I use WordPress to run many of my websites because of how easy it is to manage content with it. I’ve even talked on this site about how WordPress helps you rank better in the search engines.
One of the great advantages of using WordPress is its plugin system in which you have access to thousands of free and effective plugins for expediting the task of being a webmaster.
Today I’m going to cover the best WordPress plugins for 2012, both free and premium, which you should be using right now to improve your site and I’ll give an explanation of each. Note that this is all taken from Day 2 of my 10 Day Fast Track Affiliate Course, so check that out for hundreds of more tips, tutorials, and the best FREE course for learning how to make serious money online through affiliate marketing.
If you need help with how to install plugins, check out my post from yesterday on adding plugins to WordPress.
Akismet is a sophisticated spam blocker and is extremely helpful considering I get a lot of spam comments each day across my various sites.
It is so helpful in fact that it comes already installed through WordPress, you just need to activate it using a free key which you can get through its plugin page and it begins cutting down on 99% of the spam comments which you get immediately.
It’s a good idea to frequently backup your blog’s data in case the worst happens. You should also backup everything before you routinely update your version of WordPress when a newer version becomes available, as well.
WP-DB-Backup enables you to backup core/other tables in the same database to one conveniently compressed file. You can backup your blog on demand or can schedule to have a backup file created and emailed to you regularly. Setting up this plugin gives you a lot of peace of mind.
A sitemap is helpful for enabling web crawlers and on rare occasions users, as well, to more conveniently and easily navigate your site. Google loves for sites to have a fresh sitemap and Google Sitemap Generator makes it a one click or even an automated process for building a new one in a couple of seconds.
Pretty Link lets you create attractive, custom readable links right from your WordPress control panel. You can use it to mask your affiliate links or simply create “prettier” links and the plugin even shows you stats on how many clicks which each pretty link has received.
It works well with Twitter, as well, because you can create shorter links to include in your tweets. There are additional options which you can tweak such as making it a 301 vs. 307 redirect and specifying nofollow on every pretty link which you create.
There is also an upgraded premium version called Pretty Link Pro to give you additional functionality so that you can automate yourcustom link creation, fully cloak your links, auto-tweet your links,and replace keywords throughout your blog with your links which can save you a lot of time.
The All In One SEO Pack takes care of the annoying details of remembering to optimize your site for on site search engine optimization (SEO) and simplifies the process, saving you time.
This plugin offers a lot of options in terms of settings, and it provides a template with each new post which you make in which you can input your title, keywords, and description.
These are two plugins to enhance your comment sections. Subscribe to Comments notifies commentators who leave comments via email of when subsequent entries are made so that they can see replies made to their comments, encouraging them to come back to spend more time on your site.
Top Contributors on the other hand creates a widget which shows on your blog to create a list of the top commentators, thus increasing their exposure and giving them and everyone else ample incentive to engage in regular discussion on your site.
This is a very simple plugin which includes links to relevant posts based on keywords at the end of a post on your site. This increases the chancesthat someone will continue to read more content/other posts of yours and spend more time on your site.
Plugins Which Make Me Money:
OIO Publisher is a nifty plugin for WordPress which automates the entire process of advertisers purchasing ad space on your site and can be used on as many sites of yours as you like. It takes care of dealing with the advertiser, publishing their ads, and handling payments to/for you.
This means that all you have to do is approve the ad before it goes live. This enables you to focus on the task at hand of creating content andpromoting your site rather than worrying about selling your ad spaces.
Purchase OIO Publisher through this link and use the OIO coupon code I’ve written at the bottom of this page to knock $10 off of the price to make it just $37. You’ll more than make that price back when it sells your first ad spot for you.
Popup Domination is a WordPress plugin or stand alone script so it can be used on any website to create attractive looking light box pop ups and entice people to sign up for your mailing list. It worksseamlessly with the Best Email Marketing Software out there today and comes with 7 fully customizable templates so that you can get the look you want to reflect the theme of your site within a few clicks.
On the non aesthetic side, you can choose settings such as the popup delay time, choose specific pages or even categories on which to show your popup, choose how often the box appears for a unique visitor, etc. You can also easily split test so that you can get an idea of which copy and templates are converting the best for you.
Ultimately it’s a more attractive and customizable popup program than you get with the email software options out there which will help increase your opt in rates, which, if you’ve been paying attention to what I’ve been saying, is paramount to your success and earnings as an online and affiliate marketer.
Check out this Popup Domination review video I made to see it working in action.
Optin Comments is another way to get people to sign up for your email list. It delivers a very impressive conversion rate because every time someone leaves a comment on your blog, they are sent a thank you email for contributing and are asked if they’d like to sign up for your mailing list if they have not already done so.
Note that this is only done after the first comment as to not annoy that commentator. You can even add a checkbox next to the submit comment button which makes it even easier for them subscribe simultaneously when they leave their comment if they check the box. The idea is that commentators are much more likely to subscribe to your list and this plugin makes it very easy for them to sign up while commenting, hence the increased conversion rate.
BIG Tip – They list Optin Comments at $57 on their sales page, but if you try closing the window they’ll stop and tell you they have another deal for you at which you’ll find the price has dropped to $27, so do this to get more than 50% off of the purchase price.
The Ultimate Footer Popup can be used either as another email sign up spot or as an extra advertising space. It doesn’t capture as many leads as a lightbox style popup form, but it’s not as intrusive either and it’s still very visible at the bottom of your page. This makes it a very nice compromise for marketers who find the lightbox toointrusive or again it can be used as an extra advertising space if you want to further monetize your site.