When I started blogging, I had never even heard of a plugin… and I certainly had no idea how to use one! Well, in the simplest possible manner, a plugin is a really cool thing that can make your website totally kick-ass! Here are my 3 Must-Have WordPress Plugins for Food Blogs (and the ones I seriously could not live without!).
Cost: Free (Plus version – $24.95).
This is the plugin I use for the recipe cards at the bottom of all of my posts. And I absolutely LOVE it! It’s so simple to use, allows you to easily input a description of the recipe, ingredients, method, preparation and cooking times, serving size, a photo, nutrition information and more. The EasyRecipe plugin is free or you can upgrade to the PLUS version for additional benefits (including multiple recipes on a post, the ability to choose the image you want to use etc). Best of all, it looks great, is easy to read and has a lovely little print button!
If you’re lacking in the whole technical skills department when it comes to SEO (umm… hello… yes, that’s me!), then the WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast is just what you need. This clever plugin provides an all-in-one solution – my favourite thing is that it analyses your posts and tells you what you need to change within your content to improve your SEO. Here’s a fab guide to installing and setting up WordPress SEO by Yoast. If you want your recipes to show up in Google searches, then you need this plugin!
Cost: Free (for up to 2000 subscribers and then some fees apply)
When I first started my blog I used the standard newsletter/subscriber plugin that came with my theme. I had it set to send out each post to my subscriber list as my posts were published. Hmmm… boring anyone?? Not only was I cluttering up my subscribers inboxes by sending them each and every post, I wasn’t able to personalise the emails that I was sending out (in other words, they had no heart or sparkle to them). I also had no idea how many people were opening my posts or whether they were clicking through to read the whole post on my website. And so, I switched to MailChimp and have never looked back. I now send out a weekly newsletter with a little rambling intro from me (I waffle on a bit sometimes), links to new posts from the week, handy baking tips, giveaways, free access to my ebooks and more. Since switching to MailChimp, my subscriber list, open rate and click through rates have all grown massively. I’ve also made sure that my subscribers have access to extra freebies, offers and recipes to make it even more worthwhile.
There are plenty more fabulous plugins out there which will improve your website… but these 3 will set you well on your way to a kick-ass food blog!