Plugins are a big part of getting your site to look + run smoothly.
Whether it’s to beautify, streamline, or optimize site navigation, they can give you a leg up in the blogging game.
For those of you that don’t know what a plugin is:
The best part about plugins is not needing to learn to code to use them. They are simply downloadable apps that have basically been pre-coded for you. All you have to do is activate and customize them.
Here are a few to check out to get the most out of and optimize your online presence:
A slow site upload can often equal bad user experience. You definitely don’t want your site to take 10 seconds to load. The Smush plugin, once downloaded and activated, goes through all your images and compresses them to a predetermined size or a size of your own choosing.
It reduces the size of your files without losing the quality (which is a big general worry).
Images that are too unnecessarily big take up too much of your site space and can significantly slow it down. There’s no need to be storing unused data if you can use a plugin like Smush to get rid of it.
Whether it’s a contact form, application, or you need to set up a payment form, WPForms takes care of it without needing to know any coding. It’s also mobile responsive so it’ll look good on all devices and has easy template features for setup.
This can definitely come in handy if you do a lot of online transactions, are a freelancer, or blogger.
WordPress Popular Posts is a great plugin for a clean no-nonsense sidebar listing your most popular posts. It has options to sort by total views, average daily views, or total comment count.
You can even get fancier and add author, date, and categories to each listing. The plugin is versatile enough to include an HTML markup section if you’d really like to spruce it up to integrate it with your theme better and add extra features.
Disqus is my favorite comments system. It’s a great way to get the most out of your comments because of the way it’s built to maximize networking. When you sign up, you set up a user profile that is then used for all the comments you leave through it.
If anyone happens to come by your comment (which is hopefully helpful and engaging) people can click on your name and profile links to find out more about you and your site.
It can serve as a traffic generator for sure. No wonder more than 4 million people use it.
Instead of having an ugly link at the bottom of your page, the scroll up plugin adds an arrow icon of your choice that you can customize for the timing and the look.
This way, people don’t have to spend forever scrolling up on extensive guides, blog posts, or photo diaries.
You simply install it, and can then choose out of hundreds of fonts to achieve your perfect site design.
The WP Notifications bar is the free alternative to apps like Hello Bar or App Sumo. You can change the colors, text, and viewership options and can link the button to your email marketer’s opt-in forms or landing pages through a link.
Because it is so easy to customize, installing the free app can give you pro results for a nice looking site and heightened click through rates.
Like Smush, WP Super Cache can help accelerate site loading times.
To do that it store your site’s info on your visitor’s device so next time they visit (which will hopefully be often because of your kickass content) the site info will already be there in order for it to load faster.
For all the Twitter junkies out there adding click to tweet to posts for important quotes can add a shareability boost to your content. It can definitely mean more ways for people to link back to your site with just one click.
The Yoast SEO plugin is a no brainer used by millions of people to optimize their content and make sure they are getting the most out of their SEO formatting.
Yoast makes it easy by appearing under your post editor to critic your posts for keyword usage, length, links, and more. It tells you what to fine tune and adds. Yoast is a great plugin for beginners.
Insert header and footer is a great way for beginners to insert necessary code (i.e. for setting up Google Analytics) into your theme without having to deal with your theme files—which can get quite messy quite fast if you’re code illiterate (I speak from experience).
Ever wondered how some people are able to add a bottom section with more content suggestions that look nice and clean? They might just be using Shareaholic.
With this plugin you get share buttons, analytics, and even the choice of including ads mixed in with your related posts (if ads are your thing). It’s easy to customize and it adapts to your theme’s presets for an integrated look.
Be careful with adding too many plugins to your site. This can have an adverse effect and slow it down instead of helping its performance. Too many plugins can also make your site look cluttered if you overuse them (which is never a good thing).
There are many other plugins that have the same functions out there. Sometimes it’s a matter of looking around and experimenting to see which one works for you and your site.