The real power of WordPress is the ability to add plugins, which provide add-on functionality to your site and allow you to do more without needing to hire a programmer. I have a different philosophy about plugins than most internet marketers do. Personally, I do not allow myself to have more than about 10 plugins on any WordPress site I run. Why? Not all plugins are well-coded. The more plugins your site has, the more likely it is to run into problems down the road if the plugins aren’t updated, conflict with other plugins or themes, etc.
I have spent many, many days trying to fix my site or troubleshoot bugs because I simply had too many WordPress plugins. You can ignore my 10 plugin rule if you want, but the next time you have an issue and you’re tearing your hair out trying to fix your site, you’ll remember that I warned you.
Having said that, here are the plugins that I use most commonly on my WordPress Sites:
WordPress SEO by Yoast
I use the WordPress SEO by Yoast Plugin. It has some advanced features that serious Internet Marketers need and is becoming the standard for WordPress SEO.
WooCommerce Shopping Cart
There are many good shopping carts on the market, but the one that I like the best is open source, constantly updated and has a whole suite of plugins available to customize for your site. It is the WooCommerce Plugin and I love it. I’ve tried many of the paid shopping carts and none of them have the features and solid code base that WooCommerce does. I do tens of thousands of dollars of business through this plugin every month and have never once had it fail me.
Amazon Affiliate Link Globalizer
I really like the Amazon Associates affiliate program. On one of my sites I make between $2,400 and $3,000 every month by linking my readers over to products on Amazon that are relevant to the blog post. It is steady income and it’s really helpful for my readers. What this plugin does is add your affiliate link code to your links to Amazon. So when I want to link to a product, I don’t have to type in my code or go through Amazon Associates to get the special link code. I just grab the normal link on Amazon and the plugin does the rest.
In addition to saving time on your links, you can sign up for the Amazon Associates program in all of the countries that have Amazon sites and this plugin will redirect international users to the site for their country and apply your affiliate code. This works wonderfully if you’re recommending mainstream products that are available in most countries, but if the product is not available in the other country, the user is just dumped at the Amazon homepage which stinks. So, I just use this plugin to add my affiliate link so I don’t have to go through the extra step.
I don’t run any large forums, but when I need a forum, I use the bbPress plugin. It is made by the creators of WordPress so it has deep WordPress integration and is quite simple to install and use.
This is the plugin I use for podcasting. It has more buttons and features than the Starship Enterprise, which is good and bad. It does everything you could ever want it to do, but I’m often left scratching my head when I try to use it. The nice thing is that once you set it up–you’re done.
I’m surprised this plugin isn’t more popular in the Internet Marketing space. It adds tremendous value to your site.
This plugin allows you to change what appears in the widgets sidebar of your site depending on where your user is on your site. So when someone is reading an article on your site about “advanced fly fishing tips” it will show only the widgets that are applicable to them, such as a graphic advertising your advanced fly fishing online course. When someone is reading the beginning fly fishing section of your site, they will see widgets advertising your beginning course or a series of posts to help beginners get started.
In my opinion, this widget should be on every WordPress site.
Easy Heads Up Bar
This is a great plugin for announcing things on your site. It simply puts a little text bar on the top of your site where you can tell users if something is going on.
I don’t use this space most of the time on my sites, but when I’m doing a webinar the next day or an online course is starting or I just published a really popular article, I use this plugin to get the word out to my audience that is on my site. It keeps me from creating a blog post about things that aren’t quite blog post material, but still allows me to get the word out.
Pretty Link Lite
I use this plugin every single day. When I publish an article at, for example www.site.com/5693/this-is-an-example-article, I don’t want to have to tell people that long url. Instead, I use pretty link to make site.com/example. If I mention that link on the podcast, it is easy to remember and when people type that link in, the plugin seamlessly redirects the user to the long URL where the post is.
Podcasters definitely need this plugin to give people memorable links, but it is also useful if you have a Youtube channel because you can just tell people the link and they can remember it easily.
W3 Total Cache
This site speeds up WordPress. Basically, it caches (takes a snapshot of) common elements in your site and serves them up to users much faster when subsequent users try to load the same content. If you have no idea what all of that means, just install the plugin and use the default configuration. Trust me–your site will load faster. If you follow my hosting recommendation, you’ll see that the hosting company I recommend requires all users to use this plugin because it is so good.
This is the only premium WordPress plugin on this page. I don’t mind paying for quality plugins, but there frankly aren’t a lot of them that I like. This plugin, on the other hand, is a game changer (I hate that phrase). It increased my opt-ins dramatically by adding stylish optin boxes below my posts, as well as the exit-intent box which only appears when someone’s cursor is rapidly scrolling to the top of the page (showing they are ready to leave the site anyway). Optin Monster is a really awesome plugin.
UpdraftPlus WordPress Backup
This is not optional–you must backup your WordPress. I highly recommend the Updraft plugin. It has a ton of features and there is a free version that has the basic functionality you need. I recommend backing up your WordPress at least twice a week.
Especially now while you’re still new at using WordPress, it is absolutely critical that you back up your site and don’t just rely on your hosting provider’s backup.