When you start a blog, choosing the best WordPress plugins can be tricky at times.
With over 50,000 plugins to choose from, picking out the most trusted ones requires a bit of time and research. There are plugins which will enhance your blog and some which will do the exact opposite.
To save you some time on research, below is a list of the best plugins to download for WordPress – all which are totally free to use! These WordPress plugins are essentials for any blogger.
Yoast SEO is hands down the BEST WordPress Plugin out there. Period. Yoast SEO takes care of ALL the technical aspects that will skyrocket your blog’s SEO rankings. From the readability level to setting your focus keyword, Yoast makes sure you cover all the SEO requirements to boost your SEO score. All in all, they encourage you to write better content through real-time analysis and feedback.
It also includes a snippet preview which lets you see exactly how your post will look like in Google search results. Tweak it to perfection and you’ll notice traffic flooding in from all directions! Another key feature of Yoast is their XML Sitemaps. This allows search engines to easily crawl through your pages so your posts can be seen in Google, Bing and Yahoo’s search results.
The more I can say about Yoast, the less. Since this is a FREE plugin, I don’t see a reason for you to not have it.
Scheduling your posts ahead of time really lets you stay ahead of the competition. Using a calendar plugin for your blog posts creates a natural sense of urgency in your mind. You know what to do next, and exactly when to do it. Many bloggers lose focus because their thoughts are scattered all over the place. Not posting in a periodic and timely manner can be detrimental to your progress in blogging – your traffic can take a hard hit because of that.
With the Editorial Calendar, you’ll be able to plan out your blog posts months in advance. This will help create better conversion funnels and lead to higher targeted traffic flow. This calendar allows full flexibility with the options to drag and drop posts and edit them directly in the calendar.
Does exactly as the name states – caches your WordPress pages to improve SEO and overall page speed. This plugin enhances the user experience on your website by creating a flawless and lag-free navigation.
This plugin helps decrease your site’s load time by optimizing and compressing all images in your media. It helps reduce image size while enhancing your site’s performance and boosts SEO. This results in a flawless user experience which is a key factor in reader retention.
This plugin helps your blog/website look much cleaner. You’ll be able to create custom URLs according to your liking. Pretty Link also counts the click frequency of individual URLs – meaning you can run manual A/B tests to optimize click rates.
7. Best Plugin for Blog Security from Spam
Akismet is great for bloggers who are experiencing frequent spam comments. It automatically checks all comments and filters out the spam. Consider this your automated garbage bin!
Ever see the footer of a web page which says sitemap? Well, every website and blog has one for a reason. This plugin generates a special sitemap which encourages engines like Google, Yahoo, and Bing to easily crawl your website. Once your website is indexed, each post and page will be submitted to the search engines. Furthermore, it notifies every search engine about your new post – increasing the possibility of ranking higher in searches.
With over 1 million downloads, this plugin is a must have for beginners! It lets you fully customize your page with their drag-and-drop feature. Not as advanced as the Divi theme but it does the job quite well. All the widgets are mobile friendly and built for responsive content.
In order to decrease your bounce rate, you need your visitors to go from one page to the other. This plugin helps you do exactly that. At the end of your post, CRP shows thumbnails of related blog posts which entices your readers to dig deeper into your site.
Their headline reads, The most downloaded WordPress security plugin. Without a doubt, this plugin is the best security option for your blog. From Malware protection to building an internal firewall, this plugin will ensure your blog stays out of trouble. Wordfence is the best bodyguard a website can ever have!
As mentioned earlier, there are tons of plugins to choose from. Just remember, do some research before your download and activate a plugin. The last thing you want is your site to crash because of this. Trust me, it happens to the best of us.
After monetizing my blog, I managed to earn a 3-figure income in my first month of blogging. However, this article is not about the income I generated, it’s about the several mistakes I’ve made so far and what I’ve learned from them. Hopefully, after reading this, you can learn a thing or two and avoid these bumps.
I took the leap of faith and built the courage to finally start following my dreams – to one day become my own boss and escape the 9-5. Before I turn 30, I wish to become a millionaire, and that’s the reason I started blogging.
Now looking back, starting my own blog has been one of the best decisions I’ve made in my life! The journey so far has truly been life changing – both personally and professionally.
*This post contains affiliate links which helps support this blog. To read the full disclaimer, click here.
