the way to the left until it ays $0.00 and the credit card information is gone.
Once you have your API Key, head back to your blog, look for your Akismet plugin under settings and enter your Key.
Easy peasy. Now your blog is safe from spam 🙂
I discover this plugin recently, and I am pleased with it. It is free to use, of course, it also has a premium version, but I haven’t tried it yet. I have to say that I love the illustrations they have for the plugin. They are neat and funny! If you don´t believe me check this one out:
What Wpsmsush does for you is to compress the images on your blog, so your site keeps running fast. Heavy photos will slow down the loading speed of your website or blog, and this will translate into people leaving your site. Losing traffic is not right, and we don’t want that to happen because we have a slow website.
This is how WPsmush works:
All my images are already Smushed, but where you see the green rectangle on my image, you will have a button that says something like Smush all my pictures! The plugin will go through all your pictures and lower their size. The pictures won´t lose their quality, they will just be smaller and your site will run faster. I saved 4.65 MB just resizing my existing images!
Once installed, you can find it inside the Media tag in the left- hand side Menu of your WordPress Dashboard.
Do you see that nice bar with social media icons that stay at the bottom of the page as you scroll down this post? That is the social warfare plugin. It counts the times your content was shared on the social media channels you decide to add to the bar. I started using this one recently, and I am thrilled with the way it looks on the blog posts.
It will help you get your content online faster and get more shares.
If you want to go a step further an automatize your social media on Pinterest, head over to my post Tailwind: the automation tool that will bring more traffic to your blog.
- Plugins are a great way to add functionality to your blog.
- Use them wisely and to keep your blog safe and useful.
- Plugins that will help your blog grow:
- Yoast Plugin
- Akismet Anti- Spam Plugin
- WP Smush
- Social Warfare
What plugins do you use to keep your blog functional? I will continue adding plugins to help you run your blog soon.
Pin this post so you have access to the updates! 🙂