I’ve been seeing a lot of people starting their own blog every single day and many of them want to make money out of it. If you are one of them, you should really take a look at this post. I’m going to share with you 10 Free WordPress Blog Plugins to help you build a better WordPress Blog and make money from it.
Disclaimer: I’m not an affiliate to any of these plugins in this post. I’ve used all of them before so I recommend them based on my personal experience.
I know many of you have a really tight budget, especially beginners who just got started in blogging. That’s why I compiled this list of Free Plugins to help you improve your WordPress blog.
Many of the plugins have Premium upgrades available. It’s totally up to you to decide whether you need the upgraded version. If not, I believe the Free versions are more than enough for the majority of you.
Let’s quickly get started…
The first step to blogging success is obviously to have a website first. But right after that, you need to get your site ranked in search engines like Google in order to gain traffic (visitors) to your blog.
That’s when Yoast SEO plugin comes in. SEO stands for Search Engine Optimization and it’s basically the process of getting your site ranked well in search engines.
Yoast is my recommended SEO plugin for WordPress because Yoast not only helps you optimize the technical aspects of your website but it also offers you guidelines and tips to help you write better contents.
Alternative Recommendation: All-in-One SEO Pack
Both Yoast and All-in-One perform an excellent SEO job. But I prefer Yoast because of the additional guidelines it has to help me write better contents for SEO.
GADWP is a plugin that shows you the detailed and in-depth Google Analytics Reports in your WordPress Dashboard. With GADWP, you can track your traffic directly in WordPress without the need to login to Google Analytics.
But before that, you need to have a Google Analytics account and verify your website. Then you can start using GADWP by connecting it with your Analytics account.
The last thing you want to happen to your blog is to lose all of your hard work and time spent when your blog crashes. This is totally possible when there are so many hackers and security issues on the internet. That’s why backing up your blog regularly is very important.
UpdraftPlus is one of the most popular and highly-rated backup plugins with over a million downloads. It allows you to schedule auto-backups and send them to your remote storage locations like Dropbox, S3 and Google Drive. You can restore them easily with just a couple of clicks as well.
Alternative Manual Backup:
To backup your site manually without any plugins, go to your WordPress Dashboard>Tools>Export and download export files for all content.
The benefit of this is that you have one less plugin on your site but you have to do it manually. UpdraftPlus helps you backup automatically once you set it up so you won’t forget to backup your site.
As a free Jetpack user, there are 3 main benefits to you: a faster and more secure site, more traffic and more engaging readers.
Jetpack is a very powerful WordPress tool which offers various tools that help achieve the above-mentioned results.
Here’s a list of example tools: site stats & analysis, automatic social sharing, show related posts, site protection, site downtime and uptime monitoring, high-speed CDN, etc…
The list goes on and all these are free tools. Can you imagine how powerful it is when you upgrade for their paid tools?
You can’t describe all the functions of Jetpack in one simple sentence because it has plenty of uses and benefits. It’s just an indispensable tool for any WordPress blogger.
Affiliate Marketing is one of the best ways for bloggers to make money online. It is basically promoting other people’s products on your site and earning commissions. To learn more about how to make money from your blog via affiliate marketing, click the link above.
One common hassle for most affiliate marketers is that it is hard to manage all their affiliate links from different programs.
ThirstyAffiliates is an affiliate link manager WordPress plugin which allows you to manage all your links in one dashboard. You can easily cloak the URL of the affiliate link into more reader-friendly style and auto-insert them into your contents.
Some useful Pro features include Google Clicks Tracking and Stats Analysis of the links. These allow you to know the performance of your links for better conversion.
YASR is another useful plugin for affiliate marketing. One strategy to make money from affiliate marketing is to write “review type” contents like product reviews.
YASR allows you to add rating stars into your review and inform Google that this particular post is a review post. By doing so, it can potentially improve your Google rankings because it allows Google to better understand your content.
SumoMe is a handy tool to help you grow your WordPress site and your overall business by increasing your email list, social shares and reader-engagement.
