I get asked which WordPress themes and plugins are best for affiliate sites a lot and I see it gets asked in the group time and time again.
So, in today’s article, I’m going to share what I think are the best WordPress themes & plugins for your affiliate site.
I say best, but really these are just my favorite and what I have found to be the best after creating hundreds of sites, thousands of rankings and making a LOT of money in the process.
Before I give you the list I think it’s important to tell you why I use themes and plugins.
Choosing the right theme for your affiliate site
When I create a new site I already have the structure of the site all planned out.
I will draw a bit of a mind map with pen and paper, on my whiteboard or use mind mapping apps like bubbl.us.
Doing this helps you brainstorm the perfect structure for your site so it’s easy for your visitors and search engines crawlers.
Something else I keep in mind is speed!
Speed is a huge factor when it comes to ranking, converting and keeping people on your site. Nobody wants to wait for slow loading pages these days, not when your competitor’s sites are loading instantly.
Google LOVES fast loading sites, that’s why I look for themes that load fast. It’s also important to have fast hosting and that’s why I always recommend SiteGround.com because their hosting is super fast and that’s because they optimize their servers FOR WordPress.
Even WordPress.org recommend SiteGround as a preferred host.
If you’re after a cheaper host, WordPress.org also recommend Bluehost.
However, I do not recommend DreamHost. I’ve heard way too many horror stories and negative reviews.
When choosing a theme I recommend themes that have minimum or optimized code that load super fast.
There are literally hundreds of thousands of themes to choose from and you could spend hours or days trying to find the perfect theme for your theme.
Just keep these things in mind when choosing a theme.
- Getting people to read your content is a lot more important than having the most beautiful design in the world.
- Clean layouts are much easier to read and digest your content.
- Less is often best. Avoid having to many things going on within your layout.
- It must load fast. I will recommend plugins and tools for this below.
- It must be responsive on all devices.
What WordPress themes I use and recommend for affiliate sites…
Ok, so I’m sure you get the picture.
You need a clean, fast, responsive theme that is easy to use.
Here’s what I use and recommend to others who want to get started.
The site you are on right now uses GeneratePress.
This theme has a free version and a premium version.
The free version like 99% of free WordPress themes, has enough features and functionality to get started.
However, if you want to save yourself the massive headache of trying to figure everything out – buy the premium version, it’s only a one-time payment of $39 and best of all, you can use it on multiple sites.
The premium version unlocks all the features you could possibly need and combined with the plugins I will mention below transforms this theme into one powerful and super easy way to present your content.
The Customizer allows you to adjust everything from the width of your content, sidebars, headers and the position of your navigation menu’s.
You can customize colors, fonts, where you want your logo, the size of your logo…it allows you to customize EVERYTHING with ease.
GeneratePress premium version also gives you elements and hooks. These are great for adding code or extra design elements that you might need on your site.
This theme is very lightweight which is another reason why I love using it and recommend it.
Another theme I use is Rise from ThriveThemes. They also have a bunch of others and their Focus theme is very popular for marketers.
The good thing about ThriveThemes is, it’s very customisable and has really good features to add your optin forms for collecting emails.
ThriveThemes have been around for a while now and have a very good reputation. One thing I like is their training videos.
Each video they put out is extremely helpful and they have case studies, tips and give you in-depth tutorials on how to use and customize their themes.
They also have some amazing plugins. One I use and love is ThriveLeads – this is great for capturing people emails to build a list.
If you want to learn more, head on over to their website ThriveThemes.com
Here’s A List Of Plugins I Use On My Affiliate Sites
Plugins make life so much easier, however, if you can avoid using a plugin to do what you need try and do so because having too many plugins can slow down your site.
Plugins also need to be updated regularly to help keep your site safe from hackers and to stay up to date with any bug fixes and added features.
ALWAYS update your plugins as soon as you’re notified to do so.
There are plugins that help speed up your site, help make the design look better, cloak your affiliate links and keep your site secure so do keep reading…
Plugins I use on my sites:
This plugin will help keep your site safe from hackers. It’s the first plugin I install when starting a new site.
They do have a premium version of the plugin to help secure your site even further, but I only use the free version and it’s protected my sites for years.
The default settings are all I use, however, you can and should look at the settings to learn about the plugin and what it does.
