Since its launch in 2003, the WordPress content management system has become immensely popular in the 21st century business world — and for good reason. The powerful software tool offers a host of attractive features and characteristics, including a vast library of looks/designs to choose from, a set of easy-to-use management tools for manipulating your website’s content, the ability to update your site nearly instantaneously and from almost any web-connected device, and many more. (And did we mention that it’s totally FREE to use?)
Perhaps the biggest testament to WordPress’ popularity can be seen in its sky-high usage numbers. According to estimates, more than one-third of the world’s websites — a total of 60 million-plus websites globally — are powered by the platform. To put that in perspective, the world’s second most popular content management platform, Joomla, accounts for less than 3% of the world’s websites.
Big benefits for business
The WordPress platform is an especially attractive choice for small businesses, as it allows for complete website control without a deep knowledge of web design — and often without the need for a dedicated web staff. Consider these benefits to using WordPress to manage your company’s website:
- It’s free — Head to wordpress.com, create an account, and start building your website. While higher-level versions with additional features and storage space are available to those who might want them, the base version is free of charge.
- It’s easy to use — With a highly user-friendly platform, WordPress makes it possible for users without any design or coding skills to navigate their way through building and maintaining a website.
- It’s plug-and-play — Once WordPress is installed on your server, it’s ready to spring into action — no configuration necessary. You’ll likely want to customize your website to suit your brand’s look and preferences, but most of the tools administrators are looking for — such as the ability for users to add comments, the integration of social media feeds, and more — are already included.
- It’s completely customizable — With thousands of website themes available through the platform, WordPress users can create a website with nearly any look they can imagine. Many of the theme options are available free of charge, while some premium, third-party-developed themes come with a (typically very reasonable) price tag attached.
- It’s SEO-friendly — Boasting a framework that lets search engines’ spiders easily crawl your website for info, WordPress tends to rank higher with top search engines like Google and Bing right out of the box.
- It’s mobile-friendly — With web traffic moving more and more to mobile devices, it’s important for your business’s website to be accessible (and easily navigable) on not only traditional desktops and laptops, but also on smartphones and tablets. The vast majority of WordPress users are covered on this front, as most of the platform’s available themes are automatically responsive, meaning that most WordPress-built web pages adjust their presentation based on the device being used to view them.
- It’s a capable e-commerce option — For those with products or services to sell, WordPress offers a wealth of e-commerce solutions. In fact, a range of the platform’s available plugins are geared toward building and maintaining online stores.
- It’s highly secure — Renowned for taking extensive security measures, the WordPress staff regularly updates the platform and the plugins that integrate with it, all in an effort to address any potential vulnerabilities and stay a step ahead of would-be hackers.
15 primo plugins
In addition to the many benefits mentioned above, the WordPress platform offers an extreme level of website adaptability via its large library of available plugins and extensions. Looking to add a slideshow to your homepage? There’s a plugin for that. How about a new contact form that easily puts website visitors in contact with you? Grab the plugin.
From language translation to search engine optimization, and from two-factor authentication to robust analytics, there are WordPress plugins available to cover nearly any website need or desire. The current count of available plugins tops 55,000 — to search through them all, just visit the WordPress Plugins library.
For those who might not be familiar with some of the plugin options available for their company’s WordPress site, we’ve rounded up a set of 15 available plugins that can be especially beneficial to the small business owner. Read on to discover a few plugins that might add a business-boosting punch to your brand’s website:
- Beaver Builder — This is a great plugin for those who are just getting started building their WordPress website, as well as those who’d like to be able to easily manipulate an existing WordPress website. It’s a drag-and-drop page builder that offers dozens of attractive page templates and gives users total layout control with the ability to precisely place images and copy on their web pages. A big perk for business owners — Beaver Builder
- WPForms — This drag & drop form builder helps users build online forms ranging from contact forms and registration forms to survey forms and payment forms. To save users time, it also comes with over 100 pre-built form templates included.
- WooCommerce — Business owners looking to take their retail offerings online can turn to this popular plugin — which, with over 4 million websites using it to support sales — is the top e-commerce plugin in the world. WooCommerce gives users all the tools needed to easily create an online store.
