If you use WordPress, you've probably realized that it’s one of the most affordable ways to create a beautiful and practical website for your small business. It’s also one of the only platforms that gives you complete freedom and control over how your website looks and operates. WordPress accomplishes this through the use of plugins. These are small software components that add features to larger software (in this case, WordPress). While default WordPress is great, the best thing about it is the fact that anyone can easily create and spread a plugin to fix a problem or provide a new feature. This means that business owners and users like you are finding solutions to the same problems that you have and are solving them for you!
However, since anyone can create a plugin for WordPress, it means that there are a lot of them available. Some are fantastic, while others provide a duplicate service, are poorly made, or just aren’t very useful for you. It can be overwhelming to browse all the available plugins, especially if you’re not familiar with setting up a website. To help you get started, Virtual Market Advantage will go over some of the best WordPress plugins for small businesses. Using these plugins can help you oversee your business, improve your website, and save you time and money!
How to Install a Plugin on WordPress
If you’re completely new to using plugins, you might not know how to get them installed on your website. While you’re behind the scenes of your website in the WordPress admin area, simply hover your mouse over “Plugins” and click “Add New”. You can then browse the featured, popular, or recommended plugins or search for something specific by title, author, or tag. Once you’ve found a plugin you want to install, click the “Install Now” button. After it's installed, make sure you hit the same button again, which will now say “Activate”. You can look at and work with plugins you’ve already installed by clicking the “Installed Plugins” button under “Plugins”.
This plugin was formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast. It’s one of the most popular on WordPress, because it allows you to more easily optimize your website for search engines. Not only does it help you add meta tags and keywords, but it also provides crucial information and tips for optimizing your site as a whole. Yoast SEO also gives you a full SEO page analysis, so you can write better content for your blogs and sales pages. It'll also help you optimize your local SEO to help boost local visibility.
No matter what type of business or website you have, it’s important to track your visitors’ behaviors. This allows you to make your online marketing more effective for your business by optimizing your website based on real data, which will help improve your overall earnings. MonsterInsights is a plugin that allows you to install and configure Google Analytics’ tracking codes on your WordPress website with ease. It comes with a lot of features like real time stats, multiple data tracking, and more. Installing this plugin will also get you a copy of Google Analytics right on your WordPress dashboard.
MonsterInsights is also commerce-ready, meaning you can track your sales in real time and compare product popularity. It also integrates with Google AdWords, so you can track your ads and see how well they’re doing.
One of the most important parts of a business website is the contact form. You must have a reliable plugin to set up your contact forms, so that your customers can always reach out and get in touch with your company. Gravity Forms is a great plugin for this service. It’s a powerful website form builder that comes with many built-in options, such as PayPal integration. Using Gravity Forms, you can create just about any type of form imaginable. For example, it can help you make custom contact forms, order forms, and product or service inquiry forms.
BirchPress is a great WordPress plugin if you need people to be able to use your website to book appointments or make payments online. This plugin allows you to add a complete online booking system to your website and is super easy to manage.
Every small business with a website needs a good email sending service. MailChimp is one of the best plugins for email features. It lets you manage your subscribers, send emails, and track everything in bulk. It also allows you to add subscription forms to your WordPress pages and create custom opt-in forms. You can easily integrate this plugin with any other form on your site, such as a contact form, comment section, or checkout form. MailChimp is compatible with all of the major form plugins, like Gravity Forms, ContactForm7, and WooCommerce.
If you want to track your emails closely and see what type of customers they’re reaching, then Outreach Plus is a great plugin to install. It lets you manage your email outreach campaigns from one simple dashboard. Using Outreach Plus, you can manage follow-up emails, send out personalized emails, send trigger-based responses, and more. It also allows you to connect multiple email accounts and read all of your outreach emails in a single inbox. This plugin really simplifies large-scale email management.
Social media plays such a huge a role in our lives, and it can greatly affect how you run your small business website. From paid ads to giveaways, there are countless ways to draw in more customers to your website through social media. But what happens when someone finds your website first? This is where the Social Icons plugin comes in to play. This plugin allows you to place over 100 social media icons on your website, sprinkling them throughout your pages and blog posts where needed. It allows for a large amount of customization. You can change the social media icon widget size, build personal layouts, and easily drag and drop widgets where you want them.
Use Social Icons to help generate more traffic to your social media pages from your website. In turn, this traffic on social media will help you get more returning customers, as they see your promotions, specials, and other reminders on a regular basis. Social media is a vital part of online marketing, so making sure you have the right tools installed on your website to help out.
There are many more plugins that can help your SEO, website design, and online marketing, but these are just a few good ones to get you started. The right plugins make designing and managing your website and connecting with your customers so much easier!
If you want more information on SEO and marketing, check out VMA’s other blogs, such as this one that goes into the difference between SEO and SEM!