The Best Plugins and Practices for Your WordPress Business Website
As you read this, more than 43% of all websites are using WordPress; that’s nearly 90 million active websites on the internet. What’s more; the content management system has shown consistent growth in its user base of 12% every year for more than a decade.
Just how popular WordPress is can be gauged from the fact that everybody from The New York Times to Bloomberg, and from the official website of the White House to Microsoft and Nike are using it.
And, why not? WordPress offers amazing adaptability, ease of use, SEO compatibility, and robust security. Then, there is the 55,000+ WordPress plugins that offer nearly every feature imaginable for even further customization.
In a nutshell, while there are other contenders in the market, for a business website, you simply can’t go wrong with WordPress.
But Will WordPress Alone do it?
While WordPress is a robust CMS and website platform, for your business website to thrive, you’ll need additional features and services.
Think of WordPress as a solid foundation upon which to build. Sure, it makes life for website administrators easy in more ways than one. But, to create and maintain a thriving website, you will have to strike a balance between features, speed, and security.
This comes in the form of the right WordPress Plugins, WordPress practices, and a WordPress-friendly hosting provider.
- Plugins – When you pick the right plugins, you will get the tools to measure website speed, add to your SEO efforts, improve visitor experience, enhance security, and more.
- Practices – With optimal practices, you can keep your site secure and running smoothly
- Hosting – A quality host will provide a fast page loading speed (lower than 500 ms) and reliable security features.
Now, that we understand how web hosting, best practices, and WordPress plugins work together to create a well-functioning business website, let’s discuss the most popular and feature-rich WordPress plugins.
The top 10 WordPress Plugins for a business website
1. Yoast SEO
Even if this is your first website/blog, chances are you know about search engine optimization and its impact on website traffic and ultimately the revenue that your online venture generates.
That said, it’s not just the newbies but also the pros who find it hard to keep on top of everything that needs to be done to rule the search engine results. But that’s only until you get yourself the support of Yoast SEO.
With over 25,000 top ratings and more than 5 million installations, Yoast SEO is by far the most popular and well-rated WordPress plugin, and with good reason. It takes just about everything there is to on-site optimizations and puts it in one tool.
In fact, we’d go so far as to call it your very own SEO manager that keeps a check on all those micro tasks like using the optimal mix of keywords in the required places, getting the length of the meta description right, submitting XML sitemaps, and more.
2. W3 Total Cache
SEO draws visitors to your site and proper website caching makes sure that they stick around. Website performance and speed are critical factors when it comes to user experience and the time your visitors spend on your website/blog.
W3 Total Cache puts the performance of your website in fourth gear by minifying the code of your web pages, which conspicuously improves page load time. Because Google considers this to be a ranking factor, W3 Total Cache works synergistically with Yoast SEO to get you a higher page rank and better user experience.
In addition to this plugin, there are a few other things that you can do to boost the speed and performance of your website. You will find more information in this article.
3. Business Directory Plugin
Sure, there are a lot of options available when it comes to business listing plugins. But, if you are looking for something that is simple, easy to use, and gets the job done, Business Directory Plugin will be perfect for you.
It offers the tools to create bulk listings, drag and drop images, customize forms, accept payment through various platforms like PayPal, Stripe, and others, set up recurring payments, and more. Best of all, this plugin is mobile-friendly and easy on the pocket.
4. WP Forms
While the Business Directory Plugin also offers a form builder, you just get the basic stuff with it. So, if you want to take your form building to the next level, WP Forms is the plugin for that. From feedback forms to contact forms and from payment forms to subscription forms and everything in between, this plugin has them all.
The pro version (paid) has all the forms you can think of and the lite version (free) allows you to take this plugin for a ride and understand what it can do for you.
More than 20% of all WordPress websites use this plugin; that alone speaks volumes about both the reliability and popularity of WooCommerce. An e-commerce platform that makes it possible to launch your online store in a matter of minutes, WooCommerce covers everything that you need to sell online.
Plus, when you are working with WooCommerce you can leverage several other plugins that add to the features of this platform. For instance, with Advanced Coupons, you can offer your buyers additional deals and discounts that will encourage them to buy more now and in the future. Similarly, there are extensions available to optimize your store for both retail and wholesale clients.
Now, while WooCommerce is undoubtedly a Godsend when it comes to launching and maintaining your e-commerce site, there are a few critical things that you need to remember when running an online store, read more about this here.
A lot of websites sell services and if that is your game, MemberPress is a must-have plugin, as it will put all the features needed to create a membership site at your fingertips. In fact, once your blog takes off, you can use this plugin to monetize your regular and loyal customer base with a subscription fee for access to the membership area or online training.
