Because …Protects against brute force attacks and you can force strong passwords. It’s a great, free plugin you can use to keep your site safe! I know Dan personally and he’s a smart guy with superior coding and security skills.
Because …Fantastic SEO plugin that covers all your bases. With a recent partnership with Sucuri security and malware monitoring they are really staying up on SEO and security. They’re one of the two standards for SEO plugins next to the All In One SEO Plugin.
Because …I use this all the time. Visually drag and drop from the post listing screens within WordPress. I love this plugin and I personally know Jake and a lot of his team. Excellent WordPress group and plugin!
Because …Every blog needs an SEO plugin. Simply installing one of these plugins can make a difference in the amount of search traffic that you get. And if you are really keen and is willing to spend time on it, you can get even more out of every single article.
Plugin #2: WordPress Firewall 2
Because …I had no idea how many times my blog was under attach until I installed this one. Even my new websites were getting hit on. This plugin can protect your website in multiple ways including locking down login after a preset number of login attempts and restricting login by IP. Very useful.
Because …The one plugin you need to improve the speed of your website. Now there are other similar plugins like W3 Total cache and such and many of them are good. Its best that you contact your host before you decide which caching plugin to use. They will often have a recommendation that goes well with your server setup. Also note that just installing one of these isn’t enough, so be prepared to spend some time tweaking the settings. You can use http://tools.pingdom.com/ to track and analyze your load time.
Because …One of the best and most popular plugins for WordPress, WordPress SEO by Yoast is a fantastic free way to setup SEO on your site. This plugin adds an SEO tab to your WordPress dashboard so you can make quick changes to your sitemap, titles & meta tags, breadcrumbs, RSS and more.
Because …Contact Form 7 creates simple contact forms with fields like: name, subject, and message fields. It also has email confirmations and the ability to add Captchas (via the Really Simple Captcha plugin) to help prevent spam.
Because …A very easy plugin to use, which backs up your database and files from WordPress to a Dropbox account you specify. Specific directories can be excluded, but for the rest it is plug and play. I use this for my site, to ensure I have a copy off-site (ie. not on the server, in case they lose the disk – which is an issue you need to be careful of).
Because …developed by legendary WordPress expert, Joost de Valk, founder of Yoast.com, this plugin allows you to easily insert your Google Analytics code into every one of your web pages without copy/paste or manual insertion in your template files. This one does it “on the fly”. You need good analytics to know what keywords are getting you searches, how many visitors you’re getting, and how much social engagement your blog is seeing.
Because …One of the things I don’t like about WordPress is the poor database structure, which leads to bloated tables and overall slowness. For me, because I almost never revert a post to a previous state, clearing out old revisions is something I do often. Better Delete Revision makes it super easy.
Because …Most of my clients are small businesses, and they don’t even know what a database is. They may know they need to back it up, but they have no idea how. WP-DB-Backup makes this easy, and even sends them an email with the SQL. Backups can be scheduled at a desired interval, and for most people once a week is enough. For websites that have daily changes, the plugin can be configured to backup every day. WP-DB-Backup is easy to use, and definitely helps fulfill the obligation to backup the database.
Because …Why this plugin doesn’t come built in to WordPress is something I don’t understand. Why would somebody want less features in their editor? Support for creating and editing tables alone makes installing this plugin worth doing. I install it in every WordPress site I create.
Because …The Yoast WordPress SEO plugin is essential for every website I launch. From creating good meta titles and descriptions, to marking landing pages as non-index to prevent duplicate content, to redirecting image attachment URL’s to parent post URLs to cleanup SERPs. The free Yoast WordPress SEO plugin has helped me increase my rankings for years now.
Because …This is a great little free plugin by Boris Beo. Everyone knows the importance of building your list. As they say, “the money is in the list.” This handy little plugin lets you easily drop in a subscription form into the bottom of your WordPress posts. It works with all the major players such as MailChimp, Aweber, and GetResponse. It is super easy to tweak the design and you can have it up and running in minutes. Easily choose if you want it to display on page or post types.
Because …Some people aren’t a fan of the free disqus comment system. But personally I love it because I literally get zero spam. This allows me to spend my time efficiently doing other things such as creating new content and working on new promotion strategies.
