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When you’re blogging for money, TIME is money, right? Anything that helps you blog better and faster is an asset. Anything that helps you get faster and better results with the search engines is also a big asset.
Below are my Top 10 WordPress plugins that make everything about blogging so much easier for me.
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Before I begin my top ten list, I want to mention that these plugins below are not the ONLY plugins I use.
Also, my theme here at PotPieGirl.com does a lot of things for me that would normally require a plugin to accomplish.
That said, let’s jump in.
To Increase Blog Speed
These days, blog speed is super important. If your blog takes a long time to load, people leave.
Now, I’m the first to admit that I am NOT an expert of blog speed plugins. I’ve tried a LOT of them, but most confuse the heck out of me.
I knew I needed a plugin to make my images less resource-intensive and I needed a plugin that would easily help speed up my site.
After a lot of trial and testing (and frustration), these are the 2 plugins I use here on PotPieGirl.com.
What this plugin does exactly is a bit of a mystery to me – what I DO know is:
- – It was SUPER easy to set up (pretty much just install and activate it)
- – It works.
After testing out tons of these types of plugins, this one wins my heart. I’d rather focus on blogging rather than spending endless hours trying to figure out how to configure a plugin.
Image files tend to pretty large and can slow down the load time of your web page. However, these days we NEED images. The web is more “visual” now – and social media sites require good images to get noticed.
And if you’re using the heck out of Pinterest to get amazing traffic like I do it, your site WILL have a lot of images.
A good image optimizing plugin will reduce the size of your image files (with no loss of image quality) AND it will do it automatically every time you upload an image.
There are many image optimization plugins out there, but after testing a bunch of them, I have decided to use Ewww Image Optimizer on my sites.
For Better & Faster Search Engine Results
Doing better in the search engines is always at the top of a blogger’s list, right? Here’s a free plugin I use that DOES help with that.
Yep, this plugin has a weird name and I can’t remember exactly how I heard about it or when I started using it on some of my sites (it was years ago).
But one thing stood out for me, sites where I installed the PubSubHubBub plugin simply did better in the search engines AND were indexed by Google etc MUCH faster.
From my understanding, the PubSubHubBub plugin alerts certain services when you publish a post. I really don’t care exactly HOW it works, because I know the most important thing of all – it works for me.
Simply install the PubSubHubBub plugin and activate it. Done.
For Social Media Sharing
I’ve already had my rant about sites that either don’t make it easy to share their content and/or don’t take the extra few minutes to make sure they have images that are suitable for each popular social site, so I won’t jump back up on my soapbox about all that.
But when it comes to social sharing plugins, they are NOT all the same. You may think yours is working just fine, but once you test out mine, your mind will be totally changed.
This is a new plugin I’ve started using – and I am IN love.
If I had one wish as someone who LOVES to share, it would be for EVERY SITE I visit to have this social sharing plugin installed.
I spend a lot of time reading other blog posts and marketing articles and tutorials every single day.
When I find a post that I really like, I share it – everywhere.
- – I share it on my Blog Posts I’ve Read and Love board on Pinterest.
- – I share it on my Twitter account.
- – I share it on my Facebook page.
- – I share it on my Flipboard magazine.
Yes, I LOVE to share other people’s work that helps with this crazy business we are all in and I give these posts a LOT of exposure – but I’m tired of making images FOR those posts so now I won’t share to a certain site if the post doesn’t have an image that is suitable for that site
(translation: if YOU don’t care if your images will work on all social sites and help your post get more targeted traffic, why should I care?)
What is SO frustrating is that so many “industry standard” news, advice, and tutorial sites are NOT set up for easy sharing for ALL those sites and/or they do NOT have the proper image sizes for me to share to each respective social site.
Blog posts that do NOT have Pinterest sharing images that will actually bring traffic is the biggest issue I come across and it really concerns me.
Pinterest sends massive traffic AND can continue to send traffic for weeks, months, and even for YEARS to come (if you do it properly). There is NO better ROI on that =)
All the effort that is made to share on Twitter (when a tweet has a lifespan of minutes) and on Facebook (which has a lifespan of maybe hours) – and ZERO effort to be set up for sharing on Pinterest. Crazy, I tell ya… just crazy.
It also baffles me how sites that TEACH how to get more site traffic or TEACH social media do NOT have the proper images set up for sharing to each site.
