WordPress Plugins Every Blogger Needs

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    I’ve been blogging on the WordPress platform ever since I started my blog, almost two years ago, and with a blog, you come across a bajillion plugins. How do you know which ones you need and how do you know which ones you can do without? Well, I put together a little “plugins essential” guide for you. These are what I believe are the top 5 plugins every blogger needs if you’re on the WordPress platform. Obviously, these are my opinions only and I’m sure there are plenty of others out there that I haven’t touched on, but these 5 are the ones I highly recommend, as they make your blog run more smoothly and efficiently. All but one are free, but the one that isn’t free, is still worth the dough.

    1. RSS No More

    This plugin probably applies to almost every food blogger out there. I seriously cannot stand RSS feeds in my Google Reader that give me 2 sentences and a click-over to their blog to finish the rest. I mean, I get it. I get why people do it (minimizing stolen content, more traffic), but do you know many of your readers HATE this? And it also could lead to LESS traffic. People hate the teaser. They want to see pictures and get a “taste” of your blog post before they click over. If I see in my reader a 3-4 sentence teaser and then a click over, chances are, I skip the post altogether, unless you’re one of the regular bloggers I read.

    I typically have my posts cut off in an RSS reader right before the recipe. It gives the reader all the pictures and my entry, but if they really want to go see the recipe or go comment on my post, they can click the link at the bottom.

    This plugin gives you the ability to use the “more” sign in your editor (it’s the button on the left next to the spell check) as where the RSS feed will be cut off.

    Example, right before my recipe, I click the “more” button in my editor and I type my recipe below that. What readers see is below, where it says, “Click to grab the recipe to Mint Chocolate Pudding Cookies.” You can customize this, as shown below. In step 1, that is what the link will say wherever you put the “more” sign. The title of your blog posts automatically comes right after that. Then, in step 2, you can customize the RSS feed footer. As you can see, mine says copyright 2012 Table for Two | Julie Chiou.

    2. Comment Reply Notification

    I LOVE this plugin. It gives me the ability to reply back to my readers’ comments and ensure that they’ll actually SEE the reply. There are so many times where I’ve asked a question on a blog or have just commented on a blog to show some love, and never get a reply – or so I think. I’d sometimes, out of curiosity, especially if it’s a question I’ve asked, will go back to the blog and check the comments section. 95% of the time, there is a reply to my comment from the blog owner, but how was I even supposed to know that? There was notification. There was no way for me to know unless I went back to the blog to check – and let’s face it – how many readers will actually do that? They’ll just think you don’t care & that could be a loss of a reader! We don’t want that! That’s where this plugin comes into play.

    Every time you reply to a comment, your reader will get an email! This has helped me tremendously as far as helping a reader out with an answer to a question to my recipe or just showing them some love back. Below is the general template of how the email would show up to them. It basically shows them their original comment and then it shows your response to it.

    3. Editorial Calendar

    You want to know how I stay organized and how I’m able to schedule out my posts a month in advance? With a lot of planning and this plugin.

    This plugin is essentially a calendar where you plug in all your posts so you can see what’s coming up or what you’re planning on making in the coming week. WordPress doesn’t really give you that option to see your future posts in a calendar view. I know some people have physical day-planners or calendars on their desk, but I use this. It really helps me see what I’ve got coming up. You can create a new post right in the calendar, schedule it, and even type it out. However, I only create a new post in it so it’s like a placeholder for a certain day and then when I need to fully write a blog post, I go into the actual post itself and edit it in the editor.

    4. WP Super Cache

    Does your blog take too much time to load cause of all the content you have on it? Start serving your visitors cached versions of your site. They’ll ALWAYS get your updates, but with cached versions of your site, they get pages/your blog so much faster because it’s pages that’s been saved in the cache and the blog doesn’t have regenerate itself all over again. If you post a new post, it’ll still show up – you don’t have to worry about that. That’s the only time where I think it doesn’t “regenerate” a cached page.

    5. VaultPress

    I just recently got this and let me tell you – I can go to bed at night now. This service, for $15/month, backs up EVERYTHING on your blog – like EVERY.THING. and stores it in versions and you can restore your blog from those saved versions. Say, your blog crashes and dies cause of a WordPress upgrade – go into your VaultPress dashboard and you can restore the most recent copy of your blog. Now, I haven’t had to do that yet, and I hope I never have to, but this plugin is essentially giving me peace of mind knowing that I will always have 3458230e903485 versions of my blog because it’s backed up every hour. When you first get it, it takes like 5 hours (depending on how much content you have) to do the initial backup, and then every hour after that initial backup, it just backs up everything that’s changed, like new comments, new pictures, deleted plugins, added plugins..everything that’s different than the previous backup.

