WordPress blog plugins! Plugins for your WordPress blog are fun. It’s like added extra accessories to your wardrobe to make your whole look more functional.
So I decided to go through my plugins (which is a lot) and share the ones that I use the most frequently to grow my blog. Most WordPress blog plugins are ones I use on a daily basis while 1-2 are ones I use occasionally.
Everyone seems to talk about SumoMe’s suite of share buttons. But honestly, I’ve never fully loved them. I did use them for my last blog and temporarily for this blog, but I thought, “there has to be something better out there right?”
And sure thing, there is! I love Social Warfare for many reasons. It has a clean look and integrates into my posts seamlessly. For your reference, it appears on the top and/or bottom of your posts (depending on your settings) so people remember to share.
I personally found Sumo’s buttons quite intrusive on the left sidebar. A few times I was scrolling through my blog just to do some housekeeping and make sure things were showing up the way I wanted them to. And boy, it was really annoying when the buttons were blocking my text. This happens when you view from an iPad or a small screen.
You can minimize the buttons, but it’s still a bad experience for me and my readers. I’d admit that on the surface, it seems to help people share your content because it follows the reader as she scrolls.
I’ve used Disqus for a few years now and continue to use it because it makes commenting on blogs a charm! Give or take, commenting on blogs probably took a dive since there’s Facebook groups to start and build communities these days. But blog comments are a lot more authentic when readers actually comment and mean it. I’m not talking about those commenters who leave a comment just to have a link back to their site.
But real comments can be meaningful and when I first starting reading blogs 10+ years ago, commenting was the primary way to connect. And for some blogs in small niches, it still is.
If I’m going to leave a comment on your blog, it’s probably because you have Disqus. You can sign up for a free account over at Disqus, install the plugin, and then connect your account to WordPress. From now on all you have to do is sign in to Disqus once and leave comments on the fly!
Who else hates filling out a full application before leaving a comment? Sounds like punishment, huh?
#3 Insert Headers and Footers
I use to be able to read HTML codes. That was back when I coded a full website from scratch. I can’t do that anymore and I personally hate reading code nowadays — and anything with tons of detail is no fun. But when I re-entered the blogging world a few years back, I’m thankful that there’s a plugin for everything.
I use this plugin when I need to add an extra line of code to my header or footer template without having to mess with the actual php files on WordPress. Trust me, those look intimidating and you shouldn’t need to deal with this type of detail when you already have enough on your plate.
With this plugin, all you have to do is copy and paste whatever code you need into the header or footer slot. I had to do this a few times while verifying my Pinterest account or some external site with my site.
#4 WordPress editorial calendar
When I think editorial calendar, I always think of some editor of a large magazine. They just sound so fancy. I don’t know if you use them. I do on and off and it’s immensely helpful when I want an overview of what’s getting published.
Although I use Trello’s calendar more now, if you want the WordPress version of an editorial calendar, it’s free to download. The learning curve is next to none. Once you look at it, you’ll know how to drag-and-drop your blog posts.
The fun and efficient part about this calendar WordPress plugin is that you don’t need to re-write dates if you change the publish date. All you need to do is drag it to the date slot you want and it’s automatically changed. Pretty cool heh?
#5 Yoast SEO
I have a love-hate relationship with SEO. As you know, optimizing for keywords has helped my site to be found so much more. So it’s absolutely necessary if you want to grow your blog the free way. But I also hate the technical aspects of SEO. There’s this huge laundry list of things to remember to do to optimize your post. It’s not hard, just tedious.
This is where Yoast comes in. For each post, it tells you what’s going right and what you can improve on. If you hate having a SEO checklist around, Yoast is a technical plugin that acts as your reminder.
#6 Pinterest Verify
If you’re planning on using Pinterest to drive traffic, you’ll have to switch to a business account. It’s free, but there’s a few steps to get there. And verifying your website is one of the steps. This plugin makes it super easy for you to just copy and paste the 32-character code into the plugin.
And voila! All done.
#7 jQuery Pin It Button for Images
Likewise, if you’re going to be serious about your Pinterest game, you’ll want to add a “Pin-it” button to make your images are easily shareable.
I believe most browsers automatically comes with a Pin-it button (I may be wrong on this), but the default button is too small. I like this jQuery option that has a hover option which makes it more noticeable. This makes your pin image more shareable and it’ll help you grow your blog.
I don’t know why I didn’t discover Beaver earlier. It’s a paid plugin, but it’s truly a lifesaver when it comes to website building when you don’t want to hire a developer. If you want a beautiful and clean website but can’t afford a developer’s prices, you want to check this out.
There’s no real learning curve and it’s your favorite drag-and-drop editor type software. To get the paid license, it’s $100, but they have a free version that you can play around and see how you’ll like it first.
I personally use Beaver to build all my website pages, but the best part is that I realized I can use it in lieu of Leadpages. That means I can create landing pages on Beaver just like people do on Leadpages without paying for a monthly subscription fee. And let’s face it, Leadpages is pretty costly at $300/year and it can only be used to collect leads.
#9 Popup Ally Pro
I’ve tried a number of email collecting plugins including this, Mailerlite’s embed forms, and Magic Action Box. Although Mailerlite’s suite offers everything, I found that their opt-in forms didn’t convert that well for me. Their piece of software was super easy to use, but because Mailerlite’s forms didn’t include a visual mockup of the freebie, it didn’t help readers visualize what they were getting.
Since I wanted to built out more complex automations on my email service provider, I switched to ActiveCampaign a few months ago. That means I also had to find another leadbox software. I really wanted to avoid Leadpages because of their hefty price and not-so-pretty opt-ins. And that’s when I stumbled across Popup Ally Pro!
The plugin has all the fields I want to customize. I also find their forms much more attractive and “feminine” than Leadpages. It comes with a few templates to choose from, but that’s really all you need. I personally keep all the sign-up forms on my blog the same because:
- I want it to look cohesive
- It saves so much time each time I create a new form. All I have to do is copy and paste the old form and change the text and image on the new form
My favorite part about Popup Ally is probably how easy it is to add a form to my blog. Since it’s a plugin, it’s integrated into WordPress. This means if I wanted a sign-up form to show on a blog post, all I have to do is check the name of the blog post. Likewise, if I want to use the opt-in for all posts or selective posts, I would just check “all” or just the appropriate box.
What are your favorite WordPress blog plugins to help you grow your readership?
*There may be some affiliate links in this post. This means I’ll get a small commission if you use my link. It won’t cost you anything extra, but your support really helps keep this blog with more free content to come.