My Favorite Wordpress Plugins
I'm definitely a big fan of having my blog Wordpress.org and all the options that self-hosting gives me. The freedom to design my site however I want is a great benefit, as is the ability to install plugins to help optimize your blog. I'm not going to pretend I'm a blog expert or anything, but I did want to share some of the plugins that I found most useful for my blog. Hopefully it helps you too.
Some things to note: This list won't apply to everyone so there's no need to install everything I mention. I also implore you to check out comparable plugins if a specific one isn't working for you. Also, to keep your blog secure, keep your plugins updated. Keeping old versions of plugins, as well as downloading too many, makes your blog more vulnerable to hackers.
Shareaholic is great for letting your readers share your blog posts across social media networks. It has a nice interface that you can customize and it also gives you the share count for each network. You can also use this to show related posts. You can see this in action right at the bottom of my blog post.
Wordpress Editorial Calendar
If it wasn't already obvious by my line of work, I'm a pretty visual person. Even with planning out blog posts it's nice to see what you have set up for the week or month. I learned a lot about editorial calendars during Alt for Everyone as a great way to look ahead and plan out your blog posts. I am still planning just a week at a time but with Wordpress Editorial Calendar, it's nice to look at the week to see what posts I have scheduled, and if I need to move them around, all I have to do is drag them.
I have actually been using Disqus ever since I started a personal blog on Tumblr. Tumblr doesn't have a built in commenting system, so the only way you can have people comment on your posts was to install a Disqus code. When I started Hey Love Designs on Wordpress, I liked the commenting system so much that I kept it. I don't ever get spam, I can use my login across other sites that use Disqus (there are a lot!), the interface is nice, and it allows users to sign in using Twitter, Facebook, or other credentials or they can just login with email or leave a message anonymously.
If you want to feature a project gallery or organize your posts with photos, CataBlog is a great source. I used this tutorial to help set it up and I think it's a great way to highlight my tutorials, free printables, and more. That reminds me, I need to update my freebies list!
WP Greet Box
When new visitors visit my page, there's a little greeting at the top of the blog post welcoming them to my site and gentle nudge suggesting that they subscribe to my feed. If they come from a Twitter link, the plugin recognizes this and you can customize the greeting to suggest the reader follows you on Twitter. They have lots of options for various social networking sites. And so it doesn't get annoying, you can have the message disappear after the reader visits a certain number of times.
Triberr is a site that helps you discover new content to share as well as puts your content out there for others to share. This has given my blog tons more tweets and visits. I'm very picky about which posts I choose to share and I spread out how frequent those posts should be shared to my timeline since I don't want to flood my twitter followers' feeds. So this plugin in particular doesn't do that (you have to do it from Triberr's website), but it does automatically import your post from Wordpress to Triberr so that you don't have to manually do it. If you do use Triberr, I'd suggest turning off the options for reblogs and Triberr comments unless you want those extra features to show up on your blog.
Do you have a favorite plugin? Share yours in the comments below.
Sidenote: Yes, I do realize that's an iPhone plug in the photo and has nothing to do with blogging. Hey, it's a plug! That I covered in washi tape!