Part of the Blogging for Grasshoppers series

One of the things that I’ve been doing over the last couple of years, ever since I started this blog, was to play with plugins and ways in which it could look more visually appealing.

‘Cos it’s not just what you read, it’s how what you read looks that could entice you to hang around, chat a while… and maybe subscribe.

Right?

If you’re just getting started blogging (or maybe even if you’ve been doing it a while), here are some WordPress plugins I really really like. See if they work for you.

Image: terren in Virginia via Flickr, CC 2.0

1. Apture.

You know how, if you scroll down the page on WUL, a little bar pops up letting you search for stuff? That’s Apture.

I really like its functionality, plus it’s a great way for folks to search on your blog as well as on the Interwebz without actually leaving your blog.

You can customize the colors, etc., and also, once you install it, Apture will insert “pop-up” references on embedded links, if they’re to easily accessible pages such as Wikipedia, Flickr, etc.

(It just did it on the Flickr link above.)

Why bother, if you already have a search box on your blog, you ask?

Because Apture will find stuff your search box won’t. Truly.

A great way to add some pizazz to your blog.

2. LinkWithin.

I originally found this via Danny Brown, and just love it.

What it does: once you install it, it will include possibly related posts at the bottom of your blog post.

But wait, there’s more!

It won’t just include posts; it will include the thumbnails of an image associated with each post.

Which is a great way to potentially get people to browse your blog a little longer. Because a picture speaks a thousand words.

Yup. I love LinkWithin.

3. WordPress Editorial Calendar.

I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve talked and written about this great plugin, because I love it so much.

I forget where I found it exactly, but once I did, there was no looking back.

What it does is give you a way to view your posts as a calendar. If you’re the kind of person who likes to see what’s coming up, and what when went before (er, like me), this is awesome!

More than that, you can go directly to editing and viewing the posts directly from the calendar, as well as easily moving posts around by dragging and dropping ’em.

WordPress Editorial Calendar is awesome-sauce.

So is Zack Grossbart, the creator, who was very helpful when I recently had a problem with it.

Which wasn’t even really a WPEC problem, but he was still helpful.

4. WWSGD (What Would Seth Godin Do?).

You know how sometimes, when you go to new blogs, you’ll see a little box that welcomes you and asks you, sometimes not so subtly, to subscribe?

That’s what the WWSGD plugin does.

But the reason it takes its name from perhaps the greatest marketing genius of our time, is that you can customize it for new and returning visitors.

A very smart use of cookies.

And not just the eating kind.

5. Sexy Bookmarks.

“What’s in a name?” asked Shakespeare.

Or perhaps it was Romeo. Or Hamlet. Or Sarah Palin.

I forget.

Anyhoo, one of the things we all want (or, at least, would like) is for other folks to share our posts. Right?

There are many bookmarking and sharing plugins, but the one I (currently) like the best is Sexy Bookmarks.

‘Cos it’s just. So. Sexy. And cute!

You can customize which social outposts your blog readers can choose to share your posts on, and how neat is the little blurb that goes with it!

Hey, if you can make sharing sexy, you can make anything sexy.

One thing to note: it seems every time SB has an update, it might mess with the formatting on your blog (I’ve noticed it did in mine).

So what you have to do then is go into the SB menu in your WP dashboard, and just update the settings. And it should be fixed.

These are five WordPress plugins I adore.

I would send them Valentine’s cards if I could.

Which plugins do you use and like the best?

Shonali Burke
Founder and publisher of Waxing UnLyrical, Shonali Burke helps purpose-driven brands bring big ideas to life. She teaches at The Johns Hopkins University, has gone back to school herself with the Harvard Business Analytics Program, and is creator/lead instructor at The Social PR Virtuoso® online training hub , where ambitious PR pros learn how to unleash their inner Social PR superheroes. Owned by Lola the Basset Hound, she's mad about ABBA, bacon, cooking, dogs, and Elvis, though not necessarily in that order. Wouldn't you like to be in her kitchen?
Shonali Burke
Shonali Burke

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