As an avid blogger, I’m a huge fan of easy-to-use WordPress plugins that make functioning inside WordPress and browsing your blog or website so much easier. Depending on the plugins you pick, you might drastically speed up or slow down the speed of your website. So it’s not necessarily wise to go plugin-happy when you go widget shopping. It’s better to have too few plugins and not have as many bells and whistles on your site than to have too many and make viewers wait forever for your site to load.
That being said, there are some staple plugins I’ve recently applied to my own websites that have been a lifesaver for me. They’ll probably treat you the same way. From what I can tell, they haven’t slowed my site down any, and they’ve saved me a lot of time trying to perform the same functionality myself with code.
WordPress websites are not mobile friendly by default. True, they will oftentimes scale correctly to the size of the mobile device that is browsing it, but the user will have to zoom in and out and may have trouble scrolling in order to read your posts or view your pictures.
So to make my blogs mobile friendly, I use the WPtouch plugin. With the click of a button you can turn a poorly scrolling site on a phone into a properly displayed, intuitive blog that’s easy to read and navigate from a smart phone or tablet-size device.
I like to upload my favicon as the default display icon in WPtouch, because otherwise your site’s logo displays as one of their default icons, which look like Apple device pictures, which is not how I want my site branded. You also have the option to include or exclude certain pages from the mobile navigation menu.
This plugin was truly a lifesaver for me, and I expect it will be so for you, too.
The AddToAny plugin recently took the place of one of my Facebook Share plugins which quit working this week. And instead of only offering Facebook as an option, you’ll also get to share your posts via email, Twitter, Google Plus and a host of other social media profiles, as will your readers.
I also have JetPack installed on my sites, but I like the added advantage of AddToAny. I have JetPack installed on the bottom of my blog posts and AddToAny appearing at the top.
I love a widget with no frills. The Image Widget does exactly what it says it will, and without requiring a whole lot of know-how. Just upload a photo that you would like to see in your sidebar, give it a description, add an external link (if desired), and you’re done. You can add as many of these as you like down the sidebar. I use them as author bio areas, for which I have found precious few alternatives in the other widget departments for the same function.