My experiences in blogging is a great learning adventure. I really love using WordPress to run Culinary Zest, there is still a lot to learn and discover, but I certainly enjoy doing so. Do I know all I need too, not by a long shot! It’s an ongoing process, sometimes I don’t feel like I have the time I need to really dig deep, but I make the time when I can. While I’m getting there I make use of some great WordPress Plugins…did I mention that some of the best ones are FREE! Yup, Freeeeebies!
One of the things that I really love about using WordPress is the mind-boggling amount of plugins that are available to use. There are literally thousands of them and they can add great functionality to your site. If you’re not a super tech whiz, they can make your life a lot easier when you’re first starting out and beyond. I can’t count the number of times I thought to myself “how do I do this?”. Which is often followed by “Is there a plugin for that?”
There was a time, I wanted to tackle it all myself. I’m not a super tech whiz, I probably know enough to get into trouble but not enough to easily fix it 😛 But on the flip side, I do learn how to, I might just be missing a little of my hair by the end of it all. There is great satisfaction in solving a problem that drove you mental 🙂
The beauty of WordPress Plugins is that they can take a lot of the stuff I want to do, but don’t have the time or the know-how to take on now, and make it easy for me to get it done. I think they make life easier. And that’s good enough for me.
As a publisher that self-hosts a WordPress blog on my server, there are certain things that I have to tackle on my own. Issues like security, backups and SEO, to name just a few. They can give you the ability to do just about anything you can dream of with your self-hosted site.
I use all manner of WordPress plugins to help me run Culinary Zest, most of the plugins I now use are free to use, some have paid versions that add extra features that the free versions don’t have. I’ve recently purchased my first plugin, Easy Recipe Plus and have been very happy with my purchase. It makes posting my recipes on Culinary Zest easy as pie and I love all the formatting choices it offers. It makes it super easy and when you’re trying to develop content on a regular basis, anything that helps speed that process along and makes it look good, is a total plus in my book.
Easy Recipe offers a free version that you can download and try out. I went straight to the paid version because I really liked how it looked and worked. It also came well recommended by other bloggers when I did my research before purchasing.
When you’re ready to start adding some plugins to your WP site, make sure to take the time to do your homework. Take the time to look at the number of downloads the plugin has, the ratings users have given it and any reviews about it. Compare and make the best choice for you.
These are just a sample of some of the plugins I use and like.
Akismet – A great spam filter, free to use and awesome.
Limit Login Attempts – Limit the number of login attempts possible both through normal login as well as using auth cookies. I check this plugin daily, more than once a day. It’s a real education to see how many attempts are made to gain access to my site. It allows me to log IP addresses as well as the login information used in the attempted entry. It actually helped me pinpoint a security issue, that as a newbie I was not aware of and change it. Why make their goals easier right!
WordPress SEO by Yoast – One word. Awesome. Really helps me tackle an important topic that I don’t yet fully grasp.
Updraft Plus – Reliable, easy-to-use backups, restores and site copies. I just recently started using this backup plugin, after the one I had initially been using started failing during backup. It became a big enough issue that I made the choice to change the plugin that I used for my backups. So far so good. It was easy to set up and does the backups without an issues. It does my site backup, then uploads it to my dropbox. Easy peasy lemon squeezy.
Google XML Sitemaps – This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. Easy to set up and use.
Easy Recipe Plus – This is the paid version of their plugin. Can’t recommend it enough. Love it.
These are just few of the WordPress plugins I use to help me run Culinary Zest. I also use plugins to help with security, caching, social media sharing and related posts.
I try to only use the plugins that I need or I think I need :p the number changes from time to time. I discover new ones or need replacements for older ones that no longer do what I need. Just remember to keep your plugins updated! When you log into your WP site, you’ll see when you have updates ready for installation. Do it! Like right away, it helps with keeping your WP site secure. Always keep up on all your updates, from WordPress to plugins.
Now get out there and start creating!!