So you have decided to build a WordPress website because you love to blog?
Whether your in web design, a business owner, star gazer, or a photographer, if you want to build a blog then you need to do it as efficiently as possible. That way you have more time and money to spend on your loving hobby. The right plugins for your WordPress blog can make the job easier for you and more pleasurable for your users. We all know the end-user comes first so if your user base can smoothly glide around your site zipping in and out of the pages they want, using the functionality that makes the experience so much more enjoyable you ought to be able to sleep easily at night knowing you have a good foundation built. If that sturdy foundation just so happens to make your work easier….well you know! So just make sure to choose the best plugins for your needs.
Some of the functionality you will need
- Every blogger website needs users, so you will want an advanced and intricate user control plugin.
- You will want to send out mass e-mails for fans and users alike so a newsletter plugin will be a must.
- What blog wouldn’t be complete without a way to share your posts? Must have a social sharing plugin.
- Will you have different roles for users? Peon, Viking, VIP, El Presidente? You will need a nice user roles plugin to accomplish that.
- Along with these roles you will want to hide content from lower ranked roles and save the juicy stuff for paid members or whoever you choose, you will need a menu role plugin for that.
So you get the point. Lets take a look at some must have plugins to use. Oh yeah….they’re also free!
“All in One SEO Pack Optimizes your WordPress blog for SEO”
Of course you need SEO, this plugin will help you setup your blog to be as SEO friendly as possible. I use it on my personal site and am greatly please with it’s performance plus the extra free add-ons that that come along with. There is also a pro version that costs (as of right now) $39 then a $10 recurring monthly payment.
“Create newsletters, post notifications and autoresponders. Drop your posts, images, social icons in your newsletter. Change fonts and colors on the fly. Manage all your subscribers. A new and simple newsletter solution for WordPress. Finally!”
A nice way to send newsletters. Easy to setup and easy to use!
“Most blogs are designed for hit-and-run readers. People find your blog, read your article, and leave. Wouldn’t it be nice if some of those people subscribe or share your amazing post?
SumoMe provides the tools you need to grow your blog by engaging your readers. The features of this plugin will make it easy for your readers share your articles and engage in your community. Highlighter makes it easy to tweet about your article by selecting popular parts of your writing (like Kindle and Medium); ImageSharer makes it stupid simple to share your images (with a link to your post) on Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter; while the List Builder tool in this plugin will let you create a fancy lightbox popover to build email subscriptions (for MailChimp, GetResponse, Aweber, or others).”
Nicely built for a free plugin, allows your social share bar to float along side of your content which seems to be a rarity now a days for free social sharing plugins. Also works as an e-mail list builder.
“This plugin lets you hide custom menu items based on user roles. So if you have a link in the menu that you only want to show to logged in users, certain types of users, or even only to logged out users, this plugin is for you.
Nav Menu Roles is very flexible. In addition to standard user roles, you can customize the functionality by adding your own check boxes with custom labels using the
nav_menu_rolesfilter and then using the
nav_menu_roles_item_visibility filter to check against whatever criteria you need. You can check against any user meta values (like capabilities) and any custom attributes added by other plugins.”
Nice plugin for setting up menu links to be visable for everyone via “logged out”, or hide unless “logged in”, or even allow permissions to specific roles only. This comes in handy if you have content that is only meant to be available to paid users.
** Please note that Nav Menu Roles only hides the pages from the menu, the page can still be accessible to people who know how to search site structure. There are ways to better protect pages/subpages with regular WP options or other plugins. You can set the page to “private” under Publish>Visibility, which is a WordPress feature or you can use the this plugin in conjunction with the following plugin…
“Page Security by Contexture International (PSC) lets YOU decide which users can access which content. Add users to groups, set granular permissions for content, and finally take control of your website!
Groups allow you to organize your users how YOU see fit, then use your groups to choose who can access posts, pages, custom content, or entire sections of your website. Create an intranet or a members-only area with just a few clicks, or build a subscription based system with automatically expiring memberships. You can even create multiple levels of security for powerful, granular protection of any sub-section on your site.
PSC is created to be simple, yet powerful – and is designed to integrate seamlessly and intuitively with WordPress. If you know how to use WordPress, you know how to use PSC.”
Basically this is an amped up version of Nav Menu Roles. Great for the bigger blog that needs allot of custom user permissions for special content.
“The Captcha plugin allows you to implement a super security captcha form into web forms. It protects your website from spam by means of math logic, easily understood by human beings. You will not have to spend your precious time on annoying attempts to understand hard-to-read words, combinations of letters or pictures that make your eyes pop up. All you need is to do one of the three basic maths actions – add, subtract and multiply. This captcha can be used for login, registration, password recovery, comments forms. There is also a premium version of the plugin, allowing compatibility with BuddyPress (Registration form, Comments form, “Create a Group” form) and Contact Form 7.”
Who here likes spam accounts flooding your site? Don’t get me wrong, I love getting an e-mail notifying me of a new user….until I see the user name and e-mail. This is a good way to weed through all of the spam bots that try to register on your blog. They have allot of different translations available also. The premium version is a paid version that will run you approximately $10 and provides integration for BuddyPress and Contact Form 7.
“Activate the plugin and customize your WordPress log in screen. Use the built-in and easy to use settings page to do the work for you. There’s no need to understand CSS at all! Now featuring a HTML, CSS & jQuery box for advanced users to up the customization!”
This is a great plugin for replacing the original WordPress admin log in. Unlike other login plugins this one actually allows you to customize the log in section. They do have a premium version that will cost you $40 per site.
“Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.”
Everybody dislikes spam comments in their blog. They make the site look run down, they are annoying and they are bad for SEO. There is nothing worse than having your bloggers be bothered by the likes of spam, a spammy site gets a bad reputation. Also, these spam sites are usually low page ranked sites with black hat links to some of the worst places on the internet. Do you really want your website linked to them? Nope…Akismet can help with blocking the spam comments made in posts.
**If your site has allot of spam bots continually registering you will more than likely need to use some more methods
“WangGuard is the most advanced and effective active page registration security system in existence, operated via WordPress, WordPress Multisite, BuddyPress and bbPress 2.0. If you are a developer, you can create a system for your own CMS merely by using our API. The secret of our success is that we have recently begun to treat Sploggers or unwanted users as viruses.”
This plugin is great to use if you don’t enjoy manually deleting hundreds of spam bot accounts on a weekly basis. Much more effective than Captcha and reCaptcha methods. It does start out slow but as you build your blacklist the spam registrants will start to thin out.
“The only WordPress Performance Optimization (WPO) framework; designed to improve user experience and page speed.
Recommended by web hosts like: Page.ly, Synthesis, DreamHost, MediaTemple, Go Daddy, Host Gator and countless more.”
Simply put, page load speed effects your SEO. Google, wanting the best for the end users, know that people like instant results. So in this case the closer to instant your pages load then the better Google will like you. This plugin does a good job of that.
In conclusion, if your not a die hard coder like allot of us you can install plugins to get the functionality that you need on your blog. Choosing the correct types of plugins that will give you a good fundamental foundation for your blog can make the world of a difference when it comes to getting users to return time and time again.
Thanks for reading, I’d like to hear some of your favorite plugins.