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I love WordPress Plugins and Widgets. They make your blog look legit, more navigational,
and most importantly make your life easy. So what are these magical Widgets and Plugins? *Warning they sound super technical but are so not; WordPress has made these super easy to use. A Widget is a single block of content typically found in your sidebar or footer area and each block has a specific role or task to perform. A plugin is a piece of software that performs a group of functions on your website.
If you are not using WordPress yet, check out my post on how to Setup a WordPress Blog in 10 Easy Steps.
Must-Have WordPress Plugins and Widgets:
If you are using Genesis, this feature should already be built into your theme. But if you are not using the Genesis theme, YOU NEED THIS. To connect your website to different platforms like Pinterest and Gmail, you will need to insert code into the header of your website. I am no coding expert and unless you are, I would not recommend attempting to add or change any code on your website manually. This plugin will inject the code for you, easy peasy!
This could be the most beneficial plugin you can install on your WordPress site. A popular topic in the blogging world is SEO and what you need to know from the start is that SEO is very important. Yoast makes optimizing your pages and posts easy and guides you through the process. Trust me, you want to install this. *Bonus Tip: Yoast will prompt you (in notifications) to connect to Google Search Console and this is a must!
If you use or plan on using Affiliate Links to monetize your site, installing Pretty Links is an excellent idea. Pretty Links turns long, ugly links into more appealing, relevant links. https://prettylinks.com?aff=courtneycarrera → theyreallylive.com/prettylinks. This is called “cloacking.” Pretty links also has some other awesome features that are super beneficial if you use a lot of marketing links. You can easily “nofollow” all of your affiliate links, which Google loves, and you can easily access all of your Pretty Links when creating pages and posts. So convenient! $57/year and so worth it.Pretty Links are the Happiest. ?? Click To Tweet
Sharing your content on Social Media will greatly impact your site and the traffic it receives. You want your content to be seen and read because why else are you writing it. Social Warfare makes it so easy for your content to be shared by placing share buttons on every page of your website. The buttons are simple, aesthetically pleasing, and easy to use. You dictate where they show up and how. Ever heard of “Click-to-Tweet?” This feature is included with Social Warfare! See above 😉
At the bottom of every post you should include at least 3 related posts for your reader. You want to increase the time they spend on your site. Plus, it is great for SEO. Search engines like it when you connect multiple pages within your site. It legitimizes your site and makes it appear less spammy (Why you want to “nofollow” your affiliate links). Related Posts for WordPress will add related posts automatically for you. It’s a set it and forget it kind of tool. However, you can edit which posts are selected at any time.
Do you want to include a contact form on your Contact Page? Contact Form 7 is simple and takes about 10 seconds to use. It’s pretty straightforward and will give your readers a simple way of contacting you.
You've seen those Pin It buttons that appear on images. This is the easiest way to add those buttons to your site. JQuery even allows you to upload your own customized button. Pinterest is the biggest source of traffic for a lot of bloggers so getting your content on Pinterest as much as possible is a must! You want to make pinning your images easy or your readers or they won't do it. JQuery Pin It is the answer!
This is a scrolling Pinterest Widget. You can highlight your entire profile or a specific page. I love this widget and you can find it on my sidebar (or at the bottom of this page if you are on mobile). This offers your readers a quick glimpse at your recent pins and helps them decide if they want to follow you. Which they should because you are awesome!
Do you want to feature your Instagram in the footer of your blog? This is your widget. It is so easy to set up and it has many different customization options for you. You are also able to create a shortcode so you can feature your Instagram within your pages and accounts as well!