So you’ve got a brand-spanking new WordPress blog, and you’re eager to share your thoughts, opinions, and expertise with the world.
There’s only one problem.
WordPress is a tad limited with what it can do out of the box, which will likely interfere with the plans you have for your blog.
For instance, if you plan on selling eBooks and other digital products to readers once your blog takes off, you won’t be able to do that with vanilla WordPress, as it lacks the capacity to process payments and enable downloads.
Does that mean you can’t sell eBooks on your blog if you use WordPress?
No, it does not.
Enter WordPress plugins, which are optional software add-ons that provide new features and capabilities for your CMS – all without the need for additional programming.
What’s even better is that most of these plugins are entirely free, so you won’t have to go broke spending money on plugins before you can monetize your blog.
There are countless WordPress plugins that provide features like site analytics, SEO metrics, payment processing, form creation, and more.
We want you to succeed with your blogging efforts, which is why we’re listing the best WordPress plugins for blogging and SEO, so read on to learn more.
Must-Have WordPress Plugins That’ll Transform Your Blogging Experience
While there are plenty of plugins out there, they aren’t all of equal quality. Some even cost money, so you need to know A) precisely what you’re looking for and B) which plugin handles it the best.
To make your life easier, here’s a list of what we believe are the quintessential plugins for new WordPress bloggers.
AIOSEO (All-in-One SEO)
First things first, you’ll need a solid SEO strategy to generate lots of traffic to your blog, and AIOSEO is the best SEO WordPress plugin available today.
Its free version contains powerful features for monitoring and improving your SEO efforts.
Stand-out features include:
- SEO health checks
- Smart meta tag generator
- A link assistant that identifies link opportunities in posts
- Schema generator for rich snippets
- Smart XML sitemaps
The smart meta tag generator is invaluable for keeping your posts updated, as it uses dynamic values for things like dates, author info, and more.
That means you won’t have to update a bunch of old blog posts just to change the year from 2022 to 2023, and so on.
While the free version contains tons of great features, there is a paid premium version that takes things to the next level. It includes advanced capabilities like 404 error tracking, local business schema, and access to Google Search Console metrics.
This WP plugin is a must-have if you plan on selling digital products to your readers, which is one of the most effective blog monetization techniques.
As mentioned previously, the base version of WP isn’t able to do things like process payments and enable downloads.
That all changes with Easy Digital Downloads, as it makes it effortless to sell:
- Other digital products (i.e., organizers, calendars, etc.)
You have the option of setting up one-time or unlimited downloads, and the tool integrates with payment options like Apple Pay and Google Play.
So, if selling digital goods is part of the plan you have for your blog, don’t forget to download this crucial plugin.
If you want to successfully build an audience for your blog, then it’s essential to pay close attention to your site analytics and user behavior.
Most SEOs use Google Analytics for this purpose, but how do you connect it to your blog?
MonsterInsights solves this problem, as it enables you to sync your blog up to GA for real-time insights into things like site traffic, dwell time, click-through rates, and other vital metrics.
The best part about this plugin is how it simplifies the learning curve involved with using GA. Not only that, but it’s undoubtedly handy to be able to view your GA metrics straight from your WordPress dashboard, which is worth the price of admission.
Speaking of price, there are two versions of MonsterInsights, Free and Pro.
The free version will be sufficient for most, as it lets you connect your blog to GA and view its analytics.
The Pro version adds these features:
- Page tracking
- Tracking 404 error pages on your site
- Custom reporting
- Google AdSense tracking
It’s worth the upgrade if you want customizable reporting and to track your performance on AdSense.
If you want your blog posts to rank well on search engines and provide a pleasant user experience to readers, lightning-fast loading speed is a must.
After all, if you don’t pass Google’s Core Web Vitals test, you won’t stand a very good chance of ranking high on the SERPs.
Luckily, WPRocket is a plugin with the sole focus of optimizing your page speed.
The one drawback is there’s no free trial or free version, so you’ll have to pay for the privilege ($49, to be exact).
It makes the list because, despite the price, it’s the best plugin for improving loading times.
While it’s listed as a simple caching tool, WPRocket’s ability to speed up your site can’t be understated, so don’t forget to add this plugin to your must-have list.
Even if you aren’t trying to monetize your blog, it’s nice for your readers to have a contact form to get in touch with you if they have questions or comments.
Once again, without a plugin, you’ll have to jump through all sorts of hoops to create a simple form on WordPress.
To avoid having to write your own custom HTML forms, try downloading WPForms for free instead.
It uses an intuitive drag-and-drop editor for form creation, and it couldn’t be simpler.
In no time at all, you’ll be able to create contact forms, payment forms, subscription lists, and more.
Are you part of an affiliate program?
If so, then you know how long and cumbersome referral links can be (we’re looking at you, Amazon).
You’ll also be thrilled to know that Pretty Links is a dedicated referral link shortener.
With it, you’ll be able to shorten and ‘beautify’ your links to make them far easier to deal with.
Besides that, Pretty Links also tracks your affiliate links, which is definitely its best feature.
It tracks each click on your affiliate links and provides a detailed report on when and where the click came from, which is excellent for affiliate marketers.
Elevate Your Blogging and SEO with WP Plugins
We’ll be honest: WordPress by itself isn’t too impressive.
However, add some plugins into the mix, and it becomes a total powerhouse for monetizing a blog.
The plugins found on this list will speed up your website, help you track affiliate links, monitor SEO, and enable digital downloads and payments.
If you need help putting together a professional blog/SEO strategy, don’t wait to check out HOTH X, our enormously effective managed SEO services.