WordPress is the most popular blogging platform, about 34% of the internet is on WordPress.
Most of us bloggers are drawn to using WordPress because of its simplicity and how quickly you can setup your blog without having to learn to code (or learn HTML/CSS); or not having to pay a lot of money for a CMS.
However, as a blogger with a WordPress website – you can agree that WordPress does not do everything out of the box. There are limitations and in order to have a fully functioning blog – you need help.
That’s why there are multiple WordPress Plugins to help you (50000+ Plugins) – and these plugins help you with everything from creating content, editing, promotion, monetization, e-commerce, etc.
Running a successful blog can turn into a complicated task as you grow.
What if you could shave off minutes (and hours) from all these tasks?
Here is a list of 10 WordPress Plugins that I personally used for my business CareerMetis.com and has helped me save tons of time and energy in managing my blog.
Before we review the 10 plugins – a couple of quick disclaimers:
Some of these plugins are free, some are paid plugins. [I have no affiliation with any of them – I am a heavy user of these plugins and that’s why I am mentioning them here.] [toc]
Most of us bloggers/editors collect submissions via Google Docs instead of providing all our guest authors/contributors with a WordPress login.
But using Google Docs for articles or submissions comes with its own challenges.
For example, if you are transferring or moving the content – text, images, links from Google Docs to your WordPress editor – this can be a time-consuming process.
Nobody enjoys the copy-and-paste process. You also risk losing some of the original formatting.
Nevertheless, it does add up time to your editorial process.
I struggled with the same as well.
As an editor myself, I receive over 100+ submissions a month via Google Docs.
I used to manually copy and paste the contents of the approved posts one-by-one; and I also had to download the images to my hard-drive before uploading them all into my WordPress theme.
This all changed once I found Wordable.
Wordable is a software/plugin that helps you to export everything (title, headlines, text, links, images) to your WordPress blog as a draft (Post or Page) – all in a single click.
You will save anywhere from 5-20 minutes for each post.
I have been using Wordable for the past 18 months, and I have published over 1000+ posts since then.
So you can imagine how much time I have saved. That’s why I am an ardent fan of this useful plugin.
2. WP All Export
If you have been blogging for a few years now – you are more likely to change or update your site structure.
You might choose to add, update or remove your categories,tags, pages,etc. or even change your front-end look.
Or you might need to review all your blog posts to perform a periodic SEO audit or a content audit.
A well-maintained blog is always evolving based on the needs of the blog, the audience or you (the blogger). But, this task is definitely time consuming.
Imagine going post-by-post and updating them one by one.
I am sure you want to spend time doing other high priority tasks such as writing, community management, monetization,etc.
WP All Export will help you simplify this, and will give you tons of time back to focus on what’s important. It’s a great plugin.
Before you export – you choose all the parameters you want in your export (Title, Dates, Categories,Custom Post Types etc.), and then with a few clicks you are then able to export it into a CSV or XML file.
Once you edit your spreadsheet – you are then able to import everything back using another plugin called WP All Import.
When I started my blog in 2015 – I had a very simple structure with a handful of categories. At that time, I was focusing only on a few that I wanted to write about.
As time went by, I started adding more categories,tags, etc.
With the influx of new contributors also came new ideas. This helped shape the editorial of my site.
Last year (3 yrs into running my blog) – I realized my old site structure isn’t feasible anymore.
I had to update and restructure the entire site.
If I had to go through each article one-by-one – it would have taken me a lot of time – practically a lifetime.
WP All Export was definitely a life-saver for me.
If you have tried to create a clean and professional looking table into a WordPress site – then good luck. The WordPress standard editor has limitations.
Here’s a screenshot of a Table I created in 2016. It looks very bad (and even worse on mobile) – I didn’t know any better at that time.
If you have faced a similar frustration with this – then there is a solution.
TablePress can help.
This free plugin allows you to create a clean, slick and a professional looking table and embed that into your article or page.
