9 Essential WordPress Plugins for Your Blog
WordPress plugins are a great way to add extra utility and content to your WordPress site or blog. There are hundreds that can do everything from managing content to sprucing up your sidebar. Choosing the right plugins can make running your site easier or help you retain visitors by making the site more interesting and engaging. Plugins can also help get the word out about your site, add functionality to your site, or give you more information about the people reading your content.
Knowing your blog audience gives you insight into the kind of content that will keep visitors coming back for more. When you know what draws people to your blog, you’re able to target your content to keep providing interesting, relevant articles. Google Analyticator is a plugin that can help you do just that. You can easily check your performance, track users, or ignore yourself and other affiliated visitors. This plugin links up with your Google account.
If you’re looking to make contact with your blog visitors, this plugin offers a simple way to do that. Its beauty is how customizable it is. Instead of choosing a premade form, you can use the drag-and-drop creation software to make your own forms asking for any information you deem necessary. Whether you’re trying to create a mailing list or sell a product from your blog, one of the WPForms plugins should work for you. Once you’ve posted the form on your blog, visitors can fill out their answers and they will be transmitted to you.
When you make your own blog, you have to prepare a backup plan for when the worst happens. Even if you do everything right, sometimes your site goes down and comes back without the content it used to have – this can be the result of hacking or electronic failure. Snapshot not only saves your information, but it backs it up in multiple places you choose. You don’t even have to remember to back it up yourself, because there’s an auto-backup option. It makes keeping your information safe a snap.
Since new visitors are fickle and will leave a site if it takes too long to load, a caching plugin is a must have. Caching plugins essentially take a snapshot of your site and display it when a person visits, so they don’t have to wait for the content to load. There are many available, but Hummingbird goes farther than just caching and displaying your site. It also analyzes your blog and determines what can be done to speed up the amount of time between when a person hits “Enter” and when the entire page is displayed. Following its suggestions may speed up your load time and help you retain visitors.
Your blog needs strong branding to make an impression. When people think of your blog, something needs to make it stand apart in a sea of similar content. Use Ultimate Branding to swap all the default WordPress design – logos, sidebars, page, dashboard, and more – for your own designs. If you run a business or have another site, you can keep your blog visually similar to your other pages with Ultimate Branding. Best of all, there’s no coding knowledge necessary to use the plugin. It’s an easy way to make your site stick in the minds of your visitors.
Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
Sometimes you’re reading a blog article and so intrigued by the subject matter that you just want more. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin delivers that for your readers. It finds posts with related content and displays links to them, which can help keep someone on your page longer than they would be otherwise. The plugin also has an option to display content from other websites – and pays you if you choose to do so.
Social media is a powerful way to get your message out there – especially if your readers are sharing posts they love to their networks. Make it easy for them with a plugin like AddtoAny Share, which gives a visitor the option to share the page they’re on to one of 100 or more social networks. You can customize how the plugin displays and whether URLs are included when the post is shared. You can also track engagement through the plugin.
Broken Link Checker
It’s jarring for a visitor to read a post and find a broken link or image featured in it. Use Broken Link Checker to keep your blog looking professional and prevent this from happening. It keeps track of links and alerts you when one is missing, when it redirects, or if an image goes missing. You can even update your posts directly from the plugin if you need to make a change, which means you don’t have to go and edit multiple posts if the same link is broken in more than one.
One fun way to engage blog readers is to run an occasional poll. Not only does it let them participate and interact with you, but it also gives you an idea of what your readers like or don’t like. WP-Polls lets you create and insert polls into your posts. It also includes the option for a respondent to tick off multiple answers to a single question, so feel free to make more complex and interesting polls. Once the poll has run its course, you can display the results in your blog.
Whatever plugins you choose, the important thing is to make your blog easy to use, interesting for visitors, and capable of relaying information to you about your readership. It’s essential to find the right plugins that work for your particular blog and needs. They’re there to enhance your WordPress experience. Since you can install multiple plugins, there’s no reason to limit yourself to just one at a time. Try a few and you might be surprised to see just how much you like what they add to your blog.