If you’re looking to set-up your own website, you need look no further than WordPress. It’s a free, extremely user-friendly platform for developing and editing your own site, and best of all, it comes with a staggering wealth of free plugins that you can install. These plugins are little tools that can be downloaded in a matter of seconds, and used to improve every aspect of your site – its user interface, aesthetic appeal, search engine ranking and overall efficacy in converting visitors to leads. In honor of #SmallBusinessSaturday, we’ve taken the time to share with you a list of the 5 most valuable (and free) WordPress plugins around, so that you can kick your website into overdrive and take your small business success to the next level.
5. WordPress DropBox Backup
IT’S ALL GONE HORRIBLY WRONG. You log in to your laptop first thing in the morning, only to find that your beautiful WordPress website has died in the night. All of your custom HTML and webpage design, all of your articles, blog posts, eBooks and more has disappeared… for about 10 minutes. Thankfully, you were smart enough to back up your entire WordPress website to DropBox, a free-to-use cloud storage service that can be painlessly integrated with WP courtesy of this plugin. Once installed, you can backup every aspect of your site, and even schedule regular automatic updates to minimize potentially catastrophic site failures. The use of this plugin also allows you to access and edit your backup from anywhere in the world, safe in the knowledge that it’s secure in the cloud. The plugin also uses OAuth to ensure that your login details are safe from prying eyes.
4. Contact Form 7
One of the most important elements of a successful content marketing strategy is the call-to-action (CTA). It’s the part of your strategy where you offer your return visitors the chance to engage with your business, often exchanging their details for a free and valuable resource, like a content marketing eBook. Contact Form 7 is an easy-to-use plugin that allows you to create content forms for your CTA, where prospective leads can enter their details – Name, Business, Position in Business, Favorite Color or even ‘Which do you prefer? A crisp Winter’s morning, or a dusky Summer eve?’ – courtesy of the custom question field option. CF7 is an excellent tool in setting up a fully-functional CTA, making it a plugin that your content marketing strategy could benefit from today.
Spam: one of the more tedious aspects of running a popular and expanding small business blog, right? You spend ages researching an insightful new blog post, writing and editing it to flowing, helpful perfection, and wow! You see that someone has commented on it only a couple of hours after publication! Amazing! You click on to the comment, hoping to start a meaningful dialogue with an interested visitor, only to find that it’s actually a spam comment, trying to sell you pills to enlarge your… search engine ranking. Well no more! Take the fight to the spam with Askimet, an efficient and automated spam-comment filter that takes the hassle out of moderating blog comments. As well as being completely autonomous, you can review any spam which Askimet filters out – making it something of a one-stop shop for spam filtering.
2. Google Analytics Dashboard for WordPress
If you haven’t discovered the awesome power of Google Analytics yet, it’s well worth spending five-minutes signing up for a free account. If you’ve ever wondered how many visits your site was getting, or wanted to analyze some measurable metrics (‘Which blog post was most popular with my followers?’), Google Analytics is the free tool to help you. Logging into your Analytics account allows you to monitor website traffic, page visits, popular posts and outbound links, as well as analyze your audience (geographic location and so on) and bounce rate (the amount of people who click on to your website, and then click back). This little plugin allows you to integrate the power of GA with your WordPress Dashboard, allowing you to access and view metrics from the comfort of your WP homepage.
1. Yoast SEO
If for some strange and convoluted reason you’re only capable of downloading one WordPress Plugin, make it this one. I was genuinely blown-away by this plugin, as Yoast SEO gives you a fully-functioning arsenal of easy-to-use search engine optimization tools, along with tutorials, tips and a wealth of helpful resources. Yoast SEO allows you to easily edit crucial SEO-elements like meta-descriptions, titles and permalinks from each blog post and page, as well as offering page analysis to point out missing SEO elements. You can optimize your RSS blog feed, implement an XML Sitemap (an excellent way of structuring your website for maximum SEO benefit) and even set-up efficient SEO templates for your future posts to follow. In short, Yoast SEO includes the functionality of a dozen plugins, with the ease-of-use of just one – and considering its unbelievable price-tag (errr, nothing), it’s an absolute must-have for your WordPress.
Looking for more free small business resources?
- Download our free Content Marketing Explained eBook!
- Discover 4 Free Marketing and SEO Tools Perfect for Small Businesses!
Which WordPress plugins does your business most value? Leave us a message in the comments, or Tweet @ContenderBlog!