There is no doubt about it, WordPress is a great way of creating sites in a fast efficient manner. It has its problems and security can be a bit of a headache, as you have to keep updating it to make sure it is safe from hackers, but overall it is a method that can be just the ticket.
Public Domain from pixabay
At Rouge, we do use WordPress for those customers who do not need, or cannot afford a totally bespoke site, whereas for others we also use Drupal, a sort of heavy weight version of WordPress that has many advantages when it comes to Ecommerce and sites that are likely to be heavily used.
One of the greatest things about WordPress is the availability of a huge range of plug ins, apps that will just about anything you want. They are easy to use and often free too.
They do however have a couple of downsides. One is that they can be less secure than the underlying WordPress code, which in turn means that they can make your site easier to hack. The other is that they can slow down a site so much that the user will just get fed up and leave, not to mention the fact that the slow speed will also annoy Mr Google, and that could lose you rankings and traffic.
Saying all that, there are some that we think are well worth using, YOAST SEO and the Google Analytics plug-ins being very useful indeed.
The best way of approaching the whole ‘plug in’ issue is to decide what you want the site to do, and then work out which is the best method of reaching that goal. This could mean that you have to go down the bespoke or Drupal routes of course, but if WordPress looks the best bet, you can then work out what plug ins to use.
The main thing is not to rush in and install hundreds of plug ins without giving the process some serious thought. Of course that is the benefit of using someone like Rouge for your website designs, as we will be sure to hold your hand throughout the design and build phases.
Click here for the full article on the top WordPress Plug Ins for 2016
Business tools for WordPress Site Owners
OptinMonster is the most popular conversion rate optimization software. It allows you to convert abandoning website visitors into email subscribers. If you want to grow your email list, then this is a must have WordPress plugin in 2016. Read these case studies to see how much success other businesses are having by using OptinMonster.
2. Gravity Forms
As a business owner, allowing your customers to contact you should be your top priority. Gravity Forms is the most popular contact form plugin for WordPress. You can use it to create any kind of forms like request a quote form, surveys, user submitted content, web directories, and more.
3. Google Analytics
Google Analytics is the most comprehensive and free website analytics tool in the market. In layman’s terms it allows you to see where your visitors are coming from and what they are doing on your website.
You can then optimize your site accordingly to improve your earnings. We have detailed guides on how to install Google Analytics in WordPress and how to use Google Analytics.
MailChimp is the leading online email marketing service provider. It allows you to build an email lists and send emails to your subscribers.
It is by far the most beginner friendly platform, with quick and easy setup. See our ultimate guide to using MailChimp and WordPress.
Security is going to be a big concern for online business owners in 2016. Sucuri’s web application firewall is probably one of the best protection you can get for your site.
They monitor and protect your site from DDoS, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks, and basically every other type of attack.
If you don’t have a firewall on your website, then add one today.
While we’re talking about security, there’s no better security than having a reliable backup system.
As a business owner, you cannot afford to lose your business and customer data in case of a hardware failure or an attack on your host’s servers. The first thing you should setup on all your WordPress sites is a backup plugin. We recommend using BackupBuddy because it is one of the most reliable and easiest way to backup and restore your WordPress sites with just a few clicks.
7. Yoast SEO
Yoast SEO (formerly known as WordPress SEO by Yoast) is one of the most popular WordPress plugins. It allows you to optimize your WordPress site for search engines.
It not only helps you add meta tags, it optimizes your site as a whole. We have a complete step by step guide on how to install and setup WordPress SEO by Yoast.
8. W3 Total Cache
Speed is one of the most important SEO factors. Faster websites rank higher in Google, this means more visitors for your business website and more conversions.
W3 Total Cache allows you to serve compressed and cached files to your visitors. This reduces the load on your server and your website becomes faster. Take a look at our beginners guide on how to install and setup W3 Total Cache.
Images and other static content on a website take the longest time to load. If you want to make your website even faster, then you will need to use a CDN to deliver your static files. MaxCDN is the most reliable CDN service, and it integrates easily with WordPress. See our guide on how to install and setup WordPress CDN solution MaxCDN on your site.
10. Envira Gallery
While you can easily create image galleries in WordPress without using a plugin, these galleries are fairly basic. Envira Gallery allows you to create beautiful responsive galleries in WordPress.
