To make a WordPress site ready to rake in money, you will need to install certain plugins which extend its looks and functionality. Read on to know them…
Usually after making a WordPress installation and activating a befitting theme, the next thing that must be done to enhance the beauty and ruggedness of a WordPress site so as to attract visitors who will spend from their pockets in the future is to install appropriate plugins. To be able to make money from your site, you must have a robust customers’ following. Hence, your site must be rich in content, attractable in appearance, strong in functionality and generous in rewards.
Visualising what a plugin is to a site is like you building a house without a kitchen, toilet, fans, tables and other utilities. Unless you are in some parts of Nigeria where you can dash into the bush to answer the call of nature, a house built without a toilet and other essential amenities is surely discomforting. And that is exactly what plugins are to WordPress sites. They extend it.
This post will talk about the kind of plugins you need to install on your site and their functions. A separate post which is not part of the Blogging Wealth series may drill on why plugins are necessary to WordPress sites, and how to install, activate, update, deactivate or delete them.
In the meantime, sit back and clutch your popcorn while I take you on a ride to see the types of plugins to be installed on a site. Hope you gonna enjoy and learn from this trip!
Plugins to install
Whenever I am creating a WordPress site, the following plugins listed here are most of the ones I install on my sites. They are arranged in alphabetical order; hence, the list is not an order of preference or performance.
One other thing you need to know is that some plugins are free while others are paid for. But most of the plugins listed here are free.
Some WordPress sites are naturally slow to load due to the type of theme used or the number and nature of images used on the site’s pages. Lazy load is a technique that allows only those images visible at a user’s viewable area to be loaded. The other pictures are loaded only when the user scrolls down to the area where they are, thereby allowing your site to load faster.
A3 Lazy Load is a plugin that does lazy loading very well. You can learn more about and download the plugin here.
Usually people and spambots usually use the comment section of a site to spread unnecessary and unwarranted messages (spams). You cannot track, sieve, bar or delete all of the spams manually. Even if you can, it is a Herculean task. Akismet is one of such plugins that will do these tasks and more for you automatically once you install and link it with an API key.
According to Akismet, the keys are free for personal blogs, while commercial and business sites will have to settle for paid subscriptions.
“Visualising what a plugin is to a site is like you building a house without a kitchen, toilet, fans, tables and other utilities. Unless you are in some parts of Nigeria where you can dash into the bush to answer the call of nature, a house built without a toilet and other essential amenities is surely discomforting. And that is exactly what plugins are to WordPress sites…”
Hence, you will need a system that concatenates these scripts and styles, minifies and compresses them so as to make your site light weight in order to load fast. One plugin that comes in mind and does the job of optimization of sites very well is Autoptimize.
You can read more about and download the plugin here.
One issue you must take seriously about your WordPress self-hosted site is security. Firstly, you should get a good hosting company to host your sites. Secondly, you should keep backups of your site.
If your hosting company keeps backups for you, you are good to go. But still, you should still keep your own copies for double security. And here, you need to backup both your files and database.
Backing up your files and database manually isn’t much a big deal. But it is still not a walk in the pack. Furthermore, it eats up your bandwidth, data plan and local disk space.
One way to run around this is to use a plugin such as Backup & Restore Dropbox.
Firstly, this plugin backups your files and databases automatically and can transfer them directly to your Dropbox account thereby minimizing the number of bandwidth churned up. Secondly, you can also make use of Dropbox’s free space (but if your storage exceeds 2GB, you will pay).
Thirdly, since your files are on Dropbox, you can access them anywhere you are. Fourthly, you can transfer the files and databases quickly from the local Dropbox software unto your local or external hard disks for further storage.
The time it takes for your site to load could persuade or dissuade visitors to use your site. A user might find an enticing content on your site, but if it takes years for the content to load, the user might quickly look elsewhere for alternatives. The attention of an online user is fickle and hence, you should do all in your capacity to speed up your site.
Another way of speeding up a site is by caching. Caching is a system whereby whenever a user visits a website once, some contents of the site which are common to all the web pages of the site will be temporarily stored on the visitor’s computer. So if the visitor returns, the stored files will be loaded first from the user’s computer thereby speeding up load time of the website.
One of the best caching plugins out there is Comet Cache. You can read more and download it here.
While undertaking major changes like theme changes or testing a new functionality, you might want to temporarily lock up your site so that visitors don’t see any unwanted element. The best way to go about this is to use a plugin that displays a maintenance mode to visitors to your site at that particular moment. Only users with administrative rights can login.
One of the plugins that does this best is Coming Soon Page & Maintenance Mode by SeedProd plugin.
Once you are done making the necessary changes, with the click of a single button the maintenance mode will be deactivated.
One way to increase the popularity and the search engine optimization of your site is through comment systems. A highly commented site is a popular one and hence will rank high in search engines.
One popular and rugged comment system which can be integrated to a WordPress site is Disqus Conditional Load. Even though it is ubiquitous nowadays, its setback is that it requires users to register with it before commenting. Hence, users that cannot register on it will be disenfranchised from making comments on your site. But apart from this, the plugin is rock solid.