Because …GravityForms is well beyond a simple contact form plugin. GravityForms makes creating interactive forms with condition logic and milt-page forms simple. There’s also a number of built in styles that add flexibility to the plugin. GravityForms will also integrate with your CRM & evens does ecommerce.
Because …Event Expresso is great software for all things event related. Sell tickets to one event or several events at a single location like conferences.. Stat tracking from sales to actual people in attendance. Think Eventbrite on steroids.
Because …It comes installed with WordPress and includes a contact form (along with a virtual jackpot of other functionality, like social sharing and email subscriptions). If you need a more robust contact form to integrate with newsletter software or payment gateways, go with Gravity Forms. That’s a purchase I’ve never regretted.
Because …If you have comments enabled on your site, spam is inevitable. Use Akismet. It comes as part of a standard WordPress installation. It’s free for personal use, but you’ll need to throw out some bones for business use.
Because …WordPress seo is the most essential plugin for every blogger including newbie and experienced both. It helps our blog in improving the search engine optimization and also increases the search engine visibility of our blog. This plugin is so important for beginners because it will move your blog ahead by helping in traffic generation.
Because …Ithemes Security is a WordPress security plugin also known as Better WP Security. It will make your WordPress blog secured from hackers totally. As security is also the most important factor, Therefore it will protect your blog from brute force attacks and many other security threats.
Because …BackUPWordPress is a WordPress plugin which will backup your complete blog. By using this plugin, you can schedule your blog’s future backup. You only need to schedule it and then it will automatically take backup of your blog on the right time. I have added this plugin in this list because If you are really willing to move your blog towards success and If you are really working hard then you must need to have a backup of your blog. It may give new birth to your blog If your blog will face unnecessary problems.
Because …this tool allows you to create links that are more “user friendly”. This is especially great for bloggers and websites that promote affiliate links. Having a link that is easy to remember and linked to your brand makes it more believable and more likely to be clicked.
Because …this is an un-intrusive way to always give visitors a simple way to sign up for any of your lists. The simplistic design and functionality makes it easy to use and there is analytics to help you see what works best for your site.
Because …Often when we make changes to a WordPress site it can affect existing linkes etc and we may not be mindful when things are affecting older content. This plugin lets you know right away whenever there is a broken link anywhere on the site.
Recommended plugins for starting a blog: It’s an awesome feeling when you get your hands on your own very first WordPress installation, and you want to make it the way you want it to be. There are no limits, and in less than five minutes you can turn your fresh WordPress install from “Just another WordPress site” to an awesome forum or a Facebook-like social networking website (no joke) with the use of some plugins.
But it depends on your plans for your blog, but instead of digging much into what your job is, as I bet you know more than your job than I, we will look for few must have plugins for all the WordPress sites. I, as a WordPress developer and a person who loves to blog, use them on all my WordPress blogs:
Because …I hate spam. Do you hate spam, don’t you? If no, then I guess your life on the internet has been too good so far. No site, not even Facebook, can get rid of all the nasty spammers…but Akismet is a free (and premium) WordPress plugin which takes care of all the nasty spammers for you. It’s the best solution to shut down all the spammers & it won’t let you down.
It’s both a free and premium WordPress plugin. If you’re an individual with a small site with less than, let’s say, 5,000 daily visitors then you can use it for free…and if you have a big website with a lot of traffic then you can get the premium subscription for a reasonable about. You can get more details at akismet.com.
Because …Supercharge your WordPress site with a suite of the most powerful WordPress.com features. Jetpack gives you dozens of amazing features, such as contact forms, extra widgets, Jetpack comments, site stats and much more in a single plugin. Jetpack’s Stats module is my favorite of them all! Why install 30 different plugins for all these features when you can have them all in such a good looking plugin?
“But my developer doesn’t recommend this plugin to me?” Yes, because it requires you to connect to your WordPress.com account in order to work, and they don’t want you to do that. Why? Because they don’t want to give much power into your hands, and at the same time, they don’t want to connect their WordPress.com accounts with your site. Just visit WordPress.com and create your free account within minutes to get started.
Because …If you’re new to WordPress then you might find this plugin really heavy, with a lot of options and menus…but believe me it’s worth it. It’s a plugin which keeps your website safe from all hackers and security bugs. Ever heard of a Bruteforce attack? No? just Google it & you’ll find out why you need to take care of the security of your website.
