On the surface, blogging seems simple. However, in order to build a truly successful platform, there’s a lot that goes on behind the scenes. You’ll need to find ways to make time for planning new content, promoting it, and managing your site.
As is the case with many WordPress-related challenges, there are plugins to help you out. By automating some of your workflow, you can keep your blog running smoothly with fresh content and tools for building your audience.
Below, we’ve shared some must-have plugins for WordPress bloggers. They’ll help you with a variety of key responsibilities, including managing your social media platforms and sourcing content. Let’s get started!
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular and well-known WordPress plugins. Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be tricky, so having some guidance available right in your WordPress dashboard is extremely helpful. This plugin is an asset to any type of website, but particularly for those that have large volumes of content.
Making sure your content is picked up by search engines can provide a significant boost in your site’s visibility. Yoast provides suggestions right in the WordPress editor about optimizing your posts for keywords and improving their readability:
Some of the other features this plugin provides include:
Previews of your posts in Google search results
Breadcrumbs for improving your site’s navigation
Duplicate content prevention to avoid repeat URLs
Especially if your blog is still small, getting started with the free version of Yoast is ideal. However, the premium plugin includes many additional features that will help boost your site’s visibility further. It provides internal linking suggestions and notifies you about outdated posts. Licenses start at $89 per year.
There are other SEO plugins out there that are also gaining in popularity, so if you’ve used any others that are worth mentioning, please share them in the comments below.
Nelio Content is an indispensable WordPress plugin that caters to all your editorial needs. First, it helps you get your content ready for publishing thanks to its quality analysis. Secondly, it comes with a great content calendar to organize your blog posts. Lastly, it enables you to schedule social media messages on Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest, among others.
Here are some of its main features:
Comes with a drag and drop content calendar.
Provides a blog post quality analysis.
Enables you to schedule social media messages.
Allows you to add editorial tasks and comments for your writing team.
Suggests external references while writing your content.
The free version can be found on the WordPress plugin repository and includes many of the basic tools you’ll need. The premium version includes social automation, auto-reshare of old content, editorial comments and tasks, team support, and more.
Social media is a powerful way to connect with your blog’s readers. Posting regularly isn’t always easy, however. Blog2Social automatically shares new blog content on your social accounts so your followers can stay up-to-date on your latest activity.
Without an audience, a blog isn’t as meaningful. Growing your following creates more opportunities for you to monetize your posts and connect with readers. Social media is one way to draw recurring visitors back to your site on a regular basis, and Blog2Social can help.
Beyond automating posts for new content, this plugin can also:
Schedule social media posts for high-traffic times to increase visibility
Customize posts with hashtags, emojis, and more
Re-post older content to renew interest in it
The free version covers all the basics – 13 networks including Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest as well as all the features listed above. With Blog2Social Premium, however, you can also manage your Google My Business profile, schedule curated content, and create a social media calendar. Plans start at $79 per year.
WordPress security is a must no matter what type of site you have. However, there are some particular concerns bloggers have to consider. In addition to the usual risks of hackers and malware, you’ll have to find ways to protect your content from thieves who might try to pass it off as their own.
There are many WordPress security plugins out there, but All In One WP Security & Firewall lets you disable right-clicking on your website. This prevents visitors from copying and pasting the posts you worked to create into their own websites.
It can also handle your security basics, such as:
Brute force attack prevention with login attempt limits
File scanning to search for malware
Firewall protection to prevent malicious scripts from reaching your site’s code
This plugin is completely free. However, keep in mind that one security plugin isn’t enough to protect your site completely. Make sure to look beyond plugins for ways to keep your site safe, too.
Akismet is a spam-prevention plugin. It checks your site’s comments and forms submissions for suspicious content. Your blog’s readers will hopefully be engaging with your site in these ways, so making sure they’re clear of malicious links is key.
Spam can include links to low-quality sites, hidden malware downloads, or even just comments that aren’t relevant to your blog. Keeping your posts free of these annoying and sometimes dangerous things will improve the reading experience for your visitors and your site’s security as well.
Akismet can help moderate your comments by:
Showing a status history for each comment, so you can see which ones have been marked as spam
Displaying the URLs of any links included, revealing any that may be misleading to readers
Enabling you to discard the worst spam comments and block them completely so they don’t take up server space or impact performance
You can sign up for an Akismet personal plan – which is recommended for blogs – for free. There are also plans for business and enterprise-level sites available for a monthly rate of $5 or $50, respectively.
You can’t have a blog without posts. Ideally, you’ll want to create a schedule so that your site is regularly updated with fresh content. This requires a fair amount of forethought, planning, and organization to maintain.
A calendar is a simple way to keep your future posts and content strategy on track, and WP Scheduled Posts adds one right in your WordPress dashboard:
It also enables you to create and schedule posts from your calendar, so you can have an overview of your blog’s upcoming content while you continue to plan ahead. Plus, you can automate publication to get posts up on time even if you have to be away from your computer.
WP Scheduled Posts includes:
A dashboard widget that displays upcoming publications
Drag-and-drop functionality in the posts calendar for easy scheduling
Easy multi-author management, as you can see everyone’s posts from the calendar
The free version of this plugin works just fine for single-author sites and those with time to check in on their blogs daily. However, WP Scheduled Posts Pro includes additional automation for those with bigger sites.
This premium plugin enables you to specify the time interval between posts and then auto-schedules them. It also includes a ‘missed schedule handler’ to catch and publish any content that slips through the cracks. Licenses start at $39 per year, with a 25 percent renewal discount.
An important part of succeeding as a blogger is driving traffic. Understanding how your readers are finding their way to your site can help you step up your marketing strategy to draw in new visitors. Google Analytics is one of the most popular platforms for tracking user behavior for this purpose:
Simplify the Google Analytics setup process so you don’t have to manually add code to your site
View content reports seeing which of your posts are attracting the most attention
Use author tracking to see which writers are the most popular on multi-author blogs
The free version of Google Analytics Dashboard displays four pieces of information – the number of sessions and pageviews for the past 30 days, the average session duration, and your current bounce rate. However, Google Analytics provides far more data than this.
With the Pro version of the plugin, you can view more in your WordPress dashboard. It also enables you to customize which data is visible so you can focus on the analytics that is most important to you. Licenses start at $99.50 per year.
Embedding your Instagram feed into your blog is a surefire way to drive more conversions and grow your following. Thanks to tagged posts and hashtag posts, Instagram can also be used as another method of content curation which can boost your blog’s social proof and social engagement.
With over 1 billion users per month, you should use Instagram’s power to your advantage!
Spotlight is a simple yet powerful solution to help you do just that. The plugin doesn’t require any coding knowledge and can instantly connect to your personal or business account to display your feed anywhere on your website.
The ability to link Instagram posts to blog posts and products
And many more.
Fresh content is vital to every blog, but coming up with post topics and writing articles is time-consuming. Especially if you’re balancing other responsibilities with managing your site, this can prove challenging. To help compensate, some incorporate content curation into their strategy.
Feed import automation so you can source new content for your blog without lifting a finger
Customizable templates for displaying your curated posts
No limits on the number of sources or imported items
The plugin itself is free, but you can purchase a premium WP RSS Aggregator plan to gain access to add-ons including more templates, keyword filtering, custom field mapping, and more. Pricing for the plans starts at $59 per year, while add-ons start at $29 per year.
Managing your own blog is no walk in the park. Creating new content, monitoring comments for spam, and maintaining your social media presence can eat up a lot of time and energy. With the right plugins, however, you can make all these tasks easier.
Do you have any questions about plugins you can use to improve your blog? Leave them in the comments section below!
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