SERIESous Tips: My Favourite WordPress Plugins

One of the biggest draws to being a self-hosted blog (besides the graphics freedom) was the ability to add plugins. Plugins are these great little add-ins or apps you can use to make your site easier to run and/or have really cool features. While a lot of the plugins I use are the basic foundations of keeping my site running (like Jetpack and Akismet), there are a few that make my blogging experience super efficient and save me a lot of blog maintenance time.

Below you’ll find some of my favourite plugins, what they do, what I love and what I dislike. When you click on the title, you will be taken to the Plugin homepage where you can learn more.

**These links and comments are not affiliated with the respective plugin creators/companies! It is simply my take on using the services over the last year! I found posts like this extremely helpful for finding plugins for my blog in the past and wanted to contribute in my own way.**

My Favourite WordPress.org Plugins

(in alphabetical order)

CommentLuv

What it Does: Allows comment-ers to link-back to their most recent posts when they enter their URL when commenting.

What I Love: I totally thought you had to pay for this plugin and so it was always on the back-burner for what to add next. But it is free for a basic version with minimal features. It’s great for a blogger like me who comments back on blogs who comment on mine so I can immediately jump to their most recent post.

What I Dislike: I get a ton of spam in my comment spam folder now. Which isn’t a huge deal because it is easy to clear but it’s a little annoying.

Featured Image from URL

What it Does: Instead of uploading an image to your own site for your featured image (what appears in the blog roll page), you can use a URL from another site (like Goodreads).

What I Love: Now that my blog theme actually requires me to set a featured image for my blog roll page, I had to find a plugin that would save me time and not require me to upload a ton of cover images daily. I know that there are a lot of reasons why you should upload book covers yourself instead of using the image URL from another site but I find it tedious! Because I already add the image in my review post, it’s so easy to paste it in the side widget on my post creation page.

What I Dislike: I have noticed that the image I set as my featured doesn’t show up when I view my blog on the WordPress Reader. I’m not sure if that is just WordPress itself picking an image at random but I find my featured image varies on my out-sourcing platforms. It also doesn’t format nicely on my blog roll page once I did an update but I think I just have to play with the code a little more.

Hello Bar

What it Does: Creates a pop-up link bar on your blog.

What I Love: One of the biggest learning curves to my self-hosted blog was trying to figure out ways to make it easy for people to follow. Eventually I got a WordPress widget but when you go into the world of self-hosted, email subscribers are your main “follower” crew. But I find few people actually use emails to follow blogs, especially when you have sites like Bloglovin that create a nice feed for you to scroll through. The Hello Bar is created for email subscriptions but it does let you customize it for whatever link you like and so I choose Bloglovin! And since I started using it, I’ve noticed an increase in my Bloglovin’ followers.

What I Dislike: Not much really. It’s super customizable, they send me weekly updates on my stats (which you can unsubscribe to) and it’s FREE!

Revive Old Post

What it Does: Reposts old posts on Twitter, Facebook, Tumbler, etc. with hashtags.

What I Love: I’m all for a little self-promotion on social media but I don’t want to bombard my followers with old posts every hour on the hour. I love Revive Old Post because you can set how many tweets (what I use it for) go out and how many hours between them. You can add hashtags, select what categories get sent out and more.

What I Dislike: You gotta play around with it a bit to get what you want but it’s very easy to customize.

Smooth Slider

What it Does: Creates an image slide show that can be a widget or a feature on your site.

What I Love: I originally had this on my old theme as a way to feature my recent posts on my homepage. Now, it’s a widget on my site for the same thing. I really like that I can set it up when I create the post and it lets me set a date when it will automatically expire from the slider so my most recent content is always on display. It also works really well with my Feature Image from a URL plugin which I worried about at the start as some plugins clash.

What I Dislike: I was having some issues with the expiry aspect but it just took some playing around. I also had to play around with the image sizing but the code is pretty easy to figure out.

Post Index

What it Does: Creates an archive of posts for a particular category on a page.

What I Love: I’m not sure how many people used my old post archive back in the day but it was something I did manually using both cover images and text. It was so tedious to update and one of the first plugins I looked for was an archiving one. This one does everything itself, creating a beautiful list with anchored links throughout the page.

What I Dislike: I title my posts with a “Series Review” or “Fresh Fridays”, etc heading, and in an ideal world, the plugin I use would be able to omit that and sort whatever follows the colon. I did find one that did that, but it was more of a search result listing order than an actual page with the full list of my posts.

404 Page

What it Does: Creates a “broken link” page where readers can learn why that page is unavailable.

What I Love: My old theme had the ability to create my own 404 page but my new one doesn’t. I do keep an eye on broken links but they happen. Especially when you move post scheduling dates around a lot like I do. I think it’s just a nice way to tell people what’s up and why something they want to read may not be available right away.

What I Dislike: This is super easy to use and set up so no complaints.


What plugins do you love?

connect Twitter GoodReads Riffle Bloglovin' Google Plus Bookstr Amazon.ca Reviews Amazon.com Reviews RSS Email

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Comments 2

  • This post is super resourceful! I honestly don’t utilize plug ins as much as I should, but I’m taking some time this winter (hopefully) to focus more on my blog and spruce it up a bit. Also, I’ll always have you to thank for the Hello Bar tip 😉

    • haha I’m glad you enjoy the Hello Bar–I know it’s helped me a lot with getting followers. Good luck exploring all the plugins! I need to do that as well!

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