WordPress crushes it.
It’s easy to use, supported by spooky smart coders and the best value for the price (yep, it’s free). I believe the secret to WordPress’ success is the ecosystem of plugins that extend the usefulness of the core software.
Plugins make it possible to turn any WordPress blog into a serious ecommerce storefront, artist portfolio, personal blog, podcasting platform, and more. And like most bloggers, I’m addicted to plugin testing. At the moment, I have 45 installed. For the record, having this many plugins installed isn’t good. The geeks will tell you that each plugin slows down WordPress.
I agree, but I’m hooked so I haven’t had fewer than 20 plugins installed since I started Pushing Social.
I thought you might like a peek at my plugin list. Every plugin on this list performs an important job for Pushing Social. I’ll give you a quick note about why I use the plugin and a link for you to check out the plugin for yourself.
Here we go.
These plugins publish my content on social platforms and makes it easy for readers to share the love.
This plugin will place social sharing and following buttons on your blog. But I use it for the “Read This” recommendations fly-outs at the bottom of each post.
This plugin creates a link that pushes out a pre-written tweet. Like This
My long-time favorite for placing social share icons. I used to use (and abuse) the floating toolbar. Now I stick with the normal manual placement feature. Great tool from the Buffer team.
This is my secret weapon. I get 80% of my Twitter traffic from posts that are a month or more old. Evergreen Post Tweeter makes this magic happen. It routinely tweets out a link to an older post which keeps my older posts top of mind and working hard to bring in new readers.
Mouse over a post image and you’ll see a link to Pin the image on Pinterest. Sweet right?. Tip – add the title of your post to the image so your pinned pics come with a call-to-action.
These plugins help monitor blog performance, add new content options, and add features not included with the basic WordPress configuration.
Segment.io has a mean little plugin that installs analytic tracking codes on your website. Install the plugin and pick the analytics tool you want to connect. Simple and quick.
In your bathroom you probably have a weight-scale tucked under the tub our bathroom sink. It’s a simple way to weigh yourself. General Stats is your blog’s bathroom scale. It will tell you how many words you’ve written, how many posts, and other basic metrics I use to keep score.
I use this plugin to quickly create a list of posts by category or tag.
This plugin is a list creator on steroids. Create a list on List.ly and use this plugin to show it on your blog. The jury is out on its usefulness but I’ll give it love for it little longer.
Premise makes landing pages. It’s powerful and flexible. It is my old standby for creating nice looking pages. Premise also creates membership sites as well. Copyblogger Media, the creator of Premise has put this plugin on hiatus for retooling. Hopefully, Premise will be back on the market soon.
This plugin will send visitors to a post or page to another spot. I use this plugin to redirect people from out of date pages.
I’m annoyed that you can’t easily turn off widget titles. This means I must leave the widget title blank if I want to publish the widget without a title. Over time this means that I can’t quickly identify my sidebar widgets because they don’t have titles! This plugin fixes the problem.
Sometimes I need to know the numeric id of a post or page for another plugin (i.e. genesis responsive slider). This plugin displays post and page ids from the dashboard.
This plugin will pull in any RSS feed and display it on your page or blog post.
Honestly, I probably need to choose between Simple 301 Redirects and Quick Page/Post Redirect. But I like Simple 301 Redirect’s streamlined settings dashboard.
Pushing Social is attacked by hackers daily. Securi is the Marine on the wall keeping out the bad guys. It’s easy to use and understand for non-technical types.
I use my search bar as a brainstorming tool. The best way to see what readers want is to review what they search for on your site. I think WordPress’ built-in search feature sucks so I use Swiftype to deliver better search results and keep track of queries.
I hate when I wake up and learn that my site was down overnight. Synthesis site sensor watches my site and calls my mobile phone when it goes down.
This plugin helps me personalize pages on Pushing Social. This gets a bit technical but I configure MailChimp to add my subscriber’s name to the URL of the thank you or confirmation page they get after signing up. URL Params can pull out the name and display it on the page or post.
WordPress puts an admin bar at the top of your blog pages if you are logged in as an administrator. This is annoying. I also suspect that checking for this admin bar every time a page load is slowing down the site. This plugin kills the admin bar.
Have you wanted to write a stealth blog post? For example, sometimes I have a quick “aside” to publish but prefer to not put in on the homepage and trigger a blog update notification email. This plugin installs a menu that allows you to configure the visibility of your post. I really like it and plan to use it to create special content for my email subscribers.
