10 Things Every Blog Should Have

Nicole Dean asked: What would you recommend as far as updates and plugins for a blog?

Hi Nicole,
Great question! Good timing too, as I am working on some updates here at ClickNewz. When it comes to plugins and widgets and such for your blog, my first tip is that you not let it get too cluttered.

Keep the focus on the content and navigation, and let any additions be in line with your blogs main objective - instead of distracting from it.

That said, there are some primary elements I have found to be excellent additions to the basic blog, and so I have come up with a list for you of 10 things that every blog should have...

1. Subcribe to Comments Plugin

If you enable commenting on your blog, you should give your readers the option of subscribing to the comments. Preferrably by both email and RSS. That way your readers can receive notification when new comments are posted after theirs and keep up with the discussion. This is a nice feature for your readers, and it also helps you to get more return visitors to your blog.

2. FeedBurner

Feedburner is a free tool for bloggers with tons of cool options & features. For your readers, it creates a user-friendly RSS interface. For you, it gives you detailed stats and usage data. If you arent already using FeedBurner, learn from my mistakes.

3. Hot Topics or Popular Posts

There may be plugins for this, but I prefer to add and update mine manually. Since some of your best posts and most popular topics will quickly get buried in the archives, its nice to post links to them in the sidebar of your blog. I find that readers really enjoy those links, and that those individual posts enjoy better rankings and more exposure.

4. Akismet

If you are not already using Akismet, look in your Plugins tab - it is usually preinstalled and all you have to do is activate the plugin. This is an excellent comment spam solution and is a must-have for anyone blogging on WordPress.

5. Aweber's Feed Broadcaster

Aweber is a mailing list manager which also has a feature called Feed Broadcaster. It will automatically email your subscribers to notify them of new posts at your blog. If you already have an Aweber account, this is very easy to set up. If not, you should consider this, or some other form of email notification. People still like to subscribe! And you should be building a list 😉

One of the reasons I recommend Aweber is because you have total control of your mailing list. You own the list, and you can also send broadcast messages to your subscribers. Most other options dont allow you to backup or move your list, or send them an email directly.

You can use the Feed Broadcaster for basic email notifications, sending out an email every time your blog is updated - or every 5 posts, etc - or you can use it as an automated newsletter, and only send emails from a particular category on your blog. So you would post to that category when you want to make an announcement that also goes out by email.

6. Profile / About Me page

Nothing like stating the obvious, huh? You would be surprised how many people leave this important element out of their blog. See Dear Mystery Blogger.

7. DoFollow Plugin

This plugin removes the “rel=nofollow” attribute from outbound links on WordPress blogs. This tells the major search engines to follow links in the comment area and other places on your blog, and pass "link love" (or things like Link Reputation and Link Popularity). If your visitors are also webmasters, you may as well reward them for their contributions!

8. SimpleTags

This allows you to "tag" each blog post with relevant keywords or phrases. This helps people to find your blog posts in searches at Technorati.com. Here is one of the Social Networking tips that I offer in regards to tagging:

Once you publish your post, check out the hyperlinked tags at the bottom. Click on each one and you will see a listing at Technorati of posts on other blogs that are also tagged for that particular keyword. Check those out, and if they are interesting and related… leave a comment! When you are given the option to put in your URL, link back to your individual blog post on the same topic (not your “home page”). This helps cross-link related posts in the blogosphere and is a great source for targeted traffic.

9. Optional Excerpt

I'm not sure if this is a regular feature of WordPress, or if you have to set it up. I have a feeling it comes standard - but using it is certainly optional. It allows you to create your own excerpt of the blog post you are publishing, instead of letting WordPress 'grab' a paragraph from the top and use that. It simply doesnt always display the best little snippet... See: The Optional Excerpt

10. Call To Action

There is no plug-in for this one... 😆 , but its something every blog post should contain! I discussed this in detail in the Super Affiliate Blogging interview recently.

Speaking of plugins, which one did you use for your DealDotCom updates? My helper just installed one, but it’s not the one we were looking for.

It's a secret! :mrgreen:

Actually, I'll be blogging more about that soon. I hired a programmer to help me with that, and we're still working out the bugs. It's been well worth the money I paid though 😉 More on that soon...

-My question to you, Nicole:
All of the plugins and widgets in the world would be useless without great content. What do you find inspires you to blog the most, and where do you get ideas for new blog posts and fresh content on a consistent basis?

Watch Nicole's Blog for her answer. In the meantime, I'd love to hear which plugins you use and recommend!


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About Lynn Terry

Lynn Terry is a full-time Internet Marketer with over 17 years experience in online business. Subscribe to ClickNewz for the latest Internet Marketing trends & strategies, Lynn's unique case studies, creative marketing ideas, and candid reviews...more»


  1. Great list!

  2. Sandy Naidu says

    Thank You Lynn...Great resource..


  3. Chris Jacobson says

    I use pretty much the same ones you recommended. Where on the Aweber site is that Feed Broadcaster option?

  4. Looks like they changed the name of it. Go to the Messages Tab, and choose Blog Broadcast (instead of just Broadcast).

  5. Thank you Lynn, I needed this to decide what I will need for my WP Blog. I had been wondering and I realized I downloaded (before I knew) the wrong plugin for tags...instead of simple tags I did fresh and I was trying to figure out what Plugins you have for your Blog LOL 😆

    I know they may not be wrong, but I prefer something more simpler. 😀

  6. I have a question though, how do you get the Digg this and such at the bottom of your Blog? Is there a Plugin for that or do you do it manually?

  7. Thanks so much! This kind of information means a lot to us "newbies". You always have so much to share. Again, Thank You!

