Any blogger using WordPress knows the importance of having good WordPress plugins. There are hundreds of thousands of plugins out there, and it can be difficult to know which ones will improve and optimize your site.
Since I started Money Hero a few months ago, monetizing the site has always been a priority of mine. Not only do I love personal finance, and want to share what I know with my readers, but I am also aiming to one day replace my full-time job.
As with anything, there is no magic bullet or get-rich-quick scheme. Building a successful blog takes a lot of time, hard work, and patience.
If you’re in the same boat as me, and have a small blog that you’re hoping to grow and eventually monetize, then there are plenty of tools out there that can help to get you on the right track.
I wrote earlier on how to start a blog on WordPress, but didn’t go into detail on some of the most invaluable plugins that you need to have. I’m going to share with you 7 useful plugins that I personally use on my blog.
Side note: If you don’t yet have a blog, but are interested in starting one, please head over to my comprehensive guide on starting a blog with Bluehost and WordPress. You can get web hosting for about $3 per month, which includes a free domain name. When you’re done, head back over here to see and install all of the plugins that are absolutely necessary to start making money with your blog.
Now that you have your blog up and running, let’s go over these 7 plugins that I have personally found to be super useful and helpful on Money Hero.
ConvertKit is an email marketing platform created and designed specifically for bloggers. It allows you to collect visitors’ email addresses, create sign up forms and landing pages, design email sequences, grow your email list, and automate your email marketing.
I love ConvertKit mainly because of how easy it is to use. From the moment I signed up I knew exactly where to go and what to do.
According to their website:
ConvertKit is built by bloggers, for bloggers. With your unique needs in mind, we’ve created a tool that gives you the power to earn more from your email list while keeping the human element in something as personal as email.
I used to use MailChimp, but had an issue with them that ended up in my account getting suspended for violation of their terms of service. So I switched over to ConvertKit, and haven’t looked back.
ConvertKit costs $29/month, but I’ve found it to be well worth the money. Their platform is so seamless and easy to use, and I’ve been able to connect with my readers and build my email list thanks to them.
MailMunch is another email marketing platform that I use in conjunction with ConvertKit for all of my email needs. I love and recommend MailMunch because you can use it to build lead pages, as well as subscribe forms to collect readers’ email addresses.
I had MailMunch back when I was using MailChimp, for their fantastic forms. When I switched over to ConvertKit, all I had to do was change the service integration from MailChimp to ConvertKit. My forms all stayed the same.
There are a couple things that MailMunch does better than ConvertKit, such as the subscribe banner you see at the top of Money Hero. MailMunch also has a couple of options for popup subscribe boxes that I like, and use.
It’s always nice to have options when it comes to subscribe forms for my readers.
I like to use both MailMunch and ConvertKit, because I want the best of both worlds. Oh, and MailMunch is free, so why wouldn’t I take advantage of that? I definitely recommend MailMunch for your lead pages and subscribe forms.
YoastSEO is a fantastic tool for helping you to use Search Engine Optimization (SEO) best practices. Good SEO is very complex, and is critical for ranking well in search engines such as Google.
Every post that you write should be SEO optimized for search engines. Let me repeat. Every post that you write should be SEO optimized for search engines. Why? Traffic. Google is obviously the biggest search engine in the world, and if you can rank highly enough in their search results, you will have a constant influx of readers to your website.
This is where YoastSEO comes in.
YoastSEO monitors your posts and tells you how to optimize your writing to perform best in Google’s search engine.
YoastSEO will analyze your writing, in depth, and show you what needs to be improved. It takes into account everything that Google looks for when it determines ranking. This includes monitoring your post’s readability, keyword usage, meta data, backlinking, title, URL, and much, much more.
Ultimately, you want to rank highly in Google. and YoastSEO will help you to do that.
YoastSEO is a free plugin and it’s pretty much necessary if you’re going to have a blog. I don’t know of any SEO plugins that are more well-known or powerful as YoastSEO. Definitely worth a look.
4.) Add Widget After Content
Add Widget After Content is another really useful plugin that I use on Money Hero. What it does is allow you to insert widgets at the ends of posts and pages. With it, I put a subscribe box below the content of each and every post.
That way, I’m able to collect emails from my readers after they’ve reached the end of my content.
If you look at the end of this post, you’ll see the subscribe box for my free ebook (why not subscribe while you’re there? :D). This is all thanks to AWAC. I’m sure there are other plugins that do the same thing, but AWAC is free and it’s simple to use, so I’m sticking with it.
Shareaholic is a social sharing platform for your WordPress blog. I’ve been using Shareaholic for a while now, and I love it. It allows your readers to share your posts on just about any social network you can think of.
One of the most important things you can do to your blog is make is shareable. If you have amazing content, but no one knows about it, then what’s the point?
The more eyes on your content, the more earning potential of your blog.
Shareaholic puts nice, bright social share icons just about anywhere on your site, including after post content, above content, and in a floating sidebar. Matter of fact, if you look to the left side of this page, you will see Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest share buttons. (Shameless plug: feel free to share this article!)
The nice thing about Shareaholic is that it has so many customizable options. When you install the plugin, you get a handy App Manager that lets you customize every aspect of the share buttons, including layout, size, alignment, which social networks you want your readers to be able to share to, and even an option to show related posts under your blog posts.
If you are a small business and you sell physical goods, and you happen to have a WordPress site, then you absolutely have to have WooCommerce. WooCommerce is probably the most popular solution for online storefronts for WordPress.
WooCommerce offers fully fleshed-out product description pages, checkout and refund pages, a shopping cart, and much more.
Fun fact: WooCommerce was created by the same people who designed WordPress. So you know it’s legit.
WooCommerce itself is free, but there is a boatload of paid enhancements that you can add to the platform to optimize your customers’s shopping experience. For example, if you want to link your Stripe account to collect payments, there are several WooCommerce Stripe payment gateway plugins that make it easy to take payments with Stripe.
Also, there is a WooCommerce Subscription Plugin that you can install to create content gateways, to hide specific pages or content behind a paywall. That way, if you have a site that requires membership, you can lock certain content away until your viewers sign up.
7.) Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
The best plugin I’ve found for monitoring your analytics is Google Analytics Dashboard for WP. It’s a handy plugin that lets you monitor the visitors to your site, directly from your WordPress page.
Google Analytics is easily the best way to get a picture of the analytics for your site, and this dashboard logs you right into your account, no hassle.
When you can see where your visitors are coming from, what pages they are landing on, how long they are staying, and what their activity on your site looks like, you can tailor your content and your marketing to best convert those users into paying customers.
On top of the standard Google Analytics stats, Google Analytics Dashboard for WP also offers in-depth reports for your Pages and Posts. This helps you see performance info for each specific page.
This way, you can see which posts are driving the most traffic, and which ones can use some work.
Best of all, all of this info is available directly in your WordPress dashboard! So you don’t even have to go all the way to Google’s Analytics page to get your real-time metrics.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP also lets you track specific events, such as:
- Affiliate Links
- Outbound Links
- Custom page events
Having a good grasp of your analytics is an absolutely necessary part of being a successful blogger. Master your metrics, and you can really focus your energy to what’s working, and maximize how much money you make from your blog.
These are just 7 of the many plugins that I use to make Money Hero run like a well-oiled machine (ok, not really, but I try.) There are several others out there that I considered including, but I wanted to just keep it basic for now.
If you know of any other plugins that you’d like to recommend that have helped you with your blog, I’d love to hear from you!