There are a lot of free functions included such as list builder, social sharing buttons, image sharer, welcome mat, etc…
These features allow you to promote your blog and make your content go viral more easily.
Q2W3 Fixed Widget is a plugin that allows you to make your widget “sticky” on your sidebar. I love this plugin a lot because it allows me to feature the most important thing I want to show to my readers.
By making your widget “sticky”, it catches your reader’s attention and increases conversion or click-through-rate. For example, you can make your Email Signup form sticky on your sidebar so that you can get more subscribers.
One of the disadvantages of the default WordPress commenting system is that people who have commented on a website won’t be notified whether their comments have been approved or someone has replied to it.
So, whenever someone left you a comment on your blog and you replied to them, they won’t be able to see it unless they manually come back to the same page. This is pretty bad.
Comment Approved plugin automatically sends out customized Email to people who have left a comment when their comment has been approved. This will increase the chance of them coming back to your blog and engaging with you even more.
You benefit from this in more engagements on your blog and more returning traffic!
Smush is an award-winning image optimization plugin that resizes, optimizes and compresses all your WordPress images to make your site run faster.
Having an image optimization plugin on your WordPress blog is a MUST because large size images can really slow down your site a lot. A slow website is a bad website, simple as that. No one on the internet has the time and patience to wait for your website to load.
There are many other similar image optimization plugins but I chose Smush simply because it’s award-winning and I like the user-interface. It’s really easy to use.
Kraken itself is also an image optimization plugin. But I’m putting it here as a bonus because I want to share with you guys the “Web Interface” of Kraken.io. This is my personal tip to optimize your images even more.
Kraken.io has this Free Web Interface for you to compress images on the web, prior to uploading it to WordPress. Whilst, plugins like Smush optimize images when the images are already uploaded to WordPress.
Doing this extra step allows the images to be optimized even more and hence save more space. So, it’s worth doing this extra step in my opinion.
(Note: Free Web Interface of Kraken.io has a file size limit of 1MB which means any images larger than 1MB can’t be optimized using Free Web Interface. So, you can just skip this step.)
*Note: You can also try Tiny PNG. You can upload images online and optimize them, and each image can be up to 5MB.*
A Note on WordPress Plugins
There’s always a constant debate on how many plugins is too many and what is the ideal number of plugins for a WordPress user?
I’ve just read an interesting post on this topic on wpmudev. Let me summarize the main points for you and give you my honest opinion on this.
The potential concerns of having many plugins is that they may slow down your site, cause security issues on your site or even cause your site to crash. Out of these issues, the most common concern is the slowing down of your site because it’s more likely to occur.
There are experts suggesting that less than 20 plugins are fine but there are also others saying less than 10 or even 5. The conclusion is that there is NO definite number. It depends totally on the individual plugins.
Let me give you 2 scenarios…
Firstly, there’s a site with just 5 plugins but these plugins are low quality and some are coded badly. Some of them may even cause conflicting issues when using together with other plugins.
Secondly, there’s a site with 15 plugins but all of them are high quality which means they are coded really well and work very smoothly with other plugins.
Which site do you think will run faster?
It’s quite obvious that the second one will most likely to run a lot faster despite that it has 3 times more plugins than the first one. Another benefit of this website is that it has more functionality because of the variety of quality plugins it has.
So, here are the 4 things you should do:
- Do your own research on the plugin developer and plugin reviews/ratings
- Check your plugins performance on Google PageSpeed Insights
- Use a Caching plugin to reduce page load time
- Trial and Error with different plugins
I hope you have benefited from this post. The main purpose of this post is to help you become a better and more efficient WordPress blogger.
Explore my full list of recommended tools for all Bloggers and Affiliate Marketers here. I’m sure you’ll love it if you like this post.
I wish you all the best and look forward to your success 🙂
About The Author
This is a Guest Post by Jerry Huang, a young Blogger & Affiliate Marketer at SmartAffiliateSuccess.com. Jerry has a FREE 8-Day Email Course that helps beginners to get started with Affiliate Marketing. Sign up on his website to start the course immediately!