So you’ve landed on this page, chances are you’re interested in money, or more specifically that coveted question, how do bloggers make money? That’s ok, it’s not something everybody always wants to shout out about.
In 2015 if you had told your mother that you were quitting your all-star career in accounting to start blogging, you’d have probably got a swift talking too or a smack across the back of the head. Luckily, in 2018 people are starting to realize that content marketing and blogging is one of the most lucrative and effective forms of marketing available.
The content marketing industry (i.e. writing & producing content) is set to be worth 313 billion dollars in 2019.
As you can see, there’s a lot of money to be made in content writing. Here’s the challenge though, unless you are a recent computer science major, chances are you don’t know a whole lot about website design or coding.
Don’t worry, that’s where WordPress plugins come in. With plugins, you can transform your cozy little WordPress blog into a money-making machine.
If you’ve got WordPress installed, you can install these plugins in less than 2 minutes. If you’re finding it hard to make money blogging you should be trying new things. Don’t make the same mistakes, again and again.
Bear in mind that these plugins don’t literally print money for you, but they do add something unseen to your posts and pages. This ‘unseen effect’ creates a better user experience, grows your traffic and increases conversion rates.
Often your users won’t see the immediate effects of your plugin, but what it will affect is your bottom line, that means more moola.
Although blog monetization is too deep of a topic for me to fully explore here, these 13 WordPress plugins are must-haves if you’re wanting to make money online through a blog.
Some you’ll be familiar with, others you won’t even realize existed, that’s all okay. That’s what I’m here for, to help you expand your business and grow your income online.
Ok, let’s get started.
How Do Bloggers Make Money With WordPress
When it comes to making money with blogging, there’s no right or wrong way. But there are a lot of bloggers who tried and failed. Making money while blogging doesn’t have to be difficult.
You just have to understand what niches perform well online and then make content for those audiences that people engage with.
Once you’ve got your audience — we’re talking traffic here folks — then monetization with the right plugins becomes easy. If you want to know how do you become a blogger and get paid? Then you need look no further.
Let’s explore which plugins you can use to monetize your blog like a pro.
The 13 WordPress Plugins Bloggers Use to Make Money
You wouldn’t charge into battle on horseback, naked, brandishing a carrot as your weapon.
You’d suit up.
You’d have armor on your horse, a-rockin’ helmet, a big old sword and probably some kind of chainmail. The specifics of medieval wartime evade me, but the analogy holds true.
Why would you head into your blogging adventure unarmed? Look at your plugin library as your armory and load yourself up.
Arm yourself with the very best money-making plugins that you can get your hands on. Here are the very best plugins that bloggers use to make money.
1. Google Adsense
Ads are a sour topic of discussion for many bloggers. Many bloggers make money using ads, but some worry that ads can damage the user experience.
What nobody can deny though is how ads are a great way of creating passive income for bloggers. Creating a blog is a lot of work and you deserve to be paid for the work you put in.
One thing you have to decide is how many ads you want to display on your site, and this is completely up to you.
There’s Money in Ad Revenue
On average, profitable blogs earn $510.55 per month from Google Adsense. That’s not a bad bit of money made for your blog considering it’s completely passive.
Sure you still have to put out regular content and keep up your traffic, but once you pair ad revenue with other forms of income, you can start to make some great income.
The Google Adsense plugin will let you place your ads within your WordPress blog using a point-and-click UI. Google will automatically determine your ad placement including suggesting an ad layout.
You can expect the plugin to allow you to:
- Add Adsense ads to your blog easily to make money from advertisement
- Manage your ads easily through the point-and-click interface
- Enable mobile-targeted ad layouts using the Automated Mobile Ads feature
- Manually place ads where you want them placed
- Exclude certain pages from having ads
It might seem insignificant to set up your blog for Google Adsense when your small but having it set up and optimized ahead of time can be a major benefit for if you suddenly hit a large amount of traffic.
You don’t want to be losing money while you are scrambling to figure out how to install ad’s on your site.
