Friday, October 8, 2010

Fancy Up Your Blog with Plugins

 This post originally appeared on Evolved Mommy's Blog on July 25, 2010.

What is a plugin:
It’s a piece of code, written by someone who knows how to do that sort of thing.

Add a plugin to your blog to make it do fancy things such as:
  • allow readers to “like”, “digg” and/or “tweet” your article
  • allow readers to follow you on twitter
  • automatically respond to first time commenters with a heartfelt “Thanks!”
  • block spam commenters
  • make your blog more likely to appear in search results

Plugins allow writers to what they do best. Most writers have no desire to get an advanced degree in programming just to make their blogs look decent and act professional. We are grateful to those who do.
    WordPress Plugin Screen
Whether you are using Blogger or WordPress there are plugins available. In WordPress you’ll see a “Plugins” option on the left sidebar. Under that option select “Add New” and from there you can search for anything. It’s ridiculously simple.

Whatever it is you are after is probably out there. Also, look at other blogs you like. If there’s something fancy going on it’s probably a plugin. You can contact that blog. Some will tell you what they have. Some will not. But if you search you’ll probably find it anyway.

Here’s a good list of  MUST HAVE plugins to get you started:

(These are WordPress plugins)
  1. Akismet This one is your spam comment blocker. I don’t have any idea how it works. It just does.
  2. All In One SEO Pack This is your search engine optimization (what SEO stands for, after all). With this plugin you can add details that don’t necessarily appear in your post, but might help readers find it.
  3. Contact Form 7 This is a usefully simple contact form
    Contact Form 7

  4. WP Super Cache This is super fast caching (Caching helps your readers move quickly through your blog)
  5. WordPress Database Backup Don’t learn this lesson the hard way. Back up your blog.
  6. Subscribe to Comments This one allows commenters to elect to be notified when new comments post
  7. Google Analytics This is how you know how many visitors you had in given period of time, what they looked at and where they came from. You may think that story was interesting, but it may turn out that no one else did.
  8. Comment Redirect Use this to thank users for leaving their first comment. Make them feel loved and welcome.
  9. Feedburner This creates an RSS Feed of your blog.
  10. TweetMeme This one allows readers to tweet your post.
If there’s a great plugin that I’ve left off please feel free to share it in a comment. Or if you need detailed, step-by-step instructions on how to add a plugin just use the contact button at the top of the page. I’ll be glad to help.
In my eagerness to complete this post I forgot that I wanted to give credit to the person that taught me the most about plugins. Check out my new favorite genius in this post.

Originally from Little Rock, Stephanie is a 34 year old stay-at-home mom who now lives in Northwest Arkansas. She happened to marry a self-professed geek who turned her on to blogging. While she still considers herself a newbie in the blogosphere, she's an active participant in many forums and an avid twitterer (you can follow her @evolvedmommy). Stephanie chose the name of her blog while brainstorming what it means to be a mid-thirties new mommy. She says she had never babysat and didn't really know what to do with this new baby, so she felt like every day was a constant evolution. While her blog primarily focuses on technology and trends, she also covers baby gear, crafts and a variety of other topics. "I have expensive taste on a very limited budget," Stephanie said, "So I have to be very thoughtful about my high end purchases. I write about those experiences as well as my experiences with new technologies." Visit Evolved Mommy at

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this, Stephanie. I just added the contact form to the MOMcation website. Looks so much nicer!