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Photo by: Nick Morrison

Essential WordPress Plugins for Business Websites

Before you can start building your website and installing WordPress plugins for business, you first need website hosting so that you will be able to display your website on the internet. There are a variety of hosting companies to choose from, including these that consistently make the ‘Best Of…’ lists: SiteGround, HostGator, A2 Hosting and InMotion Hosting. Keep in mind that shared hosting may be ok to get started, but as your site gets more traffic, plan to upgrade your package to ensure a smooth experience for your visitors.

Be sure to look for a hosting plan with easy WordPress installation!

The next thing you will need is a domain name.  www.example.com  Once you have a domain name, you can attach your website to your domain and start inviting people to visit your site!

So what is WordPress?

WordPress is open-source software. It is a content management system (CMS), that you can install on your web host and use to build a website.

WordPress is incredibly flexible. It is also incredibly popular, powering over 40% of all websites on the internet.

Download WordPress here: https://wordpress.org/download/

Best of all WordPress is free. Once you have downloaded & installed WordPress, you can use it to create all sorts of websites. WordPress is flexible and powerful and gives you tons of options to add features to your site. However, like with any software, there is a bit of a learning curve. The good news is, there are hundreds of tutorials available for you to start learning the ins & outs of WordPress.

What kind of sites can you build with WordPress?

Because WordPress ecosystem includes thousands of plugins, there are infinite variety of websites you can build. For example…

10 types of websites you can create with WordPress

Business website
eCommerce website
Portfolio website
Forum/Online Community
Membership site
City/Chamber of Commerce website
News website
Charity/Nonprofit website
Job Board
Customer Review website

Using WordPress you can customize your site’s design to match the branding of your business. You can build a mobile-friendly site; which is important considering over half of people visiting your site will be using their phone. You can optimize your site for search (SEO), making it easier for people to find your site online. Plus, you can use plugins to add interactive features to your site to engage potential clients and start getting to know them before you have even met them!

So what is a plugin?

A plugin is a piece of software that adds new features or enhances existing features on your site. There is virtually no limit to what you can do with WordPress plugins. If there is a feature you want to add to your site, there is probably a plugin to make it happen. The WordPress plugin Repository is essentially a library of over 60,000 free plugins to get you started.

Start downloading free plugins here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/

Of course there are hundreds more premium plugins available in the commercial market as well.

Some examples of what plugins can do for your business website:

Sell products
Book appointments
Newsletter signups
Disable comments
Take donations
Build a multilingual site
Backup your site
Display Google maps

WordPress Plugins for Business Websites

So what plugins should you consider when building a business website? First we must understand that the most essential elements for every business website are: 1) Clear Navigation, 2) Mobile Friendliness, 3) Clear Call to Action, 4) Engaging Content, 5) Contact Information

Let’s take a closer look at each of these elements, including some free plugins that you can use to start building a great website.

Clear Navigation – Make it extra easy for visitors to find what they are looking for on your site. You do not need a plugin for this. Just a bit of organization. Think of your navigation as the roadmap to the services you offer. Remember to include: About Us, Our Services and Contact Us pages. These are key navigation elements. The majority of today’s websites use these pages and visitors expect to see them.
Mobile Friendliness – When designing the layout for your site, be sure to check every page on your phone to make sure that it looks great and is user friendly on a cell phone. Over 50% of all website traffic comes via smart phone these days!
Call to Action (CTA) – It’s important to first clearly define what actions you want visitors to take on your site. The use a CTA to encourage them along their journey toward doing business with you.
For example…

Add a contact form to your site to give your visitors an easy way to get in touch with you. Use a form plugin to easily add a form to your site. Then add qualifying questions to your form to find potential clients that are a good fit for your services.
What to look for in a form plugin:

Connects to features you want to offer. Ie. payments, calendar schedule, etc.
Collects form entries & sends notification emails.
Spam protection

Here are a couple of free form plugins to get you started: Formidable Forms | WP Forms

Add a chat feature and start interacting with potential clients the moment they arrive on your site. Live chat lets you give quick answers to questions about your services and reassures your customers that you will be there for them when needed. Now that you have started to create a relationship, it makes it easier to follow up with interested visitors about taking the next step.

Features to look for in a chat plugin will vary based on your needs. Try out a couple to see what works best for your organization.

Here are a couple free live chat plugins to get you started: Chaty | WP Chat App

Engaging Content – When creating content for your website, it’s important to keep the reader in mind at all times. For example are your readers interested in updates? trends? getting perspective? learning new things? being inspired?

Features & plugins to create engaging content:

Use headers & sub-headers. These help the reader stay orientated, plus they keep your content organized. HINT: These are built right in to your WordPress website. No need for a plugin. 🙂

Display a table of contents at the top of your post. This makes it super easy for your readers to jump right to the content that they are really interested in.

Easy Table of Contents plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/easy-table-of-contents/

Add visuals – many times pictures, videos, charts & graphs can help convey your meaning much easier than using text.

Image Gallery plugin: https://wpspectra.com/blocks/image-gallery/

Summarize in list format where appropriate to give the reader a quick overview.
(Also built in to WordPress)

Include Calls to Action throughout your content. Don’t miss the opportunity to let the reader know what to do next and how to do it. Ie. “Follow this link.” “Send us your thoughts” (contact form).
“Click this button.”

A popup can also be a useful way to engage your users and encourage them to interact with your CTAs. Be sure to use popups carefully so that they do not annoy your visitors.

Popup plugin: https://wordpress.org/plugins/popup-maker/

Contact Information is a key element in developing trust between you and potential clients. Your contact page should be easy to find. It should include your full business name, including address and phone number, along with directions to your location if applicable. It should include a short contact form and encourage your visitor to reach out to you so you can help solve their problem.

Don’t forget to link your site to your social medias pages to show potential clients that you have a good reputation with your existing clients.

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