2. Media Vine
When you hit over 30,000 monthly page views or 25,000 monthly sessions on your blog, you can apply for a Media Vine account. Media Vine is widely considered as a much-improved ad network to Google Adsense once you’ve established some high levels of traffic.
Media Vine is popular because it handles your whole ad network for you. It works as a collective ad agency, putting the buying power together of everybody who uses the ad network to get the very best deals.
This means that depending on your niche, you typically get a much higher payout compared to Google Adsense.
They Have a Great Reputation
A lot of bloggers throughout the industry use Media Vine and although like any ad network there may be people who are unhappy, overall, people seem to love Media Vine.
They are friendly, supportive and they really get it, the whole blogging thing. Media Vine also has an intuitive dashboard that updates daily, and they are also upfront about any costs and keep you updated on what you are earning.
They also use fast ads, so you shouldn’t notice a big slow-down of your site.
Overall, an ad network is one of the strongest ways bloggers make money online. Using ad network combined with other plugins, you can monetize your blog too.
3. Social Warfare
When it comes to monetizing your blog, it’s all down to traffic. Traffic is your secret key to the world of more users coming to your site.
One of the best ways to get more people coming to your site is via social sharing. Using social networks like Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter and Linked-in you can drive traffic to your blog.
Social Warfare is a social sharing plugin that you can use to help monetize your blog. This plugin helps your blog earn more money in a number of ways.
Social Warfare Is Social Proof
One of my favorite features within Social Warfare is its share count. On every single one of your blog posts, you will have a share button sitting at the top of your post. If your blog post has been shared multiple times, this will show.
What’s great about this is it creates social proof at the top of your blog post. This means that new users visiting your blog can be reassured that your blog post is quality if it’s been shared over 700 times, for example.
The one-click sharing with Social Warfare is also a great way to put your content out there. The more people that see your content, the more likely you’ll be able to convert them and bring them back to your blog.
The list of features that Social Warfare boasts is impressive:
- Support from all the popular social networks
- Displays individual and total share count
- Displays floating share buttons
- Can add Click-to-Tweet content
- Displays popular posts in your WordPress dashboard by share counts
- Upload Pinterest specific descriptions and images to your post
All of these features make for more natural content sharing and can help to boost the amount of your content that is seen by others.
What’s the easiest way to start making money on a blog? Is it promoting an affiliate product, creating a product course or setting up shop, online.
It turns out, setting up your own shop online isn’t that hard to do. Shopify is an incredible plugin you can use, to install a shop on your blog.
Shopify is everything you could need to create a compelling e-Commerce store easily and quickly. Countless bloggers set up shops to sell digital products, and physical products using dropshipping.
Turn Your Blog Traffic Into An eCommerce Masterpiece
From huge product descriptions, shopping carts, checkout pages and refund pages, Shopify has a whole host of apps you can use to create the perfect online store.
If you have something unique to offer or a product you want to sell, you’re probably missing out by not having an online store.
Shopify is now powered by over 500,000 business across 175 countries. It’s a powerful tool to help you monetize your business and blog.
5. Yoast SEO
Yoast is your plugin link between your blog and Google. Having this plugin installed allows you to optimize your content for SEO.
Making your content attractive to Google is a big deal, and with Yoast, you are able to optimize your SEO which will drive more traffic to your site.
Yoast is the #1 WordPress SEO plugin out there and every action you take with your blog posts should be focused on getting the most out of this plugin. By focusing on Yoast you can improve the amount of traffic you receive from Google. Remember, traffic = income.
Optimize Your SEO & Drive More Traffic To Your Blog
Now the most important aspects of ranking your website within Google are to have:
- High-quality content on your site – 1,890 words or more is the average first-page result on Google
- High-authority backlinks – The more backlinks from sites with high domain authority the better
Using Yoast, you can focus on optimizing your content, and avoid making simple mistakes with your on-page SEO optimization.
Use Yoast to drive more traffic to your blog and improve your chances of making money blogging.
6. ConvertKit For WordPress
ConvertKit is my favorite email provider, I converted (aha, get it?) over back in 2017 and haven’t looked back since. ConvertKit includes all of my favorite features from my old email provider MailChimp like tracking open rates but with a lot of welcome new additions.
