Welcome to part 3 of my four part How to Switch from Blogger to WordPress.org series. If you missed the first two posts click one of the links below before attempting anything in this post.
Last week, we left off with finding a framework and theme. Then, installing both. This week is all about “plugins.” Plugins are still a new topic for me coming from a Blogger account that didn’t deal with them.
What are plugins?
WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site.
You might be asking what types of things plugins can do. Well, if you can imagine it, there’s probably a plugin for that. All you need to do is take a stroll through the WordPress plugin directory to see all of the possible ways plugins can extend or enhance your WordPress site. (source)
Still clear as mud?
Basically, they are additions to your blog that allow you to enter elements on your sidebar, menu bar, etc. without having to do all of the coding.
So, I wanted to share the plugins that I am currently using on my blog. There are many plugins that you can download, some free and some are not, it just depends on what elements you would like to include on your blog.
My List of Current Plugins
- Akismet – Helps you locate spam comments, which happens a lot. When I first switched over and didn’t have this plugin set up, I was getting at least 10 or 20 spam comments a day. Now, Akismet checks comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets me review the spam it catches under my blog’s “Comments” admin screen.
- Blogger Importer – This is vital after making the switch. This plugin imports your blog data from a Google Blogger site into a WordPress.org installation. It takes some time, so be patient, but well worth it. You will have to go back and reformat afterwards, though.
- Blogger to WordPress – After you switch, and import all of your blog posts, make sure to get this plugin. It handles traffic redirection from your old site. Visitors will be redirected from old Blogger.com post to same post on new WordPress.com blog on 1-to-1 basis.
- Custom Header Images – If you want to create and import your own header image (image at the very top of your site that introduces your blog), then this is a must. It allows you to upload your own images as headers.
- Favicon Rotator – Makes it easy to customize the favicon for your site. The favicon is the image that pops up on the Internet tabs at the top of your Internet browser. Mine is a folder.
- Genesis eNews Extended – This is the top subscribe section of my blog header. You can link it to your Feedburner account or use the form given.
- Genesis Responsive Slider – Allows you to create a simple slider with featured images, links, and titles. It is the scrolling current posts section on my homepage.
- Google Adsense – It provides a streamlined interface to deploy Google ads on your blog. You can customize the colors and sizes of the ad blocks and activate them right from the plugin interface.
- Google Analyticator – This is the tracking plugin; page views, visitors, etc.
- Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – This allows you to view your tracking data.
- Pin It Button for Pinterest – Places a “pin-it” icon on your photos. So, when visitors hover over a picture, they can automatically click and pin it to one of their Pinterest boards.
- Primary Feedburner – Redirect visitors to your website feed to feedburner. This will allow you to customize and track your feeds in ways that simply aren’t possible with just WordPress.
- Regenerate Thumbnails – It allows you to regenerate the thumbnails for your image attachments. This is very handy if you’ve changed any of your thumbnail dimensions after previously uploading images or have changed to a theme with different featured post image dimensions.
- Simple Image Widget – It is the easiest way to add images to your sidebar(s). No coding required.
- Simple Social Icons – It is the easiest way to add social media buttons to your sidebar(s). No coding required.
- Smart Archives Reloaded – It allows you to display a list of posts grouped by year and month. It also provides several interesting navigation elements. My project gallery page uses this feature.
- WP Gallery Custom Links – The easiest way to create a gallery of links. I used this feature for all of my pages; organization, home tour, etc. I tested a lot of them before deciding to use this one. Love it!
- WPtouch Mobile Plugin – It automatically enables a simple and elegant mobile theme for mobile visitors of your blog.
Don’t forget to check out next week’s post, which will finish up the switching over process.