Don’t Miss These Essential Plugins for Your Blog

In launching Daily Blogging Tips I’ve had a chance to look at what plugins are most important to get started with.

Here’s are the first WordPress plugins I installed and think every WordPress blogger should consider (in no particular order):

Posting Calendar – WordPress Editorial Calendar is my favorite plugin for keeping my posts organized and knowing what’s coming up next.  It was the first plugin I installed on my new blog.  Here’s a video about how it works.

Social Sharing – I prefer SexyBookmarks & 1-Click Retweet/Share/Like.  But use whatever you like, as long as you use one!  Make it easy for your readers to share your posts.

Stats Tracking – Knowing how much traffic you’re getting, where it’s coming from, and what posts/pages are most popular is valuable info.  Check out JetPack & WP Stats Dashboard for simple stats tracking.

Better Comment Options – Install Subscribe to Comments Reloaded and CommentLuv to get more from your comments area.  Also be sure your theme supports threaded comments (where replies show as replies right below the original comment so conversations are easier to follow) or install a plugin that creates threaded comment support.

Easy Contact Form Builder – Contact forms make it easier for readers to get in touch and protect you from the spam that happens if you put your email address on your website.  I use Contact Form 7.  There are lots of choices so just pick one you like.

Opt-In Promo Tools – Build your list!  Look at options like Feedburner Footer SlideUp (or the versions of this plugin for Aweber, GetResponse, etc), Hello Bar, or WP Super Popup.

Search Engine Optimization Tools – I’m using All in One SEO Pack along with Scribe SEO.

Tomorrow I’ll share more of my favorite plugins that take you beyond the basics and into even better blogging.

What are your favorite plugins?  What’s missing from my list that every WordPress blogger needs?

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26 Comments

  1. Thanks for the info., Michelle! I am using some of the ones you mention and am happy with them all. If any of your readers are looking for a slideshow plug-in, I use Cincopa, thanks to Steven Suchar, who told me about it. I’ve tried many slideshow plug ins and this is one of the few that you can actually preview. It has some limitations, but gives many options and is easy to set up. Great post! ~Suerae
    Suerae Stein recently posted… Design A Room… With a Fireplace!My Profile

    1. Oh, cool! Thanks for the tip, Suerae — I had someone asking me about slideshows just the other day. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Looking for Blog Post Ideas?My Profile

      1. Yes I was! I found an interesting one that creates a ‘filmstrip’ and is easy to set up with lots of options. Still tinkering with it – WP Photo Album Plus. Also found a nice shopping cart – Jigoshop, that seems easy to set up. Time will tell. Do you use Google XML Sitemaps or any caching plugins? There are so many to choose from I finally set up a test site to play with themes and plugins.

        Do you find it worth the extra money to purchase Thesis or other paid themes. From what I’ve seen in the backdoor, it is supposed to be simplified but I find it actually harder to find things you’re used to finding in the normal places on the dashboard because they’ve broken them down into so many sections. What’s you thought. I always love your content Michelle!

  2. Thanks Michelle. I really appreciate when bloggers share the plugins they actually use.
    Subscribe to comments reloaded looks great. I had my concerns with the other subscribe to comments plugin. The reloaded plugin allows double opt-in and also a subscription manager. Nice.
    WP stats dashboard has slowed down my blog load speed in the past so I have never used it. Jepack looks like a great alternative. I will take a look.
    Good stuff.
    Danny recently posted… Benefits Of Quitting Work For A YearMy Profile

    1. Jetpack is really cool. I haven’t noticed it slowing anything down, but that’s definitely something to watch out for.
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Weekend Fun: The Evolution of the EntrepreneurMy Profile

  3. Thanks for your insights, Michelle. I am not using any of these so I am going to look them up. I really appreciate getting new information.
    Ann Mullen recently posted… What Is Niche Blogging and How Does It Work?My Profile

    1. You’re welcome, Ann. Have fun exploring!
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Looking for Blog Post Ideas?My Profile

  4. Michelle,
    Great list….and the idea of being able to see all my blog posts in calendar format not only will help me stay on track but also will help me be more productive.

    I’m going to look for that editorial calendar plugin!

