Must Have Plugins for WordPress Blogs and Websites

I frequently get asked about which plugins I use here on www.CaptainHobbyist.com, so I guess it is time to post which ones I use that I find are really helpful. This is a list of “Must have plugins” that I feel like just about everyone would and/or should use on their WordPress blogs, all of which are free or have free versions to use.

 

Askimet – At first, I didn’t know just how important this plugin could be. Having come from the Blogger platform where everything is controlled by the almighty google+ profile, you just didn’t see blatant spamming. Maybe this is because it is slightly less easy to make a fake profile on blogger, or maybe because not as many people use blogger so why target it in the first place. I was pretty naive in thinking that I could handle every comment that came through the door here on WordPress. I was pretty shocked at just how many and how fast they came in, even within the first day of this site going live. It was crazy and it blew my mind. Thankfully…Askimet has their shit together and keeps my mind from exploding from blocking the endless waves of nonsense comments.

SumoMe –  This is my second favorite plugin so far that I’ve come across as it does quite a bit in the free version. I mainly use it for the floating social bar you probably see here on the left side of the screen (or bottom if you are on a mobile device). Another big option is to use it as a list builder to grow your email subscribers. There are plenty of other things that I wish were in the free version, like the splash screen being customizable, but this is still a great plugin.

CommentLuv  – I spent quite a bit of time figuring out which comment plugin to use. I mainly narrowed it down to either Facebook comments or this. I eventually chose CommentLuv due to the sense of “community building” it seems to have. If a person leaving a comment on your blog owns a website or is a blogger, their latest post will show up next to their name in the comment section. This gives an added incentive to your readers as it gives them a trackback to their site, and possibly, more readers. This also works if you write comments on other peoples blog as well. (I’m currently testing Disqus to see if I like it better. I constantly hear people like it more than CommentLuv, so we shall see!)

Google AdSense – I’m sure you have heard and/or use Google AdSense on your website or blog. It’s pretty popular, but incase you haven’t…it is used to generate income through ads placed on your website( You can crawl back under your rock now).  This plugin in directly created by Google so there is much less worry on something getting messed up. I had this site crash for an entire day due to using an “off-brand” Google Adsense plugin so trust me and stick with this one.

Jetpack – There is a lot to this plugin so I will let you read up on it if you are deeply curious to all it contains…but this is a good one to get. What I mainly use jetpack for is to customize my websites CSS code without ruining my theme. I also use it as an enhanced spell check since I was notoriously horrible at English in school way back in the day. There are MANY other cool things this plugin helps you do, I just don’t have the time to go through them all haha.

Lightbox + Colorbox – This plugin allows readers to click a photo to view a larger version of the image without having to leave the page they are currently on.  It is almost a standard in this modern era of internetting.

Yoast SEO – Even though I think SEO is just some crazy fad or some sort of witchcraft…it doesn’t hurt to put the effort in just incase. This plugin helps you check off the main things search engines look for in a post or a webpage. It is pretty easy to understand and only takes a few minutes to double check you post to see if everything is as splendid and you think it is.

Instagram Feed – While not super important to some people…the integration this plugin provides is pretty sleek. I tend to get a decent amount of people going TO my Instagram page and following me there, and people coming FROM my Instagram page and following me here.