As you know, I launched The Millennial Stay-At-Home Blog a little over a week ago and boy have I learned A LOT!
Blogging is a full time gig for me and with all the time it takes to really create and produce quality content, there are a few plugins that are ESSENTIAL to my sanity and my overall productivity here on the blog.
WordPress Plugins are little add-on’s that you can download and add to your blog to enhance the overall functionality of your site.
There are over 20,000 plugins to choose from so this is in no way an exhaustive list.
However, these are my top picks for those just starting out!
1 Akismet Anti-Spam
Akismet is used by more than a million WordPress users and for a good reason!
The one thing I KNEW that I wanted to avoid when I started this blog was spam! I definitely wanted engagement on my posts but I really didn’t want to have to filter through potentially malicious spam comments.
This is where Akismet comes in! Akismet automatically checks all of your comments and filters out the ones that look like spam. It also checks your contact form submissions for spam too!
Akismet offers a Basic, name your price (ahem FREE) subscription as well as a Plus subscription for $59.00.
You will need an Akismet.com API key to successfully install Akismet on your site. But don’t worry, its really easy to get one, just follow the installation instructions once you’ve downloaded the plugin.
2 Better Click To Tweet
Better Click To Tweet is a plugin that allows you to create a tweetable blurb within your blog post.
We all know that Twitter is a huge platform and by utilizing the Better Click To Tweet Plugin, You can get a lot more eyes on your content!
I love that with Better Click To Tweet, you simply add the shortcode to your post and replace the text with what you want tweeted. If you create your posts with the visual editor – don’t fret!
All you have to do is click the Better Click To Tweet icon in the tool bar to add a pre-formatted shortcode to your blog post.
With Better Click To Tweet, the maximum tweet length is a little less than 140 characters. This is so your twitter name and a link back to your post can be added to the tweet.
Here’s an example of how it looks once you add and customize the shortcode:
[bctt tweet=”Pretty awesome right! Download Better Click To Tweet Today!”]
3 Hello bar
Did you see the bar at the top of my blog that asked if this was your first time here? (Did you subscribe??)
That wonderful bar is made possible by the Hello Bar plugin!
I love, love, love this plugin and recommend it to any new bloggers (even seasoned bloggers could benefit from Hello Bar)!
Creating your own Hello Bar is super simple! First you’ll be prompted to select your goal. They have 5 different goals you can choose from such as growing your mailing list, promoting a sale, and you can even customize your goal to fit your blog’s needs!
Next, you’ll be able to customize what your Hello Bar and Subscribe button say.
Hello Bar gives you a ton of free options to customize your bar including bar placement, color, size, and you can also integrate your email list!
So go ahead and create your own Hello Bar so that you can start building that email list
Jetpack was one of the first plugins that I installed on my blog. Jetpack does sooo many things that I could dedicate an entire post to it.
However, for the sake of time and efficiency, I’ll highlight some of my favorite features.
Jetpack is a plugin by WordPress.com that keeps provides awesome analytics, allows you to recommend related posts to your readers, and allows for automatic sharing on all social media platforms.
But wait, it gets better!
Jetpack provides downtime (and uptime) monitoring, fully customizable contact forms, two-factor login, infinite scroll, sidebar widgets, and it even protects against those dreaded hackers!
Jetpack also offers a paid version that includes site backup and high definition video hosting.
With over a million installs, it should be obvious that Jetpack is, without a doubt, a necessity for new bloggers.
5 Social Warfare
See that little bar below this post (it’s on the bottom if you’re viewing this on a mobile device)? I was able to create those cute sharing buttons with the Social Warfare plugin!
This is a newer plugin for me but I am loving it! It makes it so easy for people to share your posts on social media and you can even share posts via text!
You can also activate floating social sharing buttons which is a popular trend among bloggers right now.
I highly recommend this plugin if you’re ready to really see your blog grow!
You may have been met with a pop-up asking you to subscribe to my site to receive my blog launch checklist.
That awesome pop-up was made courtsey of the Sumo plugin.
Sumo offers a variety of options to help bloggers grow their sites.
Some of their options include:
Smart Bar – similar to Hello Bar
Welcome Mat– full screen call to action
Scroll Box – box that’s trigged by how far a visitor scrolls down
List Builder – cute little popup prompting visitors to subscribe
With Sumo, the options are endless!
Is your blog secure?
If you aren’t sure, stop what you’re doing and go download WordFence RIGHT NOW.
WordFence is the most downloaded security plugin on WordPress.com with over 20 MILLION downloads!
WordFence offers top-notch security features such as login security, firewall to prevent hackers from destroying your precious site, and it even scans core files and themes to ensure they haven’t been compromised.
And if Wordfence finds any security threats, they immediately report it to you!
The installation for WordFence was extremely thorough and now I can rest easy knowing that my site is secure.
This is an awesome and absolutely necessary plugin if you really want to keep your blog protected from malware and potential hackers.
8 Yoast SEO
This list would not be complete without including the Holy Grail of all SEO plugins: Yoast SEO.
As a blogger, if you ever want your content to be found in an organic google search, you MUST start implementing SEO strategies.
Yoast allows you to see a snippet of what your post would look like if it came up in a google search.
It also helps you to determine if your blog titles need tweaking, allows you to create meta descriptions for your posts, and allows you to add pictures for social media sites like Twitter and Facebook when your content is shared.
Yoast automatically tells search engines to index all of your pages so that they will eventually show up on the first page of search results.
Although it takes a little time to get used to, Yoast is absolutely essential for bloggers who want their content to be found by those who need it.
There you have it! The 8 WordPress plugins that are absolutely essential for new bloggers.
While there are a TON of quality plugins out there, these plugins are a great foundation to have and add amazing functionality to your site.
Are there any plugins you use that you feel are absolutely ESSENTIAL to your blog?
If so, leave them in the comments so that I can check them out!
Until Next Time!