After you’ve chosen your theme, it’s time to customize it with plugins. The WordPress glossary defines a plugin as, “… A group of php functions that can extend the functionality present in a standard WordPress weblog.” In other words, plugins allow you to customize your site beyond the built in programming that comes with the basic platform.

However, as a beginning blogger, you may not be familiar with the technical side of blogging, such as coding, HTML and CSS. Because of that, you want plugins that work “out of the box.” Meaning, there is no extra back-end work to be done, simply install, activate and go. Check out these easy to use plugins to get started.

Subscribe

Getting readers to subscribe to new blog posts ensures that you’ll have a steady readership, which will increase your traffic with each new blog post. While the WordPress jetpack comes with an email subscriber plugin, its custom abilities are minimal. This is the perfect opportunity to seek out an alternative plugin.

Follow Plugin: This easily installed subscriber plugin is perfect for the beginner user. Upon activation you’ll need to follow a few very simple steps, that don’t involve any technical knowledge, to get going. The “follow” button floating in the bottom right corner of the screen is visible no matter what page is visited or how far a reader scrolls down.

Features:

  • Choose which categories are to be included
  • See who has subscribed
  • Send email to all or some subscribers directly from the dashboard

Similar Content

Even the best content in the world won’t keep every reader on your blog for very long. Because of this, utilizing tools such as a similar content plugin will make it easy for your readers to skip around, extending their time on your blog.

Nrelate: With testimonials like this, “Your plugin is amazing! I had tried other plugins before and found I could never get them to work. Your plugin is easy and looks great,” you can be confident it’s a good choice. After a simple install process, you can customize from the built-in dashboard.

Features:

  • Customize thumbnail settings
  • Choose from 7 different style options
  • Adjust relevancy for the best results

Comments

A comment section is incredibly important to the life of your blog. Blogging is about building community, and extensive comment threads are what bring that to life. To get this section of your blog up to par, you’ll want to download a plugin that gives you more options.

Disqus: Set up an account with Disqus to make the most of your comment section. Here, your readers can customize how they want their comment posted: via Twitter, Facebook, website, etc. This gives them the ability to really get something out of commenting as well, such as a link back to their site.

Features:

  • Set restricted words to avoid profanity
  • Get custom comments widget
  • Manage comments from Disqus website, as well

Making your blog a representation of yourself, your niche or overall theme is important to being successful. When all these critical aspects are unified you have a stronger presence and better readership. WordPress plugins are a great way to add depth and personality to any pre-made template or theme.

Guest Post By: Jessica Sanders is an avid small business writer touching on topics from social media to telemarketing services. She writes for an online resource that gives advice on topics including payroll processing for lead generation resource, Resource Nation.