Bloggers have been making money for decades. Creating my blog was something that was born out of creativity and a need to share my knowledge and things I like with the world. Since I started creating my framework of turning my blog (aka an expensive hobby) into a profitable business, I had to step my game up.
With the level up, I had to make sure I had plugins on my self-hosted WordPress site that would help me reach that goal. If you aren’t familiar with plugins, they are enhancements that can be added to a self-hosted WordPress website. There are hundreds of thousands of plugins that you can add to your website to transform it into ANYTHING you would like. Here are the must have plugins I can’t live without.
When I first started my blog, the first thing I was concerned about was securing my site. I have heard plenty of horror stories about bloggers losing their websites or having them hacked and can’t recover it no matter how much they have tried. This is the first plugin I always put on any new WordPress website I create. Once I install it, I go through the different features and activate what I feel is most important. If you choose to install this security plugin, I recommended activating your SSL (which you can also activate with your hosting provider) and Admin Portal. All WordPress websites have a backend that can be accessed with “wp-admin”. This is a surefire way to increase access to hacking your website. I have changed it to something completely different so it’s less accessible. It’s not foolproof, but it is a deterrent.
W3 Total Cache
I recently installed this plugin when I started analyzing my complete website. I wanted to make sure that my website speeds and loading times were up to par. With a cache plugin, it clears my website so files and things that could possibly slow down my website. Ever since I added this plugin, I have noticed an increase in load times and moves much faster. I also changed hosting providers to NameHero, and that also helped as well.
This plugin can change an entire website completely. Woocommerce is a plugin that allows you to add an online store to your website. With this plugin, I am able to sell my digital content and all my craft projects. Woocommerce comes with hundreds of integrations and extensions that can further enhance your plugin such as text messaging, email marketing, shopping ads, and much more. Woocommerce also integrates with Stripe which makes it easy to get paid.
Although I have had this plugin for years, I haven’t completely mastered it. Yoast SEO helps with optimizing your content to be found in search engines. I love using this plugin because it lets me know how my content could possibly perform. I try to optimize my content as much as possible so I can see how it will do before I run ads to it, if I choose to. This plugin also lets you customize how your post will show up in Google on a mobile and desktop search. I am committed to mastering this tool very soon.
Affiliate marketing and links are another way to bring income from your blog. When you sign up for affiliate programs, the links they provide to track your conversions can be long and unappealing to your viewer. The Pretty Links plugin lets you create vanity URLs. If you are an affiliate for Target, your link maybe affiliate.target.com/854278=nviranh. With this plugin, you can create a vanity URL such as daphnesnell.com/target. This way your subscribers won’t have to endure looking at that long ugly link from Target.
One of the biggest things that can slow down your website is your images. Yes I understand you want those clear crisp photos on your website, but keep in mind that beautiful image you created in Photoshop is almost 1GB. Now times that by 50 with all the images you have on your website to attract your readers. That can slow down your site tenfold. With this plugin, when you upload those images, it automatically compresses them without sacrificing the quality of your photo thus keeping your website load times and page speed up to par.
Now when you start implementing these plugins, don’t get shiny object syndrome and install a ton of plugins; not only does having too many plugins slow down your website, they can also make you more susceptible to getting hacked. Enjoy.