I did a post last week about why I moved to WordPress and my experience with it so far. I can tell you that my experience is definitely positive. I love WP and I couldn’t think of being back on Blogger now. My #1 reason for loving it so much is Plugins! That’s what this whole post is dedicated to.
If you’re wondering what a plugin is:
I’m going to start off with an explanation of what a plugin is. I think a lot of non-WP users aren’t clear on what they are. I couldn’t find a definition of Plugin that wasn’t super confusing so…here’s my definition:
A WordPress Plugin is basically something you download that extents the ability of your blog. You find a Plugin you want, you install it, and like magic it’s doing the work for you. The easiest thing that I can think to compare it to it Linkwithin for Blogger. Most of us use that and it’s the most comparable thing on Blogger. Except there are thousands of WP Plugins. Just about everything that you can imagine.
See WordPress Codex for the confusing definition.
How does a Plugin work, you may be wondering? Well, it’s really simple. There’s a Plugins section on the dashboard. You go there and you search for the plugin you want or you can browse the popular ones. Once you’ve found what you want you click install. Then you have to activate it and depending on the Plugin sometimes you have to go to its settings and set it up how you want. The majority of them as really simple and make life so much easier.
If you’re still a little confused maybe this will help. Here’s a list of my favorite Plugins and what they do. Listing my Plugins was inspired by this awesome post at Miss Remmers Reviews.
The Must Haves:
- FD Feedburner — This one will redirect your feed links to your feedburner link. Which is very, very awesome.
- Broken Link Checker — After switching, lots of my links were broken and this nifty little Plugin will find those broken links and list them for you. It even checks your comments.
- Akismet — This is spam protection, so obviously it’s s must!
- WPtouch — Makes your blog mobile!
- Jetpack — This opens up many more options for widgets and such.
The Fun Stuff:
- All in One Favicon — Easily set a favicon for your blog and your dashboard!
- Share Buttons & the Pin It Plugin — Add the buttons to all of your posts in just a couple of steps.
- CommentLuv — You’ve all seen this right? This is the one that picks up on your feed when you comment and adds your newest post link in!
- Comment Reply Notification — This one will email your reply to the original commenter!
- Duplicate Post — This will set up a new draft for you using the same template as the original post. This is super helpful for posts that are the same or mostly the same every week. Like my Saturday Situation posts.
- Tweet Old Post — This will randomly tweet old post links for you. You do have to set it up to not post certain things, but I really love it!
- WordPress Editorial Calender — See all you posts in a calender format and drag and drop them to the days you want. I love this one!
- Thank You — I have this but I haven’t set it up yet. The first time someone comments on your blog it takes them to a special Thank You page that you set to say whatever you want.
The Plugins You Need:
- All on One Webmaster — This one is just awesomeness. You can add all of you stat tracking sites without having to add something to your coding. Like Google Analytics, Google Webmaster Tools, Sitemeter etc.
- SEO by Yoast– I started out using this one, but now my StudioPress theme has SEO built in. This is a fantastic option for SEO.
- WordPress DB Manager — This one backs up your database on a schedule set by you and then emails it to you. It’s so, so important to have a backup!
Some of the SEO and Webmaster ones can me a little hard to set up, but I always just Google and find a tutorial. There’s endless ones! For the most, though, they are super easy to set up and make blogging so much easier.
I hope that gave you a better understanding of Plugins! If you’re a WP user, what are some of your favorites?