And a brutefoce attack is not just all. There are a lot of things regarding the securty which this plugin takes care of, such as your login page, and more. It’s no brainer!!
Bonus:Everyone wants to improve the ranking of their sites on Google and other search engines, but how? “SEO!” some would say. CORRECT!! WordPress SEO by Yoast is all you need to take care of the SEO of your WordPress website.
There are just some starters, as there are over 30,000 free plugins in the WordPress.org’s plugin directory alone, and I’m pretty sure you all will explore a lot of them very soon. Happy blogging!
From the very moment that your site goes live, the spam machines will have their crosshairs on you. If you don’t set up an anti-spam plugin right away, you will have to choose one when you realize how annoying bots can be. Akismet is a perfect anti-spam solution because you will have it preinstalled with WordPress, it will remain free for your smaller personal sites, and it will take just a few minutes to set it up. Are you brave enough (or should I better say crazy enough) to try living in an online world without an anti-spam system?
Even before you get all the pieces of your WordPress site together, you can start connecting with your audience. And you can do that in a visually appealing way. This can be the first plugin you will install; you just need a few minutes to choose a professionally designed theme that you like, add some content and enter the URLs to social media. It’s easy to whitelist users, schedule an end date, and even track the number of visits via Google Analytics.
Most of the sites that you will build with WordPress will require you to write some kinds of articles. Smaller ones or detailed how-to articles, it doesn’t matter. Whether you’re going to write on a daily basis, or you just need to refresh your blog from time to time, Yoast SEO will hold your hand through the process of content creation. Even with the free version, you’ll be able to compete for better search engine rankings. I can’t stress out enough how important good SEO is for a new site.
As a lover of WordPress, I have a long l list of go-to and favorite free and premium plugins for WordPress, but to narrow it down to just three? That’s going to be a hard one. For every new site I setup for myself and clients, I always start with three basic plugins that every website should have.
Because …Every website needs Search Engine Optimization (SEO). I do not care if your site is personal and you do not have plans to monetize it or if you are big business and want your popularity to bring traffic to your site. Its simple, make yourself and your website look good to the search engines and everyone is happier.
With this great plugin by Yoast, it has everything you need to boost your site’s SEO. Yoast breaks it down and gives your content advice on how to make it better. If you need even more great tools, look for the pro version. It has even more features to help in your site’s success.
Because …This great plugin has a ton of great plugins all built into one easy to use and easy to find admin panel. Just click to activate and click to deactivate. Every plugin that JetPack has is useful. You only have to activate the ones you need. Normally all I active is WordPress stats, Gravitor Hovercards, mobile themes, and monitor.
Because …Gravity Forms is a powerful form designer and creator for WordPress self hosted sites. Every site should have at least one form. It should be designed to best fit your site’s needs. For advanced sites or those sites which are planning to expand rapidly with a few years. I recommend Gravity Forms. It is easy to use and full of features that free form builders do not have. You can build simple contact forms or you can build online applications that not only function how you want those forms to but, it can look good doing it.
Because …For those sites only needing a basic form or two, I would recommend using Contact 7. It’s a free form builder with limited features, but it easy to use. For simple forms, I always recommend it over the rest.
Because …This plugin always makes my list of favorites because it lives up to its name. When activated, anonymous commenters will have 5 minutes to edit their comment using a simple AJAX interface. Since having it installed, I’ve seen a dramatic reduction in requests for comment edits and typos.
Because …Despite its poor reputation amongst some WordPress developers, Jetpack has come a long way and is steadily improving with each release. We use a lot of its features on the Tavern such as the contact form, comments, uptime monitor, and stats. Using most of the features in Jetpack makes it a convenient plugin.
Because …This is an awesome, simple plugin that makes it easy to create and share a private link you can share so others can preview a post. It blends right in with the Publish meta box and each link is good for 48 hours.
Because …Sure not a very exciting choice, but it’s one plugin that’s installed on all of my sites that have comments enabled. Before Akismet, I tried some other plugins to stop comment spam, but none of them ever did the trick. Akismet handles 99% of the garbage, plus it’s free.
Because …This is a simple plugin that enables registered users to upload their own avatar to their user profile. As most of my sites involve user registration and participation, this plugin encourages users to get involved. Simple and effective.
Because …I designed this plugin to stem the tide of bad bots and malicious requests, and it’s been one of my favorites ever since. It’s one of the simplest plugins out there, but it provides strong security for WordPress-powered sites.
