There are thousands of plugins available to wordpress users. Thousands. Most of these are free with pro versions available too. A lot of them are outdated too which can cause some security issues with your blog as well as not actually do anything for your blog. I spent a lot of time preparing before I launched This Guy Cooks. This included trying out all the different types of recipe and social sharing plugins to find out which worked best first hand. These are the top wordpress plugins for food bloggers that I have found and use on TGC.
1 – Jetpack
Although control is restricted on wordpress.com it packs a whole lot of brilliant features. These include access to the wordpress.com stats, additional side bar widgets, the ultra smart tiled mosaic gallery format and several others that add value or enhance how your food blog delivers.
No one likes spam. No one. Akismet is a leader in the detection and removal of spam comments on your blog. Comment engagement is really important and this helps you keep it clean. Say no to spam!
3 – W3 Cache
Nobody likes a slow website. Go on ask someone. They’ll tell you they don’t like them. W3 cache helps keep your website quick by caching certain elements of your site so when your visitors come back (and they will) their experience will just get better and better. W3 cache offers loads of different ways to customise the plugin so its worth reading up on it before hand.
4 – Easy Recipe
I tried every recipe plugin I could find when setting This Guy Cooks up. Easy recipe was the best for me, as it didn’t automatically submit your recipes to a board or provide a statement along the lines of “it’s totally your recipe, but you give us the permission to do whatever we want with it”. It’s also a great one to start out with as some, like ziplist recipe plugin, have some specific requirements of your site to take advantage of its full potential. Maybe one for later! One really important point about the easy recipe plugin is that it formats the recipes in a way that search engines understand. This will help in generating traffic to your site.
5 – Comments Evolved
As I mentioned in the akismet summary, comment engagement is really important to your site. With that in mind it would be silly to restrict how your audience can interact with you that way. Comments evolved is a plugin that integrates several different commenting platforms including facebook, wordpress.com accounts and google+ and offers your audience the ability to get in touch with you, however they want. The only problem I have found with this, is that there are no notifications when a new comment is made.
6 – WordPress SEO by Yoast
I don’t know a huge amount about SEO. I still don’t. But what I have learnt has been from Yoast. Their plugin is super intuitive and offers an easy way to understand not only how to make the best of SEO on wordpress but also why which to me, is equally important.
7 – Shareaholic
Social media has become one of the driving forces behind how successful a blog can become.The ability to find something online that you, the reader like, and then share it to your friends or like minded acquaintances not only increases your reach but sends a whole bunch of traffic your way. Shareaholic is a fantastic tool in that it offers support across a huge spectrum of social platforms, some of which I’m sure you haven’t heard of before. As long as your reader is logged into which ever platform when they share your content, they can! Simples!
8. Editorial Calendar
You can never have too much content. But you can have it too quickly. The first thing you’ll want to do as soon as you’ve setup your blog and are happy with how it looks is populate it with all your best recipes. Well don’t. Take it slow. You’re unlikely to have a huge readership at the beginning. I didn’t! As the recipes I develop grow in number so does my audience. Part of that is by spreading out how often I put a recipe up. At the moment I put a recipe up once a week. Editorial calendar is great in the fact that you can drag and drop draft posts into specific dates and times and then it will publish it for you.
So that’s it. My top plugins. As I find more that are useful to me and the efforts I’m making with This Guy Cooks, I’ll post them on here.