WordPress is the swiss army knife of content management systems. It’s able to boast of many great features right out of the box. That being said, it certainly has its limits. That’s where plugins come in to help build on the already solid foundation that WordPress lays down.
There’s a lot of plugins available and identifying the best of the best is no simple task. That’s why this list exists to give you the skinny on which plugins are worth considering to build and promote your business website.
A responsive website is extremely important. Customers expect to see web pages load lickety-split or they may bounce from your website straight into the hands of a competitor. Google published a paper in 2017 concluding that 53% of visitors will abandon a web page if it fails to load within three seconds.
W3 Total Cache is a freemium WordPress plugin that offers many advanced features, but it’s the caching and CDN options that will help in driving down those page load times. Caching your blog posts and product pages and serving them as static files means your visitors will enjoy significantly snappier page load times. Setting up a CDN and having W3 Total Cache serve your media through that CDN will help alleviate some of the server load and leverage the (typically) faster load times. Bunny.net has been my preferred CDN for some time now, and configuring W3 Total Cache to work with Bunny.net is straightforward and easy.
Ranking as high as possible in search results should be another high priority. Consistently appearing lower than your competitor in search results could be the kiss of death for your business. Rank Math SEO offers handy on-page SEO options and schema markup integration that go above and beyond what a lot of WordPress themes natively allow you to customise.
Rank Math SEO also encourages you to better write and structure your content by monitoring your usage of keywords and reviewing overall SEO performance. It can also generate a sitemap and keep search engines in the loop as to when you create new content. Furthermore, Rank Math SEO also integrates and plays nicely Google Analytics and Google Search Console.
As feature-rich as WordPress is, WordPress does not natively provide a straightforward method to facilitate communication with your visitors. You can of course slap a contactable email address somewhere on your website, but WPForms Lite provides a more sophisticated way of engaging with your potential customers. WPForms Lite allows you to specify how much (or how little) information your visitor should provide in order to help you respond to their query.
WPForms Lite provides an intuitive interface that allows you to configure your contact form(s) to include bread and butter fields such as ‘name’ and ‘message’ and so forth, and more advanced fields comprised of sliders, dropdowns, checkboxes and more. All without requiring a shred of coding knowledge.
If you’re looking to sell products directly through your website, be they physical or digital products, you’ll be hard-pressed to find a better solution than WooCommerce. Developed by Automattic, the folks behind WordPress, WooCommerce allows you to introduce a fully-fledged E-commerce shop right into your existing WordPress installation. You’ll be able to create product listings with thumbnail images and fruitful sales copy with no coding knowledge required. WooCommerce does all the heavy lifting.
WooCommerce features all of the modern bells and whistles, including support for a basket or shopping cart, coupon codes, flexible payment handling, sales reporting, and more.
The introduction of GDPR compliance law across Europe in 2018 means business owners need to be much more careful and transparent with customer data.
The introduction of GDPR compliance law across Europe in 2018 means that business owners need to be much more careful and transparent with customer data. The CookieYes plugin is not a drop-in solution to ensure full compliance with GDPR law, but it does at least contribute to compliance in a way that WordPress and many WordPress themes are unable to assist with.
The CookieYes plugin will display a cookie consent agreement banner notice on your website, in an area of your choosing. The visitor will be able to accept or reject the cookie consent request or review your privacy and cookie statements if you have them configured.
Setting up your website in compliance with GDPR law can be a tricky business and consulting a solicitor that specialises in this is highly recommended.
Most reputable web hosts will perform regularly scheduled backups of your server contents, but you can never be too careful when it comes to preserving your valuable data. Introducing a second backup routine provides another layer of protection if a major issue should occur and your website data is compromised.
UpdraftPlus includes a suite of website contents and database backup options that can automate much of the work. UpdraftPlus supports automated backups of several major third-party file storage platforms including:
Amazon S3 (or compatible)
UpdraftVault (proprietary servers),
Microsoft OneDrive and Microsoft Azure (UpdraftPlus premium required)
Google Cloud Storage (UpdraftPlus premium required)
Backblaze B2 (UpdraftPlus premium required)
The list of supported services extends further than this article could possibly cover. Head over to Updraft’s features page to review the full list of supported file storage platforms.
UpdraftPlus also does all the heavy lifting when it comes to restoring a website backup: simply upload the zipped archive of your website contents and UpdraftPlus will get your website back on its feet again.