If you are looking to earn more money blogging, growing an email list is a great place to start. From growing a bigger client list to targeting specific customers from your list, ConvertKit gives you a variety of powerful tools.
Email Marketing Made Easy
ConvertKit, a company started by Nathan Barry initially started out as an online challenge. Back in January 2013, Nathan aimed to build a SaaS app to reach $5,000 in monthly recurring revenue in 6 months.
Fast forward to 2018 and ConvertKit has been a serious player in the email marketing space bringing in over $1 million in monthly recurring revenue.
Building an email list is one of the best ways for you to connect with your audience and monetize your blog. Everything from your welcome emails to email sequences is handled within ConvertKit.
It has an easy to use system which allows you to tag your subscribers. This means you can ask your subscribers questions and refine your email list to make it super targeted. This massively increases the likelihood of achieving sales through your email list.
One of my favorite things about ConvertKit is their automation and sequences tools. This allows you to create mini-courses and email sequences to keep your readers engaged.
Your mini-courses can even be sold to your blog readers; the email delivery format makes the whole process easy to manage.
Of all the email marketing tools out there, ConvertKit is one of the easiest to use and has the most extensive support including online chat and a detailed help center. I wish I’d started using ConvertKit sooner, as my email list has seen over 5X growth since changing over from MailChimp.
Email marketing is one of the most powerful ways for bloggers to make money, if you haven’t already you should get started on building an email list.
If an email list is one of the best ways to monetize your blog, you want to have the best tools available to grow that list. Enter SumoMe.
SumoMe is a free plugin you can use that helps you create simple opt-in forms to grow your email list. You can use everything from simple slim bars at the top of your web pages to embedded forms.
There are a wide variety of options to choose from, and if you opt for the premium version you get enhanced features such as:
- A-B split testing
- Email integration
- Pro design tools
How Do Bloggers Make Money With Opt-Ins?
It’s not by chance that almost every professional website you visit wants your email address. From opt-in bribes to email incentives, whatever you decide to call them, the importance of capturing an email address for your blog is huge.
Once you have access to an email address, and you have permission, you can place your reader (who is now a lead) through a set of email sequences to demonstrate value.
Users take up to 7 times of seeing your content to trust you enough to purchase on average. That means instead of trying to sell a customer on your product as soon as they visit your site, you should aim to provide value for free multiple times, before offering your services.
This sequence of adding value before asking for something in return is called a sales funnel, and it’s the lifeblood of many bloggers.
SumoMe is a powerful tool to help you create those eye-catching opt-in boxes that will have your readers dying to join your email list.
Bloggers Make More Money With Fast Websites
Blogging for beginners style courses may not tell you this fact, but the faster your website is, the better chance you have of earning good money from it. The speed of your site directly impacts your blog’s ability to monetize.
If your webpage takes longer than 3 seconds to load, you could be losing over 40% of your visitors. The expectation is for your website to load in under 2 seconds.
The good news is, if you ever encounter a serious programming problem or want a professional to take a look, you can. There are 1000’s of well-equipped programmers on sites like Upwork that you can use for as little as a few bucks per hour.
Most don’t require contracts, and if you’re honest with your application, they can choose to give you support. I’ve done this with an individual contractor and any time I have a concern I reach out on Whatsapp, and it’s normally resolved in minutes.
It’s a level of peace of mind that many bloggers overlook, but this has helped me to improve the speed of my blog, fix issues quickly and allow me to spend more time on writing content and monetizing my blog.
Check The Speed of Your Blog Using Google Page Insights
This next section will focus on some plugins that, although may not directly link to monetization, will improve the speed and functionality of your website. You can use Google PageSpeed Insights, a free tool to check the speed of your site and find out where you need to make improvements.
Don’t forget, the speed of your blog ties directly to your blog’s ability to make money.
JetPack is an interesting plugin, mainly because it bundles so many different features together into one. The one aspect of JetPack that we want to focus on for your websites speed is called Photon.
