6 Awesome WordPress Plugins I’m Using on My New Niche Site

As I mentioned in my last post, I’m currently working on a new niche site.  It’s been over a year since I’ve created a true niche site from start to finish, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to tackle this challenge again.

As with most other websites I’ve ever created, I’m using WordPress.  And if you’ve ever used WordPress, you know that a lot of the “magic” happens with plugins.  They’re what allow you to perform complex functions without knowing a single thing about web development, coding, etc.

And although I’ve reviewed plugins in the past, I thought it might be useful to some people if I went through the plugins that I’m using on a new site, as some of the plugins recommended in the past may now be outdated.

The WordPress Plugins I’m Using on My New Niche Site

Here’s a list (and a bit of information) about all of the plugins I’m using on my new WordPress-based niche site.  Most of these are free, and overall I’ve found them all to be extremely helpful.

1) WordPress SEO 

This is probably one of the only universal “must-have” plugins for any and every WordPress site (and it’s free).  It allows you to optimize all of your on-page SEO factors so that you’re more likely to rank for your target keywords.   Obviously, there are a off-page factors that are perhaps more significant (such as obtaining quality backlinks), but you’ll be at a huge disadvantage if you don’t get your on-page SEO factors set.

This plugin works right “out of the box”, meaning you can just run with the default settings if you want, and you’ll have a pretty good configuration. There’s a lot you can customize however, so if you’re looking to tweak certain things, you’ll have to play around with the settings and learn about what they do.  

2) W3 Total Cache

This is another plugin that I think belongs on every WordPress site (and it’s also free).   As the plugin’s official description says, this is “the highest rated and most complete WordPress performance plugin. Dramatically improve the speed and user experience of your site.”  In a nutshell, that’s what it does.

Like WordPress SEO, this one works right “out of the box.” If you want to customize the settings, you’ll have to do a little bit of reading to see what everything means – from my perspective, this isn’t as intuitive as the SEO settings are on the plugin above.

I’ve occasionally had issues where this conflicted with another plugin, but most issues are resolved by simply emptying the cache (which you’ll understand better when you play around with this plugin).

3) EasyAzon

This plugin is a must-have for me on my current niche site because I’m using Amazon affiliate links to monetize the site.  It isn’t free, but it really does save you a lot of time if you’re writing about and linking to a lot of different products on Amazon.  If this sounds familiar, it may be because I wrote a review of this plugin almost 2 years ago.

What the plugin does is add a new function to your WordPress post (or page) editing screen.  You can simply search for products and add them (in different formats) directly to your content.  The plugin automatically adds your affiliate link, and you can do things like cloak your affiliate link (so that visitors don’t know it’s an Amazon affiliate link).

Here are the different ways you can present your Amazon affiliate link with the plugin:

Info Box

Price Disclaimer
Prices are accurate as of less than 12 hours ago. Product prices and availability are subject to change. Any price and availablility information displayed on Amazon.com at the time of purchase will apply to the purchase of any products.

Call-to-Action Button

Amazon Image

Image Link

Amazon Image

Text Link

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich (Expanded and Updated)

Just about everything can be configured – for example, if you don’t like the pop-up box when you hover over the images, you can turn that off.

4) TablePress

This is something I recently found out about, and I think it’s awesome considering the fact that it’s free (it honestly feels like a plugin that should cost money).  Basically, you can use it to build interactive tables that can be used to organize any type of data.  Or, if you have a product-based site like the niche site I’m building, this is a great way to organize various products you’re reviewing.

Here’s a screenshot of an interactive demo that you can see here:

The cells within the table can also contain images and links, so you can think of all the possibilities with something like this.  This won’t be useful for all niche sites, but if you think it could work for yours, definitely give it a try.

5) ViperBar

This is a great (free) way to get people to subscribe to your site’s RSS feed or mailing list.  It’s a bar that sits at the top of your site (I’ve had this on My 4-Hour Workweek for over a year now).  You can use it to acquire new subscribers, or you can simply use it to write a message to your visitors.

There’s a lot of ways to customize it (you can change the color, have it only appear on certain pages, etc.) and you can run split-tests with it to see which customization leads to the most subscribers.  Highly recommended.

6) Contact Form 7

This one’s super basic, and I know I’ve written about it here before.  It helps you create contact forms really easily.  It’s one of many plugins that does this, but I’ve used this particular one for several years now on nearly all of my sites, and have never had any problems with it.

You might be wondering, why do I need a contact form on a niche site that I intend to build and leave alone?

Personally, I think all sites need a contact form in order to look “real” both to actual people and to Google.  I have no idea if Google even considers this (they may not), but you’ll provide a better user experience if visitors feel like they’re browsing a legitimate website.

Hopefully you are in fact building a high quality, legitimate niche site.  Having a contact form just adds another piece of credibility to the site.  In my mind, anything that can help visitors feel more comfortable and less likely to “bounce” is worth including on your site.

Now It’s Your Turn

What are some of your favorite plugins for niche sites?  The plugins above are the ones I’m currently using, but I’m sure there are many others out there that would be extremely helpful to know about.  Please share them in the comments!

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32 Responses to “6 Awesome WordPress Plugins I’m Using on My New Niche Site”

  1. Thanks a lot for these plugin suggestions. Tables are something I have struggled to incorporate into my posts. I usually have had to resort to creating an image of a table and posting that. I am off to install TablePress now…
    Russ Benk recently posted… CashCrate payment proof

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    No problem, Russ. I love TablePress – it’s really easy to use, and you can create some pretty robust tables.