Because …even if you think you know nothing about SEO, this plugin will walk you step-by-step through the process of optimizing your content for search engines while maintaining readability for your visitors.
Because …this one is literally the WordPress equivalent of a “jack-of-all trades” plugin that eliminates the need to have multiple plugins for sharing content, adding custom css, adding social media sharing buttons and so on.
Because …a highly customizable contact form plugin that is easy to use and can be used for everything from basic contact forms to multiple page forms, order forms and conditional fields as your blog grows!
Because …I wanted to add the streamlined and elegant Stripe payment processing system to my website to replace PayPal. This plugin made it extremely easy to integrate this into my WordPress site without having to add any custom code to the site. Brilliant!
Because …Our affiliate program helps drive business from other WordPress-related blogs and websites. Having a robust affiliate system that’s easy to use for us and our affiliates helps streamline the entire process. Love it!
Because …At WP Buffs, we get 85% of our sales leads, new customers and traffic through organic search. The kkStarRating plugin allows visitors to rate the quality of each article on our blog, and that rating will appear in search results next to our article. This improves click-through rate and brings us more targeted traffic. Boom!
Because …takes care of all the basic SEO stuff. To get the most out of it also make sure you setup your XML sitemaps within the plugin and submit them to Google Webmaster Tools. This alone will improve your SEO immeasurably.
Because …A very underrated plugin that will increase your engagement and reduce bounce rates across your site, it’s perfect for bloggers. Shows a little slide in popup when they get to the end of an article and works great when you start building up a large backlog of articles to send people back to older content.
Because …I’m a firm believer that you should monetize your content as soon as you can. The most effective way to monetize content on a blog is with affiliate marketing (it’s not as intrusive as ads) and ThirstyAffiliates helps you manage your affiliate links.
Because …I have tested 4 SEO plugins over the years and WordPress SEO by Yoast stands out, not only because it has a lower memory footprint than AIO SEO but because it actually help show you how your article is SEO optimized while you are editing so you can make tweaks before you published to SEO optimize your article. It also builds sitemap files for you that are broken out into smaller digestible sub-files to prevent a memory error with a single giant sitemap.xml if you happen to get your site large enough to have thousands of posts, you won’t find a free SEO plugin that is more powerful.
Because …I like attaching my Google Analytics code to my site to a plugin instead of a blog and instead of manually in the php files, because when you update your theme it will overwrite your theme files and or may lose some theme settings. Google Analyticator automatically hooks your blog to Google Analytics and gives you a great dashboard overview of last 30 days and how your site is doing by showing traffic, most visited pages….etc. It helps save you time so you don’t have to jump over to GA as often as well.
Because …When your site starts getting a lot of traffic your web hosting resources can be strained, especially if you start off with a shared hosting plan. W3 Total Cache will help cache your frequently accessed resources so it puts less strain on your web hosting provider and allows your site to handle more traffic without those pesky 500 or out of memory errors which can occur with shared hosting plans. I recommend you minify, gzip, browser and page cache everything, this can help improve your Google Insights Pagespeed score as well.
Because …Optimizing your website and blog for search is critical. All in One SEO Pack plugin is one of the best SEO plugins around. Plus, utilizing a plugin for your SEO (instead of the built-in SEO fields that come with some WordPress themes) means you can easily “take your SEO with you” when moving from one theme to another.
Plugin #2: Digg Digg
Because …Make it as easy as possible for your website visitors and readers to share your content on their preferred social media network! Digg Digg is easy to use, and has lots of ways to customize it to best fit your needs.
Because …Attributing content published on the web, to the author who wrote it, is of high importance. The Social Author Bio plugin allows for each author to include their name, photo, bio, social media accounts, and setup their Google Authorship.
Because …I guess there is no need to tell something special about this plug, it’s used by millions with good reason, it’s a real life / time saver for managing spam comments…To fight the latest spam tactics it analyzes data gathered from sites to protect them in real time.
Because …This plugin will help you keep your database optimized. Also you can delete auto drafts, old transient feeds or spam comments recognized by akismet and more in a one click… It’s fast and simple and it simply does what it should do.
