Tag Archives: Blogging

Creating Audio Versions Of Your Posts With Soundgecko.com

16 Aug

After chatting with a fellow blogger about the pros and cons of having an audio version of each post on your blog I came across an awesome online service that will allow you to create a really impressive recording of your post in minutes. SoundGecko is a free service ( not sure if that will change) and an awesome one at that.

Some people may struggle reading text on screens or have little time spare to read or simply by chose decide that they do not want to read and would rather listen to your posts as Podcasts. By not having an audio version that can be downloaded, listened to later and shared you are missing out on a really good method of building a following for your blog.

On our main site I published an easy to follow step by step guide on how to create and install an audio version of your own blog posts using SoundgGecko and PodPress plugin. Click the image above or the link below to read the full post and see for yourself how easy it really is. you will have audio versions of your posts in no time!

Creating Audio Versions Of Your Posts With Soundgecko.com

My Big Fat Fetish and the new Tim’s Minions Interview

24 May

It has been a busy time here at Tim’s Minions so I have slightly neglected this site but I am back with a few new postings, I recently added a new interview to the site. Brian D. Hawkins of HotBlogTips here is a couple of questions from his interview…   

‘What motivated you to do what you are doing now?

That’s easy… Interaction! I switched to blogs when I realized I could gain the same interaction from my sites that I had with my forums. The interaction of a blog seems to bring it to life and the information gained in priceless.

What is about what you do that you love?

I think we’re back to the interaction again.  I love the idea that a few people may be interested in what I have to say and take the time to read my blog. I love the fact that my social connection grow daily with other like minded people. I also love the fact we live in an age where we can blog anytime and just about anywhere we go.’

And a new article about niche marketing with a strange twist, I got the article idea from watching a TV documentary that is covered in the article. Here is a slice…

My Big Fat Fetish and the Super Sub Niche Online Business Ideas    

‘The show was in many ways very bizarre but just like last week’s show ‘Sex, Lies and Rinsing Guys’ I was intrigued in what they do for a completely different reason. Again like last week’s show, these ladies were making money from home using modern technology you and I have at our disposal.’

‘Goddess Patty would charge between $300-$600 to sit on men!!!! This is known as flattening. Men from all backgrounds have paid to be ‘Flattened’, actors and Politicians (not surprising) were also on that list. I cannot say how regular she was paid to flatten men but she did do it from time to time’

So head over to the main site, we look forward to meeting you. – Andi the Minion

The Newbies Guide to Guest Blogging

19 Apr

The Newbies Guide to Guest Blogging

"tim lowe" "tims minions" "guest blogger"

So it seems Google is on a rampage trying to clear the web of spam in favour of a web full of great content. You still need links back to your site and with Google killing of link farms and networks while overlooking  article directories, what is left?

Guest blogging, this is a perfect win-win scenario, Google gets high quality content and you get valuable links back to your site. With the bonus of having a ready-made readership who will see your link for free.

[Affiliate marketing – Why you should have an affiliate marketing blog]

Here is how you can get the best out of the traffic generating, link building guest blogging method.

Build a portfolio of your content

Blog owners that you contact for a guest posting will more likely want to see some past content so they can review your skills and writing styles. If you are new to this and do not have any previous guest posts to show them, use your own blog as your quality content portfolio.

If you have other websites that you write for, articles on directories or content that you have had published on sites elsewhere make sure you provide these to the person who you want to consider you for a guest blogging post. The more samples of quality content that you provide will give you a much greater chance of having your posts accepted.

Finding the best blogs to guest on

There are several ways that you can find good blogs to guest write for.

Google Search is your first port of call, type in your niche keyword with words such as ‘guest post, guest post by, guest blogging, guest bloggers, and write for us’ these will throw up results of sites that are accepting guest bloggers.

If you follow a certain person and you know they do a lot of guest blogging, type their name into Google with ‘guest post’ or ‘guest post by’ and again you should get a result of sites that are taking guest posts.

Twitter is another great place to do a search, like before, type the suggested keywords into Twitters search bar and hit search. This will bring you back Tweets and People who have said they are looking for guest bloggers.

Check the backlinks of websites in your niche that you know or believe get a lot of their links from guest blogging. Use Open Site Explorer and look at the links to find blogs that are accepting guest posts.

