Tutorial TuesdayBlogging Tips for Book Bloggers & Authors
Plugins change throughout the years, new ones come on the market, or programmers update their current ones to make them better, or forget to update them and they sit dormant and dangerous (ripe for hacking). These are my current favorites and the ones I have installed on the PJV.
Security is key. If you don’t have a security plugin installed your site is at risk, or probably already hacked. These are the ones that I rotate through. I rotate my security plugins as they update. But, these are the ones I find work the best:
BulletProof Security has been doing a good job. I was hacked through another security plugin, WordFence, so I had to “fix” my issue and I installed BulletProof. It has a unique ONE-CLICK setup wizard that makes it easy for novices to set-up a hardy defense. It includes these features that I find useful:
- Firewall (.htaccess)
- Login security
- File protection
- Database backups & Logging
- Database Table Changer
- Video tutorials
- Extensive online notes for setup
- Relatively easy to navigate set-up process
WPBruiser is there to catch the spam bots. All those annoying spam attacks through the contact form that for some reason the Captcha doesn’t catch? Or the ridiculous amount of Spam comments that Akismet lets fall through the cracks? That’s where WPBruiser comes in. I was getting comment spammed and contact form spammed to death until I installed this plugin. Plus it’s lightweight. It also adds added protection to your login form.
Add functionality to your site, improve speed, and add backend improvements that help you work faster and smarter.
Speed up your site with W3 Total Cache. This plugin can be a little intense and maybe overwhelming for some users when setting it up, but there are a few tutorials out there on how to install it. The plugin also has a walk-though during install. If you are savvy, it let’s you pick and choose what you want it to do. Cache plugins will need at access some files that are protected by your security plugins, so you might have to “deactivate” parts of your security plugin before you install your cache. Go to deactive on Master htaccess when you first install your cache plugin.
I was using a fancy paid plugin for this, but personally I don’t think it’s worth the money. This plugin is competent and helps you organize yourself perfectly. It’s great for blogs that have more than one blogger working independently on the site. It also gives you an idea of what days you need to fill and can help you stay organized. One of my favorite plugins.
The DIVI Builder is a tease to put on this list, you can buy it from developers like me if you purchase a website or a theme, but I find that it has CHANGED the way I blog. It is one of the most impressive builder plugins I’ve worked with and why I consistently recommend themes by Elegant. The functionality of it’s drag and drop system blew my socks off and with each update they make it bigger and better.
Do a lot of “the same kind of posts?” I do. Every week I do a tutorial post. I do reviews that are set up the same. I do FF every week… duplicate post makes things so much easier for me. It copies everything! The tags, the featured image, the categories. It’s lovely. Especially for posts like the Feature & Follow. Another favorite plugin.
The functionality of the standard wordpress TinyMCE editor is lacking, so installing plugins like TinyMCE Advanced makes it so much better. Change fonts, search and replace, set-up tables – all are added and you can pick and choose which one you want to display in your editor. I’ve also added plugins like the Simple Breaks plugin which add functionality to the post area. I don’t use it that much with the new wordpress updates and now that I use the Divi Builder, but they do come in handy when you need to force a space in your post.
Social & SEO
If a blogger posts and no one is there to read it, does it exist? Of course it does. But, the point is to get it seen…these plugins increase views. That’s always a good thing.
Yoast SEO vs. All in One SEO Pack is the big question. Right now I use Yoast. They are both competent. Install one, uninstall it and then install the other and see which one you like the best. They are both very intense. They have a lot of settings – and I find Yoast is a little more user friendly than AIO. They do a lot of things “for you” instead of letting you make the “wrong” decision. Since not many people are SEO experts, this is a good choice.
Jetpack does a lot of things, but it’s most powerful revolve around sharing. The email subscription is a great feature, especially for bloggers that don’t want to take the “paid newsletter” option. I don’t want to do that, I don’t make enough money from my blog to justify a monthly email subscription. Secondly, the share option on Jetpack is also a great function. Now Jetpack offers security, site-stats (Love this function), and things like custom CSS, scheduled widgets, and contact forms. All great options. I suggest going through each feature one by one and disabling the ones you don’t use, Jetpack can be bloated and on some versions can cause havoc with your theme. Right now it’s perfect.
Again another tease, but this is the plugin I use. Monarch is a truly elegant plugin — har har (from Elegant themes) and again works with stunning layouts, easy integration, user-friendliness, and light-weight functionality. It gives you options for placement, pop-up, and fly-ins. It also allows you to choose how to display it on mobile and desktop. One of my favorites.