Most posts on Pushing Social have customized sidebars based on the content of the post. Woo Sidebars used to be the easiest way to create these customized widgets. Wordpress recently added the “visibility” feature to widgets making Woo Sidebars redundant. I will be deleting this plugin soon.
Genesis Theme Specific
These plugins work with Studiopress’ Genesis theme framework.
It used to be difficult to modify header logos on Genesis child themes. This plugin made it easy to do. Recently, Genesis added this plugin’s functionality into its theme making it redundant. It will be exiting my plugin list soon.
This plugin allows more precise customization of Genesis child themes using WordPress Hooks. This is very technical but very powerful stuff. Carrie Dils does a great job explaining Hooks here.
I normally hate how WordPress displays page titles. This plugin toggles them on and off.
This plugin pulls in my Google Analytics numbers and shows them on my dashboard. You can configure the plugin to show pageviews, visitors, time on page along with other useful metrics.
WooCommerce will create product pages, shopping carts, and catalog pages for your products and services. This plugin helps integrate the Genesis creative look with WooCommerce pages.
These plugins come with WordPress. Keep ‘em. They are power-packed utilities that will save you time.
Akismet kills comment spam. It’s very good at it. Turn it on and let it do its job.
Jetpack is a buffet of tools for WordPress. I use it’s Edit CSS and Gravatar modules to customize my blog’s look and pull in my gravatar photo for Author boxes. There is a lot of great stuff in this plugin.
These plugins help you get more visitors and convert more of your current readers into buyers.
I use this plugin to publish the PS Podcast and create an audio player for the accompanying post. PowerPress has many features that make podcasting easy such as iTunes publishing, creating podcast meta tags, and hosting your podcast.
Creating a Google-friendly XML sitemap helps Google find all of your posts and pages. This plugin creates the sitemap along with a link for you to submit to Google via Google Webmaster Tools.
This plugin publishes my landing pages on the blog with a click. Leadpages was created by a brilliant team of seasoned marketers which means every feature is designed to get traffic and/or subscribers.
LeadPlayer is a YouTube video player with a few exceptional features. LeadPlayer lets you configure an opt-in form that appears during video playback. This plugin will grab your video from YouTube and give you a snippet of code to use for placing the player in your post.
PopUp Domination helps you create a great-looking opt-in popup forms. I like this plugin because it offers many options for setting when and how your plugin appears.
Consistently entering a title and alt-tag for your post images is an easy way to get more traffic from Google. However, I rarely remember to do this simple step. This plugin automatically completes the photo fields using the title of the post where the image appears.
Triberr is a community of fellow bloggers that review and retweet posts they find useful. The Triberr plugin automatically submits published posts to my group on Triberr.
WordPress SEO developed by Yoast handles all of my SEO chores. It places a box in my post editing area with tools for researching keywords and optimizing my post’s title and description. This post does much more. Download, install and configure it to get a jump on your SEO.
These plugins handle the tasks associated with transacting business online.
Premise PayPal Standard Gateway
Premise can accept payments for a membership site. Use this plugin to connect Premise with your Paypal account. I anticipate that this plugin will be discontinued while Premise is undergoing an overhaul.
I like sending customers a thank you email after they purchase a product or reserve coaching time. This plugin adds new clients to a list in my MailChimp account. This plugin also can be configured to add clients to specific lists based on the product they purchase.
WooCommerce is one of the best WordPress ecommerce plugins available. It is flexible enough to handle large and small ecommerce stores. The basic plugin is free to download. Extensions can be purchased to extend the functionality of the plugin.
Using WooCommerce, customers will add a product to a cart, click a button to review their cart, and click again to check out. This process can lead to abandoned carts. This WooCommerce extension creates “Buy Now” links that take customers directly to the Checkout screen.
These plugins entice readers to stick around and interact with your content and other readers.
I recently switched from WordPress’s built-in comment system to Disqus. I switched because I wanted to give my readers a better commenting experience. One drawback is that readers need to register to comment. For now, I believe the benefits outweigh the negative.
This is a simple plugin that recognizes first-time commenters and redirects them a welcome screen I’ve set up for them. It’s always good to acknowledge readers who take action and this plugin makes it a bit easier.
Do You Have A Favorite Plugin?
Describe your favorite plugin in the comment section. I love trying new ones!