Must-Have Wordpress Plugins Plus Theme Suggestions for Affiliate Bloggers
Whenever I build a new affiliate blog I immediately upload and install a few plugins that my blogs cannot do without. Some of these are SEO related, which is paramount for any blog - old or new. Others like Popularity Contest improve the 'stickiness' of your site. Check out my list.
Must-Have Wordpress Plugins
1. All In One SEO - Easily the #1 SEO plugin available for Wordpress today. You don't want to run a blog without this plugin. All In One SEO allows you to set titles, keywords, and descriptions for your site which search engines will pickup and use. Make your meta description good, you want to entice searchers to click on the link to your site.
2. Wordpress Database Backup - Sometimes bad things happen. Be safe and backup your Wordpress database with this plugin. I have this plugin sending me database backups for all of my sites every single week. Sure it's a lot of email, but better safe than sorry!
3. Link Cloaking Plugin - If you're going to work with affiliates other than Ebay, consider using a link cloaking plugin to cloak your affiliate links. Top affiliates suggest you do this, as it improves conversions and people will be more inclined to click your affiliate links. This translates to more revenue for you.
4. Google XML Sitemap Generator - In the days of old we had to make sitemaps by hand for static websites. This was an annoying task, and as you added more content you had to update the sitemap. With this plugin + Wordpress the workload is completely automated. As new posts are added your sitemap is automatically rebuilt and Google is informed of your changes. Another great plugin for SEO!
5. Popularity Contest - It's always a good idea to have links to your most popular content handy for your visitors - it's going to make your website more 'sticky'. I've noticed my best, most indepth posts get the most comments.
This plugin is helpful in driving more surfers and even more comments to these posts without fumbling up the overall organization of the blog.
6. WhyDoWork Adsense Plugin or Adsense Injection - If you're looking for an easy way to insert Adsense into your posts then consider either of these plugins. The last thing you want to do is tediously insert Adsense code into each of your posts by hand.
Suggested Wordpress Themes for Affiliate Bloggers
Chances are you don't want to stick with the plain default theme that your Wordpress blog comes installed with. You're going to want to make your site more attractive to the eye - if your site is ugly or unprofessional looking then visitors have a bigger chance of clicking off your site and onto something else.
There are also some themes that are ideal for affiliate blogging and some that aren't. Consider some of these themes for your next affiliate blog.
1. Revolution Series - If you want to pay for a really great, professional theme then none of them beat out the Revolution Series of themes. These are top notch magazine style themes which have great features like video, pre-installed adsense and banners, and front-page featured content.
This blog is using the Revolution Music theme, I really recommend these themes if you want to add flair to your site. While they take a bit getting used to, once you get the hang of using this theme you will be glad you put in the extra effort because its a really great theme. There are many Revolution themes to choose form.
If you don't want to spend the money on a premium theme, check out Mimbo or Branford - two very good magazine themes which have a similar feel to the Revolution themes (minus a couple of the features).
2. Cutline - One of the most downloaded themes, I like cutline because it is simplistic yet not too much like the default theme.
You can easily customize the header to match your site, and I like how the pages are displayed between the header and blog name. You can make these pages your "money pages" where they are mostly product oriented and you can get visitors clicking on your PHPBay ads.
Some affiliates say you should keep your pages for earning and converting your visitors into buyers, and use your posts for traffic generation and general content updates. This is probably a good idea if you want to keep your site professional-looking, and not cluttered with ads.
3. Prosense - If you want maximize the adsense earnings from your blog check out some of the themes which are specifically made for getting the most from your adsense clicks.
Prosense is an Adsense ready Wordpress theme that is very simple and highly customizable. You won't need an Adsense injection plugin with this theme, it has a built-in feature that automatically inserts Adsense into your single posts for you.