Every site will give you different ‘link juice’ strength. This is down to factors such as PageRank and domain authority. As a newbie this may be all new to you so before you have mastered site statistics here are a few pointers to get started that can result in better ‘link juice’ quickly.

Blog posts that have your author bio and link at the top before the content, has a better link value than blogs that put the author bio and link below the post at the bottom. The author bio below the post is better than having it placed as a comment below the post.

A blog that has your link and author bio on the same post page is better than having them on an author page. This is better for getting clicks through to your website.

Where people have to click on your name only to be sent to an author page where they see your bio and links will result in a far less CTR.

A blog that offers more than one link in the author bio is better as you can link to more than one site, or two different pages of the site. If you find blogs that offer two links then that is excellent as you can have a link to the homepage (for SEO purposes) and another to a free report or top post as a traffic enticer.

A bonus is if you get a blog that allows you to link to your social media profiles where the reader can follow you on Twitter, Facebook and Google+ etc. At least if they decide not to click through to your site you might still get them as a follower which is still good as you are able still to direct them to your site later.

Avoid nofollows, blogs that mark the links in your author bio as nofollow will not count to your Backlinking profile and you have wasted a lot of time and effort creating a great post.

Organising your guest blogging strategy

When you find new blogs who take guest blogging posts, you want to take a note of them for future projects. You may get turned down at first due to them being fully booked up with guest post but a few months later there may be spaces available.  They may want you to write more posts for them in the future and if you do loads of postings to many sites but do not keep a record you may just forget who they were and where to find them.

It is wise to keep a record of all the posts that you have written that have been published along with the site and the article URL. I use a spread sheet were I keep the details of the sites that I have contacted, their answers, and any dates.

I also keep a record of which article was sent where and when and if they were accepted or not. If they were not accepted for whatever reason I know that I can send it off to someone else.

It could be advantageous to log the contact name and details of the person you will be dealing with, any guidelines that the site wants you to adhere to.

Build a relationship with the blog owner or editor

When you have made contact with several blogs or at least found some you would like to write for, you will need to connect with them through Facebook and Twitter and start to interact and comment on their posts. Comment on the posts on their blog as well to open up dialogue with them.

It is well know that people are more likely to pass work to those that they know and like. So it is important that you build up a relationship with these people. It can take time but once the relationship is built it is a good footing for becoming a guest writer for them.

Obviously some people may offer you a post from the start on the strength of your past content and writing skills so do not ‘not’ send them your stuff asking for a guest post position before starting connecting. We do that if we need to work on being accepted.

Once accepted you should carry on connecting, it’s very important that you do not just use them and dump then, after all, if you get good traffic from their site, wouldn’t you want to do it again?

If you know people who write for blogs you are interested in writing for, gently try and get your friend to introduce your content to the blog owner. Being recommended by one of the sites regular writers will launch your status higher than just another email in the inbox requesting contact.

There is the normal offline networking method but how many blogging or IM networking events do you go to? If you are able to go to many network events then brilliant, get talking to people, swap cards and then contact them later. Remind them where you met and what you chatted about, that will help them recognise you as a person again lifting you higher than just a stranger asking for a posting. 

Learning the art of guest blogging

It is advised that before you contact any blog about a guest posting you go through their guidelines and make sure you understand what it is that they want and do not want. Every site has their own requirements.

Some blogs may require you to email your posts to them in a specific format like Word or Text file, whereas others require you to set up an account and submit it through the dashboard fully formatted and ready to publish.

Some blogs may take what you have pre written or they may want you to write a topic of their choice. Because you want to write about a topic doesn’t meant the blog wants it. It might just not fit their style of website or maybe they recently did a post of that nature and want something different for the next few months.

Take a look at the word length of the articles on the site, a 500 word post will not be accepted on a site that generally has posts that are 1000+. The same applies for sites that thrive on short snappy posts, a long in depth post would be a turn off for them. Write accordingly.

Look for their link policy, if they do not allow any at all, it’s not worth considering writing for them.

Submitting your best guest post

Once you know what type of post you are submitting in topic and length you need to write a high quality and easy to read post that is customized for that extra bit of blog loving. Do a search of the blog and look for one or two articles that are similar to the one you are submitting and link to these articles in the body of your text.

Do not link to your articles; this is for the site where your guest post will be published. If you are allowed to link to your site in the post then go for it but this is about pleasing the blog owner, making a good post, building up a relationship and hopefully a future where you will be asked back.

