There are many reasons to blog: you might be wanting to share your passions or inspire others. Maybe you're trying to make a name for yourself or set yourself up as an expert in a certain field?
Regardless of the reasons, there is probably one goal that all blog writers have in common — and that is, monetization.
WordPress plugins are like apps for your blog. When choosing WordPress plugins, you want those whose actions actual match their description, and which are overall pretty easy to use; they shouldn't take up much space on your server, and shouldn't conflict with other plugins.
The first plugins included below do not directly relate to monetisation, but are important for bringing traffic to your site (they all go hand-in-hand). So for purposes of this article, we will include SEO optimization, traffic generation, and social sharing plugins along with those that can help you convert your traffic into cash.
#1: WordPress SEO “Yoast” (Free)
This is the world standard and the best place to start for SEO plugins. In addition to making it easy to optimize your blog, it has tools for word choices so you can use the best keywords that will get you discovered on Google.
#2: Google XML Sitemaps (Free)
Although the Yoast plugin also generates sitemaps for you, Google XML Sitemaps makes things easier. Simply paste the URL used for your sitemap into Google Webmaster Tools and you are ready to go!
#3: Google Analytics Dashboard (Free)
Instead of opening Google Analytics any time you want to check your stats, put the stats right in your WordPress dashboard with the Google Analytics Dashboard. All of your stats in one single place.
#4: Frizzly (Free)
This is a great way to share content on social media! Frizzly places a Pinterest, Facebook, and Twitter “share” button over images when the reader hovers. There are settings so that you are automatically tagged when someone shares your content on Twitter. There are other premium plugins that also work on specific social media platforms, but this is the best to start with.
#5: Genesis Simple Share (Free for Genesis users only) and Simple Share Buttons Adder (Completely Free)
Users of the Genesis theme can use Genesis Simple Share to create social sharing buttons. Visit Brian Gardner's site and sign up for free access to get this lightweight plugin. If you are not a Genesis user, one of the best options is to use the Simple Share Buttons Adder instead. It gives you the usual social network options, but also lets you upload your own custom buttons to match your WordPress theme.
#6: Comment Reply Notification (Free)
Comments are a great way to build community with your readers, but most readers won't even realise that you've replied to their initial comment. Comment Reply Notification notifies readers by email when you reply to their comments. Readers are usually pleasantly surprised when you respond to their comments and are thus more likely to comment again.
#7: Content Redirect (Free)
When someone comments on your blog, wouldn't it be great if you could instantly welcome them, thank them for commenting, and even suggest subscribing to your blog? Content Redirect does just that!
#8: OptinMonster (Premium)
Instead of assaulting your readers with pop-ups encouraging subscriptions to your site the minute they have logged on, OptinMonster lets you delay the pop-up until the reader has settled into reading your posts. Higher-tiered licenses provide extra functionality, like Exit Intent, which waits to generate a pop-up until the reader seems to be about to leave.
#9: CommentLuv (Free+)
The free version of CommentLuv rewards readers for leaving comments. Extras in the premium version include analytics allowing you to see where your own comment traffic is coming from, and the capacity to reward readers with extra links based on the number of comments they leave, thus encouraging repeat posts.
#10: Gravity Forms (Premium)
Using a simple drag-and-drop interface, Gravity Forms lets you easily create contact forms, surveys, polls, quizzes, order forms to buy products right on your site, and even let's users submit donations via Paypal!
#11: Ad King Pro (Free)
Another way to get reaaders, is to advertise. Ad King Pro lets you create banner ads for your site or the web. This works with Adsense so you can also use it to directly monetize your blog. This also syncs with Google Analytics so you can track the performance of your ads.
#12: Ad Blocking Detector (Free)
Pop-up ad blocking software is widely used. This is a problem for bloggers who use pop-ups for advertising or to encourage subscriptions. Ad Blocker Detector informs users that you'd like them to disable their ad blocker. This is a work around, but still probbly the best option with ad blockers at this time.
#13: Ad Inserter (Free)
Although you could add ads yourself through custom files, Ad Inserter automates the process, allowing you to position ads within the content itself, add custom rules determining who should see the ads and how frequently ads should be displayed. Ad Inserter works well for adding Amazon and Adsense codes to content.
#14: Insert Post Ads (Free); LH Multisite Ads (for multisite WordPress blogs—Also Free)
In-post ads get the best click-through rate, and help increase CTR and Adsense revenue. Insert Post Adds makes it easy to place your ads alongside your content. LH Multisite Ads is specifically designed to insert ads in multiple WordPress blogs.
#15: Mobile Ad for WordPress by AdsOptimal (Premium with Money-Back Trial)
More users are accessing blogs from mobile devices. This plugin helps manage mobile ads for your blog. Choose from various advertisement types, including banners and inline ads. Custom settings allow you to determine how many times a user sees the same ad.
#16: Advanced Ads (Free)
Advanced Ads lets you manage your ads and so much more! Create any of three unique ad types— plain text & code, rich content, and Adsense — and place them according to your requirements (it has 10 unique placement options). Although it does have “advanced” in its name, it is useful for beginners as well as veteran bloggers.
These are 16 of the most essential plugins for monetising your blog, but by far not the only ones (or even the only really good ones) out there. What would you add to this list? What have you found that you really like and/or really works? Please feel free to leave your comments below.