Getting your small business website up and running opens a whole new world of possibility: online marketing and e-commerce. WordPress is a powerful tool that powers over 30 percent of websites currently online and has big names using its interface, including the New York Times, Disney and Mercedes-Benz. When you join the ranks of businesses and bloggers that trust their brand’s online presence to WordPress, you enter a world of opportunity. WordPress websites are incredibly versatile and customizable, primarily through bits of code called plugins.
From helping you build an online shopping cart for customers to fill to giving tweetable tidbits of your blog posts with the push of a button, WordPress plugins transform the user experience when visitors come to your site. There are limitless ways that you can customize your site, but today we’re going to look at the 25 best WordPress plugins for small business.
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One of the fastest ways to grow your audience is to build your subscriber list. But to build your subscriber list, you need ways to capture visitors’ email addresses. To do that, use the Sumo.com package of plugins, like their nifty email capture CTA popup that non-annoyingly pops across your screen and encourages visitors to enter their email addresses to stay in the loop.
2. Yoast SEO
When you write a post or develop a page, the last thing you want is to put all that effort in and lose out on prime SEO rankings. Yoast SEO is a plugin that sits in your dashboard and monitors the SEO score for each post – marked with a colorful indicator that makes it easy to see whether you’re good to go. Additionally, Yoast SEO offers helpful tips and tricks to improve the SEO of any given post or page.
3. WP Author Bio
Each post needs an author. Use the WP Author Bio plugin to manage authors on your site and attribute credit where it’s due for each post you put up. WP Author Bio manages bios for every author on your site and lets you quickly insert information for each post that author writes. Additionally, each bio contains code for each author’s social media pages so that visitors can easily connect on other platforms.
4. Related Post Plugin
Visitors love your post with a recipe for your grandmother’s pastrami from scratch, but now they want to make a loaf of authentic rye bread for making sandwiches the next day. Never leave your readers wondering where to find related posts again, by using the Related Post Plugin to direct readers to related posts on your site. This not only makes your readers happy, but can actually boost your internal traffic by 10 percent.
It’s critical to run regular backups on your site to minimize the grief of losing info should something happen. Snapshot is a backup host that not only backs up your information but saves your backup to a location like Dropbox or Google Drive so that your information is never truly unsalvageable. Schedule your backups with Snapshot to ensure that your new information always flips over to the backup repository for safekeeping.
6. WPS Hide Login
Brute force attacks are commonly used to break into insecure WordPress websites. One simple way to mitigate this is to change your WordPress login URL. WPS Hide Login makes it easy by hiding the default URL and setting a new login URL of your choosing.
No one wants to deal with spam, especially when it starts to wreak havoc on their website. Let Akismet protect your site from spam. Not only will it keep you from having to clean things up on the regular, but it’ll keep users and SEO crawlers from noticing the spam and deranking your website.
8. Gravity Forms
You want users to connect with you on every platform possible, so include contact forms seamlessly into your WordPress site by using Gravity Forms. Gravity Forms offers plenty of options for customizing forms to get exactly what you need from your customers to serve and connect with them better. It’s also perfect for use on mobile platforms, so users can fill boxes on the go.
9. WP Smush
Waiting for pages to load is the pits, and that’s where WP Smush saves the day. WP Smush compresses your photos so that your page load lightning fast and your visitors aren’t tempted to close your site and run away because of graphics that take an eon to load.
10. Google Analytics for WordPress
Manage your SEO in one simple step with Google Analytics for WordPress. This plugin gives you insight to how people end up at your site, so that you can spend more time wooing them there or building out your entire presence to attract visitors from around the web.
11. Constant Contact
Constant Contact is a robust service that offers email marketing for business owners of all stripes. When you integrate your existing Constant Contact account with your WordPress site through the Constant Contact plugin, visitors and customers can automatically enter their info into your Constant Contact repository so that you don’t have to do any of the data transfer manually.
Nothing scares potential clients away like the threat of a security breach when they do business with your brand online. Keep your site well secured with the Sucuri plugin. This plugin offers thread detection, protection and malware removal to keep you and your visitors safe from online threats.
