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