This isn’t meant to be a long list. In fact, I’m keeping it short intentionally, because there are just a few plugins you need to set up your blog and start making money.
Most articles list the top 10, 15, or even 30 plugins you need on your blog. This list is the opposite, because I believe when it comes to WordPress plugins, less is more.
Plugins are like shortcuts. They allow you to add features to your site that would otherwise require complex code, by simply downloading and activating the plugin. But not all plugins are created equal. Some add much more code to your website, leading to a slow site and a terrible reading experience.
Here are the only tried, tested and approved plugins we use on Moving Mountains. We’re not only going to show you which ones you need, we’ll also help you set them up.
Akismet is the best plugin I’ve found for fighting comment spam. It’s always the first plugin I download when creating a new site with comments. There really isn’t much to set up, but you do need to register for a free token on their website to enable the plugin.
The image below is a snapshot of the settings page and the number of spam comments Akismet blocked. Over 119,000 spam comments!
2. YOAST WORDPRESS SEO
There are many SEO plugins for WordPress, but in my humble opinion, Yoast WordPress SEO is the most powerful, all-in-one plugin you can get for free. You can set up everything from blog post titles, social media and sitemaps.
Most of what you need to do with Yoast is a one-time setup. I recommend this Yoast Setup Guide from Tom at Online Media Masters. He’ll walk you through each step of setting up Yoast for your WordPress blog.
3. FACEBOOK FEATURED IMAGE AND OPEN GRAPH META-TAGS
This little plugin is easy to install and all you have to do is activate it. When you share a post on Facebook, it’ll automatically make the image in your post the featured image on Facebook. Quick, easy and super helpful!
You can use this plugin or install Google analytics directly on your site. Either way, you’ll want to have Google analytics before you start blogging. It’s free and essential for tracking your blog’s growth and visitor information.
If you’re hoping to build recurring visitors to your blog, you’ll need to get them on your email list. Mailchimp is free for collecting and emailing up to 2,000 people and it’s easy to use.
Once you set up Mailchimp, Sumome is a great app that allows you to create opt-in boxes at the bottom of your posts and in the side column of your blog. You can also create popups like you see on the bottom of our blog. Here’s the step by step guide on how to set it up.