If you are asked to or you are able to, format the post to match the rest on the site. Adding the same calls to actions at the end of the post, adding images and same style headings will make it look like it was written by the blog owner. Again this will help it get accepted.

If your post is going to be a helpful tutorial type that recommends resources then make sure that the resources that you link to are current. There is nothing worse than clicking through a link to try out a ‘screen capture’ software only to find out that it has been offline for the last year.

Writing the all-important author bio for conversions and link building

As important as the post is, for you the most vitally important part is your author bio. The best way to do this is to take a look at other posts and see how their authors have their bios. Copy them, have the same amount of words and links in as they do. You know it should be accepted if it matches those that already have.

What is important is having your bio stand out to the blogs readers. If your site is all about martial arts but your post is being published on a site dedicated to Karate, put in your bio a Karate related reason for them to visit your site. Sounds obvious, it is but it is also overlooked by many.

For example you could use a standard bio of ‘ Andi Leeman  is the author of Martial Arts World, the website for the world of  Martial Arts.’ Or you could go for the more reader enticing ‘Andi Leeman is the author of Martial Arts World, A blog full of Karate news & tutorials.’

Google is clamping down on over optimization so try not to use your chosen keyword ‘anchor text’ every time. Mix it up a bit, use a non-keyword based anchor text like your name, business name and link to the homepage or link to another page on your site with similar material.

Now it is time to start to build up your backlinks and drive traffic to your site. For every post on your blog, you may want to write 4 or 5 as guest posts for other sites that drive traffic to your own site.  So now all I have left to say is go out there and start writing. Quentin Minion

 

Self Publishing Tips: Blogging to the Book Store and the Bank.

12 Mar

After hearing yet another success story that has grown from the world of self-publishing authors I decided to do another post on the subject. I wanted to talk about why having a blog has helped self-published

Blogging to the Book Store and the Bank

 authors and how they can help you too.

Today I read about Clair Ridgway, she is a self-published author who recently published her first non-fiction book ‘The Anne Boleyn Collection’. Within 3 weeks she had sold 1024 copies. It was available as a paperback and digital format on Amazon.

What I found interesting about this book is this; the book is 260 pages long made up of the best articles from her own successful blog www.theanneboleynfiles.com. The blog is a historical blog telling the story of Anne Boleyn, Henry VIII and the Tudors.

Now what is important here is this, even though I find history interesting to a degree, I and many of my close friends and family will not spend hours reading about the Tudor times.

In fact I know people who would rather stick their face against freshly painted walls just so they could really enjoy the mind bending excitement that comes from watching it dry.

There are people though who do enjoy history, but not all history, they prefer one small specific part of history. It is fair to say that it probably is a relatively small amount of people who enjoy learning about the Tudors.

However,

Ms Ridgway had built a blog around a very specific niche and made it successful. She, like every other blog owner, would write and upload new posts regularly. These posts are available to everyone on a daily basis. The people who visit the blog regularly can read them as many times as they want.

But here is the incredible thing, after creating a book from the best posts on the blog, she went on to sell over 1000 copies in 3 weeks. To who though? I am sure there will be buyers who have never seen the blog, there may have been some marketing and Social Media pushes going on but I believe it is safe to say that the majority of buyers are regular readers of the blog.

So why would anyone buy something that they have access to for free?

The same reason that our Glorious Leader likes to sell DVDs, people like to have something to hold, something to take with them. A book can be read on a train or late at night tucked up in bed. There are no connection issues, having to lug around a big laptop, getting annoyed by flashing adverts or simply getting stuck on Facebook and Twitter.

Even though people have access to your content for free they are happy to buy it in a condensed collection.

The other great point I want to get across is that by building up a successful blog you create a following of loyal fans, who see you as a trustworthy authority figure and like all other types of fans (think of music for instance, fans will buy several live versions of the same song even though they may not sound as good as the studio version) they will buy more of your stuff.

Having a blog not only builds you up a fan base but having a fan base builds you up more opportunities to sell your own stuff. Like a collection of best blog posts maybe? 🙂

John Locke is another successful self-published author who used his blog and Twitter creatively to create exposure for his books. He wrote and published a short 550 word blog post called ’Why I Love Joe Paterno and My Mom!’ The article was about the head coach of the American football team the Penn State Nittany Lions. John Locke chose Joe Paterno because he is a huge fan of the man and also there was an important game approaching.

