WordPress plugins for bloggers who want to grow!

 When I first starting blogging, I said what most people say when they start which is “it’s just for fun…” or “it’s an outlet for me…” now that it’s a business, I have to be more strategic…

wordpress plugins for bloggers and online business to help grow

And then, it was true. I was in college, blogging was new, and it wasn’t really a thing that every other mom did to make a little money on the side… So just a few years ago when I started really getting into the business of blogging, my eyes were opened. They are still being opened. I am learning from my fellow bloggers daily and that’s part of the reason blogging is so great.

I switched to WordPress just a year ago from Blogger and the truth is, I wish I had done it WAY sooner. The biggest reason for me is the plugins. They make life so much easier. And this is coming from a girl who knows html and can fix and customize quite a bit on all platforms. It’s just simpler, while looking far more complex.

 

I wish I knew about these WordPress plugins when I started blogging. Man, if only I could go back in time and fix all the posts…

If your  template didn’t come with it, get Yoast immediately.

I used to sort of glaze over when other bloggers would talk about SEO. It hurt my brains and I didn’t want to think about the technical stuff, but it’s important or your posts are not going to show up in search engines and if they don’t show up in search engines, what’s the point of working so hard to create the content in the first place?

wordpress plugin for SEO to help your blog grow

It basically guides you through making your post SEO friendly and will tell you what to change, add, and how to title, a meta description, a url… {if you are unsure what any of those are, go get it NOW!} I will fiddle around and edit my post and this info until I get a green dot up near the publish button that lets me know I’m good to go. That second tab, the page analysis, really helps go the extra mile and will remind you to change the text of your images {optimizing them for search, as well as making them more repinable.}…etc. So when you install it, be sure to check all the bells and whistles of it!

sumome plugin popup for newsletter list building for bloggers and ecommerce sites. Get this one!Sumome – This one is more than one plugin, its more of a mini app-store.

A toolbox really. There are many things it can do to help you grow and streamline. My favorite is the easy-to-create popup box for newsletters. You’ll see them on most blogs now, and it’s the best way to grow your newsletter following. I have 3 different places where someone could see my list and sign up. Recently I even added groups so I can segment my list to send only what they want. The popups are intuitive too. Set them to show up after a visitor scrolls for a while, after they see a particular page…etc. you can have multiple pop-ups to have them say different things, which is great cause no one is coming to your blog every day for the hell of it. They are coming cause they followed a link to a particular post, which means they want to see more of THAT, and perhaps only that. {The one to the left is the one I use currently for Color Me Apparel and it converts better than most because it’s beautiful and hard to ignore. Click on it to sign up if you’d like!}

Sumome app can also create heat maps and tell you what your readers/customers are looking at!

Sumome also provides heat maps and site tracking which are incredibility useful. Find out what your visitors are doing when they come, what do they click on, look through…etc.

I also like having an author box.

It’s a simple thing that gets added to each post, but allows for a streamlined way to add contributors. Each of my contributors gets a login and a profile that they can update and holds their posts, social media sites…etc. It looks pretty and provides a way to house their bio in a way that isn’t in the post and screams “hey-please-come-see-my-site-too!!”  Here’s a great list of some author box plugins that look great for you to see a few more in action.

author box

ZipList – It’s one of those easy things that makes your recipes look pretty.

Even if you only post one recipe here or there, it’s good to have a recipe plugin to format them well. I used to create my own recipe box for each one and I just added the code to each post manually, which was not a bad work-around while I was still on blogger, but it was life-changing once I found myself on WordPress with the many plugins to make things so much prettier.

ziplist recipe plugin for prettier recipes on your website

WPSmush – A site-speeding helper that is invaluable!

As a general rule, it’s a good idea to resize your images so they are less than 1mb each to avoid sluggish load times, but either way, this plugin strips your photos of the unnecessary data that make the file large, while leaving the quality of the photo. In a sense, it’s just a compressor. Once you upload it, you can “smush” all your existing photos and it will do the same upon upload for images in the future. It has sped up both of my sites a TON! A slow-loading site is one of the easiest ways to get someone to click away from your site. You’ll want to remedy that quick or you’ll be losing potential readers and/or customers!

P3 {Plugin Performance Profiler} – Check to see which plugins slow you down!

It’s important to know that while plugins are awesome, they also suck a lot of energy out of a site. This app will tell you which ones are contributing to your slower load time so you can make adjustments. I have often removed one and found a similar plugin with similar results that used less data and it sped up my site. Also, often you have lots of plugins sitting there that you don’t use. This helped me to clean up and get rid of old plugins that were just cramping up the place.plugin performance

Of course the others that have helped me a ton are the Google Analytics plugin and even the Jetpack plugin. {Though the Jetpack plugin DOES slow down your site’s speed tremendously. Both are great for tracking your site’s visitors and post clicks without leaving the site. This is the one thing I miss from Blogger, being able to see the post views right away.

Let me know if you have favorite WP apps that you have discovered and that help you grow!

 

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About Meg

I am Meg, a photographer and designer and a wish-i-owned-a-house-er. My husband and I are self-declared foodies and LOVE projects. We blog about food and DIY adventures from sunny San Diego with our two cutie kids and have an apparel line at colormeapparel.com to keep us busy. Email me at colormemegblog@gmail.com to work with me!

3 comments on WordPress plugins for bloggers who want to grow!

  1. Malia
    June 29, 2015 at 11:53 am (2 years ago)

    This is perfect for me right now! Huge thank you for these awesome tips

    • Meg
      June 29, 2015 at 1:11 pm (2 years ago)

      You bet!! I was thinking of you when I added a few of these actually! 😉 Hope they help!

  2. Pamela @ Brooklyn Farm Girl
    June 29, 2015 at 1:51 pm (2 years ago)

    Great list. I’m always looking for new tips and plugins and there’s a few here that I’m not familiar with, thanks in advance!