When I first became a blogger, I became a WordPress blogger. I tried some other platforms – Blogger and Tumblr for instance – but quickly felt most at home with WordPress.com.
The easy interface and the way blogs could interlink easily through tags and categories, heaps of great (and free!) themes: I was your WordPress.com girl. I loved it so much that I even had three blogs happening at once!
So when it came time to make my own .com website, I knew I wanted to use WordPress.
That I did and soon annakosmanovski.com had a world of possibilities open to it as a self hosted,options-a-plenty website. Yet, for much more control and added features I soon realised that this had come at a cost: the “connectedness” element of WordPress.com
Now that I was with WordPress.org, I was really started to miss some of the old WordPress.com features.
One was the WordPress “Like” button at the ends of posts. As a blogger, this was a simple way to see who was engaging – and even liking! – my posts. With an average of 41.5 million new posts every month, WordPress.com is a large community and I knew a large proponent of my readers.
Another feature which my new WordPress.org site was lacking was the “Follow” button that WordPress.com blogs features.
These may seem like small things but for a blogger, they all add up. Ultimately, you write for your readers – for your work to be read – and engaging with the WordPress community is one easy way to achieve this.
Thankfully, I wasn’t disappointed for long. One word (lovely word) soon came to my attention and has captured me ever since, WordPress.org speaking!
Plugins. Take note. For fellow readers naturally abounding in technological prowess, I assure you – they’re not as scary as they sound!
The wonderful world of WordPress plugins and I soon become friends as – bit by bit, plugin activated by plugin configured – my site soon turned from ‘zero to hero!’
So as a newbie plugin convert, I’d like to share with you some WordPress plugins which has made my life easier (and my website better!)
Jetpack was the answer I was searching for, I just didn’t know it! This VERY HANDY plugin sort of paints your site with the best bits of Wordpress.com.
Here you have the WordPress “Like” button, a “Follow” button, a subscription service and even the simple and clear stats function of WordPress.com too, ideal if you just seek a basic idea of your site stats and engagement.
This nifty option also gives you the standard WordPress social media share options from WordPress, which makes it easy peasy for others to share your blogs. Tweeters, rejoice: it gives you shortlink options and it even includes something akin to “SpellCheck” which always make blogging a safer experience for all!
There are loads of other Jetpack features, check the link above for yourself!
The days when SEO was just an “option” are over, if indeed they ever existed! (Maybe when the Internet was first around?!)
This is a fantastic way to get some great, user-friendly SEO going on your site. It gives options which don’t come standard with WordPress.org, with one of my favourite ones the ability for you to see what your meta description/title looks like live! Great news for those of us who are highly “visual” people!
This little baby also creates XML maps and sends all the information for Google to reference. Admittedly, I am still learning how to use this plugin properly but I know it will make a difference in my site’s SEO love.
Perfect for you WordPress.com cats who have moved over to WordPress.org but not without some missing your old WordPress.com posts.
Not only does it directly import all your WordPress posts (and pictures), it also imports any blog comments. We all know that blog comments are like Christmas presents to a blogger – gold! – so this is a feature anyone who values comments will well appreciate! (I certainly do.)
Call it a miscommunication. Call it optimism. Call it spam. Whatever it was, I am now embarrassed.
“You have 47 comments on a blog article!” – that was basically what used to happen to all my posts…
Every spammer (or “bot”, they tell me) said things like “Great article! You have real talent! That’s why you need my ALL American [include dubious hyperlink] TOOL Kit!!” Or, “I’m sorry but only Henry’s sell the best horse fertilizer in Texas [insert dubious hyperlink]”, etc. etc. etc.
I read ALL the comments I got (but cleverly never clicked on the advertised hyperlinks – aha!) and sadly came to the conclusion that these people/bots were not in fact taking a moment to write a thoughtful comment on my blog but were SPAMMING me instead. Big, fat, skinny, annoying spam.
Luckily, this plugin shoes away all that rubbish!
WordPress Backup to Dropbox.
Need I say more? Even the words just roll off the tongue, well perhaps the keyboard, conjuring up images of a SAFE and BACKED UP website.
For most people, this is still just ONE way of site backup but it’s still a way! (Yay) And better than not doing it.
You can choose how regularly you want your site to be backed up – every day, week or whatever – and Ta Da, this just happens seamlessly while you do other stuff! It’s a wonderful thing – backing something up – and much better than its scary alternative of not taking pains to do that … trust me.
Spoken like a true writer who remembered the days of slow, clogged up PCs and the days when Microsoft Word’s “Autosave” function was not yet even invented. Wow, that makes me stressed just thinking of that…
Well, I hope this has been an illuminating journey into the wonderful journey of WordPress plugins and you are now inspired to explore some for yourself. I’ve written about 5 of them, there are literally 24,892 other plugins out there!
Let me know which other ones you enjoy!