When I finally bought my own domain and hosting, I knew that I was going to use WordPress.org as my blogging software. As a regular reader of Blogger’s Guide, the first thing I did once WordPress was installed was check and install the “Five WordPress Plugins That Make Blogging Life Easier.” Since then, I’ve downloaded and installed several other plugins, and these five have are just as helpful as the first five. They aren’t as vital as WordPress Database Backup and WordPress Automatic Upgrade, but they certainly make blogging life easier.
- Subscribe to Comments: This plugin gives your readers the option to subscribe to comments via email by placing a button below the comment form. Once logged into a post, readers can easily change their notification settings if they decide they don’t want to get any more updates. Plus, Subscribe to Comments lets you choose the default wording your readers will see or lets you write your own.
- Comment Remix: If you want to build loyal readers, have a conversation. When the blog author responds to comments, readers know they are being heard. Subscribe to Comments emails your readers your replies and the replies of any other commentser, and Comment Remix makes it easy peasy for you to respond, right from your WordPress dashboard. My favorite feature of this full-featured plugin is the unreplied comment notifier: an unobtrusive red speech bubble. Comment Remix also provides widgets that display top commenters, posts with the most comments, recent trackbacks, and more. You also have control over how trackbacks are displayed, the order in which comments are sorted, and whether or not you want to use comment tags. With a combination of Subscribe to Comments and Comment Remix, your readers and you can easily carry on meaningful conversations.
- Add to Any: One of the easiest ways to promote your blog is to let your readers do it! By installing the Add to Any plugin, users can choose which social networking site they want to share your post on. You can choose how large the Add to Any button is (you can even create your own), and whether it is also appended to your feed.
- Google XML Sitemaps: In order for search engines to crawl your site (more accurately/better), you should have an XML sitemap saved on your domain. This plugin automatically creates one for you and updates it each time you write a new post, while notifying Google, MSN, and Ask at the same time. These features and many more make Google XML Sitemaps a must-have if you are trying to build your SEO.
- Ultimate Google Analytics: If you’re like me, you love combing over your analytics and Ultimate Google Analytics helps to show you exactly how your readers are using your site. This plugin inserts the Google Analytics tracking code into every post page, tracks outbound links (including mailto:), and tracks downloads. All you have to do to get started is to enter your Google Analytics account ID.