Blogger Goal of the Month: Install a New Plugin

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Can you believe it’s the first of the month again and time to tackle another blogger goal?

By now, perhaps you’ve tried using an editorial calendar, planned to go to a conference, and thought of a blog series. This month’s goal is relatively easy and short-term: install a new plugin in your blog.

If you’re new to blogging, installing anything may seem scary, but installing plugins only takes a couple of clicks. Just remember that you can only do so on self-hosted WordPress sites as opposed to WordPress.com. (What’s the difference? Find out here.)

We’ve already suggested five must-have plugins. Now we’re rounding up a few more with specific examples, as well as taking a closer look at some we’ve already suggested.

Block that spam. We’ve raved before about Akismet. This spam blocker is inexpensive – just $5 a month for a small site – and effective. Immediately after we installed the plugin, we went from dozens of spam comments a day to almost zero.

Get mobile ready. How many times have you visited a site on your mobile phone only to be greeted with a tiny version of a web page? Probably too often. WordPress site owners have no excuse. The WPtouch plugin is easy to install and instantly makes your WordPress mobile-ready. Go a step further by testing out your site on various devices.

Share your content. Including buttons for Twitter, Facebook, and other social media platforms not only makes it easier for your readers to share your posts, it shows how popular your posts are and allows you to track tweets, likes, pins, etc.

There are a ton of choices. When testing them out, keep in mind the following:

  • What happens when you click? When tweeting, is the title of the post automatically included, or just the link? I’ve often gone to tweet an article I like to find that only the link populates the Twitter field. The point of a one-click tweet button is that so I don’t have to go back to the article and copy and paste the title and author.
  • Can you customize? You may want to include the title of your blog, name, or Twitter handle.
  • Does it have an automatic shortener? There’s been many a time I’ve clicked the Twitter icon on a post or article only to discover it’s too long for a tweet, forcing me as a result to edit the tweet or give up on it all together.

Back it up. As Code It Pretty says, there’s just one reason to back up your blog: it’s easier to set it up again in case something goes wrong. For example, just changing the theme may result in losing customizations you worked so hard on.

Code It Pretty does a great job outlining how to back up your files on different blogging platforms. A plugin we use is WordPress Backup to Dropbox. Dropbox is a great product for backing up and sharing files, and the plugin does the same for blog files.

Talk about yourself. Earlier this month, we told you how to develop a memorable blog profile. Something else you may want to consider is the Social Author Bio, which adds a customizable author bio box to the end of posts or pages. This might work especially with blogs with multiple authors or frequent guest posters.

For more tips on the best WordPress social media plugins, check out this thorough list from Social Media Today.

What plugin have you always wanted to try?

[Photo: “Saints Stadium,” CC BY-SA 2.0 by David Reber]

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