Most times, you would want to customize the fonts of your site. Some free themes don’t come with ways to easily customize fonts. And it is not all fonts you have on your computers that browsers can render.
One way to resolve this is to use the free Google fonts which almost all browsers can work with. But even this requires some programming skills. You have to dig into your themes codes and tweak them which will not be good to the hearing of some.
But there is a solution here. To bypass the need of using programming to access the Google fonts, Easy Google Fonts plugin came to our rescue. With it now, you can add custom Google fonts to your site without keying any code.
You would surely want to sync Facebook posts from your page unto your website. There abound many plugins that claim to this. But one plugin that does it easily is Facebook Fan Box Widget. Apart from the feeds it shows, it also displays the total number of fans that liked a page and a Like button.
There exists few websites that make no use of forms. From creating Contact Us forms, survey forms, subscription forms to registration forms, forms are used everywhere in a site.
Creating a form is not a ride in the park. You will also need to use html coding. But using plugins like Formidable Forms, creating forms is now as simple as throwing a cake into your mouth and chewing it.
You would want to know the people that visit your site and perhaps what pages receive the highest patronage. Google has made it easy for site owners to track this through Google Analytics.
Once you register your site on Google Analytics, you will be given a code snippet which you will paste on the <head> section of the pages you want to track. This is not an easy task. Hence, there abound plugins that do this addition of the code snippet to site automatically.
One of such plugins is Google Analytics by MonsterInsights. You can read more about the plugin and perhaps download it here.
At times, you might want to insert images to the sidebar or at the header section of your site. WordPress only provides you with a text widget which you can then code to display the image.
What if you are a beginner like me that doesn’t know how to code or you know, but would rather want a ready-made image widget to simplify tasks? This is where image widget plugins come to the rescue. They are used to display images wherever you want them to appear. One of them is Image Widget plugin.
At times, you might want to report an event such as sport, political rally, a wedding ceremony or a conference live as it happens. Using the normal blog post to report and update as the event unfurls is very tasking to do. One way out of the doldrums is to use a live blog plugin which will enable you to report the event even minute by minute.
There are plethora plugins out there providing live blogging capabilities. But one of the best is 24liveblog.
With over a million downloads, JetPack is one of the most popular plugins in the WordPress.org directory. One thing that entices it to websites administrators is the fact that with it adds plenty functionalities to a site. You can automatically share your posts to social media, integrate social media posts to your site; increase site security, compress pictures, and many more, with only JetPack.
One reason I wouldn’t recommend JetPack to anyone is that it will make you lazy. And this can hurt you in the long run. For example, I have mentioned over a dozen of plugins in this article which add divergent functionalities to your site. But JetPack claims to have all these functions.
Read this too: How to Grow Wealthy with Blogging 102: Laying the Foundation
That JetPack has most of these functions is good news. But the bad news is that once any component of the plugin malfunctions, the whole plugin packs up and at times the plugin might even deny you access to the administrator’s end of your website. And when this happens, you will be left with no option other than uninstalling it and then start the tedious work of looking for its alternatives.
But if you still insist on using the plugin, you can read more about and even download JetPack here.
For any site you create, one way to monetize it is by email marketing. You cannot carry out email marketing without cultivating your visitors’ emails.
But there is a snag here. Users will not readily give out their emails just because you asked. You have to dangle a carrot in from of them. But that carrot must be real.
“How do I do it then?” it seems I heard you chuckled to yourself.
You will need to create what is called an optin form or welcome mat. An optin form is a form that pops up whenever a visitor visits a site. These forms normally prompt the visitor to subscribe to an offer with his/her email. Some sites would promise you free ebooks downloads, others will say they will send updates of their posts to you whenever available, and so on. It is this emails the websites collect they subsequently use to market products to the visitor.
One plugin that makes it very easy to create optin forms is MailMunch. Even though you are allowed to collect a few hundreds of emails with the plugin without paying a dime, there is a limit which if you reach you would be prompted by the developers to pay some token.
Yes, this is it. You want to create a gallery of pictures which slides around and you don’t know how to do it? Gallery developed by webdorado plugin readily comes to your rescue.
Robots and spambots usually fill up registration and contact us forms of a website thereby eating up disk spaces that used have been used to store valuable data. To guide against these invasions, you would need a captcha system that prompt users to identify some characters in a picture before they are registered or logged in. Really Simple Captcha plugin is one of such plugins that does this.
But Really Simple Captcha is not a standalone plugin. It is linked and called from other plugins. Read more about and perhaps download the plugin here.
WordPress sites work hand in hand with social media like Facebook and Twitter. You will need social media in great deal in order to market your contents. Great contents without putting them in front of those intended for are mere handwritings on the wall. Hence, you need to trumpet your contents to people.
Now, you could have a great content which have been published for a long time which at this particular time will be hot cake. But digging through your list of articles to repost and then reshare the article will be a difficult task.
What if there is a plugin that will search through your old posts and then republish them to a social media like twitter?
