Optimizing Your Posts
I’m pretty sure I don’t have to tell you why this plugin is so great and with the countless changes by google this year, keeping on top of on-site SEO is critical. For bloggers, this plugin ensures you’re not messing up any of the SEO dynamics while you write. Yoast’s plugin makes it easy to stay focused on what’s important – your writing!
Not everyone puts an ad at the end of their content, but if you want to, this is a great plugin that will help you do it. Of course it doesn’t have to be an ad. You could put anything you want there – like a consistent site-wide call to action, a bio, or an offer.
The way I generate revenue from my blog is thru affiliate links to products. These affiliate links can look monstrous at times, so it’s nice to have a little plugin that cloaks them and makes them really easy to remember.
For 301 redirections and tracking 404 errors. Handy for lots of things, even generating a short link to another page or post.
Adding Features to your Post
I’m sure you know this by now, but your blog isn’t just all photos and text. Sometimes you need a bit more – whether it’s a form, a gallery, or enhancements to your comment feature.
You’ll need a form to collect information from your readers. Gravity forms has been the default premium plugin, but ninja forms is a simpler option for most people. The basic ninja version is free and you only pay for the add-ons.
6. Jetpack Comments by Automattic
This has a variety of features that you might like. The one I’ve used the most is Jetpack Comments. It gives your users a simple way to subscribe to your comments, get notified when people comment and more.
Take care though. Jetpack requires you to have a wordpress.com account too and for your site to be running WP v4 or later. Also, avoid the desire to turn on all the Jetpack modules. Some can slow your site to a crawl, annoying visitors. Not everything that works in the US market works well here…
Optin Monster is the most well known premium popup that there is, giving you lots of options. Thrive leads is another new, even more impressive alternative and better value too since at just US$59 it include features only available in optinmonsters $199 package. Incredible value really for what it does.
A neat gallery plugin that lays out multiple images in a page or post.
Sharing Your Posts
As we round out the plugins that help me make my blog look good, load quickly, and work well, there are two additional tools I use (both by the same company) that helps me get my content out into the world.
9. Click to Tweet by Todaymade
One way to get folks to engage your content is to create tweet-able content that they can share. Click to Tweet makes it really easy to do it – without a lot of work.
10. CoSchedule by Todaymade
A premium content scheduler to push content to Facebook, Twitter (and sometimes LinkedIn). It’s not only a plugin but a SaaS solution hence has a monthly fee.
Jetpack has some good, simple free tools for social sharing. The latest version of Jetpack (3.5) running on latest WordPress (4.2) especially so. The Jetpack tools just keep improving. Take care to only activate the modules you need. If you discover Jetpack slows your site down, then checkout social media feather.
Although still in beta and limited release, this new tool has promise for serious bloggers providing a new, innovative means to alert readers to new posts or comments. We will be testing it on various sites and let you know it if lives up to expectations.
Handy plugin that adds a list of related posts to the bottom of each post. Jetpack also has a module for this, which includes a thumbnail image.
Infrastructure for your Blog
Plumbing isn’t sexy. They hide in the background, and aren’t tons of fun to talk about all the time.
13. Akismet by Automattic
Thankfully, you get Akismet installed with every installation of WordPress. Even if you don’t know how to pronounce this plugin, you can use it. It protects your site from spam.
14. Jetpack Analytics by Automattic
People like Google Analytics. But if you’ve already installed Jetpack because you’re using it for one of its other features, you should activate its Analytics module. It makes it easy to see who is referring traffic to your blog, which articles are popular and more.
For bloggers WordPress offers a great plugin and service for just a few dollars per month. There are free alternatives, but they’re not as good or as bulletproof.
SEO for bloggers. Here’s some tips from MOZ