    I hope this has helped and has allowed you to discover some new plugins that you never thought you’d need! If you have any questions about these plugins, feel free to ask me and I’ll try to answer them the best I can. I’m pretty familiar with them since I use them every day, but I’m not calling myself a plugin pro ;)

    What plugins have you used that you love? Share your thoughts and discoveries :)

    Julie Wampler of Table for Two
    Meet The Author: Julie Wampler
    Dinner for Two Cookbook
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  • Angela @ AnotherBitePlease says:

    thanks for the tips!!!! I can’t wait to use that calendar plug in!!!

  • [email protected] Food Ramblings says:

    Great suggestions! I am moving my blog over to wordpress and need all the help I can get!

  • JoVonn says:

    Great info. Thanks for sharing!

  • Ali | Gimme Some Oven says:

    THANK YOU for this post!!! Downloading the editorial calendar right now… :)

  • Dawn says:

    Great advice, Julie! Thanks for sharing the information!

  • Jen @ Savory Simple says:

    I think ZipList is essential now. I use it for my own site and am much more likely to make recipes from other bloggers who use it. The grocery list feature is so valuable!

  • Sweet Jumbles says:

    Thank you! I have a blog and I follow many blogs, and one of my top pet peeves are those who only put a teaser in their feed and force me to click over. I have literally stopped following blogs for this reason. That, and those who make the subject/title of their recipe something obscure unrelated to what the recipe actually is so you have to go to the website to even see what they are baking. That’s a surefire way to get rid of me! I’m going to make use of these recommendations!

  • Jocelyn @BruCrew Life says:

    Ok, so you know I just moved…this post was perfect timing because I was wondering what ones I really needed to know about. I’m pretty sure my designer already added the super cache, so I need to check the rest now:-)

  • Cassie | Bake Your Day says:

    Great info! I use all of them except for the calendar. I’m an Excel junkie so I use it for tracking posts. I love RSS no more!

  • Meagan @ A Zesty Bite says:

    Great post! I just installed the RSS NO More on my blog!

  • Erin | The Law Students Wife says:

    Such great tips! I’m planning to move my blog over to Word Press and have been drowning in a sea of plug in options. This is such valuable information. Thank you Julie!

  • Liz @ The Lemon Bowl says:

    This post is very timely – I am installing the Editorial Calendar right now!! It will be so nice to keep track of assignments and deadlines in a seamless way – thank you Julie!

  • Erin @ The Spiffy Cookie says:

    Thanks so much! I always worry about people seeing my response, so I have a tendency to reply on my blog and viz email directly to them. Saves me time with that plugin!

  • Denise @ Creative Kitchen says:

    These are great plug-ins Julie!! Thanks for sharing!!

  • Melissa says:

    Hallelujah!!! Comment Reply Notification!!! You are my hero. This has been one of my biggest challenges. I have tried a few different comment plug-ins in hopes that this could be accomplished, but they always failed. I will FOR SURE be using this tip!!!! Thank you.

  • Christine says:

    I read a ton of food blogs through my Google Reader, so I really appreciate tip #1 about RSS. If I find a new blog and then discover that it only displays 1 or 2 lines in my Google Reader, I unsubscribe from it.

  • Erin @ Dinners, Dishes, and Desserts says:

    Great tips! I am installing that comment one today!

  • Jennifer @ Mother Thyme says:

    Thanks for sharing this Julie! I am in the midst of switching from Blogger to WP so I need all the tips about WP I can get! Great info!

  • Ashley - Baker by Nature says:

    Great post, Julie! As someone who feels so clueless when it comes to plugins, this is mega helpful.

  • Katie @ Blonde Ambition says:

    Great tips! I think I’ll definitely get that calendar one ASAP :D

  • Linda | The Urban Mrs says:

    That editorial calendar is the best! Thanks for sharing this – very helpful!

  • Meagan @ Scarletta Bakes says:

    Love this! The calendar and backup plugins are especially up my alley. Thank you so much for this, Julie!

  • elizabeth @ chronic venture says:

    Thank you so much for this great info Julie!! i will be installing all of these very soon! great call on the backup system too. i hate doing it manually–what a pain!

  • Lindsay @ The Live-In Kitchen says:

    What a great post! Thanks Julie!