Marketing is crucial for the success and survival of any business venture. This is also the one part of running a business that needs constant improvement and innovation. At some point, you are bound to get overwhelmed by everything that needs to be done to keep your website in the spotlight.
And that’s when OptinMonster will save the day for you. No matter how complex your online marketing strategy, this plugin will help you to meet all your marketing goals. From leveraging social media to generating popups for email subscriptions and from building landing pages to creating landing page announcements and sticky bars, this plugin does it all.
The name says it all! Yes, this is the plugin that allows you to chat with your users in real-time, and you would be surprised how much goodwill and rapport that can build. In fact, even visitors who don’t get down to chatting feel reassured by the mere fact that they can get in touch with you quickly if required.
Also, the ability to chat live with your buyers allows you to offer the information they need to buy from you instead of moving to your competitor, while they are still in that “decision-making” window. So, when it comes to closing sales and increasing conversion rates, this plugin can deliver impressive results.
When you choose the best WordPress hosting, backup will be a part of the deal. But, it never hurts to go the extra mile on this front with your own additional backup plan.
After all, this is the best way to ensure that your business site escapes unharmed if something goes awry. Now, there are innumerable options to pick from, but BackupBuddy is the original WordPress backup plugin, and it continues to rule the roost to this day.
It’s a paid service that’s well worth every cent spent on the site license. The plugin allows you to schedule regular backups (daily, weekly and monthly) and you get to use several cloud storage services to save the data. Moreover, it even allows real-time backups, so there is absolutely no risk of losing your content ever. Plus, you can manage up to 10 websites from the dashboard and get premium support when required.
After working so hard on creating an impressive website, spending hours optimizing it for the search engines, and basically doing everything that needs to be done to draw in the traffic, how will you know if your efforts are yielding the desired results?
The answer to that one is- With MonsterInsights! This is one of the most powerful WordPress website analytical tools out there. It integrates with Google Analytics to bring vital site performance and site usage information to you.
MonsterInsights will tell you about your audience, the source of your traffic, the time spent by visitors on your website, your top-performing products/services, the total revenue generated, the average value of your orders, and much more. So, basically all the figures you will need to streamline your marketing strategy.
The Best WordPress Practices for your Business Website
1. Choose a quality WordPress hosting provider for your business website
We have said this before and we will say it again, you cannot possibly tap into the power of WordPress unless you use the best hosting for WordPress.
At the end of the day, WordPress with its myriad plugins adds to the features and functionality of a website, but if your site has regular and extended downtime or if your pages take forever to load, what good are all the other features?
While there are several hosting services that claim to be suitable for WordPress, only a few offer the reliable performance required to get the most from the content management platform. Among the crucial metrics that you need to review when choosing a hosting service are site uptime, page load time, WordPress support, and site security. We have reviewed the best WordPress hosting services for you here, so you don’t have to spend time and money to find the right hosting provider.
2. There is such a thing as too many plugins
Undoubtedly, plugins can simplify and speed up regular administrative and optimization tasks but too much, even of a good thing, leads to bad results. In this case, if you have too many plugins installed, there can be conflicts between two or more leading to performance issues, site crashes, and slow load times. It will serve you to remember that with each plugin you are adding more weight to the WordPress platform. So, at one point, the burden will slow things down for everybody.
3. Do not scrimp on backup
We have already covered this one above but it’s so important that it certainly needs a mention in the best practices section as well. After all, you don’t want to find yourself in a situation where you lose it all because of a glitch or an attack.
4. Cover all aspects of security
An SSL certificate was optional at one point, but it’s now vital as it adds credibility to your website. But that’s just one aspect of website security that you need to focus on. Ensure that you have plugins to protect you on all fronts, from hackers, spammers, and others. Typically, if you go with the best WordPress hosting, they will have their own anti-malware protection and firewalls, but it certainly won’t hurt to fortify your venture with a few additions.
5. Keep WordPress and all its plugins updated
It is easy to neglect this one, but this is often the chink in the armor that will bring down the army. Outdated installations and plugins are a pathway for the bad guys to access your website. So, never put off the updates for later.
6. Have a posting schedule in place
This helps to keep things consistent as far as content marketing goes and it gives regular visitors something to look forward to. In fact, this is one of the fastest ways to earn visitor loyalty and make them stick around.
7. Use a plugin to optimize your database
Every time you add content to your site and every time you edit this content, all of it, additions, revisions et al, get saved to the database. In time your WordPress database gets bloated and becomes sluggish, which can slow down your site. So, keep your database in top shape with a tool that cleans it up regularly.
And that’s everything that you need to know to get the maximum from your WordPress business site.