Learn more about this plugin here (it can also be found in the plugins directory)
If you’re using SiteGround then the SG Optimizer is a great plugin that will help speed up your site. This has features like SuperCaching, frontend optimization, and image optimization.
This plugin can also help make sure your SSL/HTTPS is enabled correctly.
Other similar plugins are WP SuperCache, Autoptimize.
Learn more about this plugin here (it can also be found in the plugins directory)
ThriveLeads is a plugin by the team at ThriveThemes.
This plugin helps you build your email list faster by giving you the ability to create amazing forms, A/B split testing and quickly and easily design your forms for conversions.
I’m a big fan of this plugin and think it’s a must if you want to build that email list.
There are free plugins available in the WordPress plugins directory such as Optin Forms, MailOptin and WP Subscribe which are OKAY but lack features ThriveLeads has.
You can also simply use the forms your email autoresponder gives you, but using a plugin can make it a lot easier to add into your site.
Keep things simple and always test your forms to see which version converts best.
This plugin would have to be one I use the most. I love it!
Shortcodes Ultimate gives you shortcodes you can use to help make your site look better. Easily create buttons, columns, colored boxes and add elements to help bring your pages to life.
It’s very easy to use and they do have some tutorials on their website.
A must have if you’re an SEO geek like myself.
This plugin helps you create pages that are optimized for search engines. It gives you the ability to add things like your meta title, description, keyword and global functions to help with SEO for your site.
Yoast also creates a sitemap for your site which is very handy.
When creating blog posts, Yoast gives you tips and guidance on optimizing your page by giving it a score. This can be very handy, however, please do not lose sleep or pull your hair out if you can get that seo and readability light green.
It is there as a guide only and in my opinion can work against you because you will focus on getting the light green for search engines more than focusing on whats important and that is creating content for humans.
You can get the Yoast SEO plugin by going to the plugins directory and typing in Yoast SEO.
Schema – All In One Schema.org Rich Snippets
This is a very handy plugin for rich snippets and SEO. This helps you create eye catching results in the search results of Google and Bing by showing snippets of your content, review stars, event details, product details and recipe ingredients.
Since using this plugin my CTR has jumped up and CTR is a factor in Google search algorithms.
You can learn more about this plugin here OR search the plugin directory in your WordPress dashboard.
No Category Base
This plugin removes the category from your permalink to help keep those URLS short and sweet.
DO NOT install this if your site is already up and ranking because it will change the permalink structure of your site which could lead to loss of rankings.
As mentioned, this takes the category out of your url so it look like this – ( e.g. ‘mysite.com/category/my-category/’ to ‘mysite.com/my-category/’ ).
This is optional and I only use it on small sites with few categories. If you already have a site up and running don’t worry about using this plugin.
Imagine if for some reason your website was deleted from the web, OR maybe you did a boo boo and wrecked your sites code OR you where hacked.
Having a backup of your WordPress site is extremely important and this plugin will do just that.
It’s free and available in the WordPress plugins directory.
PrettyLink Lite (Now Known as ShortLinks by Pretty Links)
This WordPress plugin turns your ugly affiliate links into ‘pretty’ links. Your new link will redirect to your affiliate link.
You can shorten and make your long ugly affiliate links so they look more trust worthy and less dodgy. (allows for 301, 302, and 307 redirects only)
You can also track your clicks with this which is also handy.
There are similar plugins but I like using this one because it works great!
Final Thoughts & Things To Remember…
Plugins are great and can definitely be of great benefit to your site.
I highly recommend reading about each plugin you install to better understand them. Most of the time, there will also be tutorials and reviews on Youtube you can watch to get a clear vision of how they work and what they do.
Here’s a quick list of things to remember before you go.
- Avoid having too many plugins.
- Read about the plugins and learn what they do.
- Only use trusted themes and plugins that have reviews.
- ALWAYS keep your plugins up to date. Updating is super simple and takes only a few seconds.
- If a plugin or theme developer hasn’t updated their theme or plugin in some time, it’s probably best to avoid using it.
- Be careful when installing plugins that are similar to each other or do the same thing. They can clash and make a mess of your site.
Thanks for reading and I hope this helps.
If it did help please do feel free to share it as it may help others and will help support my site.
Your friend Wazza.