6 Essential WordPress Plugins for Niche Sites

6 Essential WordPress Plugins for Niche Sites

After creating hundreds of niche sites with WordPress, I have tried and tested lots of different plugins.  Some of the these plugins are a lifesaver!  There is no way I could get my sites to perform the way I wanted them to without these very useful free plugins that I am going to discuss.  However, at the same time there are LOTS of other plugins that I could be adding to my sites to perform lots of other functions as well.  But for most basic niche sites, you will not need many more plugins that what I discuss below.

I also want to point out that there is no “magic bullet” plugin that will make your site zoom to the top of Google.  For more details on how to build links and how I have recently gotten my sites to the top of Google, you can read my ultimate link building guide here.  So, I just want to be clear here – this is not a definitive list of plugins and I expect there are others out there that could replace even the ones I have listed.  I am simply listing the plugins that I use on most of my niche sites.  Lots of my niche sites have nothing more than what you see listed below.  Here is a list of those WordPress Plugins along with a brief discussion on each:

List of My Top WordPress Plugins for Niche Sites

  1. All in One SEO Pack – This plugin is a basic search engine optimization plugin that allows you to input a custom meta description and keywords.  You can also specify and optimize your homepage title – which can be very beneficial for ranking in the search engines.  Overall, this plugin helps you to optimize your site for search engines.
  2. Contact Form 7 – A basic free contact form plugin.  This plugin allows you to quickly and easily create contact forms with a number of basic or custom fields.
  3. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin – I currently use this plugin on NichePursuits.com.  You will see the links below every one of my posts that shows “Related Posts”.  These links are generated automatically by the plugin.  I use this plugin on my niche sites as well, to help link to other relevant articles on my site to both provide ease of access for readers and good link structure for all my articles.
  4. Quick Adsense – I now use Quick Adsense to insert Google Adsense ads into my posts.  This plugin makes it very simple to insert Google Adsense that is just below the title of your articles (right or left justified), in the middle of your posts, or at the end.  In fact, you can even select to insert the ads after a specified number of paragraphs, plus a few other options.  Overall, I have found it very effective and easy to use to get my Adsense ads to appear where I want them to within my posts.
  5. ManageWP Worker – This plugin allows you to easily manage and keep plugins and WordPress installations up to date for all your sites.  ManageWP is currently free and is in beta.  However, they will begin charging very soon.  If you have lots of niche sites, its definitely worth looking at though because it allows you to update WordPress and plugins essentially with one click on all your sites.  This is a HUGE time saver over updating all of your WordPress plugins individually on each site.
  6. Date Exclusion SEO – I have not used this plugin extensively but did just recently begin using it on a couple of my sites.  Essentially it allows you to post without any dates.  I have to thank the Justin and Joe over at AdsenseFlippers.com for sharing this one! This plugin helps prevents your posts from getting dated in the search engines.

Overall, these are some of the basic plugins that I use.  Yes, there are lots of other plugins that you could add and perhaps even some that would make different aspects of your site easier to manage.  However, overall you really don’t need alot of plugins to get a site to rank well in Google.  Rankings are much more dependent on the quality of your keyword research and your ability to get links to your sites.

Even so, the ability to add these free plugins to your sites can make optimizing and managing your WordPress niche sites much easier.  I would definitely be interested in hearing your thoughts on these plugins and please share any plugins in the comments below that you like to use as well!

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77 Comments for this entry

  1. Bryan says:

    Nice tip on the ManageWP worker–I’ll check that out. Another one I like to use is StatPress, since im Analytics-paranoid.

  2. Dave M says:

    Great post Spencer!

    Yep, ManageWP is about the best thing since sliced bread!

  3. Kaz says:

    Nice list Spencer, I was using All in One SEO until my last couple of sites where I have used WordPress SEO by Yoast, which I think offers more great features, so I’ll be using that one from now on.

    Another couple that I use and like (oh, there are so many to choose from!):

    Viper Video Quicktags – easily insert youTube vids

    Max Banner Ads – insert and easily split test banners in your site

    WP Wizard Cloak – management of affiliate links, has geo-targetting

    Thanks for the great info, as usual!



  4. Love plugins! And I like finding new ones and talking about them too haha. Used to use All in One but made the switch to Platinum SEO. I like it better.