HOW can you teach how to get more website traffic and not utilize one of the free traffic sources of all on your own site?
In my opinion, there is NO excuse for that.If you want readers to SHARE your content, make it EASY for them to share to ALL social sites Click To Tweet
If you have an awesome image creator tool like mine, it takes 2 minutes to make an image for each social site.
Seriously, it’s that fast and easy (see how it works here).
Your blogging life will be forever changed by using it.
Between that image tool and this social sharing plugin, you’re golden =)
(also note that “click to tweet” above – my social sharing plugin does that too)
For Comment Engagement
For many blogs, interaction and comments are VERY important. Anything that encourages readers to comment, rewards them FOR commenting, and makes it easier to follow the conversation does so much to help your blog.
Many times, the best part of a blog post is the conversation in the comments area, don’t you agree?
I have learned the coolest tricks and have gotten tons of useful tips just by reading the comments UNDER a blog post.
BUT, remembering to go BACK to a blog post to check for new comments is not only tedious, it’s also a time waster.
That’s why I have Subscribe To Comments installed on PotPieGirl.com.
If you leave a comment and want to know when it’s replied to, or someone else leaves a comment, you just click to subscribe to comments and you’ll get an email.
Easy-peasy AND a big time saver.
Plus, if YOU are the site owner, having an automated way that helps your readers find their way BACK to your blog is nothing but a good thing.
When it comes to the comment area on PotPieGirl.com, I like to not only “reward” those that leave comments on my posts, I also like an easy way to see what THEY are blogging about (that’s one of the ways I find awesome content to share with my social media account followers).
I’ve used many various tools over the years to help reward those that comment on my posts, but I’ve now settled on CommentLuv.
This plugin allows someone leaving a comment to pick from the last 10 posts on their blog to share in their comment.
hint, it’s a LINK to your blog post AND – at this moment in time – it is a do-follow link (unless it gets abused and becomes more work for me to monitor it, then the do-follow will be turned off.
For Easier Blogging
ANYTHING that saves me time creating my posts and monetizing my posts is a BIG winner in my book. These plugins really help me a ton.
Creating a blog post can take a LOT of time – and for me, a lot of time was spent formatting it – and I got tired of it.
In my search for tools and plugins to help make the writing part of my blogging easier and faster for me, I came across a plugin called AddQuickTag – and I am in LOVE with it.
I write the huge majority of my posts in the “text” window (ie, NOT the visual editor – the visual editor drives me nuts).
While I’ve gotten fairly decent typing out HTML, I’m still not that great.
Problem is, when you’re in the text editor of a WordPress create post screen, a lot of your formatting buttons in your editor aren’t there.
For example, simply
When you install the AddQuickTag plugin, you can make your OWN formatting buttons in your text editor.
So now, if I want to make a word or a phrase an h4 tag, I simply highlight the words and click the h4 quick button I added.
You’ll notice I have a few QuickTags set up inside my text editor screen.
For example, one says “PinkBox”.
Let’s say I want to make a custom colored box around that image above.
I added the custom HTML to create my QuickTag one time. Now, I can highlight the HTML in my post text editor, click the “PinkBox” quick tag button, and then the custom HTML is automagically added without ME having to type it out every, single time.
I also have 2 others named ‘SignOff’ and ‘SignOff2’.
Do you end your posts with the same basic thing each time – perhaps your picture with your signature, an author bio box, lists of other blogs posts, etc?
Ever get tired of typing it out and formatting it for every. single. post?
Yeah, me too.
I COULD use an author bio box plugin to auto-add it at the end of every post, but I wanted a little more control than that because I like to change them up from time to time.
Now I have those ‘SignOff’ quicktags in my text editor, I just click one, and the HTML gets automatically added for that signoff at the end of a blog post AND I can edit it if I want to.
My picture and list of other blog posts at the end of my posts is added SO easily this way.
HUGE time saver AND huge FRUSTRATION saver.
The Shortcoder plugin works in a similar way as the QuickTag plugin, but instead of adding a button in your text editor for every, single shortcode, it has one button, you click it and then choose which to add.
I use the Shortcoder plugin more for ads than for formatting.
I have shortcodes set up for all kinds of sizes and colors of AdSense ads, some Amazon ad blocks, etc. This allows me the flexibility to choose what ads I want where on each individual post.
