One of the best things about WordPress is that you can easily and effortlessly add functionality to your website in a matter of minutes by using plugins. But they are both a blessing and curse. Some people get so addicted to installing plugins that their website suffers and doesn’t load as quickly as it could (which can irritate visitors and decrease organic rankings). Page load times are critical in today’s fast paced and data driven world, and most website visitors expect instant gratification.
For those reasons, it’s best to not overdo things with too many plugins unless you really know how to optimize your site. However, this presents a bit of a problem. How do you know which plugins are the best or most appropriate for your small business? There are thousands upon thousands of plugins, making it hard to find the best ones. The following is a short roundup of the best WordPress plugins for small businesses in 2016.
Ever heard of social media marketing? I sure hope so, because it took the Internet by storm almost a decade ago. The Facebook Comments add on will allow people to post comments on your blog via Facebook, and it has some decent moderation tools as well.
One of the must have plugins for your WordPress site is one that makes it effortless for visitors to share your content on a variety of social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and others. This tool will add social share buttons to your pages, and you’ll essentially get free marketing every time a user shares your content.
The traditional 404 error page is incredibly boring, and it can make your bounce rate skyrocket. Instead of presenting users with the 404 error whenever there’s a problem, you’re much better off sending them to another page, such as your blog, individual content pages, or your homepage.
As stated previously, page load times are a big deal for any competitive website. And images can eat up a ton of bandwidth. If your website has any images on it (as it should), you can benefit from WP Smush.it. Basically, it will help increase page load times by compressing images and loading them more efficiently.
An XML sitemap is a necessity for efficent and optimized websites. Essentially, it helps Google find and rank all of your website’s content by giving the crawlers a roadmap to all of your pages. This tool will help you create a sitemap without needing to learn how to code.
Snippets are incredibly important components of your pages, because they show users and the search engine what content is contained on the link displayed in the SERPs. If you don’t use snippets appropriately, you are likely missing out on traffic and better rankings. This handy tool will help you add rich snippets to optimize your site, and even boost your CTR.
Managing comments can be a real pain, especially if you want to interact with commenters that run their own blogs. This add on will help you improve interactions by automatically identifying and creating a link to the last blog post of commenters on your site.
We all know that we should back up our data, or we’ll pay the price down the road. Anyone who has ever had a failed hard drive knows just how painful lost data can be. But now imagine that there was an online attack or server malfunction that instantly eradicated your entire website. In the blink of an eye, you could lose hundreds of blog posts, comments, user generated data, and other priceless information.
The good news is that the Backup Buddy theme will help you safeguard your website data, and it can even back up your files and data automatically to alleviate the burden of manual backups.
The greater majority of websites have some type of web form or contact form. But not all contact form plugins were created equally, and some of them are absolutely hideous. Contact Form 7 is a great alternative that will allow you to make sleek, attractive, functional, and customizable contact forms in a matter of minutes.
Perhaps the only thing more annoying on the Internet than slowly loading pages are broken links, and they can really aggravate your visitors. But it can be an unfathomably tedious task to manually go through each of your links to see if they are still valid. Instead, save time by using this tool, which will automatically check your links for you and send an alert if a broken link is discovered.
Back in the early days of the Internet, it was tough work coding a website that provide users with a forum. Today, however, things are easier than ever before. Instead of needing to invest exorbitant amounts of time learning to code a forum, you can simply use this tool.
You should always use social media ‘hooks’ in your pages that tie your content to social media handles. Twitter is, of course, one of the major social media sites in the world, so it only makes sense to provide a path of least resistance towards tweeting your content. This tool let’s you mark text with simple tags, thereby populating a “tweet now” button on your pages. Just make sure the text is short enough to fit into Twitter!
WordPress plugins are both a blessing and the crux of many slowly performing websites. Just remember that servers, web browsers, and Internet connections have finite resources, so it’s best not to overdo things by adding too many plugins – or your website may load incredibly slowly. Still, if you don’t know which plugins to use for your small business’s website, these tools are among the best places to start.