Happy Blogging #1: Top 10 WordPress Plugins for Book Blogs

February 27, 2015 by Jeann @ Happy Indulgence | Features, Happy Blogging

happyblogging

Welcome to my new blogging feature! Happy Blogging contains tips and guides to blogging which I’ve learnt over the years. Let me know if you’d like to see any topics to cover in the comments below!

When I first started using WordPress, I knew I needed to go self-hosted because of all the amazing plugins that promised to make blogging an easier, more streamlined experience. Plugins are the lifeblood of our WordPress blogs, and without them, we would spend a whole lot of time fixing up things and doing things manually instead of writing posts.

If you’ve just moved to a self-hosted WordPress blog or you’re waiting to be convinced, these plugins have streamlined my book blogging experience at Happy Indulgence.

All in One Book Blogging

The only plugin you’ll ever need for book blogging.

1. Ultimate Book Blogger 

Created by a book blogger herself, Ashley at Nose Graze knows the ins and outs of what we need for book blogging. There are so many amazing features in here which has saved me heaps of time in formatting and looking for widgets which do the same.

From the awesome sidebar widgets (like my recent reviews and current reading sections), to easily adding book covers, buy links and summary information to your post, to an automatic directory and social media icons with counts, there are so many features that you’ll find useful here.

This is the only plugin I’ve ever paid for, but it is also one that I can’t live without. Get it for $35 here.

Commenting Made Easy

Commenting is the lifeblood of book blogging and these plugins are a must for easy commenting. I’ve since transferred to Intense Debate which handles all of my commenting functions, but these plugins are what I used prior to transferring.

2. CommentLuv

When people leave a comment on my blog, they can also automatically leave a comment to their latest blog post. This makes it super easy to visit their blogs in return, thanks to CommentLuv.

3. Comment Reply Notification 

Do you spend time replying to comments on your blog? Most of the time, your visitors won’t know that you left a reply  unless they come back and check. Let your visitor know that you responded to them with this plugin, that sends an automatic email to the visitor with your comment. Sometimes, they’ll even come back and reply to your comment, inspiring an active discussion!

4. Comments Not Replied To

If you’ve got commenting OCD like me and you can’t let a comment go without replying to it, this plugin is the answer. It shows all comments that need responding to in your WordPress dashboard, and you can also respond from there too. It’s saved me time from trawling through my posts seeing what I need to respond to. I want people out there to know that I’m listening and that their comment is important to me, and this is how I do it.

Stay Organised

Not everything always goes to plan when it comes to posting but with these plugins, it can sure seem so.

5. WordPress Editorial Calendar

So simple but one of the most used plugins on my site. It shows your scheduled posts in an actual calendar layout, so you can see what’s coming up and schedule upcoming posts in without overlapping. This works well if you have co-bloggers too so you can schedule posts around each other.

6. Jetpack 

If you haven’t installed Jetpack yet, then what are you doing? Jetpack has a whole host of features available to hosted WordPress sites and is one of the very first plugins you should install. With WordPress Stats, Custom CSS function (so you don’t have to go messing around with your site files), Single Sign On (connecting your site to WordPress.com), adding a like and follow button for WordPress users, it’s hard to imagine WordPress without it.

Stop the Spam

Unfortunately spam is part and parcel of every website, and WordPress blogs are not exempt from that. These plugins have been a major contributor in reducing it from not only appearing on my actual website, but to prevent it from ever hitting the spam filter.

7. Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin

This plugin adds a simple checkbox under your commenting box where actual visitors (not spambots) have to tick that they are an actual person. While it works most of the time, some spambots have found a way to get past this, but it’s better than nothing.

8. Stop Spam Comments

Even though Akismet catches most of the spam, I still found myself sifting through the spam comments to make sure it hasn’t caught any actual comments (which it sometimes does). After getting hundreds it a week, it starts to get old. Ashley @ Nose Graze recommended this plugin and it works so well – all you need to do is install it and let it do it’s thing.

On the Go

Not everyone visits your blog from the computer, so it’s important to make sure we cater for mobile, iPad and tablet users.

9. WPtouch Mobile Plugin 

This free mobile plugin creates a clean, accessible mobile site for your blog. It’s so easy to use and to customise, although you’ll have to pay if you want more of the advanced features outside of the default layout.

10. WordPress App (Android and Apple) 

This isn’t actually a WordPress plugin, but it really helped me stay on top of posting and commenting when I was away from my computer. Logging into WordPress through the browser can sometimes be slow and clunky especially on a 3G connection. This makes it so easy to access your blog, respond to comments and even post from your phone.

What are your favourite WordPress plugins? Any other blogging tips you’d like me to cover? 