If I used an “ad inserter” plugin, I might be stuck with the same ads in the same location in every post and I want/need more control than that.
I like to choose where my ads go based on THAT post AND I like to be able to easily move/change the ads as I see stats on that post.
VERY useful and makes life so much easier when creating and monetizing posts.
For Quick Blog Stats
If you want to improve your blogging results, you MUST be able to track your blog stats. Know your traffic levels at any given moment, knowing WHERE traffic is coming from and what posts are bing visited is VERY important.
Yes, we all need to use Google Analytics. Even if never look at those stats, if you ever want to sell your blog or apply for various ad services, you will need those stats.
But, for me, Analytics is just “clunky” for when I simply want a quick peak at what’s going on with my blog traffic.
JetPack does a lot of cool things for your blog, but being able to have ALL your blogs in one simple-to-use interface where you can see your traffic, how people are finding your web pages, what they’re clicking on from your blog posts, what exact pins on Pinterest are driving traffic etc is priceless for me.
It is SO important to be able to know, at any given moment, what is going on with your site.
For example, a quick check on one of my sites early this morning and I can see something great is happening. One of my sites has already had more traffic by 10 am than it had in total the day before.
I can easily see WHICH post is taking off and WHERE the traffic is coming from.
If that traffic is coming from a specific pin on Pinterest, you bet I want more exposure for that pin to get even MORE traffic.
This also allows me to act quickly and I can go make sure that post is monetized well, is working properly, share it more places online, and anything else I want to do to make that post do even better for me.
Jetpack is a very useful free WordPress plugin all-around, but just the stats alone are so valuable for me.
For Blog Images
Yes, content is king – but images are the queen – and these days, we are living in the Queen’s world. Images are everything.
You could have a simple page full of only images, and while Google may not love it, PEOPLE will love it… and share it.
(and just a fun fact on that point – a funny thing happens when PEOPLE love something and share it – Google DOES end up loving it)
Bottom line: You MUST have great images that work on ALL the social sharing sites for your posts. If you do not do this – you lose.
Unless, you only care about GOOGLE traffic – if so, I’ll just pat you on your head and send you on your way (something about eggs and baskets comes to mind – just sayin’)
Here is the EASIEST, FASTEST and MOST EFFECTIVE way I have ever made images.
If you are only going to listen to ONE piece of advice I’ve offered, listen to THIS (and do it):
===>>> Use THIS Image Tool.
Now, Stencil isn’t a WordPress plugin, but it has been LIFE CHANGING for me. For me, it’s better than ALL these plugins I’ve already talked about – it’s that amazing.
Stencil is a little browser add-on that works on Chrome and on Firefox and it is my Magic Image Tool that allows me to make FAST images for my blog posts AND resize them for ALL the various social media image sizes.
AND, you can also SHARE those images on all kinds of social media sites if you want to with a few quick clicks(or, of course, you can also download them to put in your blog posts – or do both).
Watch how easy it is to use.
This might sound like an over-sell, but this image too is truly THE best tool I have! It has easily saved me hundreds of hours of effort and frustration already AND I no longer skip making and trying new images to share on social media because I don’t want to take the time to make them, download them, and the UPload them to all the different sites.
With Stencil, I choose the pre-set size for the social site I want to share to, make the images, and then click to share it. Done.
No more downloading an image I find, then uploading to an image editor and then downloading it to my computer and then re-uploading the edited image to each social site – this tool is magical and has made a world of difference in my social media and blogging results.
For example, let’s say I pin the main Pinterest image for this blog post to my Posts from PotPieGirl board on Pinterest – and then pin never really gets any traction OR the post is doing well and I want MORE pins out there leading to this post.
I just click to open stencil, make a new pin image for the post, and pin it to my Pinterest board (with the link to this post in tact) all from right inside my image tool.
I can even easily make those fancy collage images that do so well on Pinterest.
I can choose every image from this post and turn it into a pretty collage pin =)
I can’t recommend it enough. It’s life changing and a serious results BOOSTER.
Learn more about Stencil here (you WILL love it, I promise!)
Ok, that’s my Top 10 WordPress Plugins List for MY Blogs…
What are YOUR favorite plugins?
Why not follow me on Pinterest?
that’s where I share all the great posts I’ve read lately.
Maybe your post is on that list =)