You can create multiple galleries, add them anywhere on your site, create albums, open images in lightbox popups, and much more. Take a look at our tutorial on how to easily create responsive WordPress image galleries with Envira.
Sliders on your WordPress landing pages allow you to easily display your featured content, products, and announcements in a beautiful interactive way. Soliloquy is the best WordPress slider in the market. It allows you to easily create your own beautiful sliders and add them anywhere on your WordPress site. Check out our tutorial on how to create responsive WordPress slider with Soliloquy.
Keeping your followers engaged on social media requires you to frequently post updates. Buffer allows you to easily schedule your posts for the entire day.
This allows you to keep your social media accounts active while you work on other things. See our tutorial on how to schedule WordPress posts for social media with BufferApp.
As a smart business owner, you need to make the most out of your time, but you cannot be everywhere all the time.
This is where IFTTT comes in. It allows you to put the internet to work for you. Take a look at our tutorial on how to automate WordPress and social media with IFTTT.
14. Quick and Easy FAQs
Adding FAQs section in WordPress
When launching a new product or website, you may need to add a FAQs section in WordPress. You can add a new page with all the frequently asked questions (FAQs), but in most cases FAQs grows as your product evolves and as your customer base grows.
By adding the FAQ section, you can significantly reduce your support overhead and improve conversion. Take a look at how to add a FAQs section in WordPress.
15. Insert Headers and Footers
While managing your WordPress sites, you may sometimes need to add code snippets to your WordPress site’s header or footer. This means you will have to edit the theme files which could get messy and break up your WordPress theme. Insert Headers and Footer allows you to easily add code snippets to your WordPress site without editing your theme files. Take a look at our tutorial on how to add header and footer code in WordPress.
16. CSS Hero
WordPress themes rely on CSS for the visual appearance of your website. If you want to make customization to your theme, then you will have to learn CSS. This can be time consuming for a business owner.
CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to customize any WordPress theme without writing a single line of code. Check out our review of how CSS Hero makes WordPress customization easy for more information.
17. Beaver Builder
As a business owner you may soon realize that placing things differently on your pages can result into more conversions and sales. But how do you create those landing pages without learning to code?
Beaver Builder is a powerful drag and drop page builder tool for WordPress. It allows you to easily create your own page layouts using a simple user interface. See our comparison of the best drag and drop page builders for WordPress for more information.
18. Google Apps for Work
Google Apps for Work is a suite of web applications like email, docs, spreadsheets, etc. Created by Google, this powerful suite of office applications is cheaper, easy to deploy, and hassle free. Most importantly, it allows you to use your own business domain name for emails.
Freshbooks is a cloud based accounting software for professionals, freelancers, and agencies. It allows you to easily send invoices to clients, receive payments, and manage your finances. Take a look at our article about creating invoices for clients using WordPress.
As a business owner, you need data to find out what your competitors are doing for their websites. SEMRush allows you to look at the keywords where your competitors are ranking. You can checkout their paid keywords as well as their organic traffic. This way you can optimize your own content and marketing strategy. Also checkout our list of best WordPress SEO plugins and tools that you should use.
21. All in One Schema.org Rich Snippets
Rich Snippets are special markup that you can add to your content and describe your content more precisely to search engines. This information is then used by search engines to show your content differently. For example, star ratings below your product listings, maps when someone searches for your business, and so on. All in One Schema.org rich snippets plugin provides you an easy user interface to generate that markup and use it in your WordPress posts and pages.
Check our guide on how to add rich snippets in WordPress.
If you need a solution for your business website where your users can book and pay for appointments, then BirchPress is the solution for you. It allows you to easily add a complete online booking system to your WordPress site.
You may also want to see our guide on 5 best WordPress appointment and booking plugins.
23. Testimonials Widget
Testimonials allow you to showcase your past clients and their feedback about your services of products. People love to hear what others have to say about your business. It helps you gain trust and build lasting relationships with your clients. Testimonials Widgets makes it super simple to add customer testimonials on your WordPress site.
Slack is a team management, productivity and communication tool. We use it to communicate with our team spread across different timezones and locations. Slack is more convenient than email, and it can integrate with tons of other online tools you may be using. See our guide on how to integrate Slack with WordPress for more information.