I procrastinated on making my website for nearly a month before I finally took the plunge. It’s such an intimidating and overwhelming process. At least it was for me.
But now that you have a website, and a theme and you probably spent a bunch of time customizing it and making sure the colors are exactly right and everything is where you want it, you’re wondering what to do next.
Content is king for any blog. Having quality content means people will come to your site over and over again. Unfortunately, it takes a long time to build that content up, but you’ll get there.
The first thing you can do is figure out what plugins you need to make sure you’re blog is running at it’s absolute best. While all the plugins I’m going to suggest are great for any blog, not just book blogs, I’m going to keep to my theme of helping you set up the best book blog you can.
See, book blogging is a difficult niche to profit from. I do it for the free books! I know, I know I promise I’ll tell you how to get free books pretty soon – it will be a much easier and successful process if we do all the tedious things first. 😉
Today we’re talking about plugins. Pretty much this is just going to be me telling you which plugins I use and why. I’m hardly an expert at programming stuff, but I’m patient, frugal and maybe a little stubborn. Which means, I hate paying for things I can get for free and I’m more than willing to try 20 different plugins to find the one that works the best.
Lucky for you, although pretty much every plugin on the list has a paid version, the free versions will do everything you need.
This plugin is a must have if you plan to monetize your website with ads either via ad network or selling ad space.
It gives you easy access to the header of your website which is where you have to put all your meta tags so search engines can find you. It also lets you place ads on your website, so if someone wants to pay you for say a banner ad you just have to pop the code into the proper box. Super easy.
With the GDPR in full effect, this is essential to avoid potentially getting in trouble. This is especially important if your blog is based in or you get a lot of traffic from the EU. Europe only makes up about 10% of my traffic so I set it up and haven’t paid much attention to it since. But it is necessary to keep from getting in trouble.
If you’ve used the free version of WordPress, you know it’s almost like a social network. You can follow blogs see feeds of their most recent posts. This gives you access to their comment form and social sharing buttons. It also lets you see your stats and lets you keep an eye on your blog from your phone. Don’t forget to set up Publicize so you can share your blog posts to all your social networks automatically as soon as the post goes live.
Most of my traffic comes from Pinterest, so I wanted to make it really easy for people to save images from my blog.
If you’re amazing with computers and coding, Pinterest has a tutorial to code our own Pin It Button. I’m not so great with that stuff so I saved myself a headache and found a plugin. There are a lot out there and some are certainly better than others.
I would suggest going through like a reader would and pinning a thing or two so you can make sure everything works the way you want it. This one shows up when someone hovers over my image and they can pin it in a couple clicks. It’s also super neat because the Plugin allows you to set your own icon. I have a pink heart, but you can go with whatever you want.
I originally downloaded this plugin looking for an editorial calendar, the calendar didn’t work for me. But this plugin lets me automatically share my posts to social media (including Pinterest) as soon as they’re posted. I especially like this for being able to auto post to Pinterest. With that said, I still have to manually pin, a lot, but it’s nice to be able to schedule posts and know those first tasks are taken care of.
I use this to schedule my Pinterest and Twitter messages for each blog post. You can set different messages for each post, which means you can use hashtags and tags without worrying about how they’ll look on other platforms. As far as other social networks are concerned, I use Publicize (part of the JetPack plugin) to share to Facebook and Google +.
But the best part of this plugin is that it works with Yoast SEO to make sure each post is properly optimized. It will remind you to include tags or link to other pages… Super handy for people like me who have no idea what they’re doing and need a list to follow no matter how many times they’ve done it.
An email list is super important for any blogger, there are a few options. I use MailerLite and I certainly recommend them. I tried a couple others but I found this one did what I want without too much hassle so I decided to go with it.
MailerLite is free up to 1000 subscribers. By the time you have 1000 subscribers, you should be making enough from your blog to pay the fees.
This is the plugin I use for my contact form. Again, it’s free and it does what it’s supposed to do without slowing my site down. It also forwards it to my email inbox and lets me reply as I would any other email which is something other plugins didn’t let me do.
This one is really just for my piece of mind, it’s not going to do anything to speed your blog up or help it grow.
When my blog started growing I noticed I was getting A LOT of hits on my wp-login page. Not only that, there were thousands of attempts to guess the password. It was concerning, to say the least. Taking a look around there were a lot of companies that promised to protect my page for a monthly fee. But as I said, I didn’t want to put money into my blog.
It wasn’t the end of the world. Would anyone be able to guess my password? Probably not to be honest. But, that wasn’t really a risk I wanted to take. This plugin means when people try to go to my login page, they get a 404 error and whether or not they can guess my password is irrelevant.
This SEO plugin is a must. It helps you focus your articles, set your keywords, helps ensure your post is readable. You get a green smiley face when everything is done right. If you need to improve on some things it gives you a gentle reminder to add photos, use your keyword more, or include more links.
SEO is pretty much a mystery to me. No matter how many articles I read or how many courses I take, I just can’t wrap my head around it. Which means if it weren’t for this plugin my blog would probably never get a referral from Google.
Plugins are an important part of making sure your blog runs smoothly. However, it’s a bit of a double edged sword as too many plugins can slow your site down and no one likes a slow site. Nonetheless, they’re amazing. They make my life easier and make my blog a much more pleasant place for everyone who visits.
Tell me all about the plugins you couldn’t live without. I’m always open to trying a few new ones. There’s just so many to choose from!