WordPress

My Seven Favourite WordPress Plug-Ins

This month marks the first anniversary of when I set up my Entrepreneur Writer blog.

It was the first time I had run my own self hosted WordPress blog, so there was inevitably a learning curve involved. I am very pleased I chose to go with WordPress for my new blog, however, and could not imagine going back to the Blogger platform I used for my old blog.

One big attraction of using WordPress is the almost infinite number of ways you can customize it using themes and (especially) plug-ins.

So for the benefit of anyone else who is just starting out with a WordPress blog, I thought today I would share seven plug-ins I have found especially valuable. All of these are free and can be downloaded from within your WordPress dashboard…

1. Antispam Bee

If you run any sort of blog that allows comments, protection from comment spam is essential. Antispam Bee has ticked all the boxes for me. It is amazingly efficient at blocking spam comments while allowing genuine ones through. I also like the fact that after you have approved somebody once, they are automatically approved in future.

2.Add to Any Share Buttons

This plug-in automatically inserts social media sharing buttons at the foot of every post. It includes Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google Plus, WhatsApp, and many more.

3.All in One SEO Pack

This plug-in ensures that all your blog posts are search engine optimized. For example, it lets you attach search engine keywords and descriptions. I don’t use all its many features, just those I consider most relevant in the context of this blog.

4. Email Subscribers

This plug-in has various options to send newsletters to subscribers. I don’t currently run a newsletter from Entrepreneur Writer, but I use this plug-in to allow people to subscribe to the blog and receive an email update every time I add a new post.

5. Related Posts for WordPress

I love this clever plug-in, which automatically adds links and excerpts of related posts at the end of every post. If you don’t like any of its selections, you can remove them and add a different post of your choice. This plug-in has made a big difference to the “bounce rate” of my blog (the proportion of visitors who read just one page and then click away). Before I installed this plug-in my blog’s bounce rate was around 90%, but now it has fallen to 10% or less. I put that down mainly or entirely to this plug-in.

6. iThemes Security

This plug-in helps ensure that nobody can hack into my blog. After you’ve configured it, it works in the background and sends daily reports of any attempted hacks. I am pleased to say that, touch wood, there have been no security incidents on EW since I installed this plug-in.

7. Official StatCounter Plug-In

I use this plug-in in conjunction with the free StatCounter service. It provides in-depth statistics about who has been visiting my blog, which posts are attracting the most traffic, and much more. I also use two other stats plug-ins, by the way, Social Metrics Tracker and Google Analytics Dashboard for WP.

I’m not suggesting that any of the above plug-ins are necessarily “best in class”. They are simply the ones I have chosen to use on this blog, in some cases after being unimpressed with others. They do an excellent job for me, and I am therefore very happy to recommend them to other WordPress users.

For completeness, I should add that I use the free Themify Base theme, which I like for its ease of use and clean appearance. And finally, I use Bluehost as my hosting service. I recommend them as a cost-effective and reliable platform for any self-hosted WordPress site.

If you have any comments or questions, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

  • If you want to get up to speed with WordPress as quickly as possible, I recommend The Wealthy Affiliate. This membership site offers free basic training in WordPress, and you even get two free WordPress sites of your own to practise on!

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Permafree Publishing Quickstart by Amy Harrop

Review: Permafree Publishing Quickstart

Permafree Publishing Quickstart is the latest writing guide to be launched by the prolific Amy Harrop.

Amy is a successful Kindle author, and publisher of many guides and software products for authors. She was kind enough to allow me a review copy, so here’s what I found…

Permafree Publishing Quickstart is a guide to making money by publishing content that, as the name implies, is permanently free. The main guide is a 22-page downloadable PDF.

As you would expect with any of Amy’s guides, this is well written and attractively presented. It is illustrated with screen captures where appropriate.

Although you can obviously publish free content in a huge range of places, the manual focuses especially on publishing to Amazon. Specifically, it reveals a method for publishing free e-books on Amazon, even though using Kindle Direct Publishing the lowest price you can normally set is 99p/99c.

You might ask what is the benefit of publishing a free e-book. Amy reveals that this can be a great way of boosting your readership, building a mailing list, getting traffic to your blog or website, and so on. Amazon is, of course, the world’s biggest online store, and offers the potential for reaching a huge worldwide readership.

In Permafree Publishing Quickstart Amy emphasises that to benefit from permafree, you need to have a clear strategy, otherwise you will simply be wasting time and money. She reveals various ways you can turn permafree publishing to profit. The latter part of the manual also examines how you can make money directly from your permafree content by selling it via other platforms, e.g. as audiobooks.

In addition to the main manual, there are a number of bonuses. One is a step-by-step guide to using the Aweber autoresponder service. If you plan to use your permafree content to help build a list, membership of such a service is pretty much essential. I am a fan of Aweber myself and do recommend their service, incidentally.

Other bonuses include landing page and opt-in templates, which you can edit and adapt to your own purposes. Again, if you plan on using your permafree content to help build a list, these could be valuable resources.

Overall, I thought Permafree Publishing Quickstart was another high-quality product from Amy Harrop. Permafree publishing is undoubtedly a powerful technique when used correctly, and the advice in this guide (based on Amy’s own experience) will undoubtedly point you in the right direction. It is currently available at a launch offer price of $17, after which it will be rising to $27. There is an unconditional 30-day guarantee.

If you have any comments or questions about Permafree Publishing Quickstart, as ever, please feel free to post them below.

Buy Permafree Publishing Quickstart
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Audiobooks for Indies

Audiobooks for Indies: A Great Guide for Aspiring Audiobook Authors and Producers

Recently my colleagues at More Money Review asked me to research and write an article for them about making money from audiobooks.

Although I found this an interesting subject, I don’t have much experience in this field. While researching what was out there, I came across an excellent Kindle e-book which provides a comprehensive introduction to this subject. I found it invaluable in my research, and thought I would therefore take a moment to recommend it on this blog.

Audiobooks for Indies is by Simon Whistler. It covers pretty much everything you would need to know to get started in this field, including the various ways you can convert an existing book or e-book into audio format. And the best news is that it is currently on sale at the rock-bottom price of 99p/99c.

Audiobooks for Indies focuses especially on ACX, the leading audiobook production platform, which is owned by Amazon. One thing I hadn’t fully grasped is that you can get your book turned into an audiobook free of charge on ACX by offering potential narrators a royalty-share arrangement. This can all be negotiated via the ACX website.

Simon’s guide discusses other options as well, however, including hiring a producer for an upfront fee, and doing the job yourself. The latter is perfectly possible. You just need a decent external microphone and some suitable recording software (Simon recommends the free, open-source Audacity software).

Anyway, I enjoyed learning more about audiobook production, and those of you who are premium members of More Money Review can expect to see my article published there soon. In any event, though, I highly recommend Audiobooks for Indies as an ultra-low-cost introductory guide to this subject.

And remember, even if you don’t have a Kindle e-reader yourself, you can download a free app from Amazon that will let you read any Kindle e-book on your smartphone, tablet, laptop or PC. You can also get a free trial of Audible audiobooks from Amazon by clicking here.

* Have you tried creating an audiobook yourself? I’d love to hear about your experiences. Please post any comments below.

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