I’ve been thinking a lot about WordPress plugins lately; both in working on this site as well as developing blogs for several of my business clients. Most WordPress bloggers know about the “popular” plugins– WordPress SEO by Yoast, Contact Form 7, and the like. But I decided to highlight a few of my favorite plugins that are not as well known, or may be less common alternatives for other plugins. I’m using all of them on this blog and hope some of them may come in handy for others!
You may have already noticed that when you rollover an image on my blog, a Pinterest “Pin It” button is displayed. This plugin encourages social sharing to Pinterest, which is a fantastic way to get organic referral traffic– with a chance of your content going viral!
There are a few different “pin it button for image” plugins out there, but this particular one is my favorite because of one, incredibly important reason: it is responsive. If you haven’t heard why responsive web design is the only way to go, read this.
I was originally using a different plugin, but noticed that my images were not resizing for mobile devices like they should have given the responsive WordPress theme I was using. The css added to the image class for the pin it button was removing the automatic resizing capabilities.
After some digging, I found jQuery Pin It Button for Images which requires a few extra steps in terms of setup, but is well worth the time in the long run.
Adding a custom favicon to your blog is an easy way to brand your website and make it look more professional. The favicon on my site is the little pink PS3 controller that is displayed next to the title near the top of the browser. It may also show up when someone bookmarks your site. Oftentimes, theme designers will automatically include their own logo as the favicon, or it will be left blank. This plugin makes it easy to upload your own image which is then converted to a fav.ico file and integrated into your site.
One thing every blogger must have displayed prominently on their site is a section linking to all of their social media profiles. Back in the day, this meant saving/creating logo icons for every social network and manually linking them to the appropriate profiles.
Simple Social Icons was developed by Studiopress (makers of the Genesis framework) and makes it easy to style the icons and add the urls. My favorite feature is the radius option– left at 0, the icons will be square, but if you set the radius as the same size as the icon, it will be a perfect circle. You can also set the radius anywhere in between and tailor it to your preferences.
If you’re viewing my blog on a desktop computer, you may have noticed that a second menu appears when you scroll down the page– and “sticks” to the top of the page as you continue. Sticky headers are a recent trend, but are helpful in allowing visitors to browse your site faster without having to scroll back to the top to switch pages.
Sticky header is easy to customize. There are settings within the Appearance > Customize section of your dashboard, or you can edit the plugin’s css file for more advanced changes.