1st Month (March 2017): What I Did Right
In February I started researching the hosting company I wanted to host my blog on. After reading hundreds of reviews on Bluehost and HostGator, I decided to go with HostGator due to their excellent customer service and affordable prices. In the end, HostGator cost me $30 less than what I would’ve paid for Bluehost.
Furthermore, I became familiar with all the big name bloggers in my niche and started to write down their best practices on blogging. I studied their way of writing, their method of delivery and most importantly, their blog’s user-interface. I took notes of the various tools and resources they used to enhance their blogs. Afterward, I compiled all this information either in google docs or Evernote (very handy when taking notes on your phone) for easy access.
I downloaded the Podcasts app and subscribed to all the best blogging podcasts out there. During my commute to work, I tried to listen to as many podcasts as I can. Knowledge in power. 😉
1st Month (March 2017): What I Did Wrong
I spent way too much time learning the advanced lessons on blogging when I was only 2 weeks into my blog. I felt this was such a waste of time. Instead of focusing on beginner tips, I tried to skip steps and jump from square 1 to 100. BIG MISTAKE. No wonder I felt so overwhelmed!
One thing I learned about blogging is that it’s not a one-night-wonder business. It takes time to grow your audience and start earning a full-time income. Invest your time on perfecting the basics of your blog in order to be successful in the long run. Blogging is all about user-experience, and if that’s lacking, your blog will fail miserably. Patience is key.
One of the BIGGEST mistakes I made was overwhelming myself by reading the success of other bloggers – specifically their income reports. This affected 2 things
Decreasing the time I spent on my own blog.
I went from one blogger to another trying to figure out their secret formula
Tried to replicate other blog themes and designs
This gave my blog a very unprofessional look as I had a blog mixed with several different designs inspired by various bloggers
I’m sure all of you can relate that as soon as you start comparing yourself to another blogger’s success, you find yourself in a loophole. You start focusing more on their blog and less on yours. You try to do something which took them 2 years to accomplish in 2 days. You spend more time reading their articles and less time writing your own.
OVERUSE OF PLUGINS & THEMES
After reading and evaluating 40 different blogs in 2 weeks, I had over 50 different plugins installed and downloaded over 35 different themes. Unfortunately, one of the plugins crashed and ended up wiping out 3 of my blog posts (which were the only ones I wrote at that time).
So there I was, staring at my WordPress dashboard with no content on my page anymore. Basically starting from square one. So much for trying to jump ahead. I wish I can go back and smack myself in the face for wasting so much time on finding the best plugins. I should’ve spent more time putting out content and improving user-experience.
Oh well, you live and learn.
As I tried to keep myself focused on my goal and pull through the plugin failure, I deleted all but 7 must-have plugins:
Yoast SEO (Best plugin ever! It will boost your SEO score and make your blog Google-friendly)
WP Super Cache (Fast caching which frees up your WordPress site page)
WP Smush (Reduce image file sizes, improve performance and boost your SEO)
Pretty Link (Makes those ugly and long looking URLs pretty. You can make your own URLs!)
Mailchimp for WordPress (Mailing list to build your subscriber base)
SumoMe (Free tools to automate your site with Call to Action Buttons, Hello Bar and Social Share icons)
Akismet Anti-Spam (Protects your blog from spam)
If you’re starting a new business, your organization skills will play a key factor towards your early success. What I did was the complete opposite. Even though I took notes from various bloggers, I didn’t bother to organize them according to their category. When it came time to referencing back to my notes, it took several minutes just to find the damn piece of paper! It was so frustrating and I should’ve pre-planned all this from the beginning.
I also made the mistake of not creating a monthly calendar to set goals for myself. By having a calendar on your side, you’re constantly reminded of tasks you have to complete and it creates a natural urgency in your mind. Furthermore, it helps you focus on one particular task and track its progress in relation to your timeline.
However, I’ve recently started using the good old google calendar and it is a-mazing! I know a lot of bloggers out there are offering printable calendars but those are just not for me. I mean, how can I possible cram a days worth of work into a tiny square!?
First Month’s Conclusion
This month honestly FLEW by! All that was on my mind was trying to enhance my blog’s online presence in hopes to get it discovered. I would come home from work at 6:30 pm, eat dinner by 7:30 pm and then from 8:30 pm to 2:30 am I would work on my blog all night. Wake up at 5:30 am and head to work. Then I come back home and repeat.
