One of the main reasons why many experienced bloggers recommend the switch to self-hosted WordPress from Blogger or free WordPress is for the WordPress plugins. I’ve been on self-hosted WordPress for a few months now, and I’ve had plenty of time to play around with the different options. Below I’ve compiled a list of my all-time favorites:
The common essentials
Akismet– I’ve never had a problem with spam comments, but I’ve worked with blogs that have, and thousands of spam comments are not fun to go through. Even if you don’t have this issue yet, being proactive is a serious time saver. You never know when your blog may be hit with a mass flood of spam comments.
WordPress SEO by Yoast – This is the first and only SEO plugin that I have tried, although I know that All in One SEO Pack is another popular pick. WordPress SEO has never given me a reason to try a separate plugin or even look into it. WordPress SEO allows you to set a focus keyword (or phrase), SEO title, and meta description. After your post is written, it will give you a green light for good, yellow for OK, or red for bad SEO status.
Disqus – Oh why didn’t I switch to you sooner? I should have installed Disqus while I was still using the Blogger platform. There are so many comment platform options, but I highly recommend Disqus over any others. It automatically adds a more professional vibe (in my opinion), and it displays previous posts below the comments. It looks clean and is functional. I say choose Disqus whether you’re on Blogger or WordPress.
The “you make life so easy” plugins
Adsense Made Easy – It does exactly what it says. This is the easiest plugin I have found for putting ads at the bottom or top of your blog posts. All you have to do is copy and paste your publisher ID into the plugin, and you’re set. It also has options for putting ads within the blog post itself and choosing which paragraph it should appear before/after.
Top 10 – The one thing that I missed when I transferred from Blogger to WordPress was easy access to the number of page views for each individual blog post. Top 10 solves this problem by showing page views as well as having the option of a ‘Popular Post’ widget for your sidebar.
Organizational must have
WordPress Editorial Calendar – This is my newest plugin, but I can already tell it’s going to be a favorite. I wrote about keeping your blog organized in 5 Must Haves for Every Blogger, and I seriously can’t emphasize it enough. Everything runs more smoothly if you have a plan and back-up posts. The Editorial Calendar can help you “see all of your posts and when they’ll be posted, drag and drop to change your post dates, manage your drafts with our new drafts drawer, etc (source).” With a 4.8/5 rating on WordPress.org, you know it’s great.
From Blogger to WordPress
Blogger Importer – Blogger Importer brings over all of your posts and images from Blogger. It was super simple and easy to use, and there are a lot of tutorials out there on specifically how to do it. It took a matter of minutes!
Blogger to WordPress – This is different than Blogger Importer. Blogger to WordPress redirects anyone who lands on your old blog pages to your new, corresponding WordPress page/post. A must! All of those old Pinterest pins won’t lead readers to the wrong site.
The ones I want to love
AddThis – AddThis offers a free and pro version. I currently use the free welcome bar feature, and I like it a lot. It’s the only bar that I’ve been able to find that has the option for positioning at the bottom of the page instead of the top like Hello Bar.
YARPP – I use Engageya as my post recommendation plugin, but the one thing that I think makes YARPP better than Engageya is that YARPP automatically takes on the characteristics of your blog. When I initially installed YARPP, the font was the same as my blog titles and the divider was the same pink that matches my template. For that reason, I love it! The only issue I have is that my thumbnails were not appearing properly.
Did I miss any? What are your favorite WordPress plugins?