    Thanks for sharing:)
    ~Miriam
    Miriam Buhr recently posted… Where Is Your Battle Taking Place?My Profile

    1. That one is awesome. The editorial calendar probably the most viewed page in my admin area. :)
      Michelle Shaeffer recently posted… Weekend Fun: The Evolution of the EntrepreneurMy Profile

  5. Great list! I’m especially interested in the pop-up/list building tools. Do you know of any free plugin that will show a pop-up only when visitors try to click away from the website? I’ve looked into a couple solutions but none worked as it should. :-/
    Pedro Cardoso recently posted… How to make paper mache *and* boost your immune system.My Profile

  6. Great post Michelle, I have used the SEO and contact form previously but I didn’t know anything about the promo tools, I’ll definitely have to look into that one.

    Thanks

    Grainne

  7. Great list. I especially like the plugin that e-mails someone if they make a comment, and someone replies to it. I have just discovered this only a few days ago. I this is incredibly important for creating a conversation on your blog. Without this – nobody knows if someone has replied.
    The more comments, the more interested Google is in your blog – giving your better search engine rankings!
    Thanks for the info! :)
    Brock Blohm recently posted… How I Lowered My Alexa Rank By 5,654,000 in 12 hours!My Profile

    1. I know I forget to check back when I’ve commented somewhere to see if there are replies but when I can check a box and it notifies me via email I’m much more likely to stop back by and keep chatting.

  8. Great post, Michelle! There are some great plugins you have mentioned here, some of them that I’ve been missing. I can’t wait to see them in action!
    Steve Nicholas recently posted… An Authentic LifeMy Profile

    1. Hope they work out well for you, Steve. I love how easy WordPress makes it to add features and functions to our blogs.

  9. Thanks for the information about the plugins that you recommend. I will install the editorial calendar after I respond to this post. It should be a much better way of keeping organized that what I have doing previously. Thanks again.
    Jeremiah
    Jeremiah Johnson recently posted… Delsey Helium Fusion ReviewMy Profile

    1. That one has really been helpful for me, Jeremiah. Enjoy!

  10. Thanks for the list. I appreciate it a lot. It’s just that I’m a newbie on blog, I want to know how to install this plungins.
    SW BOX recently posted… Text-to-Message Integration Seems to Be Quite SureMy Profile

    1. Just created a new video to show how to install plugins. Here you go: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ij8OkNqkvRI

  11. I am using WP_Paginate and Disqus comments which I find it very useful and informative to my readers as well.
    Praveen Rajarao recently posted… 5 Inspirational Sources of Images for Blog PostsMy Profile

    1. I wanted to love Disqus but I just missed CommentLuv too much. I know it works beautifully for many bloggers though. :)

  12. Thank you so much for all these plugin recs! I didn’t have the majority of them and now do! :)
    lisa recently posted… Song of the Week: Pumped Up Kicks by Foster the PeopleMy Profile

  13. Thanks, Michelle! That’s a big help. I already use some of these plugins (like Contact Form 7 and All in One SEO Pack, both of which I love) but I know I have only begun to investigate the huge list of potentially useful plugins, so it’s great to get pointers.

    Strangely enough, I don’t have Editorial Calendar yet, and that looks really useful. :-)
    Carolyn recently posted… Buy the Best Loose Leaf Hibiscus TeaMy Profile

  14. I promised to get back to you, Michelle.
    I just started using Editorial Calendar. It is very nice.
    But, for new users- note that you cannot (with ease) change the view of the calendar. It shows 3 weeks or so. For many of you, that will be perfect.
    For me- it sucks. I have about 20 blogs in my queue. It was not intuitively obvious to me how to handle this. (I went to the web site, I read the documentation, etc.) But, the trick is: Don’t worry that there is no calendar date below the one you want. Drag your title there- and the calendar will move to the next week. Don’t hold it there too long- or the blog will open up for editing.
    Other than that, it’s pretty neat.
    And, for me that is critical, since some of my drafts (which required me to search for them) are fairly old- and going a page or two back to find them (even in the draft post views) is not much fun.
    THANKS for the recommendation.
    Roy A. Ackerman, Ph.D., E.A. recently posted… Let’s stem the STEM problemMy Profile

  15. I used Hello Bar for a while, but found it slowed down my website loading time. Between SexyBookmarks & 1-Click Retweet/Share/Like, do you know which one is faster? I have Sexybookmarks right now, but because my website is so image/video heavy I am trying to cut loading time wherever I can.
    Nyla Crystal recently posted… Shake up Your Valentine’s DayMy Profile

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