I recently discovered the wonders of WordPress plugins and now I’m in love with them!
But before I go into that, let’s backtrack a bit.
After being on the fence about it for a long time, I finally jumped into the WordPress bandwagon.
Blogger was a wonderful home for my blog for almost 10 years, but a combination of two things made me think of leaving:
(1) all the scary posts about how you don’t really own your content there and Google can delete your blog anytime (even Southeast Asia’s #1 blogger had her blog deleted!)
(2) all the posts about wonderful plugins that made you do things on WordPress that you just could not do on Blogger.
So last week I hired Kate the great (as I like to call her, she usually goes by Relokate, though) to help me transfer my Blogger blog to WordPress, because I do not trust myself to handle transferring almost 10 years’ worth of posts without breaking something in the process. As the big bosses in my office always say, when something is beyond your capabilities, learn to delegate! So I did.
Kate was incredibly efficient and helpful. She answered all my noob questions and offered helpful tips like using Hostgator as my host (which was also highly recommended by my friend Flisha) and even offered her discount coupon, and also pointed out where I could find free themes or cheap pre-made ones when I mentioned that I could not afford to pay for a customized one. Thanks, Kate!
After finding a theme, I sent that over to her along with all the other details she needed. By Tuesday, my blog had been transferred over with all its comments, and I started to play with it.
To be honest, my first reaction upon seeing my new blog was dismay. All the fonts were wonky and the pictures were stretched on mobile mode. I wanted to cry, but then I remembered reading somewhere that the Genesis framework themes were the best, so I went on Etsy to find one. I installed the Genesis framework and its child theme and right after that – everything was perfect. From then on, I was in love.
After I had fixed my theme issue, I started looking for plugins to install, and fell even more in love.
I knew then that this was the best thing I had ever done for my blog and now I wish I had done it sooner! WordPress is supermegafoxyawesomehot!
So if you’re on Blogger and wondering if you should move to WordPress or not, I will use Nike’s slogan and say – JUST DO IT!
The rumors are not true – it is not harder to use than Blogger at all. There are plugins that help you see the screen on “visual” mode so you don’t have to type in code. This was one of the biggest drawbacks that held me back from moving.
The other drawback was the cost, but I’m sorry to say that I can’t debunk that, because it really is more expensive, but kind of like in buying a Macbook over a PC, the premium is so worth it.
So anyway, as I said, the plugins are my favourite thing about moving to WordPress, so let me share my top list of favourite FREE WordPress plugins (so far) in alphabetical order.
This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images, and notify you if any are found.
* Monitors links in your posts, pages, comments, the blogroll, and custom fields (optional).
* Detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects.
* Notifies you either via the Dashboard or by email.
* Makes broken links display differently in posts (optional).
* Prevents search engines from following broken links (optional).
* You can search and filter links by URL, anchor text and so on.
* Links can be edited directly from the plugin’s page, without manually updating each post.
* Highly configurable.
I had eleventeen billion broken links in my old posts because that’s what happens when you have hundreds of posts over the span of a decade, and when you happened to change domains three times in that period.
Your site can get penalized for broken links and hurt your SEO, so I’ve always meant to clean it up but had no idea how to do it easily on Blogger. There’s a site called Brokenlinkcheck which I tried to use, but it was too manual and daunting that I had to give up.
But this plugin makes it a breeze! You just run it in the background and it spits out the broken links in one window, giving you the easy option of clicking “unlink” on multiple lines within seconds instead of manually going into each post and unlinking it in there. You can also edit the URL or go into the post and edit it. Now my blog has a clean bill of health in the broken links department.
Reward your readers by automatically placing a link to their last blog post at the end of their comment. Encourage a community and discover new posts.
This plugin is the main reason I wanted to shift to WordPress. I was jealous of all the blogs who had them!
I do love Disqus but it doesn’t load for some readers, and sometimes it takes forever to load for me, and it’s a pain for me to have to click through the Disqus profile and try to find the commenter’s blog so I could return the love, because most do not update their Disqus profile!
So now I’m glad I have this on my site.
Beware, though, because its nature attracts a lot of spam, so you need to turn on the Akismet plugin as well so that it catches all the spam comments.
