There is no doubt that plugins are a great way to boost WordPress functionality and versatility. They are also a great way to help clients learn to use their site effectively, and to help them increase their visibility and grow their community. Here are my top seven WordPress plugins to get any client who is new to blogging started with a bang.
This is the famous SEO plugin by Yoast, and it is a must for new bloggers. It is a great way to help your clients learn about, and actually do, SEO on their blog. It takes the guesswork out and helps them learn as they go, saving them time and frustration. This gets them on the right track from the get-go, so they don’t have to go back and do the SEO later. This plugin also allows users to verify their site and submit XML site maps to the major search engines.
This plugin replaces the traditional WordPress text widget with a WYSIWYG text widget, which looks exactly like the WordPress visual editor found in the Post and Page sections of the dashboard. Adding a text editor in the widget area increases functionality and allows users to add rich text without requiring any HTML knowledge—which helps reduce the sometimes-difficult WordPress learning curve.
I have noticed that many of my new-blogging clients fall into three camps:the “I KNOW I don’t want to do any more than Facebook and Pinterest” camp; the “I WANT TO DO ALL THE SOCIAL MEDIA” camp; and the “I have no idea … what should I do?” camp. It is for this reason I always install Simple Social Icons for new bloggers. This plugin not only makes it simple to customize shape and color of the social media icons on their site, but also lets clients easily enter and remove social media account URLs.
This handy little plugin adds a custom message to the top or bottom of blog posts and/or pages, welcoming visitors to the site. This is particularly useful if your client would like to encourage new visitors to subscribe to the site feed or newsletter— something newbie and veteran bloggers alike should want.
What I love about Jetpack for new bloggers is the number options included in one plugin, many of which help with ease of use and reduce the learning curve. As of this writing, it has 33 features. My favorite features to set up are social sharing buttons, contact form, and easy-to-understand WordPress.com stats.
One thing I would love to see Automattic include in their Jetpack suite is a “Pin It” button, as it is an absolute MUST for all bloggers! For now, though, I install the Pinterest “Pin it” Button Lite. This plugin offers a variety of options, including button color and size, placement, and custom CSS. There is also a premium version available.
Comment Luv allows visitors who comment on a post to leave a link to one of their own recent posts. This is a favorite way for bloggers to create their community. These plugins are really just the tip of the iceberg to get clients going with their sites. I do use many other framework-specific plugins, but these seven are the foundation I build for clients to help them learn to use their site effectively, increase their visibility, and grow their community.
What plugins would you suggest for new bloggers?
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