Till this day, I still repeat this cycle. Although I feel exhausted when I’m back home, the hunger for success keeps me going. I visualize my goal of becoming a millionaire by 30 on a daily basis. I know that if I can just grind out these starting months, I will be one step towards reaching my goal. No one becomes rich overnight. Success requires determination and persistence. And this time, I’m not giving up under any circumstances.
I admit I made some really stupid mistakes in my first month. As you can see, the ratio between what I did right and what I did wrong was significant. However, as a result, I went into my 2nd month with more knowledge and experience to avoid these pitfalls.
2nd Month (April 2017): What I did Right
REBRANDED MY BLOG
Remember how I mentioned going from one theme to another? Well, that wasn’t working out very well for me. I wanted a theme which I can fully customize according to my brand image and needs. After researching on several themes, I narrowed my choices down to 2 themes. Genesis Framework and Divi. In the end, it wasn’t really a tough choice – Divi Theme from ElegantThemes was the winner!
Holly fudgesticks! When I landed on this site, everything changed. Let me tell you why.
Divi Theme is FULLY customizable
The theme has a drag and drop feature. Yes, that’s right, a bloody DRAG & DROP feature where you can literally type, add widgets, and create eye-catching visuals all at once! Best thing of all, you don’t need to know how to code for all this. No more of that CSS bs that I spent hours trying to learn about.
For $69, it’s a steal!
I won’t go too in-depth about Divi as I’ll be making a post about their features and benefits later on. However, feel free to check out their page, it literally sells itself – no explanation needed. If you need a live example, feel free to browse my website to check out the different features I’ve been able to build using Divi.
As part my blog’s rebranding, I got my logo made by a professional graphic designer. By paying only $8 CAD, I was able to get a kick-ass logo within 12 hours with unlimited revisions! I highly recommend using Fiverr if you’re looking to outsource any graphic design or web design tasks. As the name states, all the services provided by freelancers start at only $5! Check out Fiverr here and give your blog a more professional feel 🙂
I also started to offer free consulting services towards blog critiquing which allowed me to receive some really great testimonials! I’ll be using these later when I launch my Get Discovered course.
To grow my brand presence on Facebook, I joined several blogging groups that have provided tremendous support so far! I also created a Facebook group called Blog Booster – Academy for Beginners. If you wish to join, please click here and request access to be a part of this awesome mastermind group!
MONETIZED MY BLOG
Since I’ve expensed a great amount of my budget so far, I need a way to generate a return on my investment. Therefore, I started to monetize my blog. I’ve heard Thrive is great for bloggers who have over 100,000 monthly visitors. However, for a beginner like me, I became part of these 2 must-join affiliate networks.
AWIN – formerly known as Affiliate Window. The best thing about their network is that the site is very easy to navigate. You can literally find deals on anything and everything! They do ask for a $5 upfront deposit to sign-up, however, you get your money back with your first monthly payment.
My first payment from them was for $325!
You can join AWIN’s affiliate network by clicking here.
Flex Offers – this is a beauty of an affiliate program! No matter what your niche is, you will always find an affiliate partner.
As a result of rebranding my website, my traffic started to increase immediately. I was able to increase my newsletter subscribers to over 100 people in less than 3 weeks! It was such a rewarding feeling to know that others were interested in my content and what I had to talk about. Overall, I finally felt like I was on the right path in my blogging journey. However, not everything is perfect and this month also came with its fair share of failures.
2nd Month (April 2017): What I did Wrong
FOCUSED LESS ON BUILDING AN EMAIL LIST
Due to the rebranding of my website, I failed to realize that my email list was taking a hard hit. As soon as I created a call to action on my homepage, I got over 60 subscribers in 5 days! This was mainly due to the traffic I was pulling in from participating in discussions on several Facebook Groups.
I believe I could’ve ended up with over 150 subscribers if I continued to focus on my traffic.
I tend to learn really fast from my mistakes and that’s why I didn’t see any significant failures in my 2nd month. Instead, I saw a very positive increase towards the number of monthly visitors and subscribers on my blog. It’s good to know that my hard work is finally starting to pay off!