He then did a search on Twitter for the term Penn State, he found hundreds of people were Tweeting about the forth coming game, he took the first 100 people, sent them a message telling them that he thought they might be interested in the post he wrote.

People went to the blog and shared his message with friends and family. After visiting the post people would look around his blog at other things he had written, they would see his books and noticed a similar style of writing to his blog posts.

People started to buy his books and sharing the links, things started to change for John, as he said in an interview with the Daily Mail ‘One day I wrote the blog, the next day I was successful,

Self-publishing is no different to any other form of Internet Marketing. It is all about exposure. Getting as much exposure as possible and leaving a memorable impression on people.

Traffic Generation tips For Self Published Authors

Thinking of what John Locke did, any blog can have a page dedicated to trending news, thoughts or quotes. Quotes are often searched for, so a page of quotes from the world’s best authors can have people coming to your site for free, reading the quotes then looking around the rest of your site.

Another self-published author with his own blog is Kerry Wilkinson. His blog is a straight forward author blog and can be found sitting nicely at the top slot in Google for his name.  But it’s not his blog that I want to talk about.

Kerry Wilkinson is a 31 year old sports journalist who has now signed a six book deal with a publishing house after his first 3 self-published books became Amazon best sellers. He started writing books only a year ago and sold 250,000 copies after six months. He did no formal advertising to promote the books.

His reason for writing his first book?

‘I never wrote these books to be published as such, I wrote them to show myself that I could. Basically, for something to do.’ – Kerry Wilkinson

His first book ‘Locked In’ was sold for only £0.99, it was sold cheap to attract further readers for his following books. It has sold over 150,000 copies to date.

There are many great tried and tested methods that can get you exposure, some are free and in the case of Kerry Wilkinson, he got paid to build his fan base. Now that cannot be a bad thing can it?

I believe that if you truly want to use the internet to make money you should seriously consider having a blog. Writing to it regularly not only gets you exposure, recognised as an authority but can in fact, over time, create you a book ready to sell on Amazon.

How to write your first blog posts; and the rest after that.

1 Mar

If you wasn’t already aware by now I am a big lover of blogging for many reasons, you will find many of those reasons lovingly crafted into Pulitzer Prize winning posts on this very site. Blogging is a great way

tims minions typing

 to get into the Internet Marketing and make money online world. With professional bloggers like Pat Flynn, regularly making up to $30,000 a month… Yes that is right, a month! Blogging can be very lucrative indeed.

If you struggle with a lot of the American style full of hype and over the top sales patter that is associated with many Internet Marketers and their Clickbank product launches then blogging is probably THE best way to get into online marketing as it can be highly ethical. You will supply quality content to people who will thank you for it and eventually you will be awarded for it too.

A professional blog requires a lot of time invested into it and hard work. Sorry to bust your bubble but nothing in life is easily achievable without hard work or at least some level of work. Why not pop over to smartpassiveincome.com and ask Pat if the work from home lifestyle and several thousand dollars a month he makes isn’t worth all the work.

So how do you make a quality professional blog?  First and foremost you will need to start adding content for readers to see. If you manage to get any visitors to your site in the early days and have very little or no content then they will not stay around for long or do a repeat visit.

Writing the content to be posted to your blog is the scary bit, especially when you have never written posts before. It’s probably also a long time since you did any long writing; the last time for many people was when they were at school. So today I am going to give you a couple of tips for writing content for your blog, things that I do and, well let’s just say, get away with. 

1.Google Alerts

I love Google alerts; I use it primarily for finding great posts to share with our Twitter followers. Google send you loads of fresh quality articles and posts either by email or to a Google RSS feed.  All articles and posts are pulled from the internet based on any terms I chose so for instance I have a feed based on ‘blogging tips’, any new articles or posts that are written about blogging tips, I get them.

 

I open up the links and read through the articles to see if they are worth sharing. I also get great ideas for articles and posts if I am running a bit short of my own.  Just the other day I found an article using the phrase ‘work from home’ that was the inspiration for some writing that is currently a guest post on a friend’s site

 

After reading several articles around a certain topic you will find that your head is buzzing and ready to start writing. You could copy and paste several into a text document, change the font colour and then use them as a reference. Reference only though, no copying!

