Category Archives: Social Media & Blog Growth

top-wordpress-plugins

MUST Have WordPress Plugins For Any Blog

After moving my two friends, Stephanie and Rachel to their own self-hosted WordPress sites, I realized that there are a TON of cool plugins that really sets having a self-hosted WordPress blog apart from the hosted blogs (ie: Blogspot, WordPress.com, Live Journal, Vox, TypePad etc…). In fact, there are over 11,000 of them! However, as each of my friends have become acquainted with their new sites, it’s become apparent to me that I really should have installed all the plugins I feel are MUST HAVES for them. But I didn’t, so in the interest of helping them out, and possibly many new bloggers, here’s my list of plugins (in no particular order) that I feel will really make your blog sing (and grow)!

(To install any of these plugins, navigate in your wordpress admin to: Plugins >> Add New then search for each of the plugins by their name. The links I’ve provided below are so that you can read and learn more about each plugin)

  1. Akismet

    Comment spam sucks. It’s also bad for Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Back in ze beginning days of blogging, we all had to manually install blacklists of words and known spam sites to prevent spam. This meant updating it almost every day… The spammers got better and started hitting us with trackback spam (to the point I had to disable trackbacks on my blog). It was a HUGE PIA, but alas, a miracle plugin called Akismet came along. Yes – this plugin comes with WordPress, but you need to sign up for an API key at WordPress.com. DO IT! Go spend 5 min getting a key – so that you never have to fight the spam battle.

  2. All in One SEO Pack

    Since I’ve already opened up the SEO can of worms with the previous plugin, I thought I would continue the conversation about it here, so we can move onto other plugins after. All in one SEO does everything you need to optimize your blog for Google and other search engines. However, beware of over optimizing – if your theme already is SEO friendly, then you may want to skip this plugin.

  3. WordPress Backup

    A MUST MUST MUST have! This is why it’s in the #3 spot. Before doing ANYTHING new to your site, back it up!!

  4. Contact Form 7

    Many of us are shy about putting our email address right on our blogs, but we want to be contacted by our readers. Sure readers can leave a comment, but some are shy about doing that – so how do we connect with them? Ahhh – contact form! An easy-peasy plugin that allows you to create up to 7 contact forms for your site that you can embed in pages or posts. My contact form created by Contact Form 7 is often used by PR firms to ask me to review family friendly products, do giveaways, and to provide post ideas.

  5. WPtouch

    Have you ever visited a blog with your mobile device only to find that you have to scroll, and expand and scroll some more just to read the post? Yeah – drives me nuts!! With the WPtouch plugin you can transform your blog into an iPhone application-style theme, complete with ajax loading articles and effects, when viewed from an iPhone, iPod touch, Android, Opera Mini, Palm Pre, Samsung touch and BlackBerry Storm/Torch mobile devices.

  6. FD Feedburner Plugin

    At some point in your blogging career, you may decide to change your domain name. Trust me on this – I’ve done it. Thankfully, by signing up with feedburner, and installing this plugin you won’t lose any of your subscribers! (Actually – I highly reccommend using feedburner with any hosted blogs as well, as you never know when you’ll decide to migrate to your own self-hosted blog).

  7. TweetMeme Button

    Allows visitors to quickly share your post with their followers. I find this very handy for giveaways I post, as it allows my readers to earn an extra entry with one click.

  8. Wordbooker

    Cross-post syour blog post to your Facebook Profile or Fan Page. I find that with my fitnesscheerleader.com site the leading source of traffic is Facebook! Twitter is second, followed thirdly by comments I leave on other blogs.

  9. CommentLuv

    This plugin is a personal favourite of mine, as I find it really helps with the community spirit of blogging. The plugin visits the site of the comment author while they type their comment and retrieve a selection of their last blog posts, tweets or digg submissions which they can choose one from to include at the bottom of their comment when they click submit.

  10. Comment Redirect

    Redirects your precious readers who have just left their first comment to a new page on your blog. On my fitnesscheerleader.com site I redirect to a “Thank you for leaving a comment page”. On that page I also have a subscription form for people to sign up to my weekly motivational newsletter that I send out once a week. I also list other posts that they may like.

  11. Comment Reply Notification

    This is another favourite of mine for developing my blog’s community. I often reply to comments right on my blog. However, I found that that the author of the original comment I was replying to were never made aware of my reply. For a while I just sent an email to the reader that left a comment, but then the rest of my community was left out. Enter the comment reply notification plugin… Now when I reply on my blog to a comment, my reply comment is displayed on my blog, and an email is sent to the reader who left a comment.

  12. Greg’s Threaded Comment Numbering

    This is a FANTASTIC plugin for bloggers hosting giveaways because it assigns a number to each comment – no more counting comments to find out who luck number 33 is so you can contact them! Unfortunately I find the instructions for adding this plugin to your theme a little vague, so you’ll have to visit the plugin authors site to really understand how to add it.

Those are my faves that I can’t live without – what WordPress plugins do you feel are a MUST have?

Ze ol' belly is gettin' BIG!!!

Reviving Ze Ol’ Blog

Wow – it’s been a long time since I wrote here. I mean REALLY wrote here, yanno what I mean – spilled out my guts to you. I have a feeling that’s going to change very very soon. Baby #3 is due in 9 weeks. Which really means that in 6-8 weeks from now I can introduce the little critter growing inside of me that caused me to stop running two weeks ago (yes you read that right – I stopped running two weeks ago – totally wimped out and wasn’t able to run until the end). This also means I may actually have some time to think, or at least have some more interesting stories to tell you. Blogging about work is hardly entertaining – when I get home I don’t want to think about my day anymore.

So I plan on writing more for you (and me). Well ok, mostly for me ’cause I really like writing. And because I want to write more, I also thought I should freshen up the LOOK of this place. I’ve been searching for a theme to customize that I liked for quite a while now. My big thing is that I wanted my header image to rotate. I also wanted it to reflect all the different aspects of me – the mom, the runner, the NKOTB addict… The layout is done, but not the header images. OK – well the layout was the easy part. I moved a few bloggy friends off of blogspot (man I hate blogspot) and onto WordPress, and they both wanted the Atahualpa theme, so I got to play around with it and was rather impressed! So Voila – I’m a copy cat. But you knew that already didn’t you?

Because I haven’t written much lately, and I need to catch you up to speed I’m going to list all of my Janice news in point form…

  • I got new van (today!) a KIA Sedona in “Titanium Silver”
  • I’m on “vacation” this week
  • Sierra starts SENIOR Kindergarten next week
  • Brooke is fully potty trained!
  • Hubby hasn’t been travelling much for work – and I LOVE that!
    (Though it completely baffles me why his company’s HR dept. visits my blog every time he takes vacation)

Oh and since I haven’t posted in awhile, I thought I’d share this preggo belly pic of me with you:

Ze ol' belly is gettin' BIG!!!