Jetpack adds powerful features previously only available to WordPress.com users including customization, traffic, mobile, content, and performance tools.
* Customization. Make your WordPress site uniquely yours with Custom CSS, Carousels, spam-free Contact Forms, Sidebar Widgets, Infinite Scroll, and Tiled Galleries.
* Mobile theme. Instant and customizable lightweight responsive theme designed for phones and tablets.
* Content tools. Create and publish richer content with Post by Email, Shortcode Embeds, Markdown, Beautiful Math, Spelling, and VideoPress.
* Visitor engagement. Increase your traffic and keep visitors coming back withEnhanced Distribution, spam-free Comments, Shortlinks, Likes, Notifications, Related Posts, Publicize, Social Sharing, Subscriptions, and Site Verification Tools.
* Site performance. Speed up image delivery with the Photon CDN and access to visitorStats.
* Security. Keep your WordPress site up, safe, and protected with Single Sign On, Jetpack Monitor, and Akismet anti-spam.
I’m pretty amazed at how many features Jetpack has. You have a choice in which ones you want to turn on or not, depending on your own needs. Most of the items on my sidebar are powered by Jetpack.
This plugin helps you to keeps your old posts alive by sharing them and driving more traffic to them from social networks. It also helps you to promote your content. You can set time and number of posts to share to drive more traffic.
This is one of the features that I wished was possible on Blogger, since I see a lot of bloggers using it on Twitter. I have hundreds of posts that new followers never got to read since I only started being active in the blogging community in 2012. This tool helps me get my old content out there.
(5) RSS Image Feed
The RSS Image Feed adds the first image of a post to your feeds, even in firefox and even if you only display the excerpt.
The RSS Image Feed doesn’t create a feed of images, but attaches the first image of the post to your feeds. Normally only the content has images showing. With this plugin there will be a clickable image even in the excerpt and in the content there will be only one image instead of all the images of the post.
When I was on blogger, my blog posts had truncated RSS feeds because I have a tendency to edit my posts after I post them when I need to enrich the information or correct errors, and I do not want my RSS readers (including Bloglovin) to read the old wrong posts, you know?
This is also advisable in order to (1) deter content scrapers from easily stealing your content via RSS feeds, and (2) to get more traffic by getting readers to your site.
So when I moved, I researched how to truncate my RSS feed on WordPress and happened to come across this helpful post which not only showed me how to do that, but also how to insert the first image along with the first few words of my post using this free plugin, which I think is brilliant!
Look at the difference below.
The easiest, most effective way to grow your website traffic, effectively engage your audience, monetize, and gain insights for free.
Shareaholic is an all-in-one content amplification and monetization platform, that includes related content recommendations, promoted content, social sharing, following, site monetization apps such as affiliate linking, and social analytics. This module makes it a snap for any website — big or small — to engage and grow their traffic, market their content, gain insights, and monetize their traffic, all from one powerful but easy-to-use dashboard.
I had seen those “sharing is caring” social media sharing buttons on the bottoms of other blogs before and always wanted it, too, because I liked that they showed how many times your post had been shared. But I couldn’t find something like this for blogger, so I’m glad that I can have it now that I’m on WordPress.
It’s also nice that the same plugin gives you the “you may also like” option that I used to need Link Within or Engagedya for.
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
This plugin is written from the ground up by Joost de Valk and his team at Yoast to improve your site’s SEO on all needed aspects. While this WordPress SEO plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, it first and foremost helps you write better content. WordPress SEO forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.
I keep reading about this plugin, so it was the first plugin I installed when logged into WordPress for the first time. I really love it! After choosing the keywords for your article, it gives you your overall SEO score – POOR, OK, or GOOD, and gives you tips on how to improve your post’s SEO.
(8) WP Super Cache
A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files.
This plugin generates static html files from your dynamic WordPress blog. After a html file is generated your web server will serve that file instead of processing the comparatively heavier and more expensive WordPress PHP scripts.
I know, that just gave non-coders like me a nosebleed. But what I understood from it (which I hope I did correctly), is that it helps your site load very fast.
Kate actually installed this for me. I had read about this plugin, though, and together with this and Hostgator, which is known for being fast, my site loads quickly.
Are you on WordPress too? What are your favourite plugins that you highly recommend? I’d love to check them out!