Let me say it again, the more mistakes you make up front, the faster you will learn. It’s okay to make mistakes, don’t get discouraged by your failures! Instead look at them as learning curves. Every road has a few bumps, but hopefully, this article will help you mitigate those mistakes from the beginning.
Let me ask you: What are some mistakes you’ve made so far in your blogging journey?
Prior to January 2017, I had zero knowledge on blogging and what it even meant. Hence, my mindset on blogging was very limited. I understood blogging as an online journal for people to share their stories and be recognized as publishers. I had no clue that someone can actually make money from blogging. Little did I know, some people were actually generating a full-time income from it!
This post contains affiliate links which helps support this blog. To read the full disclaimer, click here.
At the beginning of 2016, I made a promise to myself that I’ll start my own business. First and foremost, I wanted to pay off my student loans and then help my parents retire. I saw my parents go from paycheck to paycheck to make ends meet. It was something I couldn’t stand. I hated having to worry about electricity, hydro and mortgage bills all the damn time! All in all, I hated this mediocre life.
And what did I do to change all of this? Nothing. Absolutely nothing. On December 2016, I came home after work and started reflecting on how unproductive I’ve been throughout the year. I hadn’t achieved a single goal I set for myself. Fair to say, it was a very low point in life for me. I felt like I was being left behind in the race and I had to change my mindset very soon if I were to ever turn my dreams into reality.
As I was sitting at my desk, I told myself “enough is enough!” If I can change one thing right now to help me overcome this low state of mind, it would be my mindset.
And so I did just that.
I am a strong believer in the Law of Attraction. The Law, in a nutshell, states that: Visualize success and success will come crawling to you. Your success lies within your mindset – positivity breeds positive results.
I’m a strong believer of this law because it totally changed my career around in corporate sales. As a result of following this law, I went from being an average salesperson to a top performer in the company – just by changing my mindset. Instead of focusing on what I didn’t have, I started focusing on howI can achieve it. I stopped saying I wish and started saying I will.
I’m grateful to my mentor for introducing me to this concept. Just like my mentor recommended to me, I strongly suggest you read one of the best self-development books of all time,Think & Grow Rich by Napolean Hill. Hill himself insists that the philosophy taught in this book can help people succeed in any line of work, to do and be anything they can imagine.
Celebrities like Oprah, Jim Carrey, Will Smith, Denzel Washington and many more are firm believers and followers of this law. Check out this inspiring interview by Jim Carrey as he explains the power of visualization.
While sitting at my desk, I too visualized myself being a successful entrepreneur one day and becoming my own boss. And let me tell you, as soon as I started to visualize, everything changed. As soon as my mindset shifted, I felt this sudden burst of positive energy inside me. It was truly transformational – something that can’t be described in words.
Right there and then, I opened Photoshop and created a wallpaper (see screenshot below) for my phone which read “I will be a millionaire before 30.” By creating this deadline, I gave myself a natural urgency to achieve this goal no matter what the cost. Since I use my phone every day, it would make it really easy to visualize my goal – constantly helping me stay motivated towards my dream.
[Want one made for yourself? Just subscribe to my newsletter at the end of this page or on the sidebar to your right. After you’ve subscribed, simply reply to my welcome email with the desired quote you’d like written on your wallpaper.]
As a result, I gave myself 2 months (until March 2017) to have an online business up and running. This deadline instantly triggered the cerebral cortex of my brain; my mindset went from being lazy and unmotivated to “LET’S F*KIN DO THIS!” within a span of 5 minutes.
Let me tell you, it felt FRIKIN’ AMAZING!
During my research, I landed on an income report of a successful blogger. After reading about their journey and the amount of income they were making on a monthly basis, I was hooked! I instantly saw blogging as a business I could thrive in and jumped right in it. After doing plenty of research, I was able to choose an affordable hosting platform, HostGator. It’s one of the best hosting sites in the industry and with its 1-click WordPress Install, I had my blog up and running in less than 1 hour!
If you’re looking to start your own online business via blogging, you can read my step-by-step tutorial on how to start a blog. Being an affiliate member for HostGator, I am able to provide my readers with a 25% discount! Just use the promo code YOUNGRICH25 during the checkout process.