    [Reply]

  2. Nice post Eric. Been wondering what the name of that table plug-in was!

    Use the others you have there, or similar plugins.

    WP Total Cache certainly does improve speed. I had it installed but not activated for some reason on one of my sites… “enabling” it fixed my page load speeds hugely.

    Another cool one for page load speed is jQuery lazy load plugin. This one only loads images that are above the fold, so if you have a long page with lots of images, it’ll only load them once the user scrolls. Again, improves speed.
    Greg Nunan recently posted… Penguin 2.0 Impact Australia: The Part-Time Internet Marketers No Bullsh#t Guide

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the tip, Greg – I’ll have to check out jQuery Lazy Load.

    [Reply]

  3. I love the tablepress plugin.

    One of my favourites is gravity forms. I use this on a lot of my blogs and it is very flexible and provides a lot of options.
    It can be used for booking forms, application forms, surveys and loads more.

    It stores the replies within wordpress and emails them to any email address.

    It is a paid plugin but worth the money in my humble opinion.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Lloyd. I haven’t tried gravity forms, but that’s something I’ll need to try out.

    [Reply]

  4. Thanks for the tips! I just added WordPress SEO, ViperBar and Contact Form 7 to my new site. I can’t wait to see how it goes!!
    BJ recently posted… A Few Things To Keep In Mind About eBay

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Awesome, glad you were able to find some new plugins here!

    [Reply]

  5. Hello Eric, I’m new to the scene, but have been reading as I get time on my schedule. I’m liking the looks of that table press plugin.

    Kim

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Kim – good luck on starting out, and let me know if you have any questions.

    [Reply]

  6. Thanks for the tips, I didn’t knew ViperBar was for free, so that’s great!
    Christian recently posted… Interview met online ondernemer Mitchell van der Koelen

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Yup, it’s free, and definitely feels like a “premium” plugin.

    [Reply]

  7. Hi Eric,

    Thanks for sharing these details!

    Its really good to have this list of awesome WordPress Plugins. Many people are unaware of how to use these tools or what they stand for.

    With this details you have highlighted in this post, I guess it becomes really important to install these plugins. Thanks for the insights!

    I have shared the above comment in the IM social site – kingged.com where this post was also “kingged”.

    Sunday – kingged.com contributor

    http://www.kingged.com/6-awesome-wordpress-plugins-im-niche-site/
    Sunday recently posted… Google Search Rolling Out Nutrition Information On More Than 1,000 Foods

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Sunday.

    [Reply]

  8. SEO is a very difficult but powerful skill to master. I am still trying to figure it out. I have never heard of the TotalCache plugin. It looks like I am going to have to check it out and make it part of my site.
    Jon @ MrMilitaryMoney recently posted… Free money to go back to school!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I’d recommend trying it out!

    [Reply]

    James Lucas Reply:

    W3 Total Cache is a must for every site. I’d recommend it for slow loading sites or those that has a lot of multimedia content.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, James. Yes, W3 Total Cache is a big help, especially when you aren’t as technically savvy and can’t optimize your site’s speed and caching settings manually.

    [Reply]

    James Lucas Reply:

    I have that plugin in my sites and what surprised me the first time I used it is that it practically chopped a good chunk off my pages’ loading time. Don’t know what went wrong but I still have to manually clear the cache through the plugin’s dashboard. That’s a small price to pay though.

  9. I haven’t heard of this list-but the plugins seem like they are worth their while to invest in though. I hope they provide you the return that you are looking for on your new site!

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks Mike!

    [Reply]

  10. My favorite caching plugin for WordPress is Hypercache, it’s easy to configure and makes my blog extremely fast.
    Tim recently posted… What Does Your Browser Say About You?

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Cool – I wonder how that compares to W3 Cache…I’ll have to check it out.

    [Reply]

  11. Thank you for sharing the great info, Eric!

    The great thing is that I heard 5 out of these plugins, but the sad thing is that I only had personally used 2 of them.

    Some of the plug-ins mentioned here have been recommended by many great bloggers as well, so I will give them a try in a near future.

    Cheers,

    Sibo

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Sibo – try out the plugins, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.

    [Reply]

  12. I so love this plugin EasyAzon.This is really great tool to use for my Amazon products.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I agree! Thanks for the comment, Becca.

    [Reply]

  13. Hi

    I have been doing the same creating a table in Excel then exporting it as an image. I will try TablePress. Cheers John
    John Gough recently posted… Keter Wood Style Deck Box

    [Reply]

  14. Hi there,

    just wanted to make a comment about the easy azon plugin.
    The plugin itself is great but using it to cloak an amazon link is against amazon TOS and might get you banned.

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the heads up, Casper. I actually never cloak my Amazon links because I want people to know that the links are taking them to Amazon. This is good to know though.

    [Reply]

  15. What an interesting article I will have to take a second look at the wiWordPress SEO . I have over look it for a long time now even though its free.
    Thank you for posting this.
    Hannah recently posted… Jun 24, Home Business

    [Reply]

  16. I guess Supercache is more than sufficient for catching, If it comes to niche sites + shared hosting.

    Thanks!
    Anand @BlogSynthesis recently posted… How to add sticky ShareBar to Genesis Framework 2.0 (now responsive)

    [Reply]

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