Because …To speed things up to and to keep your host’s CPU at low level all the time. This plugin will cache your pages and serve it as static HTML pages instead of processing PHP scripts and mysql queries each time user visits page. As a result this will save huge amount of CPU power and will increase your site speed significantly.
Because …This one comes preinstalled with WordPress and is an excellent anti-comment-spam tool. We believe in leaving the comments open (not pre-moderated) and encourage our clients to do the same, and this helps keep them clean.
Because …Out of the box, WordPress has pretty solid SEO. However, using a quality plug-in can help take it to the next level. Our favorite is WordPress SEO by Yoast, though the popular All in One SEO Pack is a solid choice as well.
Because …You have made the decision to use WordPress.org software, and to operate your own new blog. Excellent! You now can present your words, images, and videos to anybody in the world who is interested. With the core of WordPress, you have a great deal of control over how your ideas show up on your own site. If you add the WordPress SEO plugin, you can also control how your ideas will appear to search engines and their users. It’s vital to learn to do this as you learn to create your own blog, because it will help your audience find you.
Because …You need the Akismet and BruteProtect plugins because the worldwide internet is infested with rascals. They try to fill your blog’s comments with spam, and to break into your blog’s dashboard. These two plugins protect your blog from these evildoers. Install them and configure them on the same day you set up your new blog. If you don’t you will be sorry.
Because …This is a premium plugin so you’ll have to pay for it but in my view it’s well worth it. If you need to include any sort of contact or other forms in your site it gives you an incredibly easy to use interface which is very flexible and powerful and looks great on your site. You can also use it to allow users to post content on your site too, which opens up all sorts of possibilities.
Because …A lot of people swear by Backup Buddy but I find WP Backup to Dropbox simpler to use, more reliable on Multisite and best of all it’s free. Backing up your site regularly is essential and this backs up your themes, plugins, uploads and database as often as you want it to and saves them to your dropbox folder. Don’t be without it.
Because …Recently, it seems that many WordPress websites have been attacked by hackers. It’s important to always keep your WordPress site and plugins updated. However, you can provide extra protection for your site by installing the WordFence Security Plugin. It scans your site for virus, malware, plugin and theme issues and will alert you via email when there is a problem. The plugin can be set to automatically update and speeds up your site quite significantly. A new feature is Falcon Engine which is a new and very effective caching engine if you do not have one already installed.
Because …If your site is heavy with images, you can use EWWW Image Optimizer to decrease your image’s file size, optimize them, and speed up your load time without losing quality. It even works with gallery images such as NextGen. I found it to be easy to use and it works like a charm.
Because …This great plugin saves you bandwidth by creating a placeholder for all of your images, gravatars and IFrames, so that they don’t load until the reader scrolls down the page. There is also a setting in the editor that allows you to disable lazy load on specific pages or posts if want. If you are using Cloudflare, disable Rocket Loader or images may stay blank.
Because …As a blogger it’s so important to make a connection with the people that visit your blog, CommentLuv is a great plugin to have because it will help you build a strong readership that will give you unlimited possibilities.
Because …Since I started blogging and building my online business I’ve come to love this simple but! effective, contact form plugin that will allow you to collect very important information and gain new clients.
Because …The Genesis eNews Extended plugin was created by Brandon Kraft, this plugin works with a number of email op-tin services that helps you build your email list. One of the best this I like about this plugin is it’s very StudioPress theme friendly.
Because …Keeping your blog spam FREE! is on going thing and sometimes very hard to do. Akismet simply allows you to focus on more important thing. All you need to do is download the FREE Akismet plugin and active it and it will do the rest.
Because …Jetpack is more powerful and useful plugin. It’s actually developed by WordPress team. If you have an WordPress.com account, you can attach your site to this account and you can reach most beautiful services and tools. Stats, Share components, Single sing-on and other useful tools.
Because …With Yet Another Related Post Plugin, you can built an internal linking system. Plugin displays posts, pages and custom post types related with current post/article/entry. And also you can control and customize plugins display, thumbnails, list of links or customized template.
Because …With this powerful SEO plugin, you can improve your search engine optimization. You can set a focus keyword for each entry, you can optimize your content and become a king. Plugin offers you sitemap, RSS optimization, breadcrumbs, social integration (facebook graph, twitter graph api etc.). OK, this plugin may need some technical talent but this is not a big deal.
