Most small businesses that we work with have similar issues with their websites. They are looking for ways to make them easier to manage, easy to secure, and load quickly. They want to enjoy all the benefits of search engine optimization, but aren’t really sure how to go about it. In this article we introduce you to WordPress plugins that every small business should be using.
There are a lot of content managements systems available to small businesses owners. Our favorite is WordPress. It’s easy to use, it’s loaded with features, has a large and active community, and best of all its free. The plugins we list here will only work on WordPress websites. While plugins are no replacement for well-managed website, they does offer a great deal of benefit to small business owners that want to improve their web presence and user experience.
WP Super Cache
What WP Super Cache Does
WP Super Cache is a caching plugin that creates a static version of your website to improve page load speed and performance. WordPress by its very nature is dynamic. There’s nothing wrong with that. Most small business websites don’t change very often, perhaps once a day at most. WP Super Cache will create static HTML files of your website and dynamic files when it’s necessary, such as when comments are made to a blog post.
Why We Recommend WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache works right out of the box. There is no complex setup or configuration (though advanced options exist for those that know how to make use of them), no special knowledge required to get it working properly. Website performance and page load times are dramatically improved. Visitors to your website will encounter fast loading pages which means they will stick around and engage with your content.
Where to Get WP Super Cache
WP Super Cache is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-super-cache/ or you can go to “Plugins” within WordPress and search for “WP Super Cache” and install the plugin.
What WordPress SEO Does
WordPress SEO by Yoast is an amazing plugin that makes it easy for you to improve your search engine optimization by writing better content. WordPress SEO works right out of the box, yet offers easy customization. The plugin is written by an expert in search engine optimization and is kept up-to-date with the latest changes in the field. One of it’s best features is the built-in Linkdex page analysis that provides great recommendations for improving your content before you publish.
Why We Recommend WordPress SEO
This plugin is easy to use and is loaded with SEO features. Setup and configuration are a breeze. The WordPress SEO plugin even offers the ability to include Open Graph and Twitter Cards to your pages which will improve your search engine optimization even more. The plugin works with other Yoast plugins automatically, providing a seamless experience that will work wonders on your SEO.
Where to Get WordPress SEO
WordPress SEO is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wordpress-seo/ or you can go to “Plugins” within WordPress and search for “WordPress SEO” and install the plugin.
What WP Smush.it Does
Images are almost always the number one reason websites load slowly. While using a caching plugin will help, if image files are large then they will take time to download. WP Smush.it makes use of Yahoo’s free Smush.it API to automatically compress your image files so they are optimized for fast downloads. Instead of having to worry about compressing images before you upload them, WP Smush.it does it automatically when you upload an image to your media library. There is even a bulk Smush.it feature to compress previously uploaded images that weren’t compressed.
Why We Recommend WP Smush.it
WP Smush.it makes it easy to compress images thereby reducing their size and making them load much faster. Your website visitors will have a much better experience and won’t be waiting for images to load.
Where to Get WP Smush.it
WP Smush.it is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-smushit/ or you can go to “Plugins” within WordPress and search for “WP Smush.it” and install the plugin.
SEO Friendly Images
What SEO Friendly Images Does
SEO Friendly Images automatically adds the appropriate alt and title tags to images if none are specified. Alt and title tags are an SEO best practice. Adding these tags to images tells search engines what the image is about making it much more likely the image will show up in search engine results.
Why We Recommend SEO Friendly Images
Images are a great opportunity for small business websites to be found online through Google image search. Unfortunately, many small businesses forget to include them or have images from long ago that don’t include them. This plugin automatically adds them, improving your website search engine optimization. There are no complex settings and it works automatically, making it a great plugin for small businesses.
Where to Get SEO Friendly Images
SEO Friendly Images is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/seo-image/ or you can go to “Plugins” within WordPress and search for “SEO Friendly Images” and install the plugin.
Better WP Security
What Better WP Security Does
Better WP Security implements basic security best practices. The plugin will help protect your website from intrusions and malware. It will also remove unnecessary information that might give attackers what they need to infiltrate your website.
Why We Recommend Better WP Security
With the click of a button, Better WP Security implements several security best practices for your WordPress site making it much safer and secure. For new installations and for advanced users, there are several additional features to help improve the security of your website. What we like best is that it is easy to use and doesn’t require any understanding of web security. Everything you need to know is in the plugin and explained in simple, easy to understand language.
Where to Get Better WP Security
Better WP Security is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/better-wp-security/ or you can go to “Plugins” within WordPress and search for “Better WP Security” and install the plugin.
What BackWPup Does
The biggest fear a small business can face is having something go wrong with their website and they lose everything. We’ve seen it happen. Most hosting providers don’t provide backups of website, or only provide partial backups. BackWPup solves this problem and provides piece of mind by backing up your WordPress database and files automatically to an external site (such as DropBox, Amazon S3, FTP sites, and others).
Why We Recommend BackWPup
BackWPup makes it really easily to configure an automatic backup of your entire website. The interface is easy to understand and you can schedule backups for as often as you want, even choosing what you want to back up. BackUPwp supports a wide variety of external services (even email) making it a very flexible plugin.
Where to Get BackWPup
BackWPup is available for free in the WordPress plugin repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/backwpup/ or you can go to “Plugins” within WordPress and search for “BackWPup” and install the plugin.
What Askimet Does
Askimet identifies and block comment and trackback spam on your website. Askimet is made by the very people who make WordPress, so you know it’s going to work.
Why We Recommend Askimet
Askimet blocks the spam comments many websites encounter. You simply set it up and then you don’t have to worry about it again. Askimet identifies spam and automatically moves it to a spam folder where you can look it over and decide if it really is spam or not (we’ve never once had it capture a comment that wasn’t spam). Askimet will improve your SEO and save you a ton of time by not having to verify if comment is spam or not.
Where to Get Askimet
Askimet is included as part of the default WordPress install. However, if you have deleted it or it is not in your install, you can download it from the WordPress plugin repository at http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/akismet/ or you can go to “Plugins” within WordPress and search for “Askimet” and install the plugin.
All of these WordPress plugins are free, easy to use, and will help improve your website optimization and performance. These plugins will also help protect you website against spam and malware. They’re a great start for small businesses that want to improve their user experience and set their website up for success.