 

2.Start Writing

You might think step two is write out a plan, well if you can think of a plan then that is great, do it, I have at times, however, what I tend to do is start writing. Why? Well it gets things down on paper (or screen) it is easier to edit stuff that is written down rather than editing what is in your head. You can start to see ‘stuff’ on the screen which makes it easier to see what needs elaborating on or taking out.

 

It really doesn’t matter if you write loads; you can soon edit it or reuse it another day perhaps. The most important thing is to get started. Get stuff written down. You will stop and re read all that you have written, and you will edit it till you are happy.

 

Writing down is in fact a plan of its own; you will see where you need to move things back and forth.  You will also feel more satisfied with actually doing something. Writing your first posts can be daunting which in many people can lead to it not being done at all.

 

It is easy to get distracted and not get started. In fact when people want to do something but they are scared of it they will actually seek out distractions to avoid the pain of fear. But at the end of the day the fear of doing will be replaced with the feelings of failure and disappointment that you have not got done what you wanted to do. Which is worse?

 

Simply getting started is really the only way to get into the habit of writing and overcoming any excuses and blocks that you may have preventing you from creating your content. Does it matter that your first posts are not brilliant? No, you will do the best that you are capable of doing at that time.

It is also wise to remember that not everyone thinks the same. You may think that an article isn’t that good whereas ten or fifteen readers may love it and thank you for enlightening them about a topic. So get it written and get it posted. It is a step in the right direction at least.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog.

23 Feb

 

Do you have a blog? Is your blog just a personal blog where you can jabber on about your favourite things? Or maybe a specific hobby that enjoy? There are many reasons for people having a blog, some are for fun and some are purely designed to generate money.

Whatever your blog is about, if you have a good following of regular readers and have not monetized it in any way, you might as well make some money from it. Let’s be honest here, we enjoy blogging and we enjoy having money. So it makes sense to combine the two. Doesn’t it?

There are many ways to monetize a blog, the usual way is from promoting affiliate products or selling advertising space. This is usually done by copying and pasting code into parts of your site. Which isn’t hard, but it can be a bit of a ball ache. If you are not sure about HTML coding and where to put it then you may shy away from doing it entirely.

However I am here to save the day, well I say me, these few plugins are. (I cannot really take the credit lol) As ever, your trusted Minion has done some research and found some great plugins that you can install which will take a lot of the hard work out of it all. And make you some money.

 

WordPress-Amazon-Associate

This is a great plugin if you have an Amazon Associate account. (Amazon affiliate) Once this plugin has been installed you will need to set it up with your Amazon affiliate access keys which you will find in your Amazon affiliate profile. Adding affiliate links to your posts is really very simple.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog

 

 

There is an Amazon search box found in the New Post section. You highlight the text you want to link to, enter the search term that is relevant to your post in the side widget, select a category and hit search.  A list of products will be brought up from the search and you chose which one you want to use then hit the ‘Insert Link’ button and it will put the link into your post.

There are also several types of Amazon sidebar widgets, found in the widget are of your WordPress site, you just drag the widget over to where you want it, open them up and edit them. You can set up a product carousel, favourites, a product cloud, MP3 clips and there is also an Amazon search bar.  When a visitor on your site clicks through to Amazon and buys through your affiliate ID you earn a commission.  

 

Ad Rotator

This plugin will require some copy and paste but it works well if you sell advertising space on your site. Whoever buys the space will send you the code or it will be accessible via a dash board if you use a company to sell your space like buysellads.com.

This plugin gives you a widget very similar to the default text widget. You can drag and drop these widgets into the side bars or footers and they work for any ad size.

You simply paste the ad code into the widget and in between different ad codes you paste in <!–more–> to separate the code. Every time you refresh your page a different advert is shown.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog.

 

You can have more than one Ad Rotator block in your side bars so you can have static adverts as well as rotating ones. There isn’t a CPM system with this plugin so you can charge whatever you like.

MediaPass

This is a great system, really great for content based sites and educational sites. MediaPass plugin allows you to hide certain content behind a ‘pay to view’ box.  For instance you may create a site where 4 tutorial videos on WordPress are free to see but the remaining 12 tutorials that you have made can be locked off to people unless they pay to see them.  

Once the plugin is installed, you chose which content you want hiding behind the paid wall, click one of 3 boxes on the posts tool bar and chose which subscription model you want. Big magazine and papers use this system a lot. 

