The Most Useful WordPress Plug-ins for Book Bloggers

The BookDepository

I have found lots of helpful plug-ins during my time in the blogging world, but have abandoned most of them along the way. Here are the most useful ones I’ve found:

Subscribe to Comments

This adds the little tick box at the end of your post allowing people to choose to receive all future comments on that post as an email. I love this feature – I think it really helps conversations to develop in the comments section and that is one of the best things about blogging!

All in One SEO Pack

This plug-in is a must if you want to increase page ranking on Internet searches. It automatically generates meta tags and keywords for all your posts and does lots of other fancy things which I don’t really understand. All I know is that this helps your page ranking a lot!

HeadSpace2

A meta-data manager with lots of extra features, including the ability to display special messages to first time visitors to your site. I have to admit that this one is a bit technical and I’m not using it to it’s full abilities yet, but this is a very clever plug-in which definitely needs investigating.

Google XML Sitemaps

This plug-in generates a site-map for use with the search engines. Another great one for improving your page ranking.

AZIndex

This allows you to create a page where all your posts are sorted alphabetically. I used this plug-in to create my Books Reviewed page. It is customisable so you can decide which categories are included in your list, meaning all your memes and other non-book review posts can be ignored.

Akismet

Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not. I found it a bit hit or miss in the beginning, but the more you use it the better it gets. Using this tool means that my spam is under control without the need for word verification.

Google Analytics for WordPress

This plugin is the easiest way to set your word-press blog up for Google Analytics. If you haven’t discovered Google Analytics yet then you really should sign up, especially if you love looking at your blog’s statistics!

Contact Form 7

A simple, but flexible tool to add a contact form to your blog.

TinyMCE Advanced

Advanced editing tool for post writing, adding 40 new buttons to the toolbar including smilies, styles and visual characters.

Have I missed out any really useful plug-ins?

Do you use lots of different ones on your blog, or do you stick with the standard template?


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31 Comments

  1. Stewart says:

    Some interesting plugins there. I like the subscribe to comments one. I should point out that your AZIndex one, your Books Reviewed page is showing one errant post called I’ve Joined Twitter.

    1. Jackie says:

      Thanks for pointing that out Stewart – that is the one problem with the AZIndex plug-in – you have to remember to tick the right category for every non-review post you write and sometimes I forget!

  2. Thanks for this post Jackie. I’m trying to switch to self-hosted sometime this summer and think this will be a huge help. I love the AZIndex one, I think that would be awesome for getting a big review page. Right now I have my reviews organized by genre.

    1. Jackie says:

      The AZIndex isn’t perfect – I’d love to be able to sort by author, but haven’t worked out how to do this yet. Good luck with switching to self hosting!

  3. FleurFisher says:

    I’m WordPress hosted, so all I can say is that you may have convinced me to go self-hosted – if I can ever find the time!

    1. Jackie says:

      I didn’t realise that you can only add plug-ins when you self host. That is such a shame.

  4. Thanks for this Jackie! Some of these I use and some I’m going to look into!

    1. Jackie says:

      I hope you find some of them useful.

  5. cbjames says:

    Things to consider…migrate to WordPress….???…..

    1. Jackie says:

      I do think that word press is a much better platform than blogger – you just have to decide if it is worth the effort to start all over again. I can’t help you decide that one I’m afraid.

  6. Nicole says:

    These are great Jackie. Thanks so much for sharing. I was familiar with a quite a few but there are a lot of helpful new ones.

    1. Jackie says:

      Glad to be of service!

  7. Polly says:

    Oh great stuff. I’m starting to think I should switch to WordPress now I’m hearing such good things. The SEO one sounds like a brilliant idea. Belated congrats on being one of the best UK blogs too!

    1. Jackie says:

      Not everyone loves wordpress, but I think it is brilliant! The SEO plugin saves so much work – it has been really useful.

  8. Matthew says:

    Jackie, thanks for the elaboration on these plug-ins which seem like a new language to me. I haven’t used any but am planning to explore more into them. Not a technie here! :)

    1. Jackie says:

      The main problem I find with finding plug-ins is that the language is so technical. Luckily my husband is in IT and so helps me out when I get stuck!

  9. Violet says:

    Most of the wordpress plugins are only for self hosted blogs. I would have loved to explore the metadata manager but again its not available. I use the contact form though, that one was very simple.

    1. Jackie says:

      I’m pleased you found the contact form useful and am sorry the other ones wouldn’t work for you. Hopefully they’ll develop ones you can use soon.

  10. Rebecca Reid says:

    I used TinyMCE advanced for a while. Maybe it’s changed but I ended up deleting it because it didn’t allow people to write their own HTML in the comments. Which was a problem because many people did that instead of clicking on the icons. So it is a nice idea but ended up not helpful.

    I think Subscribe to comments is the absolute best!

    1. Jackie says:

      I think they’ve fixed the html issue now. If that first sentence is in bold then it is anyway!

      1. Rebecca Reid says:

        Jackie, I think I’m confusing the plugin you are talking about with the comment plugin, because I don’t see the icons when I go to leave a comment on your site.

        1. Jackie says:

          TinyMCE isn’t a comment plugin – it is used for editing posts as you write them.

  11. Kari says:

    Great ideas! I’ve starred this post on my reader!

  12. Trish says:

    Someone needs to do a post like this for Blogger. I could use some tips like this (especially meta-tags–have no idea what that is but keep hearing about it). The subscribe to comments button is a must–drives me crazy when blogs don’t have that little button!

  13. melydia says:

    Great suggestions, thanks! I went ahead and installed most of these (I already had Akismet).

  14. Shannon says:

    This was really useful, thank you! The Subscribe to Comments is great, but I couldn’t activate the All in One SEO Pack, there was a “fatal error”!

    I’ve been trying to find one for the “Notify me of posts by email” check box that sits with the comments one – many of my WP friends have it but there doesn’t seem to be a plugin for it. Do you know anything about this one? I found a few forum discussions where other people were looking for it and saying that wordpress.org doesn’t have it – I didn’t somehow download wordpress.org instead of wordpress.com did I? How can I tell? (sorry I know it sounds like a stupid question but I’m new to WP and this has been bugging me – and you’re so knowledgeable!)

    1. Jackie says:

      Shannon, Sorry to hear that the SEO pack didn’t work – I guess it just isn’t compatitble with all wordpress themes.

      I think you can get the ‘Notify posts by email’ by using feedburner. If you sign up to have your feeds sent via feedburner (I do) then there is an option in there to subscribe by email. Hope this helps.

  15. I also use ‘YOURLS: WordPress to Twitter’, Pretty Link, SexyBookmarks and Newsletter. I love Newsletter and trying to use it more and more as it is easy once you create a template to create new newsletters.

    1. Jackie says:

      CuriousBookFan, Thanks for those – I’ll have to look into them!

      I do prefer to tweet manually though. People can tell if tweets are automatic. I like to keep them personal and try to generate discussion on twitter. If I see automatic tweeting I tend to ignore them.

      1. I use this tweeter plugin for semi-automatic tweets. It creates a tweet content with short url from the template I made but I can edit it completely and push it to Twitter if/when I want. That’s how I configured it. I push automatically updates to my Facebook app but that’s another story…

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