That being said, I certainly don’t want to give off the wrong impression and make it seem like blogging is a run in the park. Blogging can be very time consuming and like any business, it’s a learn-as-you-go process. It takes a lot of upfront work and constant motivation to get your blog up and running. But if you put in the work now, you will definitely reap the benefits later 😉
Fast forward to March 09, 2017, I was successfully able to launch my own online business within the 2 months time-frame I gave myself! It honestly felt so rewarding. By giving myself a goal and a realistic deadline, I was able to follow a structured path. Most importantly, I was able to visualizemy success during that exact time frame.
I made over $300 in my first month of blogging by monetizing my blog through partnering with an affiliate network called AWIN, formerly known as Affiliate Window. The best thing about their network is that the site is very easy to navigate. You can literally find deals on anything and everything! However, they do ask for a $5 upfront deposit to sign-up, but you get your money back with your first monthly payment. Furthermore, AWIN is great for beginner bloggers because they don’t require a certain amount of traffic on your blog to sign up.
Well, that was my short story on how I went from being a couch potato to a laser-focused entrepreneur. If I can give one advice to anyone, I would tell them to get up right this moment and start following your dreams. Make sure you follow your dreams before someone else makes it a reality. No matter how small or stupid the idea may sound, you first have to take action on it.
I have this written on my wall to constantly remind myself why I’m doing what I do:
While they sleep, I grind. While they party, I research. While they flirt, I network. While they dream, I live it as a reality.
Let me ask you: Why did you get into blogging and what keeps you motivated?
*If you personally connected with my story, please don’t forget to share this article.*
In this post, I’ll share essential strategies of Pro Bloggers who strategically use eye-catching titles to drive clicks & massive amount of traffic back to their blogs.
The headline will determine:
The number of social shares the post receives
An increase in your email list
If done right, this strategy will explode your traffic and significantly increase your subscriber base. I’m sure you’ve all heard the phrase First impression is the last impression – and that concept goes hand in hand here as well.People decide to read a post based on its title, not its content – so make sure your title is extremely catchy. I repeat, your headline is the most important part of your post. Many people spend countless amount of hours on perfecting their content, but only a few minutes coming up with their headlines. If you’re wondering why your traffic isn’t going up, you might want to reevaluate your headline strategy. If your headline game is weak, having the most viral or unique content won’t matter. No one will bother clicking on the post to read your content – unless you’ve got a trust-based audience like Pat Flynn.
*If you have your own blog or website, then you can use the infographic above in a post of your own. All I request is that you link it back to this article somewhere within your post 🙂 Go to this page to download the infographic image.
Before I talk about the blog title strategies, I wanted to highlight the importance of this concept.
Now without any further ado, let’s get right into it!
1) Use a Number at the Beginning of Your Blog Title
Headlines with a list move up in ranking on Google faster than any other title
People prefer to know the key points of an article before diving into the content. It naturally creates a sense of organization which your brain can systematically digest.
Readers prejudge an article on the quality and time needed to read the post. For example, would you rather click on an article with the headline 9 Ways to Boost Blog Traffic or How to Boost Your Blog Traffic? The answer is quite obvious – so I hope you catch my drift.
I recommend creating numbered titles for at least 40 – 50 percent of your posts.
For Example: 13 Best Pinterest Strategies to Boost Traffic17 Genius Blog Titles That Will Boost Click Rates
2) Odd Numbered Titles Outperform Even Numbered Ones
Even though the psychology behind this is not proven, the odd numbered headlines get 85% more clicks than the even numbered titles. If your title reads 10 Best Pinterest Strategies, cut that off and change the number to either 9 or 11 and watch the exact same post get 20% more clicks! If you don’t believe me, try it.
3) Create a Title Around Trending Topics in Your Niche
If it’s trending, then the likelihood of that post going viral is very high. Along with a high number of searches, trending topics are a cheat sheet for what people are currently interested in. Twitter and Facebook have sections where they showcase trending topics by geographical location. Reddit is also a great place to find the hottest topic within the online world. There’s always something new trending so this strategy will never run out of ideas. I suggest doing one trending post once every 2 -3 weeks.
For example: Review of Pat Flynn’s latest book: Let GoLatest Genesis Update – What’s New?
