Most people who start a website do it with the goal in mind to earn money. After all, we all need to make a living and the Internet has become a great place to do it.
We already talked about this concept in another article that covered how to monetize your WordPress website. Here, we covered different ways to make money with a website from ads over sponsored posts to affiliate programs. It’s a great place to start if you are thinking about earning money with your WordPress site.
Today, we want to get a little more specific. After deciding how you want to monetize your website, you will need the tools to do so.
In the following article, we will talk about useful WordPress plugins to monetize your website. We will cover everything from generally useful plugins over eCommerce solutions to plugins for online ads and more.
Are you ready to earn an income with your WordPress website? Then let’s do this!
Monetize Your WordPress Website With These Useful Plugins
The plugins below will help you make the most out of your online venture and bottom line.
Before jumping into solutions for specific monetization models, let’s talk about some that are useful for earning money online in general.
In my opinion, no website should be without this plugin. It’s the most convenient way I have found to optimize WordPress websites for search engines. And make no mistake, if your goal is to earn an income online, you are going to need that search traffic.
I could go into detail about the advantages of Yoast SEO, however, we have already done so in our Yoast tutorial. For that reason, I’d rather refer you to that. Oh, and one more thing: if you are building an online shop, you might also consider their WooCommerce extension.
Besides SEO, another important factor for successfully monetizing your WordPress website is lead generation. Online that usually means building an email list. You know, the money is in the list and all that.
SumoMe offers many ways of doing so, from a full-screen welcome mat to slide ins, header bars, and more. Besides that, it also comes with heat maps and other shenanigans to improve your conversion rates. Again, we have a detailed article on this plugin I’d recommend you check out.
The basic version of SumoMe is free. For an all-premium alternative, check OptinMonster.
W3 Total Cache
Website speed is one of the most important factors in web success. 40 percent of customers expect a website to load within three seconds. Consequently, slow page loading speed is one of the best ways to lose prospects.
W3 Total Cache offers many options to make your website faster, from Gzip compression to browser caching and more. It can be a bit overwhelming for beginners but it gets the job done.
For a simpler alternative, check out WP Super Cache or WP Rocket. Be aware that the latter is a premium plugin. For more ways to more ways to speed up WordPress, don’t miss our detailed article.
WordPress Plugins for Building an Online Shop
Creating an online shop or simply selling stuff online is one of the most popular ways to make a dime. Thankfully, WordPress offers plenty of plugins that let you do so.
WooCommerce is not only the most popular WordPress ecommerce plugin but one of the most popular ecommerce solutions on the entire web. At the time of this writing, 41 percent of all online shops are based on this ecommerce solution.
For good reason. WooCommerce is reliable, flexible, extendable and free to use for the basic version. There’s a reason Automattic paid an undisclosed amount to acquire it.
For more information on WooCommerce, read our beginner’s tutorial.
Easy Digital Downloads
For those only selling digital goods, there is Easy Digital Downloads (EDD). It’s a flexible solution for peddling anything from ebooks to software, music, graphics, and more. The plugin also has one of the most trusted household names in WordPress development behind it. Besides that, it is highly extendable and a free version with basic functionality can be found in the WordPress directory.
Exchange by iThemes is another ecommerce solution that’s capable of selling both digital and real-life goods. They pride themselves in their quick setup and simplicity. The plugin is also highly extendable and includes Stripe as a payment gateway even in the free version. Exchange is also well known for its membership solution.
Next up is a plugin for creating and selling online courses. CoursePress lets you set up lectures, quizzes, file sharing and much more. It integrates well with existing WordPress themes as well as ecommerce solutions like MarketPress and WooCommerce. The plugin also includes marketing tools to promote your course once it’s ready.
Etsy is a popular platform for artists and creatives to sell their work. This WordPress plugin allows you to integrate goods from your Etsy shop on your WordPress website via shortcode. It’s a relatively new plugin with many features still on the road map, however, the existing version already has solid ratings.
All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Schema rich snippets are a way to provide additional information in your search results. They allow you to add images, ratings, contact information, social links, and much more right on Google’s front page. This plugin is the most popular solution for adding them to WordPress.
An alternative is WP SEO Structured Data Schema. For more information, check our article on Schema Markup.
