Since the very beginning of Sincerely Shirley, I opted to use wordpress.org for my blog’s platform and I am so glad I did, because I love WordPress. It’s easy to use and makes blogging as stress-free as possible. That said, not only do I recommend WordPresss.org, but I recommend the usage of plugins. Why? Well, because one thing I love is that there are plugins for pretty much anything and everything you would need and want to make your blog (or website) perfect.
To better understand what I’m talking about if you’re not very tech savvy (which is totally ok), a plugin, as briefly mentioned in my post on blogging keywords, is —
“a piece of software containing a group of functions that can be added to a WordPress website. They can extend functionality or add new features to your WordPress websites. WordPress plugins are written in the PHP programming language and integrate seamlessly with WordPress” (wpbeginner).
And because there are so, so many plugins available to WordPress (.org) users, I wanted to make a post of my favorite WordPress plugins! These plugins are the best WordPress plugins and should be downloaded and utilized asap —
mailchimp | download plugin here
I love MailChimp (affiliate link, ya’ll)! I honestly do. In one of my latest posts, I talked about my fear of sending out newsletters in my recent post about the 5 biggest blogging mistakes I have made. In that post, I stated that while I love MailChimp, I was intentionally avoiding sending pit newsletters to my subscribers out of fear that I would come across as annoying. Well, I have since come to terms with the importance of newsletters and whatnot and I don’t think I would have (at least not so soon) had I not had MailChimp’s easy-to-use and very straightforward platform. I recommend using MailChimp, because it really is a great platform and has great pricing options for anybody and everybody! The plugin, which can be downloaded and activated here, allows you to create and/or integrate opt-in forms anywhere on your blog, create amazing + quality forms of any sort, and so much more. Whatcha waiting for? Give it a chance!
Style Guide Checker (by Editst) | download plugin here
Want to make sure that your content is perfect and error-free? Good! So do I. Luckily, there is a plugin that will check your grammar, sentence lengths, correct usage of characters, contractions, etc.! And while I do recommend using Grammarly (and the Grammarly apps for Safari and Mac users), it is nice to have a plugin that will show your errors and make suggestions as you type + on your sidebar on the right. I would go ahead and download + activate Style Guide right now. You will not regret it, I promise.
Scheduled Posts | download plugin here
Let me just say this – if I didn’t have the Scheduled Posts plugin, I would have pulled all of my hair out. Seriously. Because blogging is not an easy task, so having plugins and other software available to automate blogging and all that blogging entails is amazing. Another thing that I love about the Scheduled Posts plugin is that it’s free (obviously, lol), easily accessible, easy to view and edit, and also helps me stay disciplined, on track, and consistent with posting. Every blogger should have the Scheduled Posts plugin and if you do not already have it, then go ahead and download it now and start using it immediately.
Yoast SEO | download plugin here
Wanting to have SEO-optimized posts but struggling to do so? Struggle no more! Yoast SEO’s free WordPress plugin allows you to optimize your posts and pages with its easy-to-navigate + straightforward section at the bottom of your post/page. There, you will be able to optimize your content by going through each “segment,” ensuring that you get the green button, which means that your content has met the SEO optimization standards and is now optimized. Yay! Start optimizing your content now with Yoast SEO, so that you get all of the traffic you want. You can do so by clicking here to download the free plugin.
MaxButtons | download plugin here
Adding buttons to your post or page has never (and I mean never) been easier! Use MaxButtons to create custom buttons and simply add them to your content using a straightforward (and editable – thank God) shortcode. No need to code or do anything stressful. Nope. Simply download MaxButtons + activate the plugin, so that you can easily add buttons to any and all of your content in only a matter of minutes. Trust me, you will love it.
Genesis Simple Share | download plugin here
Providing my readers with the ability to share my post on major social media sites has never been easier. Allowing my readers to save and share my posts is crucial, so that I can make sure that my content is being shared as many people as possible. To ensure that my content is being shared, Genesis Simple Share allows me to add custom CSS-styled social media icons at the bottom of my posts. Download + activate Genesis Simple Share now and start giving people the opportunity to share your content! Also, please note that you must have Genesis (read more here) in order to use Genesis Simple Share.
