Plugins are essential for the smooth running of a blog. One person likened Plugins to the plumbing’s you need in a house to enable it to have some functionalities that make it better to use.
Officially according to Wikipedia a Plugin is defined as software that adds extra features to an existing computer program thereby enabling customization of that program. For example, when you add a social warfare plugin, you can enable your social media buttons on your page in other for people to share your content.
As a new Blogger, that is just starting out, there are various terms that may seem new to you, one of them is Plugins, when you start out you may wonder if you need them or not, but as you get along the blogging journey you tend to discover that they are a necessity especially if you are not Techie and you don’t want to outsource any part of your blog build up due to lack of funds.
If you are like me, with little funds to spare and you get to realize that you are going to be working daily at this Blog, It is better to learn the necessary things that are required to enable you to run the blog efficiently, hence my adventure into the use of Plugins.
Plugins are like lifesavers, especially if you have been trying to get something fixed and you have wondered how it is done, only to realize that a plugin could easily do it for you without much stress. For example, when I wanted to verify my Pinterest site, I tried uploading my HTML tag but I couldn’t do it. But once I used my Yoast SEO social, it was done instantly. I was so happy the day it happened that I went about smiling all day.
Having learned a few things since I started my Blog in March, here are some Plugins that I know you can’t do without.
Akismet: Akismet is a plugin that enables you to protect your Blog from spam attacks, it’s the first thing you must have before you ever launch your Blog. You don’t want to start battling with Spam attacks from day 1, they can mess up your Blog posts especially from the comments section. Before you can install Akismet, you have to get what they call an API key, consider your API key like a house key which you need to unlock the door to your house. Your API key is gotten after you have registered with the provider of the Plugin. it’s after you key in your API key that Akismet can start working. If you are using the JVzoo Host, you will find that the provider of the WordPress site already comes with the Akismet already pre -installed, you just have to network activate to get it running. To sign up with my hosting company click Here: Sign up now for hosting
The good thing about it is that its free and open source, you don’t have to pay a dime once you have it installed on your system. You only need your updates once in a while and it’s still free.
Google XML sitemap: Wow, this is the second must have Plugin, it helps you index your Blog with most search engines, like Google, Bing, and webmasters. When I started my Blog, I didn’t know much about this plugin, I thought that once you enable the settings through your admin section that authorizes search engines to index your website that was it. But I soon found out I was wrong because when I typed my web address, my blog never came up. So I read up some more on it and I found that I needed to submit my website to various search engines for indexing, I tried to but the process was a bit complicated for me until I discovered this plugin, Google XML sitemap that helps one to do it without all the stress of trying to do it one by one.
To install Google XML sitemap follow these directions
- Go to your Admin section
- Click on Network activate, then go down to appearance and click on Plugin then click on Add new.
- Now go ahead and search for Google XML sitemap and click on Network activate, then you can go ahead and install it on your Blog.
Key things I look out for when installing a plugin
1- Number of installations it has had
2 The ratings
3 When last the version was updated.
4Compatibility: whether it is compatible with the version of WordPress that I use.
All these factors help me to know how well a plugin will perform. This is because if it has 100’s of thousands of active installs or even in millions, it means, many people trust it and are consistently using it. If its ratings are high, chances are also that it is good. If the plugin is constantly updated, that means it’s much less vulnerable to hackers. Old un Updated Plugins are often used by hackers as a backdoor to your website, beware of using them.
Google Analytics: Google Analytics enables you to track your page views and your sources of traffic. This is very important data if you want to grow as a Blogger.
It’s a popular saying that what you can’t measure you can’t improve on. So it’s important that you have your Google analytics installed from day 1 of your blogging activity as this will allow you to see your data trends with time.
It will also tell you which countries that most of your traffic is coming from. Under its reports, it will also give you the metrics of where your traffic is coming from and where they terminate. It will give you an idea of how your posts are performing.
From your GA, you will get to know which of your posts high traffic attractors are. In fact, running a blog without GA is liking flying a Plane without radar.
Yoast SEO: My encounter with Yoast SEO helped me shape my writing skills to better create a rankable content.
Yoast SEO has an analysis that tells you if the content you are going to post has a good SEO and also if the readability is good. These two points are important if you want your posts to come up during a search.
The feedback it gives you allows you put down a better write up.
It has some basic features and also a Paid feature. You can start with a basic feature and then upgrade to a paid one as you scale.
It’s a very good Plugin because it helps analyze your content before it goes live. It has a very good support network and also offers some training on how to use it.
Loginizer: Loginizer is a security plugin you may want to try, because I was a new blogger, I didn’t take my security so serious until I started having attacks from hackers who were trying to hack my blog.
I wrote to my host company JVzoo who quickly offered me support and advised on what plugins to use to protect myself from spammers and hackers.
I picked up this plugin because I didn’t want to go the route of rewriting my admin login configure. It helped to protect my Blog from brute force attacks.
It works by blocking IPs that exceed a maximum number of trials to log in, a frequent feature of hackers. It also enables you to blacklist frequent IPS that are always trying to Log into your blog. Loginizer is easy to use because it’s just plugged and play. It has a paid feature though.
Social warfare; When I started my blog, I have often wondered how to get my share buttons on my page to enable people to share my content.
When your content gets shared, it enables more traffic to come to your page.
I was participating in a Facebook group page when someone got my attention by suggesting this wonderful plugin.
Social warfare enables you to activate your social media buttons hence enabling anyone that comes to your page to share your content.
Since I installed it, I have been able to keep track of my contents shares on social media, it has helped me know what has worked for my posts and what does not work.
That way I am consistently working to improve myself. While I am not yet perfect yet, it’s a journey I am enjoying. To get this Plugin, click Here Social warfare
Ebook store: If you are like most bloggers who want to monetize their blog immediately through the sale of their own EBook, then you should try installing eBook store, it’s a plugin that is integrated with woo commerce to enable you to add a cart to your blog site.
It is a paid plugin meaning that if you want to be able to synchronize it with your PayPal account, then you have to pay their monthly subscription in other to have the features that help you receive payment.
EBook store works perfectly well if you are the store owner. Another feature that may work for you if you are selling stuff from your Blog is the Shopify app. it enables you to set up your eCommerce store in a bit.
Shopify is a complete ecommerce solution that allows you to set up an online store to sell your goods. It lets you organize your products customize your storefront accept credit card payments, track and respond to orders all with a few clicks of the mouse.
If you found this post helpful, that means you are a newbie blogger, congratulations on starting out on this wonderful journey read this 7 Helpful tips for the home business owner to help get your self-prepared for the journey ahead.
Elizabeth is a passionate home business owner that helps others to achieve their life goals of running a successful home. business. I am particular about stay at home moms who wish to transition into a mompreneur.