(Updated August 22, 2016)
4 WordPress Plugins I Recommend Trying
There are many WordPress Plugins to extend and expand your WordPress experience. There are currently almost 40,000 as a matter of fact. I know, that’s a bit overwhelming, isn’t it? I know, you’re an artist and you’re not techy. I’ll make this easy. First let’s consider what our basic needs are.
Here’s what we’ve already covered:
Spam: In my post, What To Do After You Install WordPress, we installed the Anti-Spam plugin by Clean Talk. That should cover any major spam issues.
Pinging: The next plugin we considered important enough to install before we started blogging, was the MaxBlogPress Optimizer Plugin. This plugin helps so that we don’t ping every time we revise a post and annoy the servers and get banned. We set it up to make sure we are pinging the right servers to have the most impact for blog traffic. I also mentioned the WordPress Ping Optimizer Plugin in case you weren’t able to download the MaxBlogPress plugin.
SEO: In my next post, Yoast SEO Settings – Installing And Configuring The Plugin, we get the best plugin on the planet to assist us with our SEO each time we write a blog post. Easy peasy SEO!
Caching: Then in my post, WP Super Cache – Installing And Configuring The Plugin, I go over browser caching and why speeding up your site is important for keeping site visitors on your site.
4 Useful WordPress Plugins Beginners Should Consider
Security: I learned last year that WordFence is a very powerful plugin with a free and a paid version. I am currently use the free version but will definitely consider the paid version in the future as my site grows.
I No Longer Recommend WordFence!
Ten days ago, August 12, 2016, I started having various issues with my server. This is my main domain and I have subdomains. These errors would mysteriously pop up, appear to be fixed, and then occur somewhere else.
At one point, my WordPress Admin page completely disappeared. Later, as quickly as it disappeared, it reappeared.
I also had Server 500 errors. Bluehost could not figure out at first what was causing these errors. The errors were occurring on both of my sites.
To make my 4-day drama shorter, it was later determined to be that the WordFence Plugin broke my site. Bluehost technical support told me that they had heard many horror stories from bloggers using this plugin!
In the end, I discovered that my site backups for my Art Site were corrupted and my entire site had to be taken down. WordFence left clues in my php.ini file and .htaccess.
I am currently trying another security plugin. I suggest you try something else so you, too, don’t regret using WordFence.
Link Checker: Imagine the size of your blog if you keep blogging, posting your artwork, growing your community day-by-day and month-by-month over the next few years.
How many links do you think will be associated with your blog both internal, external, and in comments? What if the content you are linking to changes, is moved, or disappears? How will you know that your site is outdated? Install Broken Link Checker! It will be on the alert checking all of your links and making it easy for you to update or dismiss them.
I have found then when I have a broken link reported, it’s usually in a commentator’s comment! Surprising, huh? Again, this plugin gives me peace of mind that my site is correctly linking internally and externally. If there is an issue, I can easily fix it. (Click the image for a larger version).
As you can see above, a broken link was found. It shows up in a new tab of the WP admin panel. Go to Tools » Broken Links. You will see a notification in the “Broken Link Checker” widget on the Dashboard. If you want to save display space, you can choose to keep the widget closed and configure it to expand automatically when link issues are detected. If you want email notifications, those need to be enabled separately by going to Settings » Link Checker.
The Broken Links tab will display your list of broken links that it has detected, if any. You can view redirects, a listing of all links, create new link filters, etc. this can be used to create a filter that only shows comment links.
BackUp: You have put a great deal of time and effort into your WordPress Site. As time goes by, you will have a precious asset that you share with the world. You may have videos, writings, songs, photographs, artwork… maybe even journals included with your site so that your target audience can follow you and have a peek at your world. Fast forward to a few short years from now. How would you feel if one day you woke up and everything was gone? Wouldn’t that be a disaster? The way to prevent this from happening to you is to regularly backup your site. I use the UpdraftPlus Backup And Restore Plugin to backup my site every 12 hours.