Enter the stage: Revive Old Post. That is exactly what this plugin does. It sieves through your contents and then reshare those posted in the past on Twitter. But one drawback of the plugin is that it supports only Twitter.
Hmm, the AppSumo! To my knowledge, there are two plugins so far who strive to be Jacks of all trades, master of all. These plugins are JetPack and SumoMe.
SumoMe has much functionality you can tap into. But the part I use most is its social buttons. If you would need to add social buttons to the side, bottom or top of your site to enable readers share your content, SumoMe is one stop shop to pack your car.
Furthermore, you can also use SumoMe to collect emails, create a welcome mat, analyze page visits, and send newsletters. Read more about SumoMe and download here.
At times you would want to display the most popular articles on your site. To do this, use Top 10 – Popular Posts Plugin for WordPress.
Read more about Use Google Libraries and probably download here.
With the custom install of WordPress, you can give credit to the writer of any article by linking the article with the writer’s user account if he or she has one, or by just writing it at the top of the post. But you cannot display a brief bio of the author at the bottom of the post. To do this, you will need to extend your WordPress installation by adding a plugin like WP About Author.
WordPress 3.6 and above allows users to control how many revisions are stored for each supported post type. Revisions are stored in the database, and if many are stored, can cause bloat. This bloat may lead to slower queries, which can have a noticeable performance impact.
The value of these revisions also depends on what is being tracked. For example, I may want to store every revision of the posts I write, but only desire to keep the latest five versions of each page on my site. Starting in WordPress 3.6, this control is available.
WordPress doesn’t provide a native interface to specify revisions quantities, and hence, Erick Hitter wrote a plugin called WP Revisions Control, which does just that.
Large image files may be slowing down your site without you even knowing it. According to WP Smush developers, the plugin uses WPMU DEV’s super servers to quickly break down every single one of your images and cuts all the unnecessary data without slowing down your site.
Toby Coyote, a user of the plugin has this to say, “WP Smush reduces the size of photo files. I had a lot of files to compress, so I thought I’d give it a try. I’m happy to report that it works very well. It seems to increase my website’s speed and performance too!”
As it is presently, WordPress only allows you to use custom avatars (caricatures) that are uploaded through Gravatar as a user’s photo. WP User Avatar enables you to use any photo uploaded into your Media Library as an avatar. This means you use the same uploader and library as your posts. No extra folders or image editing functions are necessary.
Read more and download the plugin here.
Every-time you save a new post or page, WordPress creates a revision of that post or page. If you edit a post 6 times you might have 5 copies of that post as revisions. Imagine if your post or pages are long and big. It is a huge number of bytes that’s on your MySQL overhead. According to the plugin developer, WP-Optimize allow you to optimize and shrink your posts table by removing not necessary post revisions from the database.
Furthermore, WP-Optimize can also clean and remove spam and un-approved comments in your comments table. WP-Optimize reports which database tables have overhead and wasted spaces; thereby allowing you to shrink and even get rid of those wasted spaces. It also automatically cleans database every week.
Read more about the plugin and download if you are interested.
If you want your twitter feeds to load on a sidebar of your site, you will need a plugin to sync them from Twitter. A plugin like WP twitter feeds will do the dirty work for you.
WordPress out of the box is already technically quite a good platform for SEO. But that doesn’t mean it can’t be improved upon! According to the Yoast SEO plugin developers, the plugin was written from the ground up to improve one’s site’s SEO on all needed aspects. Even though the plugin takes good care of most of the technical optimization, it is very good in helping one write better contents. The plugin encourages a site owner to choose a focus keyword when writing articles, and then makes sure the focus keyword is used everywhere in the article. You can read further and download the plugin here.
To display related posts to an article, you will need to add a plugin. And one that does this very well, is easy to setup and comes at no cost to your pocket is Yuzo Related Posts.
Wrapping things up
Making money and growing wealthy from blogging is not a day’s job and certainly not a child’s play. You can see this from the number of plugins you will need to install on your site to make it look sexy and powerful. But you cannot quantify the reward of hard work . In the long run, dollars will flow into your account even while you are snoring.
This post has been a lengthy one indeed. May be because of the length of time it took between the last post and this J But on a serious note, the plugins a site needs to rejuvenated are much.
Caution: You would need to refrain from installing plugins anyhow unless when the need arises. Furthermore, before you install a plugin, make sure you read the reviews on it. If there are negative reviews on the plugin, flee from it like a plague…
And that is it. This is where I will be signing out from this edition’s blogging secrets. But mind you, nothing good comes easy. To accumulate wealth, you must roll up your sleeves and do the dirty job. Wealth generation can only be accumulated over time by repeatedly doing the right things no matter how minute or gigantic. With little steps, the journey of a thousand miles will become history.
Until we meet in the next edition of blogging wealth, stay wealthy!
Do you think I left out valuable plugins from this post or some of the ones listed are not worth it? Please leave a comment below. I review your suggestions. You can also post questions. I will try my best to respond to all questions and if need be, create new posts to answer your queries.