Install Plugins to Add Features to Your Blog - dummies

Install Plugins to Add Features to Your Blog

By Melissa Culbertson

Part of 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 blogs. If you aren’t on, 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

Optimizing your blog and individual blog posts for search engines can boost traffic to your site. These plug-ins make it easy to optimize your site and your blog posts:

All-in-One SEO Pack

SEO Ultimate

WordPress SEO by Yoast

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:

Google XML Sitemaps

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.


nRelate Most Popular and nRelate Related Content (Click Log In to sign up and get started)

WordPress Popular Posts

Settings options for the nRelate Related Content plugin.

Settings options for the nRelate Related Content plugin.

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.


Digg Digg



Simple Social

Commenting Plug-ins

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.

Comment Reply Notification

Spam-Fighting Plug-ins

No blogger likes getting spam messages within their comments (even if they’re sometimes funny to read). These plug-ins help combat spam.


Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin

WP Ban

Image Display Plug-ins

Blogs always liven up with great imagery. When you want to showcase multiple images, these plug-ins have you covered.


Fancy Gallery

NextGEN Gallery


Quick Gallery (See the following figure.)

The Quick Gallery plugin works with multiple blog platforms

The Quick Gallery plugin works with multiple blog platforms


Image-Finding Plug-ins

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:



Flickr Photo Post

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:

Contact Form 7

Fast Secure Contact Form


Gravity Forms


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:

Easy Tab WordPress Widget

Hello Tabs WordPress Widget (See the following figure.)

Tabber Widget

Demo of the Hello Tabs WordPress Widget

Demo of the Hello Tabs WordPress Widget

Miscellaneous Plugins

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 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. Jetpack: Gives a blog powerful features that are already built into 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.