The 10 Best WordPress Plugins for Novice Bloggers

best WordPress plugins for novices bloggersWordPress is a powerful blogging platform and the array of plugins available is dizzying! You might be tempted to install plugins that have high ratings. However, don’t be fooled. Always check to see how many people have rated a plugin before installing it. If a plugin has only been rated by the developer, his mother and her cat, then it is not exactly a ringing endorsement.

So, to help you on your blogging way, here’s a list of my favourite WordPress plugins.

1. Akismet

These days, Akismet is an absolute essential for WordPress blogs. Akismet filters out spam comments and when you put spam into the spam folder (for the few posts it misses), it learns to look for similar comments meaning less spam for you! Sometimes Akismet gets it wrong so it is worth checking your spam filters occasionally for real comments but overall it is a massive time saver. You can sign up to an Akismet account for as little as $5 per month.

2. DISQUS Commenting System

DISQUS enables anyone to make a comment from a range of social media platforms. If they’re already logged into Facebook, for instance, they can simply comment using their Facebook login. It’s a great way to encourage more comments on your blog. There’s a little setup needed to get DISQUS working properly but it’s a nice clean plugin that makes managing comments a breeze.

3. All in One SEO

All in One SEO makes the job of adding SEO keywords and descriptions for your blog and for each post,  easy. You just fill in the boxes on each posting page and voila, instant SEO. This plugin is fairly straight forward to set up and you just need to make sure you fill in the boxes down the bottom of your posts to make the most of the plugin’s capabilities.

4.  Digg Digg

Digg Digg adds a floating bar with share buttons to your blog. It has a huge number of options including Pinterest and Buffer App. As you scroll down the page, the Digg Digg floating bar follows you. You can also put the share buttons inside your post at the top or bottom. I had trouble getting the floating bar to work on this blog but it works a treat on the Support a WAHP blog. I think it depends on your theme. I’ve also had trouble disabling it on some pages. Not perfect but still very handy to get people sharing your posts.

5. Wibiya

The Wibiya Tool bar sits at the bottom of your page and contains whatever you choose from its smorgasbord of available apps. Your Wibiya tool bar can contain a Facebook Like box and your recent posts, Youtube, your RSS feed, your twitter feed and more. I’ve got Wibya on the Support a WAHP website.

6. WP About Author box

This author box plugin is very cool because it contains icons for each of your social links. The only problem I’ve had with it is there was no way to add in my Google+ author tag html string (see this article on Social Media Examiner) so I just tacked it onto the end of my bio. It looks a tad out of place but you gotta do what you gotta do to show up in social searches.

7. Exclude Pages from Navigation

Excluding pages from the nav bar is built in with some themes but not others. If it’s not built in to your theme, this plug in fills the gap. Great for pages that you don’t need the world to see such as subscription “thank you” pages and “call back” pages for when a Paypal order didn’t go through.

8. My Page Order

My Page Order allows you to easily drag and drop your pages into whatever order you want them to be in. A great time saver for when you want to re-arrange the virtual furniture.

9. Simple Local Avatars

This plugin enables users to upload an image to go with their user profiles. Just make sure the images are nice and small or WordPress might just freak out!

10. Quick Page/Post Redirect DEV

A simple plugin to redirect pages or posts to another location. You can use this to link a page to an external page such as a page on another website. I use it to link the main Support a WAHP website to the Business Directory website (which is a subdomain of the main website). Works a treat! I also use it to group blog categories. You simply link a page to the category of posts you want to feature and give it a title on the page you’re linking from. See the Support a WAHP blog menu item for an example.

Perhaps you know of some more. Feel free to leave a comment if you want to add to my list.

Hot Tip: You can add any of these plugins through your WordPress site by searching for them under “Add New.”