Wouldn’t it be nice to have a little wizard that went through your site blasting away fat files and other components weighing down your site load speeds? Hummingbird is that wizard, and it really works. The Hummingbird plugin flits through your site to compress files and manage browser caches to improve your site speed on each page.
Stay up to date on traffic trends on your WordPress site by using Jetpack to trace your site traffic from referral sources to your site pages. Jetpack also provides other services like security and backups, as well as SEO tools when you opt into a the paid side of the plugin.
15. Google XML Sitemaps
While it’s probably been a long time since you went to a website and saw the option to click on its sitemap, XML sitemaps are actually a pretty important component to have behind the scenes. While an XML sitemaps doesn’t necessarily do much for your user experience, it’s an important tool for building your SEO congruity and helping search engines to know the related pages on your site.
16. Ultimate Branding
WordPress branding is great. For WordPress. But when users come to your site, you don’t want them to think about anything other than your brand. That’s where the Ultimate Branding plugin comes in. Ultimate Branding lets you display your logo and brand colors across your entire site for a professional look.
Do you need to schedule patient appointments or client consultations? Use the Appointments plugin to manage appointments through your site. This plugin coordinates calendars to give patients or clients access to open blocks and keeps you in the loop when new appointment requests come through.
Get your content to social media platforms – and quickly – with the Buffer plugin. Buffer lets you share content with one click, rather than toggling from one site to another and copy/pasting your content on every platform manually. Buffer also lets you schedule your posts so you don’t have to be at your computer doing post sharing while you’d rather be sleeping or playing with your kids.
Take your site to the next level with a storefront that gives your customers full access to your products without having to pop off to another site like Etsy or Amazon to buy your goods. WooCommerce lets you establish a fully functional and secure online market to open your virtual shelves to a worldwide audience.
20. IFTTT Bridge
A basic way that programming works is by the maxim “if this, then that”. Over the years, IFTTT has expanded that meaning to integrate apps and web content into one seamless machine that delivers you the content you need when certain other conditions are met. If you’ve got IFTTT combinations that you think your customers will love, use the IFTTT Bridge plugin to make that content accessible on your site.
Boost your SEO rankings by using the SmartCrawl plugin to communicate with search engines and keep your information relevant to what the crawlers are looking for. SmartCrawl mimics an outside crawler by going through your content and linking keywords and updating sitemaps so that the crawlers will find what they’re looking for when they scan your site.
22. Quick and Easy FAQs
What makes customers likely to trust your brand and buy from you? Having a good feel for what you’re offering and how it’ll help them. FAQs provide the virtual assistant that answers common questions your clients have and can help inform them to make a purchasing decision. The Quick and Easy FAQs plugin does what it sounds like it does: it lets you make FAQs quickly and easily so that your customers aren’t left with burning questions about your products or processes.
23. BJ Lazy Load
Another plugin that speeds up your load time and encourages customers to stick around, the BJ Lazy Load plugin gives you quicker loading times and conserves bandwidth. Not only does BJ Lazy Load compress pictures and information, but it also covers embedded videos from sources like YouTube and Vimeo. It’s also compatible with RICG Responsive Images to give your visitors access to responsive images once the page loads.
24. Broken Link Checker
A huge SEO flag that harms your rankings faster than you can say “oh crud” is the presence of broken links on any of your site pages. But constantly flipping through your pages and looking for broken links can be tedious and time consuming. Offload the work to the Broken Link Checker plugin and you’ll save yourself some time while gaining the peace of mind that your SEO rankings won’t be hurt. Broken Link Checker runs periodic scans through your site and reports broken links and missing images back to you so that you can update them without a hitch.
25. Disable Comments
Comments are great. Except when they’re not. Don’t let your posts devolve into a torrent of negativity by implementing the Disable Comments plugin on your page. Whether you want to disable comments for all pages or only certain posts, you can use the Disable Comments plugin to keep distracting comments from taking away from the purpose of your site and posts.
Your business’ website should be more than mere information
With the right combinations of plugins, you can take your WordPress site from an interesting informational website about your business to a fully functional tool for growing your brand. From scheduling appointments to creating an online marketplace, adding nifty FAQs and comment managers, you’ll vastly improve your visitors’ time on your site.
On the backend, you can find plugins that help boost your SEO and give you peace of mind that backups and security are under control.