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Jeann is an Aussie blogger, gamer, reader who loves to read, write, fangirl, geek out and eat food. You can find me glued to one of my many mobile devices 24/7, or fangirling over the latest YA book, TV show, movie or game. Chat with me on Twitter @happyindulgence

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74 responses to “Happy Blogging #1: Top 10 WordPress Plugins for Book Blogs

  1. AvalinahsBooks

    Hi! First time visiting your blog 🙂
    Nice list, nice to see that I've already got most of this covered, but the comment reply plugin seems very useful. I'm installing it right now! I guess wordpress users do get notifications anyway, but I don't suppose people without a login do. Great idea.
    My recent post What do fried potatoes have to do with books

  2. Thanks for sharing this nice blog. I read it completely and get some interesting blog information from it.I am waiting for your new blog please share new blog information my Email id.
    Thanks a lot.

  3. Shell

    Thank you very much fort this post.
    This is extremely helpful
    What is the difference between the plugin "ultimate book blogger" and the a plug in found in wordpress "book review"?

  4. blackteaandmilk68

    Thank you, great article 🙂 I have been blogging for about 4/6 months now and i really enjoy it, but some of the technical issues confuse me.
    But i am learning along the way 🙂

  5. Lucy

    Hearing you talk about all those amazing plug-ins, I seriously need to update my blog ASAP! And since I've only started recently I can deal with the possible changes and make them work for me in the best possible way! Better upgrade ASAP than wait for a year, and then I probably have to change a whole lot more…
    My recent post Books I Got #1

  6. thesepaperhearts

    Awesome post! I don't know how I blogged before without plugins 🙂 I have most of the plugins you listed installed too. I think my favorite plugins is Ashley's UBB Review to Goodreads Add-On. I used to always forget to post reviews to goodreads and the plugin gas really helped with that!
    My recent post Weekly Recap: February 22th – 28th

  7. Thank you Jeann for this wonderful, informative post. I absolutely adore the plugins you've mentioned! I don't know what I'd do without UBB – it makes blogging so much easier. I don't know how people can blog without it. Also, CommentLuv & Comments Not Replied to are so helpful in reminding yourself to reply to others. As someone who is huge on commenting back, I think these are amazingly helpful. Thanks for sharing Jeann – I am sure those who aren't on WordPress yet will be conveyed to join the WordPress clan when reading about the wonders these plugins can do!
    My recent post Fairest

    • Glad to hear Kimba, I think I had to search it up to see what others found useful! Glad to hear comment Luv premium is handy.

  8. Thank you for this. I use Blogger and I don't think anyone receives my replies. I also leave replies on other blogs and never hear back, but I recently visited one and had replies…so yay I wasn't ignored!
    My recent post Ember Release Blitz & Review

  9. Faye M.

    Super agree with the Ultimate Book Blogger plugin! I only bought it recently but it saves so much time when it comes to formatting book info. I don't know how I have survived before without it! O.O Akismet is also really good if you want to stop spam, and I installed Google Fonts for WordPress too to spice my fonts a bit and I love it! 🙂 Use Any Font is super useful as well if you want to upload your own fonts… super awesome if you want to use a beautiful font you bought or downloaded for free 😀
    My recent post Random Things in Motion #13: If a beloved book character is suffering and asks for “mercy killing”, would you be okay with it?

    • I'm so glad you bought it Faye, it is freaking awesome isn't it? I've got that Google Fonts one as well actually, I totally forgot about it!

  10. danielleisbusyreading

    I love this new blog feature, Jeann! Very excited to see what upcoming tips you'll have for us. 🙂
    I've heard so much about Ashley's plug in. One of these days I'm gonna splurge on it. 🙂

  11. WordPress seems so amazing to me and I'd love to transfer our blog to wordpress but somehow we never had courage to do so. I love these commenting tips which would help me a lot considering how bad I'm at commenting back. So maybe one day Glass and I will be brave enough. But I'll make sure to use your tips then. Great post, Jeann 🙂
    My recent post Five Overlooked and Brilliant Books You Must Read

  12. Oooo! This is such a wonderful new feature, lovely 😀

    I have most of these plug-ins activated on my blog, but I just activated Comments Not Replied To. Sometimes it gets SO tedious trying to figure out if I have replied to a comment or not, and hopefully this will really help! So thank you for sharing <3

    I cannot wait to see what else you come up with for this feature! Also, I will reply to our discussion ASAP. I have had HEAPS of crap going on at the moment.
    My recent post Review: The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater

  13. readerswonderland

    *thumbs up* I think I have every single one of these, and I totally agree-they are must haves! Life is so much easier with them. I don't have the Comments Not Replied To because I have everyone on the blog signed up to get every single comment email so I think we are catching everything. But now I feel like I need it xD
    My recent post Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

    • Ah, that's fantastic Alise! Yes I get those comment emails as well, but seriously the plugin makes it so much easier having it all in one place!

