Install Plugins to Add Features to Your Blog
Part of the Blog Design For Dummies Cheat Sheet
Plug-ins enhance your blog’s design, navigation, and functionality. Here, you find a list of plug-ins to help you start adding features to your blog design, all gathered in one spot and organized by application for easy access.
All these plug-ins work for WordPress.org blogs. If you aren’t on WordPress.org, look for an asterisk (*) to denote the plug-ins that can be used on other platforms as well.
This list represents only a tiny fraction of the plug-ins available. You can find more plug-ins within WordPress, on sites like CodeCanyon, or by using a search engine.
Search engine optimization plug-ins
Out of these three, only Yoast offers the ability to create an XML Sitemap (a directory of pages that you want search engines to find). If you use an SEO plug-in without this functionality, or if you don’t need these SEO plug-ins due to your theme’s built-in SEO settings, then you can use the following plug-in to create an XML Sitemap:
Popular posts and related posts plug-ins
Good blog navigation design propels visitors deeper into your blog by serving up links to more content. These plug-ins let you highlight your most popular posts or posts that are similar to the post the visitor is currently reading.
Social Sharing Plug-ins
When your blog visitors like your content, they want to share it within social networks like Facebook or Twitter. These plug-ins add functionality to your blog posts and pages so visitors can easily do so, spreading your content to new audiences.
While many bloggers stick to their platform’s native commenting system, others like to use a third-party commenting system like these:
In addition, you can use this plug-in to e-mail a commenter when someone (either you or another commenter) has replied to their comment.
No blogger likes getting spam messages within their comments (even if they’re sometimes funny to read). These plug-ins help combat spam.
Image Display Plug-ins
Blogs always liven up with great imagery. When you want to showcase multiple images, these plug-ins have you covered.
Quick Gallery (See the following figure.)
Nearly all your blog posts should have at least one image to pull the reader into your content. If you’re struggling to find the right image, these plug-ins help you find images without even leaving WordPress:
Contact Form Plug-ins
When you need to create a form, whether for readers to contact you or to gather information, you have many plug-in options to chose from:
Tabbed Box Plugins
Tabbed boxes are a space-saving way to present information in your sidebar. These plug-ins make creating a tabbed box easy:
Hello Tabs WordPress Widget (See the following figure.)
These are the plug-ins I mention in the book, but that don’t fit into any of the other categories.
Custom Author Byline: Lets you add a byline for guest writers or contributors who don’t have access to log into your blog.
Genesis Widgetized Footer: If you use the WordPress.org Genesis Framework, this plug-in allows you to use widgets in your footer.
FT Signature Manager: Gives authors on your blog the ability to set up a signature that displays at the bottom of their posts.
WordPress.com Jetpack: Gives a WordPress.org blog powerful features that are already built into Wordpress.com such as search engine optimization features, contact forms, and the ability to publish a blog post from any e-mail client.
WP Post Signature: Allows you to add a signature at the end of every blog post.
WPtouch: If your blog theme doesn’t have a responsive design (so that the layout adjusts depending on the size of the visitor’s screen), then this plug-in makes your blog easier to view on a mobile device.