- Divi by Elegant Themes – 89$/year
- Noemi by Themeforest – 49$
- Urban by Themeforest – 54$
- Hemingway by WordPress.org
- Sydney WordPress.org
- Editor by Array Themes
- Jetpack by WordPress
- Hummingbird Pagespeed Optimization
- Yoast SEO
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Google Analytics by MonsterInsights
- WP Author Bio
- Broken Link Checker
- Mailchimp for WordPress
- Beaver Builder
- NextGEN Gallery
- Revive Old Posts
- Social Warfare
What differentiates an experienced Internet Marketer who earns thousands of dollars every month, from a newbie? Yes, you guessed it right… The right tools, and that is what this blog post is about – Tools that make or break a blog, themes and plug-ins.
Themes are the blueprints of your blog which make it look more appealing to your reader or user. You can choose from thousands of WordPress themes available on the internet to make your blog look more engaging. Blog themes are your content’s window to the outside world and it is important to select them carefully after considering their features.
Some of the themes are free while some are available as paid versions. Paid themes have many advanced features that free themes lack and they also give you the flexibility to change your layouts and page positions. We have compiled a list of six blog themes which are best in terms of design and features:
Premium themes are paid themes for using on WordPress blogs which have more advanced features than free themes and offer a lot of customization options to the site owner. Three of the best premium WordPress themes include:
Divi is one theme which is great for beginners as well as professionals as it does not need any coding like other themes. It is very flexible in terms of style and colors and you can customize your blog in your personal ways by changing the layout, typography, page placement etc. This theme works with almost all genres and looks very appealing. It is easy to control and is one of the best premium WordPress themes available for bloggers.
Noemi is one theme which will give you all the creative freedom you want with its modern and creative layouts and fonts. It gives you bold features which are different from the thousands of minimalist themes out there. It gives you more than 10 layouts to choose from and multiple header and footer options to engage your viewers with more content. This is a great theme for design bloggers who want to focus on their creative side.
This mobile-responsive theme comes with magazine-style layouts which are attractive and easy on the eye. There are light and dark versions available in header options to customize as per your color scheme. The feature of this theme which makes it different from other themes is that your readers can rate your content and vote as per their liking. This makes your blog more engaging as the users feel valued.
Some free WordPress themes are as good as professional themes if not better and can be used by beginners and professionals who want to add a minimalistic touch to their blogs. Three of the best free WordPress themes include:
Hemingway is a simple yet elegant theme which gives you a full-width layout and a full header image. You can customize this theme with the color scheme of your choice and can also add a logo. A unique feature of this theme is that you can add a parallax effect to your scroll above the fold which makes reading the content easier for the readers.
This impressive theme is good for personal bloggers who want to customize the background and use Google fonts. It gives you access to all these features and more with its bold and attractive design. This theme is easy to navigate as compared to other themes as it gives you an option to add a return-to-top button and a sticky header.
If your blog focuses more on images than on content, this theme from Array Themes is the right theme for your blog. It gives you a freedom to feature large images and add more content about your work on the sidebar. It also has multiple drop-down menus which are reachable using simple buttons to make the blog appear less crowded and more accessible.
Once you have registered a domain and hosted it on a reputed server and installed a theme, the next step to enhance the functionality of your website is to install plugins. Plugins are softwares which make your website easy to navigate and use. There are around 50,000 free and paid plugins available on the WordPress directory. Some of them are free and some of them are paid plugins. There are some plugins which are available in both free and paid versions and are commonly referred to as freemium plugins. #
We have put together a list of 16 plugins which you should definitely install on your blog to make it a pleasant experience for your readers and transform your website from a simple hobby to a powerful professional entity:
This is an all in one freemium plugin which is a must-have for any WordPress site. The free version gives you site stats, Adsense support, analytics, social sharing buttons, security and backup services and other tools for discussion and content creation. There is no other plugin which offers these many features at one place. The paid version costs around 3.5$/month and includes SEO tools, malware scanning, threat resolution, and high-speed video hosting apart from all the free services.