JetPack works to display your images through wordpress.com using a CDN or content delivery network. This means that the task of delivering large files to your users is moved away from your website hosting.
This works by serving your user a saved image off the wordpress.com cloud server, that helps to reduce down your page loading time.
Not only does page speed time help to keep your users on the page, but it also helps you to dominate your SEO rankings. Google considers website speed to be a big ranking signal for your blogs SEO.
JetPack Is Made By WordPress
JetPack is also made by Automattic which is the parent company of WordPress. This gives you a lot of confidence in the plugin being designed well and working well with WordPress.
It also features some handy features like:
- Downtime monitoring – This tool will send you an email to let you know when your site isn’t working.
- Daily backups – Does what it says on the tin, backs up your site every day
- Exposure to social channels – People can follow your blog through WordPress.com’s follower features
- Brute force prevention – Stops unwanted attacks taking down your site
These combined tools along with Jetpacks lightweight design make for a great tool for helping your site grow and monetize.
9. WP Smush
One of the most important aspects of your website is keeping it fast. The faster your site is the better your SEO results and the more people will stay on your page. WP Smush is an amazing plugin that puts your image compression on autopilot.
One of the biggest things that can affect your websites speed is your images. Over-sized images can cause slow websites speed and make a dramatic difference to your site’s performance.
There are two main ways to reduce down your image sizes.
Upload Images at The Size You Need
The first step is to make sure you aren’t making your images too big when you upload them. If you’ve taken the picture on an iPhone for example, you might find the images are over 4000 pixels in width and height.
That might be a great quality photo but all your website is going to do is shrink it down to a size of no bigger than 700 pixels.
Sounds great, but when it shrinks down the size, it’s still loading the full sized image you uploaded. That means you could be waiting up to 8 or 10x longer than you need too.
Make sure to reduce down your photos to the right pixel size for your WordPress sites theme. You can use photo editing software like Photscape X or other free software to adjust your image sizes.
Save Images as Jpeg
You’ll also find images will be a smaller file size when saved as a Jpeg. The two main types of image files you’ll see online will be .PNG or .JPEG.
Try saving your files as both types and see the difference in size. The image below, for example, was 541kb when saved as a PNG and 252kb when saved as a JPEG.
That’s a 289kb reduction in size, that’s over half as small!
Use WP Smash to Compress Your Images Automatically
Once your images have been resized and saved in the right format, it’s time for you to upload them to your site. Using the WP Smush plugin works in two different ways.
When installed, WP Smush automatically reduces down and compresses the file sizes of any new images you upload to your blog. This is great for adding that extra level of compression to your images to speed up your website.
WP Smush also allows you to go through your back catalog of images. This means you can make some pretty huge savings on the sizes of all of your images on your blog, but without having the headache of re-uploading and changing all of your images in your blog posts and pages.
Overall WP Smush is a great plugin that can help you to save a lot of space on your site and also reduce down the wait time on your website.
10. WP Super Cache
Caching and cache out loud might sound awesome. Who doesn’t want more cash right? But we aren’t talking about no dollar bills y’all. We are talking about Cache which is simply memory storage.
It’s a way to access data quickly, and the reason this is important for your WordPress site is for speed!
Every time somebody visits your website, WordPress needs to retrieve your page’s information and then deliver it to the person who is loading your page.
What the WP Super Cache plugin does is speeds up the process. It helps your site avoid needing to access your website database.
In a simple explanation: Using this plugin speeds your site the F* up.
The faster your site loads, the fewer users will leave, the more Google will see you as an MVP. It’s a good thing.
Which Plugin Should You Use?
There are a ton of different Cache plugins that you can use; I’d recommend using either WP Super Cache or W3 Total Cache.
Both are great plugins that come from reputable sources and have been known to improve the speed of your website.
Cache plugins are a really simple way to improve the speed or your site but without having to do a lot else.
A cache plugin is simply plug-in and go. Once you’ve installed the plugin, make sure to go to the settings to turn caching on.
What’s one of the best ways to grow a huge level of income from your blog? By offering digital products or services.
