Installing and properly using the right SEO WordPress plugins is critical to getting a money making blog up and running. You can choose and host the best domain name, and you can install an SEO optimized theme, but without the right plugins, you are greatly limiting the money making potential of your blog. So in this article, I’m going to discuss the 5 SEO plugins I use, and then walk through how to upload them to BlueHost.
Before I get to the SEO plugins, a quick story. On May 1st I started two related niche blogs using the techniques I describe in the money making blog section of the Dough Roller. One site has 8 articles, the other has 6. They are both finance related and focus on different keywords within the same vertical market. I’ve not spent a lot of time with the sites, but I have gotten some back links to both. In that time I’ve made about $120, roughly half from Adsense and half from affiliate links.
Now that’s not a lot of money, but it’s just two sites not even two months old with a combined total of less than 15 articles. I also suspect that within 6 months, these sites will be generating at least $500 per month, and maybe more. And imagine if I had 20 or 30 of these sites (I’m working on it!). In two weeks when we get to the topic of actually building niche sites, I will walk through the process in detail using my site Credit Card Offers IQ as an example.
5 Critical SEO Plugins for a Money Making Blog
As with many things in life, folks can disagree over which SEO plugins are the best. But here is the list of plugins I use, and they have served me very well.
Google XML Sitemaps: Sitemaps tell search engines like Google and Yahoo! what pages are available on your site for crawling. They give search engines a road map to your most important content. With the Google XML Sitemap plugin, generating a XML-compliant sitemap is a snap.
After you download the sitemap plugin, upload it to your site’s server (see below), and activate the plugin from the plugins page of your WordPress installation, you can configure the plugin from the “Settings” page of WordPress. This plugin is rich with features and resources. I’ve found that the default settings typically are all that you need. Once you’ve generated your sitemap, it will be accessible at http://www.[yourdomain]/sitemap.xml. At that point, you can upload your sitemap to Google’s Webmaster tools. Google’s Webmaster tools provides a rich set of information about your site, and we’ll cover it in more detail next week.
All in One SEO Pack: The All in One SEO plugin works to optimize many features of your site for search engines. Once you install and activate the plugin, there are two things to look for from this plugin. First, it allows you to set global SEO settings for your site. From the Settings page you’ll see a tab for the All in One SEO plugin. This screen lets you set things like the home title of your site (if you want something different than your blog name), a meta description for your home page, keywords for your site, and the post title format your readers will see in the top bar of the browser when viewing a post.
Second, you’ll see an additional feature added to your write post screen that looks like this:
As the image shows, this plugin allows you to ad title, description, keywords and other information to each post. Much of this information is not necessary to use. For example, if you complete the excerpt box in a post, you won’t need to ad a description in the All in One SEO plugin. The same is true for keywards if you are running the current version of WordPress and use tags. But you can alter the meta title of the post, which I often do.
I’ve introduced you to the All in One SEO plugin because it’s effective and easy to use. If you are looking for a simple SEO plugin, I highly recommend it. But in my opinion, it’s not the best. If you want the best and are willing to invest some time to understand the benefits of a more sophisticated SEO plugin, then keep reading.
HeadSpace2: The functionality of HeadSpace2 could fill 10 articles. It does everything All in One SEO does and more, and gives you more control of the settings. For example, you can set a single page or post to use a WordPress theme other than the one you’ve selected for your site. You can set global meta keywords that get inserted into all of your site’s pages. You can insert your Google Analytics (more on this next week) id into HeadSpace2 to track your site’s traffic. I highly recommend this plugin if you have the time to understand how to use it. If you do, you should read the HeadSpace2 plugin page.
I do want to highlight one feature of HeadSpace2 that is particularly helpful if you already have a WordPress site with lots of posts. From the Manage tab click on the Meta-data sub-tab. This brings up a screen that lists every post and page on your site. Here’s what the screen looks like:
This feature allows you to edit or add meta tags/keywords, titles, descriptions, more text, page slug, site name, and site description. The drop down box lets you chose which one of the meta tags to change. If you click on the green arrows to the right, HeadSpace2 inserts suggested keywords and descriptions. One great benefit to this screen is that it’s an easy way to find old posts where I’ve forgotten to add keywords, tags, or meta titles.
Related Posts: This plugin automatically inserts related posts at the end of each post. This gives your readers some additional articles related to the topic if they want to keep reading. But the plugin also has a big SEO benefit. Internal links, that is links from one part of your site to another, are absolutely critical for SEO purposes. I’ll even go so far as to say that they are more important than back links. And the related posts plugin ads relevant internal links to all of your posts.
SEO Slugs: In older versions of WordPress, the write post and page screens included a SLUG input field. This field was automatically populated with the post or page title to create the page URL. SEO Slugs plugin removes from the SLUG common words such as a, an, and the to improve the SEO benefits of the URL. In the current version of WordPress, you’ll find no mention of the SLUG. Instead, you’ll see a Permalink line immediately below the title. SEO Slugs works the same way for both new and older versions of WordPress.
Are there other SEO plugins? Yes, tons of them. But the above 5 are the primary ones I use, and they cover just about everything you’ll ever need.
How to Install WordPress Plugins with BlueHost
Installing a WordPress plugin is similar to installing a theme:
- Step 1: Download the plugin to your hard drive.
- Step 2: Log in to BlueHost (or other hosting service) and from the cPanel, select the File Manager. Navigate to your domain folder –> wp-content –> plugins.
- Step 3: Once you are in your plugins folder, click the upload navigation icon. This will take you to a screen where you can browse your hard drive and upload the plugin file.
- Step 4: Find the plugin file in your plugins folder and extract the files.
- Step 5: In WordPress, navigate to the Plugins page and activate the plugin.
There are two shortcuts to this process you should know about. First, when I set up a new site, I quickly copy all of the plugins I use from one of my existing sites on BlueHost to the new site. In File Manager, you can select multiple files and then select the Copy icon to copy the files over to the plugin folder of the new site. It literally takes me 60 seconds to upload all the plugins I need for a new site.
Second, you can use FTP (file transfer protocol) software and other methods to transfer files from your hard drive to the BlueHost servers without manually logging in to BlueHost. I’ve not covered that here because I think it’s important to understand how your hosting interface works. But eventually you’ll move to FTP.
Next week I’ll cover certain WordPress configurations you’ll need to make to your new site and some additional third-party tools you’ll want to use. With that, we will have covered everything we need to get a site up and running, and can then turn to actually making money online.
Published or updated March 22, 2012.