- MonsterInsights — Of course, one of the biggest keys to successful marketing is to know which of your efforts are working and which aren’t — and this Google Analytics plugin helps shed light on just this type of highly actionable information. MonsterInsights offers universal tracking across campaigns and devices, a Google Analytics dashboard that can be easily viewed from within WordPress, real-time stats, page-level analytics, enhanced e-commerce tracking and more.
- Yoast SEO — While WordPress sites are structured to support strong SEO out of the box, this plugin — which is the top SEO-geared WordPress plugin of all time — provides a powerful way to boost your site’s SEO even further. Site administrators can use Yoast SEO to perform SEO-boosting actions such as generating sitemaps, adding meta tags, optimizing a site for social media, connecting a site to Google Search Console, and much more.
- CSS Hero — As mentioned above, WordPress offers an array of themes to choose from — but if users want to customize their website’s appearance especially heavily, manipulating their chosen WordPress theme can often require knowledge of coding language CSS. This plugin shortens the CSS learning curve by allowing easy and intuitive, point-and-click theme customization without any coding knowledge required.
- Shared Counts — All marketers know that social media offers one of the best avenues to free and low-cost brand exposure, and this plugin makes it easy for visitors to spread the word about your brand and site by incorporating social media share buttons. Among the traffic- and engagement-boosting buttons you can add to your site with this plugin are the Facebook share button, Pinterest pin button, Twitter tweet button, email sharing button and more.
- RafflePress — Looking to really ramp up brand exposure? There’s nothing like a giveaway or great prize to grab attention. Perfect for marketers looking to stage a giveaway or contest on their website, RafflePress makes it easy with a drag & drop builder and proven templates. The result: a powerful way to increase website traffic, boost your social media following, increase social word-of-mouth and earn more email subscribers with viral giveaways and contests.
- TrustPulse — Once your company’s social media efforts start paying off and pulling in prospects, one of the best ways to turn them into customers is to build trust. The main focus of this plugin is giving visitors social proof — which makes them more likely to buy your product by letting them see others enjoying and using the product. One way TrustPulse does this is by generating pop-ups that show users when other visitors have recently purchased a product or that tell users how many other people have shopped on the page in a given period of time.
- WP Review — Another way to build trust among purchase prospects is, of course, with positive reviews of your products. The WP Review plugin facilitates quick and easy customer reviews that include star, percentage or point ratings, and its support for Google Rich Snippets can even allow product ratings to appear in Google search results.
- WP Mail SMTP — Successful e-commerce often depends on healthy communication with customers who have shown interest in your product or service, making email deliverability a vital part of the business equation. This plugin addresses a common problem owners of WordPress sites have faced: emails either not being delivered or landing in customers’ spam folders. By making WordPress use a proper SMTP provider — the industry standard for sending emails — rather than the built-in PHP mail functionality, WP Mail SMTP increases the likelihood of your emails making their way to customers’ inboxes.
- MemberPress — Geared toward sites looking to generate revenues with memberships and subscriptions, this plugin enables users to create member-only areas on their site, limit content accessibility to certain users based on their subscription or membership status, sell digital downloads, securely accept credit card payments and more.
- Sucuri — With the threat of hackers an ever-present concern for anyone doing business online, you can never be too careful with your security measures. Sucuri’s security plugin and web application firewall offer website owners some of the best protection available on the market by monitoring the site for and protecting it from a range of different types of damage-causing hacking attacks.
- UpdraftPlus — After putting lots of time and effort into building and maintaining a functioning and high-performing website, nobody wants to run the risk of losing all (or any, for that matter) of their work. This plugin — with 2 million-plus active installs — is the highest-ranking and most popular in the world for performing scheduled backups. Installing it simplifies backup and restoration for users, as the plugin creates cloud-based backups that can enable one-click site restoration.
Could your brand use some expert help managing your website? At The Brandon Agency, our fully integrated marketing firm boasts a team of marketing specialists who can cover all of your website needs, and lots more — including brand strategy, creative, interactive, social media, analytics, SEO and conversion rate optimization — all in one place. To get started with help ranging from a simple website analysis to a comprehensive strategy tailored to boost the performance of all of your marketing campaigns, contact us today.