  • kristy @ the wicked noodle says:

    Y’know, I almost didn’t bother reading this post because I didn’t think I’d find anything new or different. SO WRONG!! With the exception of Super Cache, I don’t have any of these! I’m especially excited about the editorial calendar. THANK YOU!!

  • Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious says:

    Such a helpful post! I bookmarked this for when I move over to WordPress!

  • Carla's Confections says:

    Love this tutorial. Perfect for when I get to finally move my blog over to WordPress. Hopefully that’ll happen soon! These are really great plugins. I especially can’t wait for the calendar. So simple!

  • Loretta | A Finn In The Kitchen says:

    This is great! I’m at blogger now, but would eventually like to switch over, so I’m saving this for when I do! I especially like the notification of comments one because I run into this all the time. Who has the time to return to old posts to see if someone replied?

  • amy @ fearless homemaker says:

    great list! i’ll have to check out Vault for sure – sounds like a keeper!

  • sally @ sallys baking addiction says:

    Julie, I have been dying to get something like the RSS no more plug in. I can’t thank you ENOUGH for linking to this and explaining it (so well!) to us readers. Seriously, THANK YOU. Also, I love that comment email reply plug in – so nice to get an email rather than going back to the site to see if my question was answered, you know? I’m in love with WP. HAve been on WP for the 11 months I’ve been blogging. LOVE IT.

  • Aggie says:

    This is great! Thanks for sharing, I think I have super cache & reply notification. Going to check today & add the others. Very helpful post!

  • Kiran @ KiranTarun.com says:

    Nice roundups! I’m looking into backing up my blog in another service, but now I want to check out Vaultpress!

  • Nicole @ The Marvelous Misadventures of a Foodie says:

    I LOVE hearing about tools that other blogger use! Thanks for sharing yours :) I am going to add the RSS one to my blog just above my recipes too – I think thats a perfect place for it! Aaand I wanted to mention that it drives me absolutely insane when people cut it off after 1 or 2 sentances…I normally skip reading the post all together!

  • As a WordPress user, I love this post! Thanks so much, Julie :)

  • Rachel {Studio Cuisine} says:

    Thank you SO much for sharing this post! It’s beyond useful and I’m about to download almost all of these!

  • Deena says:

    Thanks so much for this information! I appreciate the help as I am a brand new blogger. By the way… I’m having a Linky Party at my blog. Come join in!

  • Laura (Tutti Dolci) says:

    What a great resource, bookmarked!

  • Stephanie @ Eat. Drink. Love. says:

    Such great info! I don’t have the RSS one. Going to get it now!

  • JulieD says:

    I love the Comment Reply Notification plugin and that’s exactly how I tell people to set it up!

  • Cate says:

    What a great post! I just switched over to WordPress and have already installed RSS No More, but I’ll have to look into the others as well :)

  • Tina | My Life as a Mrs says:

    AWESOME post lady (not sure how i missed it!) I was searching for that post that you mentioned the plugin for preventing multiple logins & found this one! Just downloaded the calendar – amazeballs! LOVE IT.

  • Kristi @ Cherry Jasmine says:

    Awesome post! I have other plug-ins, but none of these. I’m really excited about the calendar, and relieved to find the back-up plug-in. Thanks for posting this!

  • Laura @ The Rookie Cook says:

    Great post! I working on my wordpress site and am hoping to switch to wordpress in the next month or so. I appreciate all the helpful plug-in tips!

    • Julie says:

      Thanks Laura! I’m glad it helped you. Welcome to the world of blogging :)

  • Rene says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’m new to blogging and it’s really overwhelming reading through all the options. Just installed the calendar plugin and am SO EXCITED about it.

    • Julie says:

      The editorial calendar is my FAVORITE! Welcome to the blogging world, Rene!

  • Marilyn Lesniak says:

    I love this simple tutorial with screenshots! I can’t tell you how many tips I have gotten on what I ” nee” for my new WP blog, but nothing says how to set it up!

    Question, is the style of your previous next showing titles part of your theme or is it a plugin? Thx.

    • Julie says:

      Thanks! I’m so glad this helped you. The previous/next titles are part of my custom theme.

  • Kristie says:

    I am switching to WordPress, and this was very helpful! I am visual, so I love it when there is a picture and an explanation. I pinned this to my Blogging Help board!

    • Julie says:

      I’m glad this was of help to you!!

  • Mike Deets says:

    I really like this site. I am looking foe ideas for my clients and I got a few here.Thanks!

  • Dina @ notjustspice says:

    Thank you for the immensely helpful blog post Julie! You made my day. I can’t wait to start downloading these plugins.

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