As a Self-Hosted WordPress user, I find myself constantly asking the question “which is the best plugin?” There are a lot of plugins out there, some work well, some crash your entire system, other plugins might leave you vulnerable to hacker attacks. It is a crazy world to navigate. And at some point, I found myself just paying for a lot of my plugins, just so I would have the best of the best. Granted a premium plugin does not necessarily constitute “the best” there are a lot of Free Plugins out there that do the same job, but for some things, you have to pay for them. These are what I considered “worth the money.”
CoSchedule by Todaymade
After I blew through the free trial, I let CoSchedule expire, thinking that the price was not worth what the plugin delivered. But, then I went back to using Editorial Calendar and sometimes it would work. Sometimes it would fail. It didn’t have the ease of use for starting a new post that CoSchedule did, it didn’t have the quick social shares that CoSchedule did, it didn’t have the flags, or the notes, the integration with Google Calendar, the integration with all my social accounts, along with my co-blogger accounts, or the to-do lists and finally the visual editor was just so much easier to follow. I had been happy with Editorial Calendar – but once I used CoSchedule – I was not happy with the rudimentary and free plugin. Talk about innocence is bliss. Because I wrote my review, I received 50% off – and I figured, that right there made the plugin now worth the money. This plugin might not be what everyone needs, but it is what Parajunkee.com needed. The plugin runs about $50 a year if you write a review. You can save an additional 10% for everyone you refer, so technically you could get it for $10 a year – which is a steal. If you do decide to check out CoSchedule, do parajunkee.com a favor and use the referral link.
One of the most expensive plugins that I’ve purchased, (I had to buy the developer license since I use it on a few of my sites) but well worth it since it cleaned up my email like a pro. I use Gravity Forms for everything now. Everything. The main thing I use it for, is my review request. Check it out here. This review request cuts down all the email based review requests that I was receiving, which was about 10 – 20 emails a day. It also forces the requester to acknowledge that they’ve read my review policy and also see what it entails to get a review. So, in doing this, it also slimmed down my review requests. I haven’t gotten a request to review a memoir in a long time. Granted I still get the occasional review request through my email, but the majority of authors that are paying attention go this route. It also allows my other reviewers to access all the requests that come in, without me having to also flood their inboxes with the same requests I’ve received. I’ve also used Gravity Forms to set up a Review Portal – for reviewers that want to just do 1 or 2 reviews for the site. This actually propagates right into a Post, which just makes my blog self all kinds of happy. I go even further and have set up an interview portal that I send to authors – they just answer the questions right in one of my forms and it updates directly to a formatted post. Nice and perfect. It was a big deal to set it up, but once I did – amazing. The best purchased plugin that I own. Hands down. Click here to visit Gravity Forms.
Shortcodes Ultimate: Extra Shortcodes
The free version of this plugin is great, I use SHORTCODES for everything, but I needed a few more. Well I needed a content slider to be precise and I didn’t want to code it myself, this was more a support purchase than anything else, since I use his plugin so much, I figured I might as well purchase an upgrade and show support. And I really liked the extra shortcodes he offered with this add-on. He also offers a few other add-ons – but this one had the most bang for it’s buck. The clickable panels used in this post are an example of the extra shortcodes offered. If you don’t purchase the add-on, at least check out the free version, it is well worth it.
Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin
Last, but definitely not least is the plugin created by a book blogger for book bloggers. The plugin from Creative Whim aka Nosegraze aka Ashley just makes reviewing so much easier. The plugin that Ashley created automates all the tedious work of setting up reviews, blog tours, giveaways and anything else you can think of that a book blogger needs. It doesn’t do everything, but I’m sure given time, this plugin, which is updated regularly, will do more then even I thought possible. Take a look at my reviews, you see the cover image and those buttons that direct everyone to goodreads and Amazon? The publisher name, the date it was published – all done through the plugin. Then it propagates my reviews into very handy index lists, that you can also see on this site. Is the post part of a blog tour? All I have to do is give it the category Blog Tour – and it will take the banner that I upload and place it on my sidebar, listed as “Upcoming Tours.” The plugin runs $35 and is well worth it. Ashley has also added a few new features which I have yet to explore, including a dropdown shortcode adder, right in my TinyMCE. I can’t wait to see what else this girl puts into this plugin.
Hope this helps! Happy Thursday, Talk Less, Read More, Blog with Integrity.