Editing and updating the content of your table is also easy. You are able to add/update/remove new rows, columns, etc in real-time.
It also has an export-import feature.
Let’s say you have created an extensive table, and then wanted to make changes, then this feature will help you do that.
The best part is that this plugin is totally free!
4. Stencil for WordPress
You have heard of this old adage before – “A Picture is Worth 1000 Words”.
The images you add help you get your point across to your reader, it adds more impact; and we all know the importance of great images to boost the engagement of your posts on social media.
Most of us do one of the following for blog post images:
- Find free stock images (Getty Images, Depositphotos, Flick, Pixabay, UnSplash, Pexels,etc).
- Create custom images on Canva
- Outsource or hire someone to create custom images
The challenge with any of the above is that they either take your time (to sort through stock images) or money (to create custom images).
A solution like Stencil solves that problem for you.
With Stencil you are able to set up and add custom text to an image of your choice (without having to leave your WordPress account).
If you already have a library of stock images – you simply upload them and add your title, text or a quote.
There are limitations to the free version (only 10 images a month).
With the premium version – you can create up to 50 images a month.
Additionally, you get access to their library of stock photos (2.2 million photos).
You are also able to add your own logo/watermark to the pictures.
You are able to do all of this without leaving your WordPress Editor or opening multiple tabs to search for images on the web.
I must admit I have just started using it recently, and it has been an absolute time-saver in finding and adding images to my posts. All my recent posts have custom branded featured images – thanks to Stencil.
5. Yoast SEO Premium
As a blogger, you probably will agree that SEO is absolutely important for your blog’s success.
Most of us rely on search engines to help drive traffic to our blog posts. I receive over 60% of my daily traffic from Organic Search.
SEO can be complicated and its-ever evolving.
Search engines like Google and Bing are always updating their algorithms and sometimes they can have a huge impact on our blog performance, traffic and of course income potential.
Recently, Google made an update (June 2019) and one of the UK’s largest blogs/news sites lost 50% of traffic from Google.
It can be hard to stay up-to-date with SEO.
It is also hard to make sure that you remember each and every nuance to get your WordPress posts SEO right (Title Tags, Meta Descriptions, mobile-indexing, internal links, etc.)
Yoast SEO is undoubtedly one of the most widely used and comprehensive WordPress plugins for boosting your blog’s SEO.
For each post – the Yoast SEO plugin shows you everything you need to update before your post is published. It provides a score for each SEO metric and then guides you in fixing them.
One of the coolest benefits (and my favourite features) of Yoast SEO Premium is the internal linking feature.
Internal linking is an overlooked SEO tactic (and that’s a discussion for another day).
Yoast SEO will show you a list of articles on the same topic (from your blog) that you can potentially link to.
This saves so much time.
You don’t have to remember or manually check each time you write an article – let Yoast do the work.
Google Analytics is the most widely used tool by bloggers & webmasters to obtain WordPress SEO.
There is a lot of useful data that you can collect about your blog performance.
However, you will agree that it isn’t easy to understand all the metrics. It is also not easy to find the information you need to get.
For example, you want to find out how much traffic an individual blog post received in the month of June.
It will take you multiple steps within Google Analytics to get there. It’s time-consuming and frustrating.
This changed for me when I came across Analytify.
This add-on software/plugin for WordPress.org shows your key metrics (pageviews, bounce rates, unique users) all within your WordPress account in a dashboard format. [You don’t have leave WordPress to get Google Analytics data.] Even better, you are able to find the performance of an individual blog post with a single click (and you can choose the timeline you want to measure).
You are also able to get additional reporting such as social media traffic, eCommerce traffic,etc.
You have worked really hard to create amazing blog posts, and you work even harder to drive traffic to those articles using email newsletters, social media, SEO, paid ads, etc.
Your hard work pays off – you get traffic, and it is growing month-over-month. Congratulations!
But the problem is: how do you make sure you are converting these visitors into dedicated readers and die-hard fans?
How are you converting them? Or are you at all?
