7 Really Useful Plugins For Your Blog

When I started blogging, I never realised the vast WordPress world of plugins and html I was entering. I wanted somewhere to share my thoughts and stories, aiming to write the sorts of posts I really enjoyed reading. So far it has become a mismatch of books, food, adventures and blogs, but whilst the posts are fun to write, at times even the simplest website tasks have felt like an uphill struggle. I’ve had a lot of SEO help from other blogs which have provided a helpful prod in the right direction and there have been loads of recommendations for different sorts of plugin to make my WordPress life a lot easier. Below is a round up of the top 7 I’ve found most useful, but if you’ve got any questions, I’ll happily try and answer them!

1. Disqus


Nearly all of the blogs I follow use disqus as their comment plugin. It’s really easy to use and set up and I really like the fact it notifies you by email if anyone comments on your posts so you’re always aware and can reply easily. I find other commenting systems a pain as you don’t stay logged into them, meaning you have to put in your name, email address and website most of the time!

2. Mailchimp


I have used Mailchimp before through work, and I think it’s a great plugin for wordpress blogs too. I’ve set mine up through email subscription sign ups on my sidebar and it sends out a weekly overview with excerpts of that weeks posts and links to read each of them in full. You also then have the opportunity to email your subscribers directly which some bloggers use for extra posts, events and information. From consulting my current email subscribers, I came to the conclusion that a weekly round up post at 4pm on a Friday was the most likely time the email would be read (I can’t blame them, anything to get over that mid afternoon, end of week slump!)

3. Google Analytics


Probably one of the most useful plugin tools for measuring your blog (or websites) success. I won’t even begin to say that I understand all of the amazing things you can find out from GA, but I tend to use it regularly for post views, new vs returning visitors, bounce rate, popular days, popular posts, geographic locations of viewers. You can also set the dates to analyse and can compare two or more metrics directly on their graph. It’s definitely worth having a play and checking back regularly to see how you’re getting along. If you need some help, try looking on google forums or check out this webpage.

4. WordPress SEO by Yoast


SEO is beyond me. I have never had enough time to go into depth about how google actually works and if i’m honest, it boggles my mind! However, Yoast make this fab plugin which makes it really easy to see where you’re going wrong. It helps with title creation, key words and google descriptions as well as providing a handy checklist with hints how to get better. I’ve found I don’t really need to know the ins and outs as this provides all the basics at the bottom of each post!

5. Pin it for Pinterest


I’ve also never really got into my Pinterest account, other than for fancy up-dos and living room decor ideas. I’ve read quite a lot recently about it being some bloggers main source of traffic, and although that’s not really why I joined the blogging game, I’m keen to start using it better as a plugin. I do know that it will absorb even more of my time than I already had! I see it as a cross between my tumblr which I used as a scrapbook of everything I loved on the internet, and my blog now which I try and fill with useful and interesting posts.

6. Instagram Feed


I love instagram purely for the simplicity of being able to scroll through peoples lives one photo at a time. Hashtags are useful but can also be a great outlet for sarcasm. Having this plugin provides a live feed to my personal instagram (which funnily enough I now use less since I’ve started a blog) but I’ve also set up another account specifically for woodenwindowsills which I use to advertise my posts and other more blog related content.

7. W3 Total Cache


Another plugin I don’t understand but let it work it’s magic and hope for the best. I kind of get caching – being able to store data that’s already been viewed so that pages load faster – but what this plugin manages to do to make that happen I have no idea! Other people have sworn by it so it was one plugin I had to go with the crowd.

Have you got any favourite plugins for your blog? Let me know if I’m missing out on any really useful ones!