WordPress is the most popular online content management system in the world. It powers a staggering 35% of all sites on the web. A combination of ease of use, adaptability and a high degree of functionality has also made WordPress the platform of choice for small businesses.
Most small and medium companies don’t have in-house tech teams. And managing a website without specialized knowledge can be tricky. The cost of hiring developers quickly adds up, especially when only small tweaks and backend changes are needed.
That’s where plugins come in. Plugins provide you with greater control over your website without the need for coding skills. Small business owners and managers that choose the right selection of plugins will save money, time, and all the headaches that come with development and maintenance.
1. Client Portal Creation
Client portals, which are useful from a business perspective for a variety of reasons, are dedicated online areas for your clients. They’re essentially membership accounts that can be created and accessed on your site.
Customer-related tasks, like managing appointments, transferring documents, receiving payments, and providing assistance, take up a lot of valuable time. Employees can easily spend hours every week on these kinds of menial jobs.
Client portals, on the other hand, ease the burden on yourself and members of your team. Your customers can simply log in to their account and handle everyday tasks without any input on your part, from uploading important documents to rescheduling appointments. What’s more, the best client portal plugins for WordPress allow you to offer members’ accounts through your site without writing a single line of code.
2. Search Engine Optimization (SEO)
Many small businesses worry about SEO. They realize the benefits of ranking in Google, but are put off by the technical nature of site optimization. This is completely understandable. Phrases like “meta descriptions”, “keyword density”, and “ranking factors” are enough to send any small business owner running for the hills.
But SEO needn’t be a challenge. Feature-rich plugins, that require very little configuration on your part and are usually accompanied by extensive and accessible documentation outlining best practices, take care of every aspect of on-site search engine optimization.
Where direct input is required, such as when writing meta descriptions or setting focus keywords, you’ll be guided through the whole process in a straightforward way. And even if a plugin doesn’t handle every area of optimization, such as 301 redirects, supplementary options are always available.
3. Site Speed Optimization
Site speed is important for a number of reasons. First off, it’s generally recognized as one of the most significant ranking factors from an SEO perspective. Google has even created a dedicated tool, PageSpeed Insights, to help webmasters optimize the performance of their sites.
Speed also has a significant impact on bounce rate. Sites that take longer than three seconds to load have exponentially higher bounce rates when compared to faster websites.
Boosting site speed, however, is usually a very technical and long-winded process. That’s where site speed plugins come in. They allow SMBs to optimize their site speed in a fraction of the time it usually takes, and handle everything from image formats to content delivery networks (CDNs).
4. Spam Filtering
Spam is a big problem. If you accept comments on your website, there’s no doubt that you will receive fake entries. Spammers create specialist bots to find WordPress sites and generate comments on them. Popular websites likely receive thousands of these kinds of spam comments every day.
It will be impossible for you to filter spam manually. But allowing customers to leave comments, especially on blog posts, is an excellent way of building engagement. So you need a way of finding the real ones.
Spam plugins will do this for you. What’s more, many popular anti-spam tools, like Akismet, are completely free. All you need to do is register an account, configure your settings, and relax.
5. Email Capture
Email marketing is still one of the most effective, high-conversion forms of promoting a business. Many SMBs sideline so-called “list building” because they simply haven’t thought about it or they don’t think it’s worth the time. If either of these cases applies to you, then you’re making a big mistake.
You should make it a priority to collect your customers’ email addresses. And one of the easiest ways of doing this is by asking for details on your website.
An email capture plugin will enable you to post forms and opt-in boxes on your site and collect important information from leads and clients. Most plugins usually also come with analytics tools, so you can track which forms and lead magnets perform best.
6. Website Building
WordPress is often described as a solution that’s suitable for people without any web development experience. But anybody who’s tried to make changes directly to the site files will know that this isn’t the case.
Modifying a site in WordPress often requires coding knowledge and understanding of languages like HTML, CSS, and PHP. These skills are beyond the scope of most small-business owners.
There is, however, an alternative to spending large amounts of money on developers. Site-builder plugins provide users with an interface where they can make changes to their websites, including on individual pages and to site-wide elements like headers and nav-bars, without any development expertise.
WordPress plugins can make your life much easier. The right plugins will save time, money, and all the headaches that come with malfunctioning websites.
Set aside some time to install and configure the plugins described above. The only people that will lose out are the developers you don’t have to waste money on.
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