    As for the rest I’ve used all of those except for the ManageWP, will check it out for sure. Other ones I like:

    Clicky By Yoast (For Clicky Analytics)
    SEO Ultimate
    Page Expiration Robot (shameless plug, this one’s mine)
    Google XML Sitemaps

  5. I use most of those but not ManageWP Worker or Data Exclusion SEO. I just installed Data Exclusion SEO to try it and it looks like it don’t take effect on posts that are already made. Should be good for all new sites from now on though. Good post, Thanks.

  6. Herman says:

    6. date exclusion

    I was looking for something like this. I am glad the date can be excluded with a simple plugin so editing the code is not necessary.. ( I wouldn’t know where to start anyway!)

    thanks Spencer!

  7. Casey says:

    Thanks for the list. You showed me a couple that may come in handy!

    Best regards,

  8. Steve Eason says:

    I use most of these myself. However, the Date Exclusion plugin got my attention. However, the template I use for most of my sites, doesn’t show the date on the posts anyway. Does this still work by removing something in the code that Google will see that visitors won’t? Hmmm…

    It might not be that useful for the theme I’m using because it’s already doing it for me.

    And since everyone is mentioning other plugins to check out, here is my list of useful plugins.

    Clean Contact
    Google XML Sitemaps
    Statpress Reloaded
    Multicons (easy way to adjust favicons)
    CBNet ping optimizer

    Just a few that I use all the time. Thanks for the post and the additional insight!

    • Spencer says:

      I’m not sure if it removes something in the code that only Google would see. Not sure about that.

      Also, thanks for the list of additional plugins!

  9. Michael says:

    Thanks for sharing this list Spencer.

    I actually use most of these plugins myself as well so its good to know I am using some of the best plugins in the niche business.

  10. Dave says:

    Nice list Spencer and great to find out about ManageWP. I knew something like that is out there just had no idea where to find it so thanks for that.

    About the All in One SEO, I would recommend you checkout Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin as it is a much better SEO plugin and probably is the best you can find.

  11. John says:

    I will definitely have to take another look at that ManageWP worker plugin. Below is my list of basic plugins – I have changed a few over recently and still cannot find my “ideal” adsense plugin, so I am still using Post Layout, as with some simple PHP coding I can get my adsense where I want it and how I want it.

    cbnet Ping Optimizer
    Dagon Design Sitemap Generator
    Fast Secure Contact Form
    Easy WP SEO (replaced SEOPressor)
    Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast
    Google XML Sitemaps
    Post Layout
    WordPress SEO by Yoast (replaced All in One SEO Pack)

  12. Thanks for sharing, Spencer. I will try out a few of these as they are new to me.

    Do you use anything to backup your WP database?



  13. Craig says:

    The very first and most important plugin that EVERYONE should install is Limit Login Attempts http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/limit-login-attempts/.

    The security of WP’s login page is pretty week. Any script-kiddy can break into a non protected site pretty easily.

    Just check out Pat’s October Monthly Report – without that plugin someone could have easily taken over his entire site.

    That is how many people’s affiliate codes or adsense id’s get high-jacked.

    Safety first – particularly when it comes to your income/lively-hood.

  14. Mike says:

    I didn’t like the look of my posts having a date so instead I created pages instead of posts. Is there a potential problem with making pages instead of posts for my additional content?

  15. Thanks for the mention Spencer and I’m glad you liked the Date Exclusion plugin. Simple yet does exactly what it says!

  16. Dear Spencer, I like your website very much. it has many useful content and article. Your plugin can use on free WordPress? If I use free WordPress, what can I do for optimize my website? Thanks for your sharing!

  17. Great list. I would add a few:
    WP No Category Base – Removes ‘/category’ from your category permalinks.
    Add New Default Avatar – Add new option to the Default Avatar list.
    Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin – Checkbox to prove that users are not spammers.
    And of course, Sharebar – Dynamic bar with sharing icons.


  18. Gautam says:

    Great list Spencer and others too.

    Do you use any caching plugin to speed up faster site loads?… as google likes faster loading sites for ranking..

    I use GoCodes for link cloacking.

  19. Muzi Mohale says:

    Mine goes as follows:
    1. Tagaroo – Find and suggest tags and photos (from Flickr) for your content.