Because …When you begin blogging, you want obviously want to be found, which is why I install WordPress SEO on every site. Also, you don’t want to be flooded with spam and unnecessary comments, which is why I’ve chosen Akismet. Finally, interaction through the comments is important, but you want that on your posts and not necessarily on your pages, which is why I’ve chosen No Page Comment.
Because …WP All In One WP Security & Firewall creates a menu item to the left within the admin area and offers dozens of options – including automatic tasks for what you normally do manually: for example, “File Permissions” under “File System Security” or “DB Prefix Options”, the complex renaming of the WP-prefix in the SQL database). It is worth to set up this plugin first and then follow the additional tips from WordPress.org http://codex.wordpress.org/Hardening_WordPress Backups of the SQL database can also be created and managed by the plugin. Then you can use a FTP tool to pull a backup of the entire site.
Because …A very useful plugin, especially when using expired Domains or if your page has changed, for example after a relaunch. 404 Redirected lists all incoming requests, which generate 404 error and then offers you the possibility to forward them accordingly. Unfortunately, without possibility for bulk actions of several URLs.
Because …Comments Evolved for WordPress is a very handy way to use external comment system in WordPress. The big advantage is that you can use Google+ comments directly, as we already know from Facebook. There is support for Disqus, WordPress Comments and Trackbacks.
Because …I assume that new bloggers want to run their blogs successfully and with intend to grow the number of visitors. And in relation of the number of visitors the Spam will increase too. Therefore I recommend the two plugins “Antispam Bee” (Sergej Müller) and “Limit Login Attempts “(Johan Eenfeldt) at first.
Because …Bloggers who plan to present many photos or other media, should take a look at the plugin “Media Library Assistant” (David Lingren). This plugin allows to categorize WordPress’ media library. So you can manage media in a more flexible way.
Because …Nobody likes having their inboxes filled with spam, and Akismet is one of the best ways to keep comments promoting “cheap Rolex watches” at bay. Akismet is protecting millions of blogs on WordPress.com and comes installed by default on all new WordPress installations; just visit akismet.com to set up your account!
Because …A favorite of beginners and experts alike, Yoast’s Search Engine Optimization (SEO) plugin makes it easy to control your site’s SEO-related settings, write better content, and detect issues with your site that may be keeping you from being discovered by your audience.
Because …Speed up your site for your visitors, reduce your bandwidth, and make sure that when your posts go viral your site won’t have to go down in the process. WP Super Cache is easy to install and configure, with a whole stable of advanced settings you can play with as you get comfortable.
Every site is different so every site will have different needs and wants for plugins. However there are three types of plugins I add to every site:
Plugin #1:The first are spam fighting plugins. I like Akismet and think it does a good job preventing spam comments. I like to combine it with a plugin that adds a honeypot like Jason Tadlock’s Registration Honeypot. Akismet will compare IP and email addresses against a known database of spammers and the honeypot plugins will add hidden fields that humans don’t fill in, but spambots do.
Plugin #2:The second type of plugin I always add is a caching plugin. I prefer W3 Total Cache, but WP Super Cache is also good and probably a little simpler to set up at first. These aren’t plugins you install and forget about. You do want to go through their settings and take the time to understand what each is doing. You can usually leave the defaults and then work your way through each section until you have it set how you like.
Plugin #3:The last type of plugin I install is something to help with search engines and my go plugin is WordPress SEO. No plugin will optimize your site for you. Like caching plugins, you need to go through WordPress SEO and understand what it allows you do to. You don’t need to check or uncheck everything. Again leave the defaults and work through each section of the plugin one at time until you have it set up like you want.
Recommended plugins for starting a blog: In general I would advise to not rely on plugin top lists too much. Use plugins because you need them to do something specific, and not just because other people recommended them. Too many plugins can slow your site down!
That said I use the following on all my sites:
Recommended plugins for starting a blog: In my opinion, these plugins are a good option if you want to improve your blog because they do not require coding experience. They will optimize your blog for both visitors & searcn engines and make a steady foundation, that will help you gro your blog.
Because …you do not have to worry about design skills. This plugin will help you in developing a great website.
We at FirstSiteGuide sincerely hope that answers from our survey will help you decide on your selection of most essential plugins for your blog. Keep checking this article as we will be adding more expert suggestions.
Also, don’t forget to visit our Blog section for additional tips on starting, running and growing your blog!