Plugins to Do Affiliate Marketing in WordPress
Affiliate marketing is one of the most popular ways to earn a buck on the Internet. The idea is simple: recommend products and services on your website and earn a commission for anyone who ends up buying them. If you want to start your own affiliate website, we have just the right article for you. Besides the plugins below, that is.
ThirstyAffiliates is a management tool for affiliate links. It takes care of the administration and helps you input them into your content. It also gives you a central location to take care of all your affiliate needs. The plugin seems to be doing it’s job well, judging by its ratings in the directory.
Amazon is of the biggest affiliate networks out there. For that reason, it’s only natural that we have dedicated WordPress plugins for it. This one lets you create Amazon affiliate links directly from the WordPress editor without the need to go to Amazon.com. A huge time saver. Plus, it supports 10 locales.
Amazon Product in a Post Plugin
In case you want to place more than just links from Amazon, this plugin might be interesting to you. It allows you to add formatted Amazon products into your content via shortcode. The plugin is also rated pretty well, so it seems to be doing its job rather well.
Auto Affiliate Links
Next up is a plugin that automatically inputs affiliate links into your content. It works with some of the biggest affiliate networks out there including Amazon, Clickbank, Shareasale, and more.
Besides automatic input, adding links manually is also possible. Plus, Auto Affiliate Links will give you the 100 most popular keywords from your content to find appropriate affiliate links for.
For additional plugins for affiliate sites, check our other article on the topic.
Create Ad Revenue With These WordPress Plugins
While not the everyone’s favorite way of earning money with WordPress, ads are still a legitimate way to monetize your site.
AdRotate Banner Manager
Our first plugin on the list helps you place ads anywhere on your site without modifying your theme files. Create your own ads or use existing ones from popular ad servers, track impressions and performance and take advantage of the other numerous features.
WordPress Ad Widget
WordPress Ad Widget promises to be a simple way to include adverts on your site. Just add a widget, upload your ad and save. Aside from that, it doesn’t provide much information. However, more than 30,000 installs and a 4+-rating say it’s making people happy.
SAM Pro (Free Edition)
SAM is short for Simple Ads Manager, which is what this plugin is based on. Its function is to set up and manage advertisement on your WordPress site. Ads can be added as widgets, shortcodes, and functions. The plugin also comes with statistics and a number of other features.
Insert Post Ads
What Amazon Product in a Post Plugin (that’s quite a mouthful) is for affiliate products, this one is for ads. Insert Post Ads automatically adds advertisement into your posts. You can specify when they pop up (as in after which number of paragraphs), the plugin is quick and easy to set up and is created and maintained by the people behind WPBeginner.
Ad Blocking Detector
Many people use ad blockers today (I am one of those people). What is convenient for users is bad news for sites that rely on ads to make money. While this plugin doesn’t let you get around ad blockers and show your ads anyway, it does allow you to display other content such as newsletter sign-up forms in their stead. That way, at least you have the chance to create additional leads.
WordPress Plugins for Membership Sites
Our final item on the list: membership sites. Like online courses, they are a great option to create recurring income.
As the name suggests, Membership 2 helps you transform WordPress into a membership site. It allows you to limit access to downloads, online content, videos, forums, support and more. The plugin also has a recurring payment system and lets you set up different levels of membership. All you need to set up a membership site.
Ultimate Member made quite a splash when it came onto the scene and is by now one of the most popular solutions to create WordPress membership sites. The plugin is chock full of features from user profiles and content restriction to member directories and access controls. The best part: the core plugin is free and it offers a lot of functionality.
We already mentioned WooCommerce above. Thankfully, the plugin also comes with its own membership extension that integrates seamlessly with the ecommerce solution. It’s easy to use, has detailed content controls and multiple membership levels.
The only downside: The extension is entirely premium and costs $149 for a single site, $199 for five and $249 for 25 websites. However, Chris Lema, himself resident expert in membership plugins, approves.
Monetizing a WordPress website is the goal of many site owners. There are several models of doing so and each comes with appropriate tools.
As you can see from the above, whether your goal is to build an online shop, affiliate website, run ads or create a membership site, WordPress has the right plugins for you. They provide the right functionality for each model and make your life a lot easier.
That is the beauty of the WordPress ecosphere. By now, whatever you want to do, WordPress has solutions for it. That includes earning money.
Do you have other favorite plugins to monetize your WordPress website? If so, please let us know in the comments section below!
Join the conversation