  14. Joy

    Great suggestions, Jeann! I agree that a self-hosted WordPress blog is the best option and it's not as daunting as some people may think. I do have to address my spam issue one of these days. Akismet is TOO great at filtering spam that it even eats up legit comments (mostly from Paula of Her Book Thoughts and Mel of YA Midnight Reads — I have no idea why) and it's such a pain to go through the spam filter just to check for actual comments.
    My recent post Slam Book with Jennifer E. Smith (a.k.a. The Proudest Moment of My Life)

    • I know, it's the biggest deal going self hosted I think, I remember being very excited about it! Akismet is so annoying, I have it on but in conjunction with those other spam plugins it should work well 🙂 I remember doing that all the time. Now I barely have to sift through it.

  15. I wish I knew about WordPress before I started blogging at blogspot lol, wordpress seems more simple. It's too much work shifting platforms now – I like how genuine your post sounds though, I appreciate you helping others out Jeann 🙂 Helpful advice <3
    My recent post The Book of Ivy ♥ Amy Engel Review

  16. Amir

    Awesome new feature Jeann! I always love reading blogging tips from others. Of course, I love UBB. Greatest invention ever! I'm also a Jetpack fan, I know a few people are not a fan, but Ifi nd it a great plugin with a whole lot of features and less clutter on my plugin list. I would have to check the other ones out! Thanks for putting this together! 🙂
    My recent post Musings: Recommending Books to Occasional Readers

  17. This is seriously such a great post Jeann! And like you, I'm obsessive about responding to comments. For the most part, I have them all with the exception of #'s 3&4, so I'm totally adding those! And I like your LIKE US ON FACEBOOK widget on your sidebar. Which one do you use? I had one but it didn't show my community profile image…so I ended up removing it. *grumbles* PS: who doesn't love a $35 plugin?? 😉
    My recent post Golden Son (Red Rising Trilogy, #2) by Pierce Brown

  18. Your list is similar to mine 🙂 We also use Rating Report to help with the overall review rating. I also like Shareholic and Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.

  19. It's like the blogging Gods are trying to convey me to switch, haha. I'm really in the middle of going/not-going and then posts like this pops up and it makes me want to switch right away. Difficult!

    • Hahaha fair enough Mel, you could always test the waters with a free wordpress.com account I guess (even though you can't get these cool plugins) .

  20. It's times like this I wish I had WordPress but OH WELL. I am too lazy to switch from Blogger for now. Plus I'd loose my super awesome custom design and I CAN'T.

    I did just get Commentluv though and you're right – it makes returning comments a BREEZE. The only downside is it doesn't show the comment count beside the post date / title on my homepage, so I have to click on each individual post to see the number of comments and it is SO ANNOYING :/
    My recent post Review: Ugly Love {Colleen Hoover}

    • Hehe I love your design Allie, I can understand that you don't want to switch! Although I'm pretty sure you could migrate the design over. So glad to hear you could get CommentLuv though, it's amazing!

    • There is no way you would hate it Chyna, because it's entirely up to you which parts of it you use and which ones you don't.

    • Yes, it would be a hassle to change over, especially if you're a fan of blogger. Ah yes, I've used that plugin before but for some reason I removed it, thanks for the reminder!

    • YESSSS it's comments like this that make me glad I wrote the post! UBB is AMAZING definitely! It's worth every cent.

  21. Oh I LOVE Jetpack. And all the commenting ones…comment luv and comment replies are life. I basically came to WP so I could use all of these. 😉 I reeeeally want the UBB but, ugh, too expensive atm.
    The only other plugins I use is Gravity forms and a font plugin that isn't awesome but it's free. *nods* OH. And I have a quiz form too because quizzes are fun. XD
    My recent post Do You Procrastinate Books You Know You’ll Love?

    • I KNOW! I don't know what I did before Comment Luv, because I live on it lol! WordPress is awesome, I'm so glad you made the move and you're enjoying it. Hey I use a font plugin as well!

  22. Bec

    Plugins are a godsend. They shave so much time off formatting posts, and make commenting so much easier, and the editorial calendar!! As a visual oriented person, I love that thing. Scheduling becomes less stressful when you can see how your posts are spread out.

    Can't wait to see what other tips you have to share! Maybe some tips on how to write super awesome content would be a good idea 😉
    My recent post Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

    • I know, I just don't know what I would do without them! That editorial calendar is seriously my favourite thing. I kind of miss all my commenting plugins now that I'm using Intense Debate, but yeah. That's a great idea Bec I'll see what I can whip up 😉