How to give your WordPress blog an MOT (Part 4)

Welcome to the final post in my WordPress MOT series, following my session on the topic at Blog On MSI recently. This post covers my favourite plugins, which was one of the most requested bit of info when I put out feelers while planning my talk. 

Plugins add all sorts of functionality to WordPress, and sometimes it seems like there is one for anything you can dream up doing. They can cause problems, you need to keep them in check sometimes, but they can also make your life a lot easier, and your site really great.

Make sure you don’t go too overboard as it will slow your site down if you have dozens & dozens of the things though! As mentioned in my previous posts, it’s also important to keep them up to date for tight security, and avoid duplicating functionality to keep site loading speed down.

You can find the previous posts in the series here:

WordPress MOT - Part 4 - My favourite plugins

My Favourite Plugins

Previously mentioned in this series

These are the plugins I’ve mentioned over the last few posts, that I use personally on Mama Geek

My favourite WordPress Plugins

Social

  • Instagram Feed – display your latest Instagram photos using a shortcode (allowing you to put it in a widget, post or page)
  • YouTube Channel – display your latest video in a sidebar widget
  • CommentLuv – adds a link to a blogger’s latest post to their comment when they fill in the URL box on your comment form
  • WP to Buffer – auto add your posts to your Buffer account when you publish or update them, with control over this social networks they post to

Useful

  • Advanced WPLink – adds a nofollow checkbox to the link dialog, and lets you disable the new inline link feature
  • Google Analytics by MonsterInsights – previously developed my Yoast, my favourite GA plugin to add stat tracking to your blog, and a dashboard to view the stats in your admin
  • Akismet – reduces comment spam
  • Remove Widget Titles – if you add a ! before the widget title, it hides the title on the front end – useful for organising your sidebar
  • Yoast SEO – easily improve SEO, generate a sitemap, select a default image for facebook sharing, etc
  • Cookie Law Info – meet legal obligation for EU cookie law
  • Shortcodes Pro – lets you add shortcodes (and add a menu button for that shortcode) to easily insert frequently used badges etc to your posts, etc
  • Editorial Calendar – adds a monthly calendar view where you can view & rearrange scheduled posts, create quick drafts etc
  • Simple Download Monitor – for downloadable printables & so on, lets you add a thumbnail, title, description & download button, and counts the downloads
  • WP Retina 2x – automatically uses higher resolution images on retina screens so you have super crisp photographs on those displays
  • WP-DraftsForFriends – allows you to generate private links to share draft posts, and set an expiration time for each link

Security

  • Quttera Web Malware Scanner – the best scanner I have found for identifying malware infected files on your site, run an internal scan if you suspect your site has been compromised
  • Vulnerability Alerts – install it & leave it activated, and it will let you know if any of your plugins get flagged on the WPscan database as having a security hole

Jetpack

Jetpack

  • It does a lot and is easy to use – replaces a lot of plugins
  • Speed has improved over the last year
  • Enables mobile notifications & other WP.com specific functions
  • DO keep it in check – get to know what it does and disable any modules you don’t use
  • DON’T duplicate functionality – don’t have a plugin that does something installed when Jetpack does it already, and if you prefer the plugins’s way of doing things then disable the module it replaces
  • To improve Jetpack control, install the Module Control for Jetpack plugin which prevents module auto-activations, amongst other features

Well, that is the end of this series as I’ve pretty much covered most the things I mentioned in my Blog On session, other than the odd question and so on. I’ll be doing a media pack post soon with some tips of what to include and so on from my other session, so look out for that. View the whole WordPress MOT series here.

Need more help? Feel free to get in touch via Zoe Corkhill Web Design – advice is always free!

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