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WordPress, the blogging platform that I use for this blog, does offer many different plugins. A plugin is basically an add-on that helps me customize my site’s functions without having to do development work. They can usually be installed with one click.
What’s nice about plugins is that they can make many things easier for those of us who are not developers. As long as the plugin works and doesn’t slow down the site or interfere with another plugin it’s a super easy way to keep things moving forward.
When I’ve spoken at WordCamps, the WordPress conferences held around the globe, I often joked that if you have more plugins on your site than posts you probably should focus a little bit more on writing blog posts.
Having too many plugins on your site can slow down your site and some plugins don’t play well with each other and can even crash your website. Usually, it’s fairly easy to figure out which plugin caused a problem because you can just disable the last one installed and see if that fixes the issue.
As of November 2016 I have 13 plugins installed on this site. I use most deliberately and they help me be more effective of a content marketing storyteller. Let’s take a look at them now.
BackWPup runs automatic backups of my site’s content for me. I always recommend some kind of backup system for anyone who creates content or has a lot of content on their site because it helps restore your site in the case of it crashing or you losing content for another reason.
The Click to Tweet plugin allows me to insert tweetable quotes into articles. I like to do that from time to time and I have noticed that people are more likely to share them. The biggest downfall to this plugin is that I can only use it from the desktop browser. So as I’m writing this on the WordPress mobile app on my phone I can’t actually insert a quote unless I use mobile Safari, which is not quite as user-friendly as the app.
The Google Analytics plugins makes it easy for me to add Google Analytics to my site.
Icegram is the plug-in that serves that email subscription pop up that you have probably seen before. I do know that it does help increase the number of people subscribed to my email list. The plugin allows me to set a number of options, including how long after a person visits the site the pop-up should pop up. I currently have it set to 25 seconds after entry. I see the relevance and benefit of the plugin but I also don’t want it to be annoying to all of you guys.
The Jetpack plugin combines a number of previously standalone plugins, like social sharing, email subscriptions and many others. It’s quite useful and very easy to use. I actually gave a talk on the plugin at WordCamp Omaha and you can watch that talk here on WordPress TV.
The Page Links To plugin allows me to easily redirect certain pages to other pages. I use this plugin less and less but it still comes in handy from time to time.
Public Post Preview comes in handy when I want to send a preview of an unpublished post to somebody. For example, I use this to check facts with people quoted in a blog post. It’s very easy to use and the links expire after a set amount of time. And only people with the link can actually read the unpublished post.
In November 2016 I installed an SSL on the site because Google now recommends them for search results. The Really Simple SSL plugin made that whole process easier.
Responsive add ons – this was highly recommended when I installed my current theme and I have no idea what it actually does.
The WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin allows me to map out and schedule posts on specific dates. It shows the posts on a calendar grid and it makes it easy for me to move posts from day to day and also keep track of drafts attached to a future publishing schedule. I would highly recommend this plugin for anyone using WordPress as their blog platform.
WP Insert Code allows me to easily insert code and text that I want to show up at the end or top of posts. For example the email subscription sign up and ads at the bottom of each post are inserted this way.
WP Wordcount keeps track of the number of words published on the blog and also tells me what my average word count per blog post is. This is a good plugin to keep track of if I’m hitting my word count goals. I like my posts to be be at least 400-600 words on average.
Yoast SEO is a fantastic plugin that allows me to optimize each post based on the specific keywords I’m targeting. It currently doesn’t work inside the mobile app but is a fantastic tool to make sure post are optimized.
So in summary, I do use plugins but I’m selective and usually deliberate about which ones. They do help me be more efficient and help share better stories. To install plugins go to the plugins section on your dashboard once you log into your WordPress site.