Blogging Tips – The Essential WordPress Plugins

Before I get in to this post, I just want to point out that the above clip art not only looks like a plug, it also looks like a smiling frog balloon! And for those of you who are new to WordPress customization and think this is a little bit scary, just smile and look at the balloon mkay? Kay. I have been blogging for over a decade (god that sounds like forever), so let me drop some knowledge on you.

So you’ve got a blog. Congratulations! And you’ve made the smart decision to use WordPress. Hooray! The only reason I was on Blogger for so many years was I didn’t want to deal with the migration – it’s a pain in the ass! But if you’re already on WordPress then hooray for you, because you can now trick out your blog to do all sorts of cool things for you! Installation of these plugins is usually pretty turn-key, too. Bonus! I use WordPress for this blog as well as professionally for clients’ blogs, and since I began working with it I have found some awesome plugins that make my blogging life so much easier. They are…

Akismet by Automattic
Enlarge your penis now! Get prescription drugs here! Buy stuff! Yeah. Spam comments. As a blogger they will plague you. But Akismet is a fantastic anti-spam plugin that does a VERY good job of blocking the majority of that spam junk.  You must register for an API code, but for personal use Akismet is free. It’s the first plugin I install on a blog.

WordPress Editorial Calendar by Stresslimit and Zack Grossbart
This plugin is the bomb. No, really. If you think scheduling posts is cool, this takes scheduled posts to a whole new level. It lays everything out in an easy to navigate calendar so you can see when something is scheduled. You can also click and drag your posts to different days, and change the time they are scheduled for all from this view. You can also start a post in draft format right from the calendar. Brilliant. You’ll wonder how you ever blogged without it. This is also a really great plugin to use if you share blogging responsibilities, as you can check deadlines etc. via this calendar. Get it.

Free Stock Photos by Foter
If you ever need a stock photo, this plugin adds an easy to use, searchable library. Once you select a photo to use, it not only inserts the photo but also the appropriate credit needed for the photo’s Creative Commons license. Very cool.

Contextual Related Posts by Ajay D’Souza
This seems like a no-brainer as you definitely want to keep people clicking around your blog and checking out your other posts, and there are a lot of related posts plugins out there, but this one I really like because the posts are actually related. I’ve found a lot of plugins that pick posts that are a stretch at best.  It’s kind of sad that this one is the best because it does what it says it’s going to do, but you’d be surprised. It’s highly customizeable so you can choose what the plugin looks like in your post footer as well.

Social Essentials by Shane Melaugh
It’s right there in the name, essential! This plugin not only gives you those nifty sharing buttons on each post, but it tracks how people interact with them too! This is especially useful if you are blogging for a client and want to give them stats about readers sharing your posts. Comments aren’t the only indicator of how good your blog is, after all!

Tweet Old Post by Ajay Matharu
I don’t expect my blog readers to see every post every time when it’s new. That’s crazy! This useful little plugin feeds previous posts to Twitter at intervals you can customize. It maximizes how many people may get to see any one post. Very cool. I cannot tell you how many times I get responses from people who missed a post the first time around, but saw it via this plugin and had something to say about it. If you want to keep conversations about your blog posts going, you need this plugin.

WordPress Mobile Pack by James Pierce & friends
I have said this 1,000 times– if your site is not mobile-friendly, you are BEHIND. In fact, I was just ranting about this last night! More and more people are accessing the web via their phones or ipads, and this % of your readership is ONLY going to increase. So if your site isn’t ‘with the times’, you are losing readers. Period. Shut it down and go home. This handy plugin makes it completely idiot proof. NO EXCUSES. If you only have one plugin on this list, it should be this one.

There are many other plugins I use, but those are the basics that will be useful even for beginning bloggers without getting too complicated or technical. I hope this list was helpful for you fellow bloggers out there!

Do you use any of these plugins? What are your favorites?


  1. Great list!!

  2. Kayla says

    I’ve been using the free WP for about a year, but on Monday I’m switching over to a self hosted website. This really helps, thank you for sharing!

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