Investing in your online presence is a great strategy. However, a craftsman is only as good at his tools. Having a website that doesn’t equate to conversions, and therefore dollar signs, means your investment isn’t reaching its potential. If you want to get the most out of your website, there are many tools available to accomplish whatever goals you have set for yourself. While not every site will need all of the plugins that follow, the following suggestions will remain as general as possible so that whether your site is informational, a storefront, or a lead generator, you’ll get some use out of most of these tools.
Some of these plugins you may have heard of before. They’ve been around for a considerable amount of time because of how integral many site owners have found them to be. Note that dedicated ecommerce plugins won’t be on this list because they are worthy of their own list with descriptions of each. Let’s get to installing some plugins:
Here is an oldie, but a goodie. Business owners, SEO professionals, marketing agencies, you name it and they’ll say that Yoast is a plugin they’ve been implementing in their WordPress build for years. While the name has changed since the plugin was first introduced, its functionality and importance have stayed the same. You don’t need to be a developer (or hire one) in order to do the bulk of your onsite search engine optimization work thanks to the straightforward, easily understandable Yoast SEO plugin. Each page of your site allows you to fill in the critical meta data you need to help your site get ranked by the leading search engines. After all, if your site can’t be found by the general public, how is it helping your business?
You’ve set up some affordable WordPress hosting. Overhead is low, site traffic is decent. Things are going just swimmingly, right? Well, how many concrete leads have you generated? While rising traffic is great and means there are more eyes on your business, it doesn’t mean much if you aren’t converting. Even if your site isn’t selling products directly, it’s incredibly important to have contact forms installed on your site. Whether you need to field customer concerns, complaints, or requests for a callback, it’s crucial to have the ability to be in direct contact with your customers. WPForms will let you establish concrete leads rather than just relying on vague traffic reports as a metric.
If you’re a business owner that doesn’t do his or her own web development, code is probably more of a necessary evil (and nuisance) than a subject of fascination. However, if you want to add some customization to your site outside of the boundaries of your template, you’ll have to get your hands dirty a bit. That’s where CSS Hero comes in. This convenient plugin allows you to make visual changes to your site from the comfort of your CMS in plain language, rather than needing to learn how to decipher code. Though it’s a premium plugin, it’s well worth the investment if you want to add some unique visual flourishes to your site.
Akismet may not be for everyone, but if you are running an informational or media site and you want to have a comments section for your visitors, this is an essential plugin. The more popular your site, the more susceptible you are to be the target of spammers. Aksimet acts as a filter that will check trackbacks and comments posted to your site and mark them as spam if they seem suspicious. If you’re concerned Akismet might catch some legitimate comments by accident, don’t worry. The plugin puts all suspicious comments into an archive for you that you can double check yourself before permanently deleting.
Jetpack is like the all-purpose toolbox of the WordPress plugin world. It has an assortment of features rather than one main one, and they all add improved functionality to your site. Some of the modules you’ll find included in Jetpack are extra sidebar widgets, enhanced distribution options, analytics and stats, social media integration and more. If you’re looking for a bunch of enhancements in one simple package, Jetpack will probably be one of the first plugins you install.
With the right plugins installed you can begin unlocking your site’s true potential as a lead generator and revenue maker. Remember, the major benefit of using WordPress as the foundation of your site is the simple setup. Between the easily understandable CMS and the nearly limitless customization options, the online portion of your business can be managed relatively hassle free. There are literally hundreds of plugins to choose from that can add functionality and the ability to customize your site. Combined with cheap hosting, WordPress is a formidable platform for businesses of any size.