- Chapter 1 — Getting Started
- Chapter 2 — Installing WordPress
- Chapter 3 — Publishing Your First Article
- Chapter 4 — Making Your Articles Pretty
- Chapter 5 — Igniting Your Articles
- Chapter 6 — Optimizing Your Article
- Chapter 7 — Social Media
- Chapter 8 — Enhancing Your Blog with Plugins [reading now]
- Chapter 9 — Monetize Your Blog: Google Adsense
- Chapter 10 — Monetize Your Blog: Text Link Ads
- Chapter 11 — Monetize Your Blog: Kontera
- Chapter 12 — Stick to the Formula
Plugins are to WordPress what nice, comfy, fat pillows are to meditators: they enhance your experience and allow you to get more out of your blog. But what if the meditator gets carried away and starts trying to find the finest down pillows? What if he goes out on a hunt to only find pillows with gold sparkles and shimmering tinsels? What if he begins traveling to the furthest distances of the globe to get the best of the best? Well, such a person has become more interested in pillows than meditation. And the same thing can easily happen with plugins.
Chose Your WordPress Plugins Carefully
Plugins should only be used to serve a very specific and practical purpose for your blog; never just “something to have.” I’ve seen too many blogs bogged down with an overwhelming amount of unnecessary plugins that serve absolutely no purpose at all, other than to appease the blog owners appetite to “have the latest” and “coolest” plugin running on their blog. That isn’t blogging, it’s stupidity! And it sure as hell isn’t going to help you achieve your goals of reaching the $100 a month mark.
Okay, glad we got that straight. WordPress plugins are great and the Internet is full of some really good ones that should be installed on your site. A plugin is a small program that literally “plugs” into your blog. There are two main ways to install the plugin: manually (ftp) and through the WordPress plugin installer. I’ll show you how to do both, but first let me list some essential plugins and describe what they can do for your blog. Also note that each plugin has a websites, with all the information you need to know about installing and configuring each; I’ve provided those links below.
Essential WordPress Plugins the you Need for your Site
- Adman: This plugin is perhaps the most important, because it allows you to automatically place advertisements in the top, middle, and end of each of your articles. Next chapter, we’ll discuss how to monetize your blog, and this plugin will be needed.
- Google XML Sitemaps: This generates a “sitemap” file for your site, which is a certain file that lists every article and page throughout your site. Once the sitemap is generated, you submit it to google, which allows for your site to rank higher in the search directories. Remember, the higher the ranking, the more visits you get and the more money you make. Once you have your sitemap generated, something like “http://yourblogname.com/sitemap.xml” go here (Google Webmaster Tools) and submit it to google.
- SexyBookmarks: This cool plugin allows for your readers to share your article with all of their networks: facebook, twitter, gmail, delicious, etc.. Your articles have a much better chance going viral (spreading throughout the Internet like a virus) with this plugin.
- Yet Another Related Post Plugin: This has to be the best “related posts” plugin out there. It automatically builds a list of related articles below each article, based upon similar tags between your articles. You can define how many articles to show and what parameters are used for relevancy.
- Akismet: Spam is a huge issue nowadays with blogs (commenting spam). Protect your site with this anti-spam plugin made by the same people behind WordPress. It’s the best. After you download and install the plugin, register for a KEY here, and input into the settings page of the plugin.
How to Install WordPress Plugins
Installing Plugins through the WordPress Plugin Installer
This is the easiest way, but not always the cleanest. Sometimes little glitches can occur when going this route, but as WordPress becomes more sophisticated, it’s becoming better and better to use this built-in installer. Here’s how you do it:
- Download the plugin
- Click on the “Plugin” menu inside the WordPress Admin. Select “Add new” from the drop-down menu.
- Select “Upload” from the top menu.
- Locate the “.zip” file of your plugin. It’ll usually be in your “downloads” folder; the default folder where files you download from the web are saved.
- Click “Install Now.”
- Now head on over to “Plugins” tab in WordPress admin. Click on “Installed Plugins” from drop down. Click on “Inactive” from top menu and locate the installed plugin. Click on “Activate” and that’s it!
Installing Plugins Using FTP (File Transfer Protocol)
This method is a bit more advanced and should only be attempted if you feel comfortable getting a little techy! Though this is the cleanest and surest way for installing a plugin, it’s always the most prone to messing up your blog if you delete a file by accident or install something that isn’t meant to be installed. But once you get the hang of it, it’s as easy as cake.
- Install Filezilla (this is your FTP client which allows you to connect to all the files on your hosting). Download Filezilla here.
- Open Filezilla and on the top of the program you’ll see a field with “Host”: place your domain name there (i.e. Mindpetals.com). For “Username”: place your hosting username. For “Password”: place your hosting password. *All of this information can be obtained from your hosting account (i.e. Godaddy.com), or by calling your host technical support.
- Click “Connect” and select “httpdocs” (usually it’s this one) in the right windowpane (this is the “root” folder of your website, where all of your blog files are stored).
- Select “Wp-content” folder > then Select “Plugins” folder
- Now you should see all your plugins in this window. Now, using the left windowpane, locate the directory of your plugin (where it’s been downloaded to) and literally select and drag the folder into the plugins window (on the right). Make sure not to place it in a folder that’s already there; it needs to remain as it’s own folder. Now wait for the file to completely transfer over and that’s it.
- Make sure to head back to the Plugins area of WordPress and Activate it.
Configuring Your WordPress Plugins
Now that your plugins are installed, you’ll need to set them up properly. It’s easy.
- Click on the “Settings” menu from the WordPress Admin.
- A sub-meun of plugins will drop down. From there, click on your plugin to configure the settings. Once your settings are just how you like them, press “save” and you’re done.
** Sometimes, like the “sexybookmarks” plugin, the plugin settings option won’t be found in the “Settings” menu. It’ll have its own button directly below the settings button.
So there you have it—Wordpress Plugins. The aforementioned ones are essentials and you’ll want to install each of them on your blog. They each serve very specific purposes and won’t weight down your site / slow it down. Remember, when it comes to plugins, keep it light!
Next chapter we’ll jump into Monetizing Your Blog, what we’ve all been waiting for! But before you read that, I recommend you spend a day going back to Chapter 1 and working your way though each chapter to make sure that you haven’t skipped any steps. This book works like a puzzle, and you need to implement the instructs in each chapter in order for it to work.
- Have I clearly defined what my passion is and am creating a weekly list of article ideas?
- Is my blog properly installed with my own domain name?
- Am I writing quality articles in the range of 450-600 words?
- Am I determined to put in a solid year of work, with at least 3 quality articles per week?
- Am I using crazy, insane, clever, sexy, and thought-provoking titles to get the reader’s attention?
- And I using “strong” and “header” tags (html) to properly organize my content and to help google help others to find my content?
- Am I using at least 1 relevant and stunning image in each article?
- Am I using relevant tags and categories for each article?
- Am I submitting each article to facebook, twitter, and stumbleupon?
- Have I installed the 5 essential plugins listed in this chapter?
Please make sure that you have followed ALL of these steps with ALL of your articles. Then, and only then, proceed to the Monetize Your Blog, Chapter 9. If you need any personal help with anything, please don’t hesitate to reach me at email@example.com. For a small fee, I can make sure that your blog has currently met all of these checklist requirements within 24 hours.
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