This week has been a bit of a disaster with wardrobe malfunctions, house hunting, a cat throwing tantrums every few minutes, and an unwell Ben.
However, for my blog it’s been a pretty good week! And that’s why I thought I’d make a post dedicated to my blog itself, and how I make it the pretty, well behaved, beauty that it is.
In September last year I went self hosted, which meant I now had full control over how the blog looked and felt, rather than simply how it sounded.
It was easy enough to sort out the nuts and bolts of self hosting: I found amazing hosting via Lyrical Host (use code BRYJ for 10% off your first order!), a gorgeous theme which I will soon be upgrading via ZThemes, and everything else I needed to make the blog just the way I wanted it to be.
Only… I didn’t.
There were dozens of plugins I needed in order to create the blog I wanted to create, and so I had to turn to good ol’ Google to help me find what I needed to make my blog look and act the way I wanted.
I couldn’t tell you how many times I have searched “must have WordPress plugins” only to be shown the same ol’ list of basics – Yoast SEO, Jetpack, so on and so forth, which wasn’t what I wanted.
These plugins are the service ones, the backend plugins that make your site work. These are the plugins I may need, but not the plugins I want that will turn my blog from being a little boring, to being a little glam.
I wanted a list of WordPress plugins that help make my blog look prettier, make it easier to use, and make this site a more visually pleasing and interactive experience overall.
But… I couldn’t find a list like this anywhere.
Now, because I couldn’t find that magical list of plugins and widgets to improve the appearance and usability of my blog, I figured I’d make my own list. After all, it may help you on your blog journey, or may help you add a little bit of functionality to your blog you never knew you needed!
These are the plugins I have found, tested, and fallen in love with that make this beautiful site what it is.
My top 5 WordPress plugins
A lot of older posts can be lost in the archives despite their evergreen content – and who wants that to happen?
This sidebar widget shows a selection of posts at random every time you refresh the page, offering your reader something that may never have known they needed!
When you install a theme, more often than not you’re stuck with the colours that theme provides. This handy plugin gives you the power to create your own colour palettes, and have full control over the colours used on your blog.
This is a powerful tool that helps you create quoted texts that will stand out within the body of your post. With the press of a single button, the quote can be Tweeted by the user, with links back to your page.
As seen in this post, tabs are a great way to present a lot of information in a more condensed format. This particular tab plugin uses shortcodes for creating tabs and is incredibly easy to use and set up.
One thing in particular that will stop me from commenting on a blog is their commenting system. If it involves entering more than basic information, if I have to use captcha’s etc, it’s very likely I won’t comment. Also, a lot of commenting systems don’t let you know when the blogger has replied!
Disqus takes all that fuss away and helps you keep track of conversations. It also has a handy “other conversations” section beneath the comments that again help readers find new (or old) content on your blog.
When looking for themes make sure to thoroughly investigate what wordpress plugins they come with that will make you blog look brilliant rather than boring, and once installed have a look what other secrets it may offer. There are a lot of plugins which are specific to certain themes and designers, such as the “Current Location” plugin that can only be found in Pipdig (which I love, and want, but don’t have a Pipdig theme).
Every blogger wants their blog to reflect who they are, and be the best, most intuitive resource it can be, and hopefully some of the above plugins will help you develop a truly beautiful site.
What are your favourite WordPress plugins for your blog?