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Blogging is simple….until suddenly it isn’t. Buying a domain isn’t rocket science. Getting WordPress installed can be a little complicated, but there are resources to get you through. Your theme? It can be installed fairly simply. Let’s assume you’ve made it to this point, and you’re ready to blog, and make millions of dollars. Easy peasy, right? Well, close – you want to take advantage of tools available for bloggers to work smarter, rather than harder. Plugins are some of my favorite resources: here are 5 plugins every blogger should have.

Oh wait. FIRST: what is a plugin?

A plugin is a software component that enhances capacity. That means some savvy programmer saw a need or a capability and said, “I can tweak this and make it better.” Voila. A plugin was born. Bloggers simply install that snippet of software into their blog, activate it (if required), and take advantage of the capability that the plugin offers.

Plugin: Maintenance Mode

What Does it Do?

When you activate Maintenance mode, it’s like your blog is changing clothes, and you’ve shut the door of the dressing room so that no one can see it. This is helpful if you JUST started out with your blog, and you don’t have enough posts to fill all the spots on your theme. It’s also great if you’re rebranding and want to hide that from the world as you make changes. This plugin is helpful if you’re just starting out and feeling insecure about you blog and you don’t want to show the world.

How Do I Get It?

Simply download the plugin here! Oh, and it’s free. This is a win!

Plugin: Yoast SEO

What Does it Do?

Yoast is one of my favorite plugins, because it helps me with SEO optimization as I write. Using Yoast enables me to select a keyword, and write for that keyword. It also allows me to add Facebook and twitter optimized images. The red, yellow, and green lights as I write help me to know that my posts are both readable and findable

How Do I Get Yoast?

Yoast has two versions: free and paid. If you cannot swing the money for the paid version, at least get the free one to get started.  The main difference is that the paid version will suggest posts to link in your post, suggest additional keywords based off your text, and most of all, let you write for up to 5 keywords per post.

Plugin: MiloTree

What Does it Do?

When you’re on my site, and begin scrolling, have you seen the popup that suggests you follow me on Pinterest? That magical event was powered by MiloTree. Pinterest is one of my targeted growth areas, so having a pop up on my site that directs people to follow me on Pinterest feels like a no-brainer. However, the cool thing about MiloTree is that you can grow whatever social media platform you want: Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, YouTube, or your email list! I opted for Pinterest, and am LOVING the upward trajectory that the included analytics helps me know that I made the right choice by choosing MiloTree!

How Do I Get It?

Click HERE to purchase MiloTree. MiloTree costs $99 per year, and includes a FREE one-month trial. If you start with the $9 a month plan, you miss out on that trial – make sure to take advantage of it for the best value.

Plugin: Tasty Pins

What Does it Do?

Ok, so one of the best ways to get traffic on your blog is through Pinterest. In order for your posts to be shareable on Pinterest, you’ll need to have images optimized. However, optimized pins don’t fit the typical featured sizes for a blog post. Picmonkey published a handy¬†blog post with the optimized sizes, but let’s be realistic: you don’t want an image taking that much of your blog space real estate. Tasty Pins also allows you to disable pinning on images that are not Pinterest optimized.

How Do I Get It?

You can get Tasty Pins here. Tasty Pins is a $29 yearly purchase.

Plugin: Akismet

What Does it Do?

Spam happens. Akismet helps filter it out so that you can delete it from your blog. You don’t need to have “nice site, very helpful, please check out my site for how to get more followers” comments on your blog. Links to online poker games are unnecessary as well. Nope. Install Akismet and easily filter out those comments.

How Do I Get It?

Go here and get a free Akismet account (connected with your WordPress login), and stop the spam.

So tell me: what are your favorite plugins that you have installed on your blog?

Also, if you haven’t checked out my free blogger’s toolkit, what are you waiting for? Find it here.

5 plugins every blogger should install