As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently working on a new niche site. It’s been over a year since I’ve created a true niche site from start to finish, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to tackle this challenge again.
As with most other websites I’ve ever created, I’m using WordPress. And if you’ve ever used WordPress, you know that a lot of the “magic” happens with plugins. They’re what allow you to perform complex functions without knowing a single thing about web development, coding, etc.
And although I’ve reviewed plugins in the past, I thought it might be useful to some people if I went through the plugins that I’m using on a new site, as some of the plugins recommended in the past may now be outdated.
The WordPress Plugins I’m Using on My New Niche Site
Here’s a list (and a bit of information) about all of the plugins I’m using on my new WordPress-based niche site. Most of these are free, and overall I’ve found them all to be extremely helpful.
This is probably one of the only universal “must-have” plugins for any and every WordPress site (and it’s free). It allows you to optimize all of your on-page SEO factors so that you’re more likely to rank for your target keywords. Obviously, there are a off-page factors that are perhaps more significant (such as obtaining quality backlinks), but you’ll be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t get your on-page SEO factors set.
This plugin works right “out of the box”, meaning you can just run with the default settings if you want, and you’ll have a pretty good configuration. There’s a lot you can customize however, so if you’re looking to tweak certain things, you’ll have to play around with the settings and learn about what they do.
This is another plugin that I think belongs on every WordPress site (and it’s also free). As the plugin’s official description says, this is “the highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site.” In a nutshell, that’s what it does.
Like WordPress SEO, this one works right “out of the box.” If you want to customize the settings, you’ll have to do a little bit of reading to see what everything means – from my perspective, this isn’t as intuitive as the SEO settings are on the plugin above.
I’ve occasionally had issues where this conflicted with another plugin, but most issues are resolved by simply emptying the cache (which you’ll understand better when you play around with this plugin).
This plugin is a must-have for me on my current niche site because I’m using Amazon affiliate links to monetize the site. It isn’t free, but it really does save you a lot of time if you’re writing about and linking to a lot of different products on Amazon. If this sounds familiar, it may be because I wrote a review of this plugin almost 2 years ago.
What the plugin does is add a new function to your WordPress post (or page) editing screen. You can simply search for products and add them (in different formats) directly to your content. The plugin automatically adds your affiliate link, and you can do things like cloak your affiliate link (so that visitors don’t know it’s an Amazon affiliate link).
Here are the different ways you can present your Amazon affiliate link with the plugin:
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Just about everything can be configured – for example, if you don’t like the pop-up box when you hover over the images, you can turn that off.
This is something I recently found out about, and I think it’s awesome considering the fact that it’s free (it honestly feels like a plugin that should cost money). Basically, you can use it to build interactive tables that can be used to organize any type of data. Or, if you have a product-based site like the niche site I’m building, this is a great way to organize various products you’re reviewing.
Here’s a screenshot of an interactive demo that you can see here:
The cells within the table can also contain images and links, so you can think of all the possibilities with something like this. This won’t be useful for all niche sites, but if you think it could work for yours, definitely give it a try.
This is a great (free) way to get people to subscribe to your site’s RSS feed or mailing list. It’s a bar that sits at the top of your site (I’ve had this on My 4-Hour Workweek for over a year now). You can use it to acquire new subscribers, or you can simply use it to write a message to your visitors.
There’s a lot of ways to customize it (you can change the color, have it only appear on certain pages, etc.) and you can run split-tests with it to see which customization leads to the most subscribers. Highly recommended.
This one’s super basic, and I know I’ve written about it here before. It helps you create contact forms really easily. It’s one of many plugins that does this, but I’ve used this particular one for several years now on nearly all of my sites, and have never had any problems with it.
You might be wondering, why do I need a contact form on a niche site that I intend to build and leave alone?
Personally, I think all sites need a contact form in order to look “real” both to actual people and to Google. I have no idea if Google even considers this (they may not), but you’ll provide a better user experience if visitors feel like they’re browsing a legitimate website.
Hopefully you are in fact building a high quality, legitimate niche site. Having a contact form just adds another piece of credibility to the site. In my mind, anything that can help visitors feel more comfortable and less likely to “bounce” is worth including on your site.
Now It’s Your Turn
What are some of your favorite plugins for niche sites? The plugins above are the ones I’m currently using, but I’m sure there are many others out there that would be extremely helpful to know about. Please share them in the comments!
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