Thursday, June 27, 2013
Tuesday, June 25, 2013
Let's talk widgets! What's a widget, you may ask? A widget is a tool that allows you to add a variety of features to your sidebar. There are many widgets available via WordPress. If you have a WordPress.com site, all widgets are included. With a self hosted site, there are a few basic ones included, and many others are bundled within Plugins. (See Ashley's recent post about Plugins here.)
To get to your widgets, choose the 'Appearance' menu from your dashboard, and then click on 'Widgets'. To activate a widget, just drag the corresponding box of the one you want to use to the sidebar panel.
1. Text Widget: This one lets you add text, photos, or video to your sidebar via plain text or HTML. I use the text widget for my social media buttons and my 'About Me' section.
2. Follow Blog (WordPress.com) or Blog Subscriptions (via Jetpack Plugin): This widget allows readers to sign up to receive an email each time you publish a new blog post.
3. Search: This widget adds a search bar to your sidebar area. This is a very important widget to have on your blog. I use it all the time on other blogs that I read, and I have been disappointed before when I couldn't find a specific post that I was looking for because the blogger didn't have a search bar. Without a search bar, your readers may not be able to read that special post that they set out to find.
4. Archives: This one also helps readers find more of your posts. It displays the posts based on the month and year they were published. With the archive menu, there is potential for your blog to receive more page views because it is one more way readers can browse through your posts.
5. Instagram: This is my new favorite widget that I just activated on my blog. I am a little obsessed with Instagram. It's by far my favorite social media platform, and now my photos can be shared on my blog too. This widget is included on WordPress.com sites. For self-hosted sites, it is a downloadable plugin called 'Instagram for WordPress'.
Do you currently use any widgets on your blog? What are some of your favorites? Leave a comment below and let me know. I'd love to hear from you!
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Wednesday, June 19, 2013
One of my favorite things about being a WordPress user is the near unlimited number of plugin options that I have access to.
Plugins can be used for anything - tidying up the back end of your blog, helping you organize and schedule your posts and content, formatting pages and posts and image galleries. Some plugins are totally priceless, too, like the ones that protect your admin panel from hackers, or others that automate your SEO keywords and such so you get optimal Google ranking.
I've tested out a lot of plugins over the years, and while some aren't all that great, others very quickly made it onto my "must have" list. Today, I thought it would be fun to share my top three favorite plugins!
This plugin is totally indispensable to me now. Jetpack lets you crosspost your content to social media, add share buttons at the bottom of every post, track stats daily, build contact form pages, and a ton of other cool tweaks. This plugin was created by the official WordPress team, and is one of the best that I've used yet.
Stealth Login Page
I only recently began to think about the security of my blog. After reading a few different articles on WordPress security, this was the first plugin that I installed to combat hacking. It's really easy to use, and basically just forwards the default WordPress admin panel address to your homepage, while giving you the option to set a custom, secret URL.
Over the last few months I have been testing various SEO plugins to find the one that suited me best, and I think that I've finally found it in Yoast's WordPress SEO plugin. It's extremely easy to use, and features an innovative red-yellow-green light system to show you how effective your SEO is. This is definitely a plugin that I would recommend any WordPress user add.
How about you guys? If you are a WordPress user, leave a link to your favourite plugin in the comments! I'm always on the hunt for new and awesome plugins.