WordPress Plugins – The Perfect Tools For Building Small Business Websites
When it comes to setting up small business websites, the first consideration is what sort of content management system should you use. There are three main systems available today; Drupal, Joomla and WordPress and, while each is suitable for building small business websites, WordPress in undoubtedly the best choice.
Drupal requires some experience and expertise to operate and is best suited to complex sites, while Joomla is not quite so difficult to use, but is still more difficult to use than WordPress. WordPress is, however, perfectly suited to the small business user, and one of its main strengths comes from the range of plugins that provide much of a website’s functionality. Many of the plugins created for WordPress and built with small business users in mind, and provide for such things as SEO for small business, which is essential for the success of any website today.
To demonstrate the power of WordPress, let’s take a look at some of my favorite plugins.
WP Super Cache
Speed is vitally important these days, and if you keep your visitors hanging around while your site pages load, they will simply take their business elsewhere. Speeding up your web page is, in part, a function of web site design, but you can also help matters along considerably by installing a plugin to manage caching on your hosting server. I have tried many over the years and have found that the WP Super Cache plugin is the simplest to set up and is also the most reliable. Check with your web hosting company first, however, as it is suitable for most, but not all, types of hosting.
Slick Social Share Buttons
Providing social proof that your visitors like your website, and want to tell their friends about it, is a powerful way to build trust in newcomers to your site, and to get them to hang around long enough for you to get your message across. For this reason, I have used social sharing plugins for a long time, but none have proved as powerful as the Slick Social Shares Buttons plugin. Unlike most social sharing plugins, that bury their buttons below your post, this plugin allows you to ‘float’ them so that you can put them right into your visitor’s eye line.
The popularity of WordPress means that, in addition to the thousands of free plugins, there are also a host of paid plugins available, ranging from high-priced plugins which do not do a great deal, to plugins which cost only pennies and pack a powerful punch. The SoreThumb plugin falls into the latter category, and I simply love it. It is very easy to use, and lets you select elements on your web pages and animate them, so that they catch a visitor’s attention. The concept is simple, and this one plugin has increased my sales significantly.
Because of its popularity, WordPress is an obvious target for hackers and, while the developers do an excellent job of countering this, I never feel happy unless I can add a little bit of my own additional security. Having tried several plugins to achieve this, I finally settled on BulletProof Security. The range of additional protection that this plugin provides is quite amazing and, so far, and despite a few attempts, none of my websites have been hacked.
What Would Seth Godin Do
Along with providing social sharing proof for your small business website, another very powerful way to catch and hold your visitor’s attention, is to say hello to them. The What Would Seth Godin Do plugin does just that, and allows you to provide one message for new visitors, and a separate message for returning visitors. This is a very underused plugin, but one which I find is extremely effective in helping to reduce a site’s bounce rate, and in making it popular in the eyes of Google.
Platinum SEO Pack
There are various SEO for small business plugins available, including some which provide you with a fancy light board to score a whole range of different SEO factors as you write a post. I have never been a great fan of these, not least because it is too easy to get bogged down in details and lose sight of your overall SEO objectives. For this reason, I like to stick with the tried and tested Platinum SEO Pack plugin which covers the basics for you, without creating unnecessary work.
Today I run several small business websites, some old and some new, but all run on the powerful WordPress content management system and make use of some of the very best plugins available. As your business grows it is possible that you will need to add custom designed elements to your websites, but do not be in too much of a rush to call in, and pay, the developers. If you are just starting out and trying to get your business off the ground, then WordPress, together with its host of plugins, will be more than you need.
Ross Davies writes about technology, web design and content management systems. He lives in the UK and works as a web designer.
Post Tags: content management systems, Platinum SEO Pack, Seth Godin, small business, social sharing buttons, wordpress plugins, WP Super Cache