What’s one of the best plugins and tools for providing courses to your audience? Teachable.
Teachable is one of the biggest online companies for helping businesses setup online courses. An online course is a huge digital asset that you can sell to your blog audience.
Some of the biggest bloggers in the industry saw huge spikes in their income levels once they started offering courses online.
How Do Courses Benefit You?
As a blog owner, you’ll already be producing content towards helping people achieve goals and tasks. An online course is simply a combination of different information you are likely already putting out on your blog for free, into one unified course.
Why would people pay for content if it’s all available for free already? Convenience.
People are happy to pay for a course where you’ll hold their hand through the process and guide them to success. Courses are also easy to follow along, and you don’t have to go hunting for the information.
It’s all meticulously laid out for you in a nice, easy, clear format.
Teachable Makes Online Courses Easy
Teachable is an amazing plugin and tool to use for building your online courses. Teachable makes it easy for you to engage with your audience in a clear, well thought out format.
You’ll also find that the landing pages and course pages within Teachable are well laid out and easy to understand.
Teachable is perfect for you if you have been meaning to create your own online course but need an easy format to follow to make the process as simple as possible for you.
While we’re talking about selling digital products, It’d be terrible to not mention my favorite plugin and tool for selling digital products online, SendOwl.
SendOwl has a ton of features and customization that can make it an adaptable solution, and also my digital delivery product of choice.
SendOwl can integrate directly into your Shopify store or be used separately.
What makes SendOwl such a popular choice? Well, it’s not just the amazing features and services, it’s also the price.
You can get started selling your digital products from only $9 a month! That’s insane value.
Keep It Simple Stupid
SendOwl is more affordable than Teachable but still offers a wide variety of options. SendOwl is also popular due to its simple design and ease of use.
Want a one-click checkout? Done.
How about a proper landing page that looks professional? Easy.
E-commerce checkout? Please… of course.
What about 1-click upsells? DONE!
You get a ton of different options all depending on how you want your products to be sold. One of my favorite features though is the inclusion of affiliate promotions.
You can easily get other people to sell your digital products for you, including tracking numbers, statistics and more. All with a simple click.
Personally, I think SendOwl can’t be beaten on value and on the quality of service that they deliver.
It’s the perfect solution for bloggers who want to make money but are brand new to selling their products online.
13. Thirsty Affiliates
Affiliate income is the lifeblood of many bloggers. Pairing together affiliate offers from different companies can help you bring more income through your blog and make your blog work smarter not harder.
But there’s a problem. Adding affiliate products to your website can be a pain and often tiresome and a hassle. It’s why many people find that their affiliate sales fall through the floor.
You see, it takes more than just dropping your link in your blog post to convince people to purchase a product you’re recommending. It takes time, relationship building, dedication and a clear reason for your user to want to purchase that product.
That’s where Thirsty Affiliates come in.
Thirsty Affiliates is an affiliate link manager. This means website owners can easily add, manage and insert affiliate links into your pages and posts.
Making Affiliate Links Simpler
When you have a lot of different affiliate links, it’s difficult to manage all of the long URL’s, and you sometimes can even forget what affiliate referral programmes you are involved in.
Thirsty Affiliates makes all that a problem of the past. Thirsty affiliates will:
- Cloak any long (and ugly) affiliate links
- Protect your commission from theft
- Insert affiliate links into your blog posts a lot easier
With over 225,000+ website owners using Thirsty Affiliates worldwide, it’s a really simple way to get more out of making money on your blog, but without the hard work.
The auto-linking keyword tools, in-depth reports and smart uncloaking help you to get more money out of your blog posts, and maximize your chance of earning money while keeping your integrity.
Which WordPress Plugins Are You Using on Your Blog?
There are a huge amount of WordPress plugins out there, but it’s hard to know which ones to use to maximize your earnings on your blog. Bloggers make money in a wide variety of different ways but this list should be able to help you achieve a better level of income, within your blog niche.
Which of the plugins from this list will you use for your blog? For more tips on monetizing your blog check out another popular post on making money blogging.