  8. Chris Jacobson says

    Jacquelyn: You can add the Digg button, as well as StumbleUpon and others by using the Feedburner Feed Flare option.

  9. There's another alternative to the SimpleTags plugin that I use on all my blogs. Ultimate Tag Warrior. Aside from the funny name, you cna configure pretty specific details about your tags. And you can also use the Google Sitemaps add-on for UTW that will automatically add all your tags to your sitemap. Very cool and a great way to get your posts indexed a little bit faster.

  10. Oh I finally did it, Thank you Chris! 😀 It took me a minute but it Happened LOL. 😆

  11. Simple Tags is my most favorite plugin everrrrrr 🙂

  12. Yes, that's another perk to FeedBurner 😉 Thanks, Chris!

  13. Teli Adlam says

    Beautiful list, Lynn. Especially #1, 2, 4, and 10.

    Sometimes when I arrive at a blog without the subscribe to comments feature, it makes me a little sad. (Of course, I am the pot calling the kettle black because not all of my blogs have this feature yet. LOL)

    Oh, and if anyone is using WP 2.3.x, they'll find no need for the SimpleTags plugin any more (at least, not the one you link out to -- there's another Simple Tags plugin now) b/c WP now has built-in tagging. Plus, there are a number of plugins designed to extend the functionality of this new feature. 🙂

    ~ Teli

  14. Sweet - thanks for the tip, Teli 😉

  15. That's a great list.

    On top of the your list, there are some other plugins that I personally recommend:

    1) What Would Seth Godin Do? - a plugin that remind your readersto subscribe to your RSS feed

    2) Social Bookmarks Creator - For those who have no idea how to submit to Digg, Reddit etc, this is the best plugin

    3) All in one SEO pack - Manage your SEO all in one place. Allow you to set title, description and keyword for all your posts and pages.

    4) Google Analytics - Track your blog traffic.

    5) Google sitemap - auto generate sitemap and submit to Google whenever you publish a new post

    6) Related post - Returns a list of the related entries based on your current post keyword. Great plugin to increase the stickiness of your blog.

    I have used these plugins in my blog for more than 6 months and they work very well for me.

  16. Excellent additions! Thank you 😀

  17. Thanks for the good stuff! I'm working on my first blog and was just thinking about what plugins I would need!


    BTW, I found this plugin while surfing. It looks pretty cool:

    It's called "Share This" and puts one little icon at the bottom of each post. Clicking on the icon opens up a small "window" with about 14 Social Bookmarking site icons inside. Then just click on the icon(s) of your choice and you're done!

  18. Teli Adlam says

    Just a quick note for anyone who may be running WP 2.3.x, make sure to double check that the plugin you're thinking about installing is compatible with the latest release. Some of the plugins I've seen mentioned in the comments currently only support WP up to 2.2.x, so just be careful. 😉

    ~ Teli

  19. nice set of tools and some tips. could save a lot of time for new blogger. we need to act fast but in the right direction. can't afford too lose too many time of our precious time learning here and there.

  20. Nicole Dean says

    Wow, Lynn. I had no idea that there were so many "must-have" plugins. I'd been planning to add "dofollow" for awhile, and just got around to it yesterday. (I'm so proud of me.)

    I'll have to show this list to my WordPress helper and put her to work!

    Will respond to your question shortly. I sure haven't forgotten about you!


  21. Looking forward to it 😉

  22. Lynn Wilson says

    Thank you for this. I'm working on it!


  23. Great post, as usual, Lynn 🙂
    Your website is becoming very rapidly one of my best sources of valuable informations!
    Thank You.

    p.s. just wondering: applying a plugin then eventually removing it if you are unsatisfied, can in any way affect your WP installation? i mean, like all windows software: installing/unistalling tons of software make windows installation being bigger and unsafe....

  24. Not that I know of, Nicola.

  25. Nicola Boschetti says

    OK thanks Lynn.

    While reading your article, i surfed a bit and found a service called Zookoda: it should be a free alternative to Aweber (which cost a bit for a newbie like me 😉

    Have you heard of Zookoda?

  26. Nicola Boschetti says

    I just found your post about Zookoda, sorry 🙂

  27. That post is here for anyone else interested:

    I do prefer Aweber for the obvious reasons, but Zookoda is a decent alternative for those that are going to use a free service.

  28. Nicola Boschetti says

    Hello Lynn & Readers,

    i am wondering how to obtain the "read full story" and just the excerpt on the homepage of WP.... i set the option "show recent posts" in the options, and also i wrote the excerpt but on the home i continue to get the full post.


  29. Hi Nicola,

    For that you'll want to use the "more" tag. This creates the effect you are looking for. If you arent familiar with it, you might do a search for "more tag wordpress" in Google (without the quotes, of course).

  30. Nicola Boschetti says

    Hello Lynn and readers,

    thanks to your great suggestions i am close to have my newest wordpress website up and running... well, it is already on line, but i still need to do some graphic' retouch.... it would not be possibile without your great tips so i thank you.

    p.s. is there a place where we can post our URL to get impressions by other readers of your blog?

  31. Are you a member of my discussion forum? If not, you can join us free at: http://www.selfstartersweeklytips.com/forum/

    There you'll find a blogging category where you can "show off your blog" and you can also post it in the website reviews section. You are welcome to put a link to your blog in your Signature as well, so that the link shows up below every post you make at the forum.

  32. I would add a Print This Page plugin. I find it handy to have an easy way to print out content and save it for future reference ... it's easier to remember where paper is than it is to remember where electrons are. And, it gives the reader a nice printour with your name and the post title at the top.

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