One plugin you need to control the spam comments on your website is Akismet. It is a free plugin for personal bloggers while a paid version is available for professional businesses. This plugin is highly updated and does not require manual filtering like other plugins. It filters all the comments and discards the spam comments to load your website faster and saving space on the server.
This plugin makes your website load at a lightning speed as it optimizes all the pages and minifies files to improve your page speed. It has an easy user interface which does not require any coding like other optimization plugins. It also caches your browser to give a better experience to returning visitors. It is a free plugin.
SEO is the key to marketing your website and enhancing your traffic. This plugin improves your website’s social presence by making you use the right keywords and giving you simple tips on how to optimize your blog post for easy readability. It makes it very easy to update your old blog posts also which is a unique feature. This is also a freemium plugin and the premium version costs around 69$ for one site. The premium version offers a host of other features and is much better than the free version.
The basic thing any blog owner wants is to feature in the search results of Google, Yahoo, Bing and other search engines. It supports all the major search engines, unlike other sitemap plugins. This plugin builds a sitemap for your website which enables all the search engines to index your blog easily. It is a free plugin.
This plugin has been downloaded more than 15 million times which show its popularity. It gives you the statistics that matter to you like the number of users visiting your website, the amount of time they spend on each page, most popular pages etc. The premium version of this free plugin costs around 39$ for a basic pro version and 99$ for the most advanced version.
If you have a blog that publishes content written by various authors, this plugin will make your website look like a pool of diversity by letting your readers know which post is written by which author and some important information about them. It supports multiple authors also which is a feature not offered by other plugins. It is compatible with all major social networks so that you can link your author bio to their profiles. This is a free plugin.
Having broken pages on your website can affect your page ranking significantly and this plugin checks all the posts and pages on your website to check for links that do not work and alert you via mail. This is also a free plugin.
Another plugin in this category includes the WP Broken Link Status Checker which also works in a similar way.
Building your reader base is an important part of enhancing your traffic and Mailchimp works towards increasing your subscriber base by creating aesthetically pleasing sign-up forms and sending newsletters to all your email subscribers. This plugin is free for up to 2000 subscribers and then you can buy the pro version which costs around 10$ per month for the basic version.
Designing a WordPress site can be tricky for beginners who do not know much about coding but this simple drag and drop plugin can help you create beautiful pages to make your website mobile-friendly and responsive. The premium version of this free plugin costs around 99$ to 399$ depending on the number of sites you have.
Your users are attracted to beautiful clear images and one great way to share these images with the world is by creating a photo gallery with this plugin. It offers backend and frontend support to enable you to create stunning image galleries to support your content. The plugin is free but the premium version costs around 69$.
This free plugin can convert any website into a money-making machine with its simple buttons which enable your users to pay for any service or product. It is good for a blog which also has a shopping section. It has an easy interface as compared to the complex payment plugins.
One way to keep your content generating leads 24*7 is to use this plugin to share your old posts regularly with your readers on social platforms to use them in bring traffic to your website regularly. You can customize the content and exclude categories. The pro version of this free plugin costs around 75$ for a personal blog. Another good plugin in this category is Republish Old Posts.
The security of your blog is of prime importance as there are many malicious hackers or persons trying to steal or damage your website. This plugin audits and monitors your website’s file integrity and hardens your blog’s security, unlike any other security plugin. It is a free plugin but the firewall feature is an add-on which can be bought separately.
This plugin installs beautiful and appealing social sharing buttons to your blog posts and enhances the social presence of your website considerably. You can choose the placement of the buttons to enable more shares. Some basic features of this plugin are free and the premium version costs around 29$ per year for one website to 350$ per year for up to 10 websites.
Another important feature to make your readers feel valuable is by adding the CommentLuv plugin to your website which enables your viewers to link their blog post to their comment. This has a mutual benefit to you as well the readers as they get back links to their site and in turn subscribe to your content also. The pro feature of this free plugin costs around 30$.
An alternative to this plugin is Disqus which also works well.