    2. ContactMe – which archives all incoming emails for future reference.

    3. LinkWithin – Displays recommended stories and associated thumbnails from your blog

    4. Maintenance Mode – Adds a splash page to your blog that lets visitors know your blog is down for maintenance.

    5. WP Biographia – Add and display a customizable author biography for individual posts

    6. Link to Post – allows you to easily create a link to an existing article.

  20. Stefan says:

    Thanks Spencer for the plugin-list.
    I will definitely check the Date-Exclusion-plugin.

    To mention easy administration of multiple wordpress-site, you should use the wordpress multisite-feature.
    With that you can manage all the wordpress sites you have on one provider.
    (for your german readers I have a written a guide to convert your wordpress-installation to multisite http://www.vogel-nest.de/wordpress-multisite )
    With multisite you can update your plugins from one network-backend. Really nice and a must for more than one wordpress installation.

    On each of my niche sites I use affiliate-links and therefore I can recommend the plugin “Pretty Link Lite”, which nobody has mentioned here.

  21. Tom Ewer says:

    Hey Spencer,

    What a coincidence – I was literally about to email you recommending ManageWP! But you’re way ahead of me ;-)

    For those that don’t know, the service officially launches on Monday 28th November, so get in now!


  22. Khurram says:

    These are great plugins for niche websites.
    Thanks for sharing.

  23. steve wyman says:

    Hi Spencer

    I thought managewp was viral must be 5 months since i let you guys and adsenseflipers know about that one :-)

    @tom theres no dicount for beta testers :-( its pretty stbale now but still has flaky area but the guys fix things pretty quickly.

    Yoats is great. It also allows you to replace other plugins such as theh xml site map. all in all very recommended Yoast that is.

    A note of caution lots ofeople use tomany plugins some time 15 or so!! ron some sites i bought ive reduced the plugins for 14 to 5! Plugins are vunerable to hacks and failure plus they eat up resources. Use them wisely not as a crutch.

    • Spencer says:

      yep, manage wp is great – but I actually found this one on my own doing a google search :) But I do believe you were the first one to mention it on my blog – even before I mentioned it!!

  24. Jenny Nassour says:

    Thanks for sharing Spencer, that’s really helpful especially Date Exclusion and Manage WP – both of these issues have been bugging me!

  25. Paul Salmon says:

    The ManageWP plugin looks interesting and I’ll have to check it out as I hate managing multiple sites at times – especially keeping them up to date.

  26. Steve says:

    Spencer, nice list and suggestions by commenters. WhydoWork Adsense is also a good one for inserting adsense easily.

    What do you use for Privacy Policy? I have seen one just for Google Adsense but not one good overall privacy policy plugin.

    Also I have a good tool for searching for domains. You can just click on my name to try it.

  27. BrianH says:

    I guess I need to look at ManageWP again. I ran across it about a year ago and it looked like it definitely had some potential but it wasn’t quite there yet.

  28. Kuttus says:

    Nice tip on the ManageWP worker

  29. Megan says:

    Nice list!
    I’m using some of the plugins you recommended, but YARPP is what I’ve been searching for a while.

    Date Exclusion SEO is another neat plugin. Thanks for the share.

  30. Jessica says:

    Hi Spencer,

    I know you used to use the WhyDoWork Adsense plugin. Is there a reason you made the switch?


  31. Jude says:

    Hi Spencer,

    I was using Joomla to build my niche websites. I always wanted to use wordpress, but my lack of knowledge on wordpress plugin pushed me not to do it.

    Your plugin list has given me much confidence I needed. I will create my next site using WordPress with confidence.

    Thank You Spencer. In addition, your blog is super awesome. I have learnt a lot from your site. Thanks for sharing yor knowledge.


  32. Date Exclusion SEO sounds like a great plugin. I have occasionally had to edit the template files of some of my sites to eliminate the dates. This one is going to help me a lot. Thanks.

  33. I have also switched to Yet another related posts plugin since the related posts plugin was not compatible with my newer wordpress installations. I also use comment luv to promote blog commenting.

    AS for the ManageWp Worker, it is quite interesting and wonder how much it costs.

  34. In your free eBook, I noted you recommends WhyDo Adsense work which I have already installed on my own blog. Why the change to Quick Adsense? Is there any issue with WhyDo Work Spencer?

  35. Hi Spencer,

    I prefer dagon design mailer form for communication with my readers since it has great functionality including the ability to have mail attachments and add radio buttons as well as check boxes.