Easy Affiliate Links | download plugin here
I’m going to be honest and admit that blogging is stressful and time-consuming, which has led to me look for ways that I can make the process a bit less stressful. That said, I came across the plugin Easy Affiliate Links awhile back and I am so glad that I did. Because in downloading and activating the plugin, I am able to insert links into my “resource library of links” and use them whenever I need to. If I am making a post or updating a page and want to insert a specific link, all I have to do is click the icon in my editor and scroll until I find the link I had already saved in the past. Cool, right? I know – I love it. So, make content creation a bit less stressful by downloading Easy Affiliate Links!
These two plugins are the bomb-dot-com. When I first started blogging, one serious and reoccurring concern (and fear) that I had was that I would provide my readers with quality content only for it to be stolen from me. And if I am being honest, this fear of mine caused me to delay my blog’s launch, because I didn’t want to put my all into my blog only for people to copy and paste it, claiming it as their own and/or failing to give me credit. That said, when I found these two (free) plugins, I was so relieved. I really was. These plugins, which can be downloaded here (no right click images) + here (wp-content copy protection), have allowed me to create and publish my content all while ensuring that others cannot copy and paste my work. It’s unfortunate that I, as well as others, have to go to these lengths to make sure that people don’t steal our work. But, it is what it is. And, because this is the world we live in, fortunately, there are plugins that make it very, very hard for our work to be stolen!
Worth the Read | download plugin here
When I read a blog post, I like to know (or at least have an idea) how long the blog post is/how long it will take me to read. I can’t be the only one that likes to know this info, right? Fingers crossed. Anyways, I like to know how long a post is expected to take me to read. So, because I personally like to know, I found a plugin, Worth the Read, that gives me the ability to provide my readers with the reading time. Not only that, but because people are busy and have their own lives to attend to, it gives them even more info, which they appreciate. Trust me. Worth the Read also lets you customize the settings and whatnot, so that it’s more personalized. That said, go ahead and download + activate Worth the Read now!
JQuery Pin It Button | download plugin here
Providing your readers with the ability to pin your images and posts to their Pinterest account/boards is a must. Trust me – it is. The JQuery Pin It Button allows you to add a custom “pin it” button to your images that will allow users to pin your image to their Pinterest whenever they hover over an image on your post or page. JQuery Pin It Button also allows you to customize your pin it button and even create your own and upload it to the plugin and use your very own pin. Download + active the JQuery Pin It Button plugin now and start sharing your content all over Pinterest.
Analytify | download plugin here
When it comes to blogging (and being a content creator), numbers mean everything. Knowing who reads + interacts with your content, when they do so and for how long they stay and read + comment, etc., is so crucial in being a successful blogger. It is so important that you know the analytics (the patterns in data), so that you can ensure that your content is being seen, interacted with, and available to the public. You can do this by utilizing Google Analytics + you can also do so by downloading and activating the free WordPress plugin Analytify. Analytify will provide you with all of the bits of data you need, so that you can produce quality content that is not only available to the public, but appreciated by them, too! Also, please note that the Analytify plugin uses your Google Analytics info!
TinyMCE Advanced | download plugin here
I’ll be honest and admit that I hated WordPress’ Gutenburg update (read more about the update here) a while back and was super excited when I found that there were plugins that, once downloaded + activated, removed the update and allowed for users to go back to the original editing screen prior to the update. That said, when I opted to go back to the platform prior to the update earlier this year, I went back to losing out on having an editing screen that allowed me to undo + redo changes, change text color, add tables, paste as text, increase + decrease indents, add special characters, clear formatting, and look up keyboard shortcuts. I was bummed. Well, that is, until I found the TinyMCE Advanced plugin! This plugin implemented all of what I said above while allowing me to keep the pre-update editor screen. I was stocked (I still am, honestly). That said, I highly recommend downloading+ activating TinyMCE Advanced. You will not be disappointed, because I sure as heck ain’t!
Custom Permalinks | download plugin here
The Custom Permalinks plugin is the bomb-dot-com. Seriously. This plugin lets you “set the URL of any post, page, tag or category to anything you want [and] gives you ultimate control over your site structure.” That said, instead of being stuck with unattractive and annoyingly long permalinks, Custom Permalinks gives you the ability to name your permalinks anything you want, which also helps with SEO-optimization! So, download + activate Custom Permalinks now and start having quality and attractive permalinks on your site.
What plugins do you love to use? Let me know in the comment section below!
Also, please be sure to save + share this post on Pinterest (and other social media sites), so that you can refer back to it, as well as provide others with this info —
Thanks for reading and love to you all!