Plug It In, Plug It In
Plugins are one of the coolest parts of any Content Management System, especially WordPress. They enable us internet marketers to do so much cool stuff with our product review sites, both on the front end (i.e., social media buttons under each post) and the back end (i.e., daily website backups). Of course, you always want to make sure that you don’t bog down your sites with so many plugins that it takes forever to load, which is bad for user experience and search engine rankings.
But there are some plugins, both free and premium, that you really can’t (or shouldn’t) live without. In no particular order, here are ten of the coolest, most essential WordPress plugins for your Amazon niche sites:
The All In One SEO Pack is the best free SEO plugin out there. In fact, it’s better than many “premium” SEO plugins in a lot of ways. It gives you complete control of three of the most important elements for on-page SEO — title, description and keywords — by letting you customize these without using HTML. Using this plugin correctly can substantially boost your position in the SERPs even before you do any off-page SEO. Never make a web page live without first activating the All In One SEO Pack.
Google Analytics is probably the most popular tool for tracking site visits, page views, bounce rate, pages per visit, traffic sources and search terms people used to find your site. It is a free tool and integrates directly with AdSense and Google Webmaster Tools. I personally use it on all of my sites, despite some unpopular conspiracy theories about Google using it to collect information about your site that could negatively affect your rankings. I haven’t seen any negative affects of Google Analytics, and most affiliate marketers will agree that it’s a safe, useful tool.
Google Analytics For WordPress is one of many plugins that helps add the necessary tracking code to your website and link it to your Google account. It’s very easy to use, and it’s nice and lightweight, so it won’t slow your site down. If you don’t have it, get it.
This is another one of those plugins that is very helpful despite the fact that you never see it working. When you add your new product review site to your Google Webmaster account (which you should always do), you have an option to submit a sitemap. This handy little free plugin generates a sitemap for you, which is great for those of us who are not web savvy, don’t know HTML/XML, or are just downright lazy.
Submitting a sitemap is beneficial in a couple of ways. I’m not going to get into detail in this post, but if you want to know exactly how a sitemap functions and why you should use them, check out this article from Google about sitemaps.
4. Pretty Link
As an internet marketer, you are probably used to looking at URLs before you click them. You know the routine: you hover your cursor over the anchor text, look down to the bottom left of your window, and check to see where this possibly sketchy link is going to take you. This is an easy way to see if a link contains and tracking IDs, such as an affiliate code like this one:
See how ugly that looks? It’s never comforting to see a URL like this one, because you can’t tell where it is going to take you. While most people who are not affiliate marketers don’t inspect and dissect links with the same scrutiny as we do, it certainly doesn’t instill trust in your visitors to have those long, ugly links all over your nice product review sites. Pretty Link creates an easy way to convert your affiliate links to clean, custom URLs like this one:
You can choose how to set up your URLs. I use the sub category “likes” in all of my affiliate links because it shows that I am pointing you to a product, service or destination that I recommend. Other people will use “go” or “recommends” but you can choose whatever you prefer. Pretty Link Lite is available for free, but there is also a paid version called Pretty Link Pro that features link building automation and split testing functionality that make the $37
Akismet is the comment spam protection plugin that is automatically installed with WordPress. It is free for personal, non-commercial use, which makes it one of the most popular spam control solutions on the plugin market. Premium Akismet accounts start at $59/month and go up from there, depending on how many sites you have and what features you need. For most of us, the free version works just fine. After all, you want to spend creating content, not deleting spam, right?
There are plenty of great free contact form plugins available for WordPress users, but Fast Secure Contact Form happens to be our favorite. It is lightweight, easy to set up and customize, and it doesn’t cost a dime. People will argue all day about which free contact plugin is better, and a lot of people prefer Contact Form 7, but it really doesn’t matter which one you use. Just pick one, create a Contact Us page and move on to more important tasks!
This is a really cool plugin that a lot of people forget to use because you can’t “see” it working. But when you activate it, your readers will absolutely notice the difference. According to the description on WordPress.org :
W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by improving your server performance, caching every aspect of your site, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.
Basically, this plugin is a turbo charger for your websites that drastically improves load times for pages and posts. Just use it!
Adding social media buttons to your product reviews, articles and pages makes it easy for people to share your content with their networks, giving you free publicity and generating traffic for your niche sites while you sleep. There are several great plugins that make this easy, but Sexy Bookmarks is the best. Why, you ask? Because it looks cool. It adds this little bar to the bottom, top or side of your pages that contains any number of social media buttons, including the Facebook “Like” button and a “Tweet” button, that pop up when you hover over them.
You can see Sexy Bookmarks in action at the bottom of this post. Get on it!
Have you ever wondered why one of your affiliate products or sites wasn’t doing very well and, upon further investigation, realized that your affiliate link was wrong or broken? It’s a bad feeling. First of all, you have to go and correct every instance of the URL. Plus you know that you missed out on a bunch of sales, and it always sucks leaving money on the table.
Broken Link Checker automatically checks your whole site — comments, posts and images — to find broken links and notifies you when it finds them. This is helpful for anyone who has affiliate links on their website, which makes it a no-brainer for niche site builders. It is especially helpful for those of use who are building authority sites that have hundreds or even thousands of articles and URLs floating around.
Have you ever lost a bunch of data or files before? Ever had a hard drive die on you? It’s one of the most frustrating feelings in the world, especially if you depend on your websites and the information to make a living. Every responsible internet marketer should backup their websites regularly. Automatic WordPress Backup makes this very easy. Just install it, and you’re done. There’s really no excuse anymore not to backup your sites.
We’ve reviewed 10 of the best WordPress plugins for internet marketing. Be sure to add these to your arsenal if you don’t already have them. Remember, though…it’s not about how many plugins you have or how fancy your theme is. It’s about the quality and usefulness of your content. Now go get to work!