We know that for many small business owners, WordPress is the tool of choice for their website and blog. We also know that for many of those small business owners, WordPress can be intimidating. But it is an incredible tool that you can easily master once you have the lay of the land. Plus there are these things called WordPress plugins that are amazing time-savers and game changers for business owners.
Here’s the thing. Before I was a writer, I ran the content side of a boutique marketing agency. I spent the majority of my workday inside WordPress, uploading and scheduling blog posts, QAing new websites, optimizing content for search, and even training others on how to use the content management system. It was a blast!
These 6 #plugins from @WordPress will make starting and running your #smallbiz #blog easier. - VirTasktic Tweet This!
We know that most business owners we meet don’t feel the same way we do and it’s really a shame. I’m hoping this article will help to change your mind and get you excited about the possibilities WordPress brings to your business.
Curious to see which WordPress plugins your small business blog actually needs out of the thousands available? Then let’s talk essentials.
6 Essential (and Free!) WordPress Plugins for Small Business Blogs
Let’s start with the really good news. With WordPress, all it takes is one or two clicks to get a plugin installed and activated on your website. That’s it. No need to hire an expensive web designer or developer to add a contact form or optimize your site’s speed. That’s right – for most plugins, including the ones we are listing below, you can do it yourself!
Now, it is easy to get excited at the prospect of everything you can accomplish with WordPress plugins, but that doesn’t mean you can go crazy and install whichever ones you want. Plugins are like any other software in that they can severely slow down the performance of your application (in this case, your site) if you install too many—especially if they’re not coded well. That’s why you need to focus the essentials.
Here are the ones every small business blog must start with:
Have you ever read through a blog’s comments feed and seen notes that seem unrelated to the topic and focused more on promoting links back to their own site? Yeah, those are spam. If you want to keep your small business blog clear of those, Akismet is the plugin to use. It scans all comments on your site, filters the ones that may be spam and sends you a notification so you can approve or trash the comment.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
Performance metrics are an essential part of doing business, which is why you should be relying on Google Analytics to provide you with data on how your website is performing. The only problem is that Google Analytics forces you to update code in order to start generating those metrics… and that’s something you don’t want to mess with. Luckily, the GADWP plugin will do all the work for you. Now you can see all your website stats right in your WordPress dashboard.
For brand new small business blogs, Jetpack is a great plugin to start with. It consolidates a number of different business plugin “essentials” into one, including:
- Blog stats and subscription management
- Blog search and image optimization
- Social media integration
- On-site content promotions
- Website security
- Downtime monitoring
This one plugin in gives you the stats and tools you need to create a powerful backend blog.
Although WordPress does come with a default contact form that can be used, your small business deserves something that looks a nicer and is easier to customize. Ninja Forms is a drag-and-drop contact form builder that allows you to create killer forms for your site. It also allows you to integrate your form with the most popular CRM and email marketing software, which makes building your list a whole lot easier!
Smush Image Compression and Optimization
Images are great for breaking up large chunks of text and bringing your content to life. However, if all those images take up a lot of space and weigh down your server, compromising the time it takes your pages to load. And we all know that no one will stick around to read your content or see the images if they take too long to load. On top of that, slow website load speeds are frowned upon by Google and will hurt your site’s ranking. Smush Image Compression and Optimization helps to cut down on image bloat by compressing your images and optimizing them for your website. Image files become smaller without compromising quality.
Yoast is probably my favorite plugin for small business owners and one that we insist all of our small business clients have installed on their WordPress sites. Why? Because it simplifies SEO, something that is a bit of a mystery and headache to many small business owners.
Yoast tells you when you’ve done a good job writing content the search engines will love and it also tells you when it needs improvement (and how to go fixing it).
Small business owner need all the help they can to simplify running a business with limited resources. That’s the beauty of WordPress plugins. They help to automate labor-intensive processes, give you advanced functionality, create new design options, and also integrate additional third-party apps into your website. And as I mentioned before, all it takes is a single click of the button to get them set up on your site.
So, what are you waiting for?
Have questions or need some help? Use the comments section below to ask our team questions about WordPress plugins or to share your favorite plugins with our community! If you are looking for a team to help jump-start your business blog, check out our content marketing packages.