Momcomm Monday is my weekly series to help you become a better writer, blogger and social media geek. If you missed last week’s post, catch up on The Basics of Using HootSuite.
If there’s one thing I like to do on my blog, it’s tinker with it. Tinker, tinker and tinker some more.
By now, you probably know that WordPress is the king of plugins. It’s kinda like the Apple commercials “there’s an app for that.” There’s a plugin for everything!
Here’s a list of MY favorite plugins for WordPress. And for all you Blogger bloggy peeps, don’t get all frowny faced just yet. Some of these plugins are also available for Blogger! And for others, I linked to some tutorials for you too.
Because I’m awesome, I even divided these into categories and provided links to all the plugin sites. Oh yeah.
Sharing and Caring
These plugins are great for spreading the blog love (both your own and for the blog you’re reading at the moment- hint hint).
Comment Luv (Blogger too!)
CommentLuv was one of the first plugins I ever installed and it’s still one of my favorite plugins EVER.
On my site, if you enter your URL in the URL field and then click CommentLuv, it will automatically pull up your most recent blog post. It’s great because sometimes a blog post title will be enticing enough for other comments to hop on over to your blog too. A great way to spread the love!
On that lovely screenshot above, you’ll see a blue box where you can enter your Twitter name. That’s TwitterLink Comments. It’ll display your Twitter name on your post and is a decent way to get new followers.
SexyBookmarks (Blogger too!)
The SexyBookmarks plugin gives a way for people to easily share your post on other social media sites. It comes with a lot more social media sites than I display so chose your faves and add it to the bottom of each post.
To use this on Blogger here’s a tutorial I found (looks a bit tricky but worth a shot).
TweetMeme Retweet button (Blogger too!)
You’ve seen this button everywhere. It shows when your blog post has been tweeted on Twitter. The cool thing is that it even picks up tweets that don’t mention your Twitter name!
These plugins make readers happy because they make your site easier to use and interact with.
Comment Reply Notification
This is one of the most useful plugins to keep the convo going within your comments. When someone replies to a comment on your blog (whether it’s you or another reader), it emails the original commenter to let them know. You can customize the email too which just adds to the fun (my subject line says “Your wonderfully awesome comment at [adventuroo] has a new reply.”)
While there’s no option like this for Blogger, if you install another commenting system like Disqus or Intense Debate, it will offer this functionality.
For the longest time I wondered how certain blogs looked really nifty on my iPhone. I realized in most cases they were using a plugin to make a blog easier to read on a phone. I recently switched to WPtouch and love it. I’ve customized the white background at the top and added my favicon (the little raccoon guy there).
From my research, Blogger is apparently craptastic when it comes to mobile support. If you know of a similar solution for Blogger, please share!
Lijit search (Blogger too!)
I just installed this plugin thanks to this tutorial from Jill from Single Mom on a Budget on Kludgy Mom’s blog. Lijit provides real-time search results to learn what your readers want. It can even search your network for results (your tweets, Facebook posts, etc.). I just started using this but have high hopes for it.
These plugins are awesome for encouraging readers to hang around your site for a while. And better yet… subscribe!
Popular Posts (Blogger too! – sort of)
The Popular Post plugin is THE best way to show off your best of the best. It’s a critical plugin, especially for those new blog visitors who want to get a sense of what you’re able. I love how many options this plugin has too. You can have it rank “popular” by number of comments, total views or average daily views. You can set how many posts to show up, how far back in time to go and more. I especially love that I can exclude categories; it comes in handy for giveaways.
While Blogger doesn’t have this exact plugin, there’s apparently a new widget that offers a similar functionality.
Link Within (Blogger too!)
Another great plugin to get readers moving through your site. LinkWithin shows up under each blog post and automatically pulls up similar posts based on tags, title and content.
If you don’t have images in your posts, it will put just links. The images add a nice visual to draw in your readers so I’d suggest adding some sort of image to every post you write.
WP Greet Box (Blogger too!- sort of)
This plug-in greets new users and encourages them to subscribe to your blog, fan you on Facebook, Stumble your post… whatever! The main greeting is to subscribe to your RSS feed. However, if a new visitor comes to your site from Stumble Upon, it’ll show a Stumble Upon icon and ask them to stumble your post. Every single greeting can be customized too to breathe some life into otherwise boring text.
If this plugin is too much work, there’s also a simpler plugin to greet your new visitors called “What Would Seth Godin Do?” (if you don’t know who that is, here ya go).
For Blogger, there is a way to use the What Would Seth Godin Do? plugin by following this tutorial.
Behind-the-Scenes Bloggy Stuff
This part isn’t sexy (hence the lack of pictures), but here are some downright necessary plugins to keep you from having a blog heart attack.
Akismet (Blogger too!- sort of)
I would have stopped blogging a long time ago if it weren’t for Akismet. This plugin (which is probably already installed for you) filters out spam. While I check it every couple of days because some legit comments occasionally slip through the cracks, it always manages to catch the spam. I could publish a book with the hilarious spam I get, like “wow this location is retarded!” or “The dear author, thanks you for a vital topic!”
A public service announcement to you Blogger bloggers: I BEG you to not moderate comments AND make people enter those word verification things that no one can read. I can bet you lose commenters because of that. In fact, I’ll even suggest that you turn OFF word verification (by golly!) for a few posts and see what happens. Apparently, Blogger enabled an Automatic Spam Detector recently so you may find it’s not necessary.
Database backup (Blogger too!- sort of)
While you could always back up your blog directly from your hosting service (self-hosted peeps), this Database Backup plugin lets you do it from the WordPress console automatically. My blog got hacked a month or so ago and I about freaked out because I hadn’t backed up in four months! If you’re heart’s pounding because it could happen to you, then virtually RUN to download this! I have my entire blog file emailed to me daily.
If you’re on Blogger, you can try this guy’s directions to back up your blog. Sounds easy enough!
Broken Link Checker (Blogger too!- sort of)
The Broken Link Checker scans your blog for, well, broken links! You can then correct the URL so people don’t get the dreaded 404 error when clicking on a link. It even checks URLs that your readers enter when they comment (which was confusing at first until I figured that out).
While Blogger doesn’t have this functionality, you can visit this site which checks your URL for broken links.
So, are you off to tinker? Any favorite plugins you can’t live without?