Top 5 WordPress Plugins We Use
So when we talk about WordPress, one of the biggest draws is all the plugins you have at your disposition! They make your design look better, and they make your life easier by automating things. In terms of book blogging there are several that I find essential, and after years of using these I have narrowed down my top 5 recommendations for you! These are the ones that get used on a daily basis (there are more being used daily but I wanted to feature only 5 lol) So here we go!
Ultimate Book Blogger – Not Free
This is a MUST HAVE. No, I’m not an affiliate of Nose Graze, so I’m not getting any $$$ for this. But I think having this plugin is the only way to manage your book reviews. The design of your post can automatically be styled (and easily changed). All your reviews will be automatically indexed, recaps can be easily automatically done. There’s just SO MUCH you can do with it. Series order, author bios…It’s a necessity for book bloggers. That’s it. The coding of this plugin is very light and doesn’t bug down your site and that’s one of my favorite things about the work Ashley does. She designs her work keeping in mind that your site should load fast. Priority number one!
FooGallery – Free
Other than the first one being a must have, the rest are in no particular order! FooGallery is a recent addition and the plugin that powers the image light box you can see when we add teaser images to a post. It will show a small size image that you can click on and a lightbox pops open with the full size image. It definitely keeps the post looking clean and we do get a lot of use out of it. It is basically a photo gallery plugin so the possibilities are endless. Author event photo gallery, book covers, teaser gallery, etc.
Jet Pack – Free
Be warned. JetPack has a lot of components. You can pick and choose which ones you use from it. Some of the features we have enabled are the Site Stats (and we do have an additional site counter because JetPack isn’t the most accurate but it gives us at least a good idea and info on where people are coming to the site from), Gravatar Hovercards, WP Shortlinks, Notifications and Subscriptions. This plugin can get overwhelming if you enable everything and frankly I don’t think it does everything well. So the main reason we have it installed is that quick look at site stats on the main dashboard.
Akismet – Free
Controlling Spam comments is one of the biggest things. This plugin catches spam. OMG it works so amazing! I can’t even tell you the number of spam comments it’s caught since we installed it (from the very time we switched to WP) and the times that it catches something by mistake (which you can undo) have been almost non existent. I think this is probably another must have plugin for any blog not just book bloggers.
Easy Content Templates – Free
When you do a type of post over and over again, having a template already started just makes the work of putting together the post easier and ensures that your posts look more uniform. This plugin is key on our everyday drafting of posts. We have maybe 10 templates saved and when we are going to start a post we just select the appropriate topic, load the template and replace and add what’s needed to put our post together. Time saver!
Like I said, there are other plugins that we use on a daily basis, some for automatic tasks, some for search engine optimization, some for site analytics, commenting, image compression, social media, and more! But that would be a loooong list. The one thing that is key in dealing with plugins is… CONTROL. There were times when I was a bit of a plugin whore, I wanted a plugin for everything and I didn’t care how it was affecting site function. Be sure you are using light weight plugins, do routine clean up and delete anything that you don’t need to have, and check your site performance periodically to see if something is bugging it down. Plugins are the main culprit, usually. So be smart on what you install and always have a reason for using it, but enjoy them and have fun. Use them to make your life easier and save you time. Honestly, I think that’s what they’re there for.