If you missed the first part of this series, I’d recommend reading Part #1 first.
But if you have read part one, you’ll know that I’m providing this simple checklist to give you only the most important things needed on your WordPress blog to make it successful.
… So in this final part, I’ll be going through the necessary plugins and themes.
Just go down the list below, and find anything which you don’t currently have.
Note: All these plugins can be installed for free via your WordPress admin area, just by hovering over “Plugins” in the left menu, and clicking on “Add New”. Then search for these specific plugin names.
- Akismet (comes already installed, but you need to activate it) – Stops comment spam
- All In One SEO Pack – So Google will rank you higher for your chosen keywords
- Google XML Sitemaps – So Google can find and index your new content super-fast
- Google Analytics Plugin (if your theme doesn’t already have it integrated) – So you can track visitor numbers, behaviour, and other important stats
- WPTouch – Automatically turns your blog into a mobile-friendly theme for mobile users
- Popular Posts Plugin (if your theme doesn’t have it) – So your visitors will always see your best content, and see you as the authority in your niche
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (if your theme doesn’t have it) – To keep your visitors reading your content for longer, and to see you as the expert on your chosen topic(s)
- Sharebar – Adds a floating bar to the side of your blog posts for Facebook shares, Twitter shares and more, helping your content go viral & get more traffic
- Front Page Category – If you don’t want a certain category to display on the front page of your blog (hide specific content)
- Better WordPress Minify – Cleans up your website’s source code so Google may rank your website higher.
What Your Theme Should Do:
If your template doesn’t do these things, you need to get a new one…
- Looks professional – No mixes of bright colors! Must be a sleek and modern design, with the main post content being black text on a white background for easy reading.
- Is easy to use, read and navigate for your visitors – No complicated layouts or unusual navigation bars.
- Has a sidebar on the right hand side – To promote related affiliate products and your opt-in form for your free gift. Typically, a right-hand sidebar gets more clicks and attention than a left-hand sidebar.
- Is free of bugs and errors – No misaligned columns or broken images. Not only will this affect your Google ranking, but it’ll also annoy your visitors, possibly driving them away for good.
- Shows you as an expert – Allows places for your photo, social media and other personal branding. The more personal you can be, the more responsive your audience will be!
- Is SEO friendly – Clean source code, with no flash or excessive scripts, and NO exit popups.
… So check down this list right now, and see if yours complies.
If it doesn’t, here are some great themes to use…
Best WordPress Themes
Never use the default WordPress themes! (apart from the new 2011 one). Instead, use these…
- “Fresh News” (the one I use)
- … Or anything from WooThemes!
- “iNove” – For affiliate review blogs.
- “Thesis” – Great for SEO and has a clean, minimalistic design.
- “Flex Squeeze” – Internet Marketing friendly and great for a beginner.
- “Headway” – Drag-and-drop editing interface, meaning you can create any design you want without being a web designer.
- Most themes from ElegantThemes.com
… But as long as it meets the criteria in the previous list (“What Your Theme Should Do”), use it!
Any questions? Leave a comment below! 🙂
- James Francis.