Whether you run a small business website or a personal blog, your website's appearance and functionality determine how people view your brand. The first impression many will have of you, a website's appearance and feel can make the difference between success and failure.
Many websites now use WordPress – more than any other platform in the world, in fact – because it gives people a seemingly unlimited ability to customize, organize and design their websites however they desire. This is made possible in large part due to the hundreds of thousands of plugins available to anybody with a WordPress installation.
Today, we're going to review 7 awesome types of WordPress plugins that will revolutionize your website and improve it in a number of ways.
A Maintenance Plugin
There are times where you need to configure various elements on your website. Whether you're implementing a new theme or overhauling several pages, you might want a bit of privacy during this process. After all, a half-functional website can turn off many people who may be seeing it for the first time. Because of this, it's wise to download and install a maintenance or CMMS plugin for your WordPress website. You'll be able to either universally offline the website for necessary periods of time or disable specific pages, providing visitors with a predetermined message.
A Mobile Responsive Plugin
In order for your site to be at its best, it needs to be perfectly functional with mobile devices. Mobile responsive design, as it's often called, ensures that your website is properly formatted across all devices. If somebody on a mobile device arrives at your website and the text is too small, the pages are stretched, and other elements are out of place, there is a good chance they'll leave and never return. In order to get the most out of your traffic, be sure to install a mobile responsive plugin that converts all pages and elements on your website for mobile visitors in real time.
It's also worth noting that search engines now penalize websites that do not use mobile responsive design. This means that without this functionality, your website is likely appearing much lower in search results than it otherwise would.
A Subscription Plugin
Email marketing – and the act of building an email list – is one of the most basic yet important aspects of running an online brand. As you grow in size and scope, you want to be able to stay in touch with those who are most interested in your content. Thankfully, it is very easy to manage this via WordPress. Whether you are using a service like Constant Contact or MailChimp, there is likely a proprietary WordPress plugin available for free that you can download and install. Once configured, you'll be able to integrate subscription elements anywhere on your website.
You can plug your email list at the top or bottom of each page, as pop-up dialogue boxes or anywhere else imaginable. Additionally, you can further integrate this plugin with your existing email service to better optimize landing pages and social media outreach.
A Backup Plugin
We take for granted that our websites will always be there, consistently available and working. The reality is that very few hosting providers actually guarantee that your data will be available in case of a natural disaster, accident or other mishap. Because of this, you should always ensure your website's survival by maintaining off-site backups on a regular basis. Thankfully, there are many backup plugins for WordPress available to help you do that. Once installed, these elements can be configured to automatically backup your website on a regular basis, downloading the backup files to the cloud or any specified destination.
An SEO Plugin
Search engine optimization is one of the primary ways websites manage to grow their audiences and increase traffic. While paid marketing strategies – along with social media – can be utilized to drive traffic to your website, most people rely heavily on the traffic that comes via search engines. If you want your products, services or content to be seen as often as possible, then you need to take SEO seriously.
A WordPress plugin like Yoast SEO can be used to ensure that your content and page elements are optimized ideally for search engine rankings. From page titles and headings to keywords and multimedia, SEO plugins will help guide your decisions when publishing new pages and posts. In addition, many of these plugins can also be used to optimize not just pages and posts, but your entire site as well.
A Social Media Plugin
In addition to search engines, social media can be a huge component of your website's traffic portfolio. In order to get the most out of it plus connect more of your visitors to your social media presence, you'll want to definitely take advantage of one or more social media WordPress plugins. With tools such as Buffer, you can configure your website's content to be published across multiple social media networks simultaneously. Have several pieces of content that you'd like to schedule for social media publication in the near future? These plugins can help you do that. On top of that, many allow you to fully integrate your recent social media updates directly into your site, providing you with another opportunity to convince visitors to connect with you on a more permanent basis.
A Testimonial/Review Plugin
Especially useful if you're selling products and services, websites that showcase their reviews and testimonials tend to sell more than websites that do not. If you're looking to boost profits with little to no work involved, then you'll want to install a testimonials plugin on your website. This can be integrated into every part of the shopping experience, encouraging people before, during and after making a purchase to leave a review or comment. Since shoppers are naturally more inclined to buy when they can read real feedback from real people, this one really is a no-brainer.
These seven types of WordPress plugins can be used in conjunction with one another or individually to drastically improve the look, feel and functionality of your website. There is a good chance you already have at least one of these installed, but expanding your horizons to include all relevant options here will help further your website's effectiveness, profitability and appeal.