4) Make Your Title Controversial
There are 2 reasons this is a genius strategy: 1) People who agree with your point of view will click to read a post which is directly aligned with their views. 2) People who disagree will want to read your opinion on that matter and voice their own opinion via comments. Once comments start pouring in from both the sides, this post will become very controversial and long debates will start to occur. Within no time, Google will recognize this activity and bump this up in page ranks! It’s great to be a sh*t disturber sometimes 😉
For example:BlueHost vs HostGator – Why HostGator is the Better OptionWhy Blogging About Income Reports Is Unethical
5) Explain The Benefit
If you give your potential readers a reason to click the post, your click rates will rise rapidly. Therefore, make sure to write titles your readers care about. Tapping their pressure points is a great way to connect with your audience. In my opinion, product review posts are great for this. For example: Lose Weight With This 30-Day Secret Diet 9 Proven Strategies That Will Make You Debt-Free in 6 Months
6) Don’t Sound Like a Used Car Salesperson
There is a fine line between catchy titles and pushy titles. Some bloggers still make this mistake and wonder why people tend to avoid their posts and their blog overall. Here is what you should NOT do: 15 Tricks You Must Know Right Now to Increase Traffic Today 7 Tools Which are Absolutely Must-Have’s for Bloggers
7) Use Power Words in Your Headline to Trigger Emotion
There numerous other strategies out there which I would love to share! However, I’ll save those for my newsletter subscribers 😉
If you haven’t signed up for the newsletter yet, I strongly urge you do that ASAP! If you’re still feeling stuck, tools like Blog Headline Generator can help you out. As always, if you’re confused and feel demotivated, please reach out to me – I’m always here to listen and offer advice 🙂
This beauty of a tool is amazing for increasing team productivity while boosting social interaction. I personally used it at my former workplace and it made life 10x easier! What’s great about this tool is that it gives you the option to create different channels which act as groups to specific projects. For teams which believe in transparency, Slack is the stuff to use. It enables you to interact with colleagues all around the world so forget about the skype calls – just call, take notes, share notes, and add more colleagues on the video call all at once!
Gone were the days of google drive because Slack let’s you drag and drop any kinds of files, images documents, and spreadsheets on its drive with anyone you want. It’s also fully integrable with google drive, dropbox, ect.
One of the best advantages I liked about using slack was that it allowed my colleagues who were usually too shy to speak out during meetings to voice their opinions freely. This allowed for effective and transparent conversations between teams which resulted in a significant increase of productivity.
Slack offers a free subscription so you can try it out for an unlimited amount of time. When you and your team are ready to make the switch, it’s $7/month. You can try it out right here.
You’re honestly going to hate yourself for not knowing about this tool earlier. This is honestly one of the best tools I’ve ever used! Ever had a time where you sent an email and were anxiously waiting for a response but you were dying to know if they even OPENED your email in the first place? Trust me, I’ve been there and this is why Hubspot Sales chrome extension has saved me from several anxiety attacks.
I’m a sales guy myself, so you can imagine how important this tool is for me and why it’s so critical to know when my prospective clients are opening up my mail. It’s strategic as well because you’ll start to figure out your prospects email behavioral patterns. This will enable you to email them at times when they’re most likely to check their email – making your sales sky rocket! This tool increased my overall sales by 147% – no joke.
It also has a cool built-in calendar which lets you send invites for a call to your prospect without bombarding them with another separate email notification from google calendar.
If your mind is constantly filled with thoughts and ideas than Evernote might just be the tool you were looking for. I personally think of million-dollar businessideas every day on my train ride to work but when I come home, I suddenly forget it all – no matter how hard I try to remember them. It honestly sucks and I hated myself for doing that.
After my colleague referred me to Evernote, it’s honestly been a game changer. Not only does it allow me to remember everything when inspiration strikes, it also enables me to visualize my thoughts in a click of a button. This app lets me take a picture which directly uploads on my notes and it lets me write on top of the picture for any visual memories I would like to save for later time.
What’s great is that once I write my thoughts on the app, it’s available on my desktop, or on my online evernote account – so your thoughts literally follow you wherever you go! Another cool feature is that it allows me to share my notes with anyone I want, which they can edit as well. You can picture it as a better mobile version of google drive.
I personally use the free version of this app but if you’re using it for business purposes, then I’d recommend going premium. You can check Evernote out here.
Now I know there are tons of other apps and tools which could be listed but I just wanted to tell you about the ones I personally used. If you use a tool that everyone might be able to benifit from, please share it below – we all would love to know.