WordPress is powerful. But it gets even better. WordPress is open source software, supported by a huge community of web developers who are continually finding ways to make it do more through the use of plugins. A plugin is just an add-on, and there are a few that I consider pretty much essential to an effective website and I use them repeatedly.
This is a list of my favorites…
1. Yoast SEO for WordPress
In the Wealthy Affiliate hosting, when you launch a blog, it comes pre-installed with a plugin called All in One SEO. It’s fantastic. I just prefer Joost (pronounced “yaost”, hence the name) de Vaalk’s plugin because of some of its social media functionality.
This plugin lets you create customized titles, meta information, and all kinds of other customizations. It also spits out a Google-friendly sitemap.
Also, there is a premium version of Yoast’s plugin, which I use on just a couple of sites, but the free version will do just fine for most sites.
2. Thirsty Affiliates
Thirsty Affiliates is the plugin I use to cloak and organize affiliate links. You can take a long, ugly link like “http://www.anrdoezrs.net/links/8285808/type/dlg/https://www.touchofmodern.com/sales/jetbeam-9c71ec5d-1e9a-4c2d-93d2-f81dfa04291b/jetbeam-msr26” (an actual link to a flashlight) and make it something more like “youramazingblog.com/recommends/flashlight.”
There are add-ons that allow you to auto-link words and phrases, measure stats, and further extend the functionality, but the free version works great in most cases.
3. Google Analytics
This one is simple. You install it, then go to the settings page and log into your Google account and it grabs the code needed to track all of your site’s visits appropriately. I like this one because it gives a simple line graph in the main WordPress dashboard for a quick view of your site statistics.
If you want to insert Amazon affiliate links into your content, or even build entire Amazon stores, this is the plugin you need!
Once installed, it lets you search Amazon and insert graphics, buttons, and more right inside the WordPress post editor panel. It’s powerful!
Bloom is a powerful plugin that helps you collect email addresses. You can easily add pretty pop-ups, inline opt-in forms, create widgets, and more.
And, it integrates with most major email marketing providers. I use MailerLite, which isn’t on the list, but I can easily use the MailerLite-provided html within Bloom.
Monarch, like Bloom, is offered by Elegant Themes. So if you buy either Bloom or Monarch, the other plugin, plus the Divi Builder plugin AND 81 awesome WordPress themes all come with your membership!
Monarch displays beautiful social sharing buttons on your posts and social follow links in your sidebar.
How do you insert ads into your blog? And mix them up? And rotate them, put them in groups, use code or images or custom html? AdvancedAds. It does it all.
And it’s easy to use!
What did I miss? Do you have a favorite plugin I didn’t include?
This article originally appeared here, and is used by permission.