One of the mistakes I made was not setting up a way to capture emails early on in my blogging career.
Sumo has a suite of tools that allow you to do just that:
- List Builder and Smart Bar – to help collect emails
- Social Sharing to help your readers share your articles
- Heatmaps to see where your visitors are clicking
It is a freemium tool so the features you will get depends on the pricing option you choose.
I like the ability to customize my exit popups and email capture.
It also connects directly to your email tool (MailChimp, AWeber or GetResponse or others) and works with WooCommerce.
I also use it for social media sharing options. I find it much more useful and less clunky than some of the other social media sharing plugins.
8. Broken Link Checker
It is hard to stay on top of the links that you have on your blog.
Most of us (including myself) add external and internal links to our posts as we are writing and editing the article.
How do you make sure that your links are intact i.e. they still work a month or a couple of years after you have published your article?
Also, it is a well-known fact that too many broken links on your site hurts your SEO performance.
Broken links affect your user’s experience, reduces your site’s credibility, and above mentioned SEO penalties.
Broken Link Checker helps you reduce this hassle.
Once installed – it crawls across your entire website and within 24 hours it displays on your WordPress portal.
The plugin (in your admin panel) tallies all the links on your site and then displays them as:
You are able to take action right there in your WordPress admin and update the broken links.
You can set the option for the plugin to scan your links at a set time.
In this way, you are able to stay on top of your broken links. I have set it to scan my website every 72 hours.
My favourite feature is the daily email digest. You can set up the plugin to send you a daily email with all your Broken Links. I can spend 3 to 5 minutes a day cleaning up the broken links thanks to this tool, and thus providing me peace of mind – so I can focus on other priorities with my small business set up.
9. Jetpack by WordPress.com
Let’s talk about security for a moment.
How do you ensure that your business or website is secure without having to pay for expensive software?
Jetpack is one of the most installed plugins (over 2.2 million installs last year alone).
It is a free plugin that helps you monitor and secure your blog or website.
You are able to receive a notification if your site is ever down.
In addition, this plugin protects your site against login attacks and malware.
Here’s another benefit. None of us like going through those spam comments on your blog posts…. Jetpack reviews them and automatically flags them as spam, thus saving you additional time.
All the features I have mentioned above are free.
In addition to this, I also use their sister plugin VaultPress for my site backup.
As mentioned before, I have over 2500+ articles (images, links) on my site. It’s a great productivity plugin.
I can sleep well at night knowing that I have a backup/restore solution in case something happens to my site.
Best of all it costs less than a cup of latte at Starbucks ($3.50 USD a month) – for the pricing of the software.
10. WP Rocket
This last plugin recommendation has less to do with your individual productivity but more of a website productivity plugin that also helps performance.
The speed of your website has a direct impact on your site’s user experience.
It has been proven that 33% of your users will bounce if the page load time is over 7 seconds. Now, this has a direct effect on your reader’s loyalty to your content, and your ability to monetize your site.
How can you do this without having to spend big dollars on expensive hosting?
WP Rocket will help you do that and many more at a fraction of the cost.
They have a lot of features – page caching, browser caching, database optimization and so on.
To avoid making this technical – I won’t go into details, but the plugin will do all this work for you.
Even if you are able to save seconds on your page load time – it will have a significant impact on your website performance. Your readers will love you more,and you will keep their loyalty.
Here you have it – 10 WordPress Plugins that will help you improve both yours’ and your blog’s productivity.
It is hard for me to estimate how much time and effort these plugins have saved me, but I can confidently say that it is significant. I am able to spend more of my time doing the things that matter to me and my blog – creating content, community management, working with guest authors, helping my readers, building a following and of course making some money!
Did I miss anything on this list?
Are there other WordPress Plugins that you would recommend to help you and your blog? Let us know in the comments below.
Nissar Ahamed is the Founder & CEO of CareerMetis.com, a publication dedicated to helping job seekers and freelancers with actionable advice and resources. You can connect with him on LinkedIn.