    I sincerely haven’t tried contact form 7 but I suppose it is a great plugin.

    There are also several plugins that are great for security of your blog as follows:

    Ask Apache password protect
    Login Lockdown
    Exploit scannet
    wordpress antivirus

  36. Great list. Here is what I would add:

    – Google XML Sitemaps
    – Easy Privacy Policy
    – Popular Posts (if you have great content on your niche site)
    – Slick Social Share Buttons (”)
    – WP Super Cache

  37. Luis says:

    Hi Spencer! As usual, you are providing a nice source of information here.

    This is very welcome.

    One question I’m asking right now is how do you mix adsense ads placement using Quick Adsense, with the wp theme you’re using in your installs.

    I’m wondering if it’s more effective/painless to go with something like CTR theme or take another not “adsense optimized” theme and do the optimization myself.

    What approach do you think is better? Are you using consistently one specific theme and doing the placement yourself?


    • Spencer says:

      I find it very easy to use Quick Adsense as it works with any theme. However, if you are more comfortable using a adsense ready theme, then do that. Either is fine.

      • Luis says:

        Great. This makes sense to me Quick Adsense+Any theme. I’ll be testing this with my first 10 sites.

        I do like the versatility of the approach.

        It could potentially be a driver to use a theme that it’s not seo friendly but keeping that in mind and being cautious will probably lead to better results.

        Thanks Spencer!

  38. mariana says:

    wp-insert and ad codes, very nice plugins allows you to insert any kind of advertising in different zones of your site and rotates them

  39. Anshul says:

    WP Lockup is another great plugin I would highly recommend investing in to protect your valuable virtual real estate from hackers. It provides multi layered security including custom admin login URL’s

  40. ryan says:

    Great tip on the manageWP site. Not sure why I keep making niche sites. None of them seem to be working yet but I’ll keep at it for a while I guess.

    • Spencer says:

      Hey Ryan – niche sites have a huge learning curve; especially with the keyword research portion. If you find other business ventures are paying off better then spend your time there.

  41. Vi says:

    I definitely will try ManageWP plugin.
    Which cache plugins are you using?

  42. David says:

    Hey Spencer, just wondering what your thoughts are on the pricing for managewp, it’s a LOT more than what they have been saying through the beta period and a lot of people are pretty pissed off, you can read over 50 comments on this post already – http://managewp.com/pre-order-launch

    Sure it saves a lot of time but at those prices it really is out of reach for most people, especially those creating lots of micr-niche sites such as yourself. Sure maybe it’s ok for someone making $15,000 a month but i’m sure you know most people aren’t making that kind of money.

    • Spencer says:

      Wow, just saw all the comments…feel bad for the guys over at ManageWP! They are getting hammered. I didn’t realize there would be 3 levels of membership – I’m still considering my options here as well. It may just be cheaper for me to have my VA update my sites every 2 to 3 months or so.

      • Matt J says:

        Spencer, please keep us updated on this. I’m interested to see what you end up doing, since you have such a large number of sites.

        I’m really on the fence with ManageWP. It seems that the Standard tier is pointless since it doesn’t include the backup or clone features which really make ManageWP worthwhile.

        • Spencer says:

          I went ahead and signed up for the standard. I personally never used the clone or backup features. Its a huge time saver because of the automatic WordPress/Plugin updates. I’ll give it a few months and see if I’m still liking it.

          • Matt says:

            Hey Spencer – Are you still using ManageWP? If so, have you added your VA as a sub-user?

            I want to do it, but I am a little concerned as that would be giving my VA complete control over all my sites….thoughts?

  43. Margaret says:

    Thanks for the valuable info, I really need this, because i have fifteen web sites that developed in wordpress :D

  44. Donatus says:

    The related post plugin will as well increase pageviews and blog activities.


  45. Lewis Saka says:

    all-in-one-seo has been a god send since my seo knowledge is very little but I’ve picked up the basics using this

  46. John says:

    I noticed that you use InfusionSoft to run your site. Why not save money and use WordPress to run your site?

  47. John says:

    Thanks for the site Spencer. Do you use the same email account login info for your Amazon Associates account as you do for your regular Amazon.com account (the account for making Amazon purchases)? Or do you recommend separating the 2 so that any possible problem with one account doesn’t affect the other?

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