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog.

 

You need to set up a MediaPass account before you can use the plugin but once it’s set up they do all the work. They take the card payments and then send you a cheque every month. They do take out a hefty 35% of the price but imagine what they save you. No faffing with card problems, you don’t spend time taking the money, setting up merchant accounts, posting and packaging DVDs. You just have to concentrate on the blogging side of your business.

You could try charging more than the price you want to ask for to cover the 35% and if your customers are happy to pay that then you are on to a winner.

Skimlinks Affiliate Marketing Tool

This plugin is great if you want to go down the affiliate marketing route. This plugin will turn any product links and references into affiliate links. There are over 17,000 merchants in the Skimlinks database.

The big advantage of this plugin is that it frees you up to concentrate on what you do best which is blogging. You will need a Skimlinks account and then they take care of business, they do all the tracking codes and maintaining of accounts.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog

 

Skimlinks take 25% commissions from the merchants. You get a percentage of that but consider the amount you would have made if you had to source the affiliate products and set up the links yourself, it would have been a lot less and very time consuming.

With Skimlinks you can concentrate on creating more and better blog posts to bring more visitors and re visits to your blog.

Kontera Plugin for WordPress

Again this is another great affiliate plug in. Very handy for those with blogs that do not use side bars. This plugin adds contextual ads within the text of a page. Like amazon and Skimlinks you will need an account first and you will be given a publisher ID which you enter inside the plugin setup. All you do then is choose the colour for the links and add in the generated code into the pages that you want the ads to appear.

5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog

 

Ads don’t appear straight away, it can take up to 24 hours for them to appear in your pages so be patient. Kontera isn’t just for WordPress, if you are also a fan of Blogger or Drupal then you can also use this plugin to monetize those types of sites as well.

So there you have it. 5 great plugins to help you make money from your blog, images taken from WordPress Plugin Centre. – Andi the Minion

The Best 15 WordPress Plugins The Newbie Blogger Needs

21 Feb

The Best 15 WordPress Plugins The Newbie Blogger Needs

The Best 15 WordPress Plugins The Newbie Blogger Needs

WordPress is an awesome website building platform that is relatively easy to learn, within days even the most timid internet user can have a professional looking blog and website up and running. With WordPress there is no need for HTML or Javascript coding skills. Everything is created with an easy to use ‘plug n play’ style system. I guess that is why they call the add-ons ‘plugins’ 🙂

Once you have WordPress installed onto your server a default theme will be visible, this is usually the ‘Twenty Eleven’ theme, if you do not like this theme all you need to do is change it. We will talk about how to change themes in another post. For now, the default theme is good enough to start your newbie blog.

WordPress functionality may seem a bit basic at first and it is, but even the basic theme can look great if you use it well, once you start to add the plugins then the magic can really start. Plugins can turn your blog from just a one or two video posts to a complete video style website or it can become a photo gallery. You can add podcasts, sales pages, and ecommerce stores. The possibilities are endless.  Anyway, I better not get you either too excited or frazzle your brain with ‘too much to learn syndrome’.

I will take it easy and start small. I am going to give you a list of plugins that I think every new blog owner should know about and install before you go into the seriously good plugins. Some are essential and some are, well you guessed it, not. These are in no particular order

1.Akismet– Great plugin that stops spamming comments and deletes them automatically saving you the time and annoyance of having to go through the comments left by people pushing porn or Viagra! Akismet is usually pre-loaded into WordPress and should be found in the plugin section. This will need a key for it to be enabled and you will need to register with Akismet to get a key. It used to be available from WordPress.org but unfortunately they have stopped doing that.  [Essential]

 

2.Contact Form 7 – Great plugin this, adds a contact form (if you hadn’t already guessed) to your site. You simply add in your email address that you want emails sent to, and any other info you require then copy and paste the simple code it gives you into a page. Give the page a name like hmmm ‘Contact Me’ hit publish and you are done. [Essential]

 

3.Ezine Articles – This is a cool plugin, when you write a blog post, before you put links or pictures into it you can hit a couple of buttons and send your fresh article straight to Ezine articles for distribution. Now article marketing used to be big but since Google have taken a bit of a dislike to article sites I am not sure how powerful article marketing is these days however, it can still be good for you if other websites and newsletters do take your article with a link to your site and use it.

