For small business owners operating in today’s digital age, having a website is a must. A few of the most compelling reasons why include the fact that a website gives you the opportunity to sell your products online, makes your business more reputable, and it can help you to attract more customers.
Despite the many benefits that small business owners can enjoy from having a website, a shocking number of small businesses don’t have one. In fact, Pixolab discovered through its most recent study that less than two-thirds of small businesses reported having a website thus far in 2021.
One possible explanation for this is that small business owners feel that they don’t have either the time, the knowledge, or a combination of the two, to get a website off the ground, get it noticed, and put in the maintenance to keep it running. While running a website does involve some work, it’s not as daunting of an undertaking as most people think.
How so, you may be wondering? Well, when you create a website through WordPress, you have the opportunity to choose from nearly 50,000 plugin options that can help make your website more functional, easy to maintain, and even easier to market.
Whether you’re a small business owner who has a website that could use a makeover, or who currently doesn’t have a website at all, keep reading to learn about 5 essential WordPress plugins you can leverage to give your platform a boost.
One of the places where many small businesses go wrong is that they put in the effort to create a website, but then fail to put the time in on the back-end to make their website as findable on search engines as possible. Yoast is a free plugin with optional premium features that makes it easier for you to identify relevant keywords and optimize blog posts and specific website pages accordingly.
The plugin walks you through every step of the process, and provides you with specific steps and suggestions on what you should do or change to each page/post to make it more SEO-friendly.
Take this blog post of mine as an example. After I wrote the post, I was able to consult with Yoast to narrow down a relevant focus keyphrase (easy no-essay scholarships) and then edit my post accordingly to make it as “green” as possible.
Every time you go through and make changes, Yoast updates according to those changes to tell you if you’re looking good, and where you can use some improvement. The plugin walks you through every step of the process, and provides you with specific steps and suggestions on what you should do or change to each page/post to make it more SEO-friendly.
The best part is that you don’t need to have any previous knowledge or experience with SEO to be able to use it and take advantage of its features.
Smash Balloon Instagram Feed
Social media can be a great way for small businesses to get their name out there, interact with customers, and of course, get more business! For business owners who are already active on socials (or for those who plan to be), the Smash Balloon Instagram Feed plugin easily allows you to integrate your various feeds into your website for greater visibility and reach.
Despite its name, this plugin gives you the option to sync up with a few other social media platforms in addition to Instagram, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. The setup process is straightforward, and the plugin gives you a variety of different options for the actual appearance of the feed. The outcome is a piece of shortcode which you can seamlessly embed into any page on your website, that, on the front-end, can look something like this:
Gravity Forms (With Stripe Add On)
For small business owners who sell any type of product (physical or digital), the Gravity Forms plugin with the Stripe Add On is an essential and easy platform to help you sell your products and get paid for those sales. It allows you to collect one-time payments as well as recurring payments from your customers, say, for a subscription-based product.
Photo credit: Gravity Wiz
In terms of getting it set up, I would be lying if I said that it was one of the easiest to work with. Because the process involves collecting secure and private credit card information, there are a few precursory steps that you will likely need to take before you can get this plugin up and running. Luckily, this page on the Gravity Forms website walks you through all of the pre-steps that you need to take in order to get things up and running.
Last, but certainly not least, we have Beaver Builder. Beaver Builder is a drag and drop tool that allows you to construct professional, clean, and compelling pages of all kinds for your website. This is super great for small business owners because it eliminates the need to learn or use HTML code to build a great looking website.
This plugin comes with a seemingly endless string of features (literally, dozens and dozens of them!) that you can play around with and test out with your content. In the event that you are not the most creative small business owner out there, Beaver Builder also has plenty of pre-built templates for you to “plug and chug” to come out with a great looking site.
This WordPress plugin has over 300,000 active installations, proving that it is not only a game changer for little old me, but for many other business owners as well.