Many top bloggers write about plugins they love -- from Blogging Pro's Popular Security Plugins to ProBlogger's 19 Essential Plugins, there are literally hundreds of thousands of WordPress plugins to go with. So where does a blogger start?
We've covered how to make a WordPress blog, but once you've got your name and basic site design, there's still a way to go before you can say your blog is a success. Take a look at these top five plugins for designing and managing a successful blog:
If you're a visual person, odds are you've already been frustrated by the drop down selection options when scheduling a post in WordPress. Even worse, you may have mis-scheduled before, sending a post out before it was ready or too late for it to be timely.
The Editorial Calendar plugin allows you to schedule your posts in a more visual way so you can instantly access and visualize your posting schedule in a calendar view.
As if that weren't useful enough, you can also reschedule posts easily by clicking on them and dragging them to the date you would like for them to post. This means you can quickly adapt and reschedule for holidays, surprise sponsored posts, or breaking news.
If you have chosen a template available for free, chances are it has not had a royal SEO treatment.
Our pick is Yoast SEO Plugin by Yoast. This plugin allows you to optimize your WordPress site with a complete SEO plugin, including a built-in content analysis function that will help you rewrite your post titles and meta description. For those non-tech savvy folks, it also automatically generates a XML Sitemap for your site and, in their words, "many more technical improvements to your site that you don't even have to look at". This is truly the answer for the code-averse, giving you all the benefits of customized SEO without having to look under the hood.
Managing a blog means higher standards than "deliver on a deadline," because your readers are looking for more than just frequent updates. They want high-quality, readable posts that are consistently good.
That's where Good Writer Checkify comes in. Good Writer Checkify allows you to insert a customized writer checklist at the end of every post. Writers must check off down the list before submitting their post, verifying that they've met your standards.
From "Make sure you link to our parent site," to "Make sure there's a good hook at the beginning," this checklist can be the friendly reminder you might otherwise not get to make.
When you're running a successful blog with more than one writer, it's vital that each post meets your standards before you take the time to edit them. Good Writer Checkify makes sure that each of your writers closely reviews each of your posts so that you can get to the good stuff -- like publishing your posts -- faster.
Another tedious blog manager's task is making sure you publicize and promote your posts. After all, the more you publicize, the larger the potential market for your post.
Outsource one more task with Jetpack's Publicize feature, which automatically promotes your post when it goes live on any number of social media platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Tumblr, Path, and Google Plus.
The plugin allows you to customize indefinitely: turn on or off any social platform at any time for any post, and pick your own URL shortener. Each platform will also pull the featured image automatically, leading to richer feeds in your social media profiles without any extra work.
Email marketing plugin developed by Sendpulse allows you to embed a subscription form on your website and collect subscribers for your business. You can later use the service to send emails to your subscribers (free plan available).
The best blogs all have something in common when it comes to plugins: outsourcing as much of the menial work as possible. The fifth and final plugin we recommend for growing blogs is the Broken Link Checker. It's not glamorous, but it will keep you in business.
This plugin automatically scans your blog to look for dead-end links, saving you hours of time (or of embarrassment, when readers email you with broken links). Check your links in two convenient ways: through your blog in a handy list that shows the URL, the status, the link text, and the source, or get weekly emails with a broken link report.
For a successful and dynamic blog, these five plugins will take on a lot of the work, leaving you free to write, recruit, and monetize.
Looking for the next step in making a powerful blog? Put time into designing the very best "About" page possible.
And then let us know in the comments your favorite plugins for managing a blog!
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