Throughout my blogging adventure, I’ve had many times where I thought of an idea that was absolutely fantastic but had no idea how to make the idea a reality. Each time, my Google searches have brought up a plug-in that can do just what I’m wanting to do. In no specific order, here are my 11 favorite plugins.
One Click Child Theme – It took me over a year of blogging to create a child theme. Not because I didn’t know the importance of the child theme. Trust me, I definitely lost my site design in a Theme update once. My temporary solution was to save a copy of my Stylesheet in a word document so I could just copy and paste it at need be. I didn’t create a child theme because I had the hardest time figuring out how to do it. I searched multiple times on multiple days and I kept finding posts about how to do it manually by adding the three files in manually.
The idea of that was quite overwhelming because I have also messed up the files and had to restore to a previous version when editing before. Since then, I tell myself not to edit the files directly even if I have a saved copy of the originals.
The final search I made for a child theme brought up this plugin which I had to try. This plugin was simple and got the job done correctly. I first saved the text from my Stylesheet and Custom CSS page into a word doc, installed the plugin, and pasted the text into the new child theme files all within WordPress. After I set up the child theme, I still hesitantly updated my Theme. This time, success! My website design did not change.
Editorial Calendar – WordPress has a section that lists all of your past and upcoming blog posts but I found that this was hard to navigate when scheduling my posts. The Editorial Calendar is a calendar view of the posts and is very helpful for scheduling. It shows a visual of when each post is scheduled. It also allows you to drag and drop the posts to change when they will go live.
Display Posts Shortcode – This allows you to show most recent or specific posts by adding shortcode. I use this plugin on my home page to show the most recent post for each category that I write about. The plugin has directions for how to write your shortcode and is very user friendly.
Display Posts Grid, List Without Coding – This plugin does basically the same thing as the Display Posts Shortcode but has a user interface with a preview that helps for planning out the layout of your posts. I use this plugin for my Pages so I can show all the posts in a category on one page and have it automatically update each time I publish a new post.
Popup by Supsistic – This plugin adds a pop-up to my page to try to encourage people to become a follower. I’ve used this in a few ways. When I first downloaded the plugin, I used it to show a freebie and a subscribe field. When I started trying to increase my Facebook following, I changed the pop-up to a Like button for my Facebook Page. This plugin has many options for what, how, where, and when your popup shows. I have also had other bloggers directly ask me which plugin I use for my pop-up and then I’ve seen it later on their blogs.
Revive Old Post – This plugin automatically shares your old posts to Facebook and Twitter. I only use this plugin for Twitter because the post frequency needs to be the same for both social sites and I don’t want my Facebook page getting cluttered with old posts. You just set how often you want your old posts to cycle and then it does the work for you. This is fantastic because I don’t have to use a scheduler to repost the old posts. The plugin will just do it all for me.
Simple Download Monitor – When I started my mailing list, I knew I wanted to have a free download of my book for anybody who subscribes. This download is very simple and lets me do just that. I can set a link to go to a specific download page or I can set a link to automatically download. On the back end, I can see stats for how many times each download has been downloaded.
Social Count Plus – I just started using this plugin and have found it so helpful. I’m working on my media kit and I didn’t want to have an extra task of changing my social follower counts each month. I’m using it to just show the followers count by an image that I’ve custom made. You can also use their pre-made social icons with follower counts.
Widgets on Pages – This one is pretty self-explanatory. This plugin allows you to put any widget on any post or page that you create. This is fantastic because it opens up so many opportunities for what you can put into your post.
Sassy Social Share – One of my biggest pet peeves with social icons is when a blog is not consistent with the icons. There may be one style of share buttons on the side bar and a different at the bottom of the post. Or even worse, two different sets at the bottom of the post. I’ve often seen blogs have one set of share icons for Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest at the bottom of their post and then directly under it have another set of icons that have many more options.
This plugin includes a more button so you have all of the social sites. You can also customize your icon shape and color. In addition, you can show a share count. I have mine set so the share count on the side bar of icons shows the total count of shares. The share counts at the bottom of the post shows the total shares per each social site.
WP Post Signature – I’ve noticed that many people share links below their posts and I’ve always thought it would take a lot of work to copy and paste the links onto each post. Of course, they don’t actually post the links on each post, they use a signature. I downloaded the WP Post Signature plugin to try it out and it did just what I wanted.