 

4.Google Privacy Policy – This is a must if you want to monetize your site with Google Adsence. They will not add any adverts to a site that doesn’t comply with their terms and a site must have a Privacy Policy. This sorts it all out, similar to Contact Form 7, you copy a bit of code and post it into a page and hit publish. Job done. [Essential]

 

5.Google XML Sitemaps – The best way to describe this is by using the plugin description itself ‘This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Yahoo, Bing and Ask.com to better index your blog’ I couldn’t have put it better myself. [Essential]

 

6.CKEditor for WordPress– This is great for copying and pasting from Word etc, keeping the text and font formatting. Better than the standard default text editor in WordPress. It gives you more choice and control when writing your blog posts or importing pictures. This is not an essential plugin really, more a preference.

 

7.cbnet Ping Optimizer – This stops the over excessive ‘pinging’ of your website to search engines. WordPress by default will ‘ping’ your blog posts to help them get index by the search engines. If you are like me, you will create blog posts by adding bits, publishing it, taking a look, editing it, updating it etc. etc. This can go on time after time after time. Every time you hit ‘Update’ WordPress will send a new ‘ping’. You may think this is good, it is not. Too much ‘pinging’ can in fact go against you. Google may think you are spamming and trying to get index really fast for naughty reasons. So you could in fact be punished for excessive pinging. Installing this plugin is a must. [Essential]

 

8.Share and Follow – This is a social share plugging that adds all those lovely Social Media and bookmarking buttons at the top/bottom of posts allowing people who like your posts to share and bookmark them (obviously) There is also a ‘Follow Us’ bar where you can add your Twitter and Facebook links so your site visitors can easily join up and follow you on the popular Social Media networks.

 

9.Yoast SEO – Search Engine optimization is a must for websites to help them get higher rankings in the search engines, this great plugin checks your posts before you publish them to see if they are written as best as they can be with your chosen keyword for them to have a better ranking in places like Google.  Alternately you can use All in One SEO Pack plugin. I prefer the Yoast personally. [Essential]

 

10.Digg Digg – Another Social Media plugin that allows your site visitors to ReTweet or Share your posts. Digg Digg has a great funky floating bar that runs up the side of your posts. I run this alongside share and follow.

 

11.Statpress Reloaded – This is great little plugin for showing you how many visitors you have had to your site, where they came from, what page they looked at, what search terms they used etc.  Once you have activated it, it is up and running unlike Google Analyticator plugin which requires you to set up a Google Analytics account and get an ID password before you can use the plugin. Statpress Reloaded is straightforward and fast working. [Essential]

 

12.WPtouch – Awesome plugin that automatically turns your site into a smart phone friendly version. Most smart phones these days can view normal websites well and the new version of WordPress seems to adapt automatically when viewed in phones, however saying that. WP Touch makes your site look a lot better and arranges your posts into an easier to read list. Install, give it a try, if you do not like it deactivate it and delete. Not a problem

 

13.Related Posts Thumbnails – This cool plugin allows related posts to be seen on the side bar and at the bottom of your posts with the featured image, giving your reader something else to see, possibly capture their attention and have them clicking through to your other posts keeping them where you want them, on your site!

 

14.WP Photo Album – Another excellent plugin that gives a greater visual dimension to your blog. This plugin allows you to upload loads of photos, create albums and galleries.  You copy some code into a page, give it a title and hit publish to create picture galleries within your site. It has several widgets that can be placed into the sidebar creating a picture of the day/hour, a slide show of pictures and a top ten pictures section giving your site an incredible visual experience.

 

15.FeedWordPress – This is for the lazy people who don’t like creating their own content. Plugin this baby and it will pull content via RSS from the websites that you choose and place them onto your blog as posts. As long as they have an RSS feed of course. Great for news based blogs. Use this alongside your own content then you have a winning combination. Regular posting of content is good in the eyes of search engines, they don’t normally like duplicate content but if you use it wisely it can do you good. The only drawback is that you must choose the websites that you pull your feed from wisely otherwise your site could get populated with rubbish.

 

So there you have it 15 essential and non-essential WordPress plugins for the newbie blogger. Plugins can be deactivated at any time so try them out and if you don’t like them then stop using them. It will not affect your site. I advise you to keep the essential ones in as they are important.  – Andi the Minion.