Just today, I upgraded my WordPress to Version 4.3. Prior to that, I made sure I backed up my site first, with just one click. I’ve never had any issues with this plugin. Also just a side note, my web hosting company backs up my site as well so I am doubly safe.
Free WordPress Featured Images For Posts with Image Editor: Now, I have saved the best for last! I know you’ve been excited about getting to the designing part of setting up your blog if you are anything like me! Just like when I was a child, my parents made me do my chores and homework before I got to enjoy something fun. That’s what we have been doing here in the process of setting up your blog quickly and correctly.
As an artist or creative, you are very well aware of the time, costs, and effort it takes to create your works of art. As we will see later in Branding posts, the way your site looks, your marketing materials, and other images you choose to show publicly creates an emotion in your target audience, hopefully something very pleasant and memorable. If you are not a graphic designer or are not proficient with the use of Photoshop or other professional image editors, what is a quick solution? Time is very valuable and you’d rather spend it working on your latest project, wouldn’t you? So, what do you do?
There are many things to consider when acquiring images for your blog posts and marketing tools. You can go to stock photography sites like iStockPhoto or Getty Images, but if you are still in the “starving artist” mode, the tab can quickly get out of hand. (Keep reading, I have a much cheaper long-term solution below).
There are many sites offering royalty free images too, but be careful of the licensing or image rights. There are many types of image licenses and you have to find images that allow you to use the image the way you desire. Just look at Flikr for example, see all of the different types of licenses and their limitations. (I will be writing a post later about copyrighting your images so don’t worry about all of the details at this point).
I have tried to put together projects in the past that just didn’t come together in my timeframe because all of the elements that I wanted to put together, each required an attribution back to the image creator. Of course there is absolutely nothing wrong with offering a free image with credits and a link back to the image copyright holder, but this can take time and take away from your finished project. Who wants to create a collage or similar project with 10 links beneath it leading back to image creators? You want a quick, easy, and painless solution. Is it any wonder that the majority of site owners are so tempted to just do a Google Search and download any image they want? (In other word, steal it).
I created the featured image for this blog post at the very top using images for free with no attribution required. I created some of the images myself and then searched for the other elements I needed. All for free and no copyright infringement or attribution required. And, it was a fast search.
[bctt tweet=”Need free awesome images for marketing, blog posts, your WordPress site? Get the perfect solution!”]
Use the plugin I’m using and you will be able to have a powerful image search tool right within your WordPress Editor (and it has a fully featured image editor as well).
Take a look at CanvaKala Search within WordPress:
I click the CanvaKala button inside my WordPress Editor that populates after installing the CanvaKala Plugin. You can search various networks, free image sites, and the Internet. I searched for “WordPress” as you can see in the search term window. The results show 337,306 images that I can choose from and edit. I chose an image and then edited it with the Canvakala Editor.
You can add text, (various fonts, colors, with or without borders), layering, use different artistic effects like you see in Instagram, resizing, cropping, and other options. When you’re finished, you can add it directly to your WordPress Media Gallery, download it, or insert it into a page or post! I have been very happy with this Premium Plugin so far. It has saved me so much time and effort because it’s right in within WordPress when I’m creating a new page or blog post. You can go get this plugin here.
As I stated at the beginning when you were first setting up your site, don’t rush it! There are many important aspects to be considered when setting up your blog and you don’t want to miss something important. Do it right the first time.
Blog Ownership Considerations:
Back Up Your Site
Speed Up Your Site
SEO & Making Sure Your Site is Indexed So It Can Easily Be Found
Make Sure Your Links Aren’t Broken
Create Your Brand Using Images That Are Not Infringing On Anyone’s Copyright
Whichever plugins or solutions you ultimately decide to use for your site, keep all of the above things in mind and make sure that you are set up correctly so that your site becomes a delight to use and not a hassle.
If you are an experienced site owner, have you used any of these plugins? Do you have other suggestions or solutions for novice bloggers and site owners? Please share your experiences below so that we can all benefit from your knowledge and experience.
Thank you for visiting, reading, and sharing my post!
As always, wishing you prosperity and online success,