If you’ve been considering using WordPress to create a web presence for your personal projects or more commonly, to start an online business, you’re not alone. You’ll be joining the millions of people and businesses across the globe who have chosen to use one of the most popular and easy to use platforms available today.
Using this content management tool (CMS for short) gives you endless possibilities for simple website creation. No matter what you need: a basic blog, a simple one page website or an all singing and dancing online store with a blog to share endless articles everyday, WordPress can handle it.
But having a beautiful WordPress design doesn’t mean you’ll have a website that works well. If people visit you online and have difficulty navigating their way around, they’ll disappear quicker than you can say ‘freebie’. According to a study conducted by Microsoft, our attention spans are now down to eight seconds. In other words, make it easy for your visitors or annoy them. How do you do that? By making use of plugins, of which there are many.
Plugins will increase the functionality of your website ten-fold. There are also some you definitely shouldn’t go without because they’ll make your life easy too. Some are free and some will cost money. Let’s now take a look at three of the most useful plugins to install on your new WordPress website.
You visit a website, love what you see and you have a quick question you want to ask but, where’s the email address? Where’s the contact form? Argh! Forget it.
That’s the last kind of response you want from someone who’s interested in doing business with you. If they can’t find a way to get in touch effortlessly, they’re likely to leave and find another business to buy from.
The wpforms plugin is the easy way to install a contact form and it’s mobile responsive too. It’s a paid plugin with prices starting from $39/year. Fortunately, they also have a lite version which you can get for free at WordPress.org. This version has only the basic features but may be enough for your needs.
What if your visitors are super busy. They’re pushed for time and don’t want to send a message and then wait around for a response. They could just be plain lazy but either way, they want answers and they want them now.
No problem. Ultimate FAQ is here to save the day (and potentially your business from losing money). The beauty of this useful plugin is that not only can you list out a series of questions for your visitors to search through, you can even collect questions from them. But that isn’t the best part.
They can suggest an answer to their question and if you feel it’s a good answer, you can approve it. In other words, they do the work for you.
The cost for this plugin is $30 with 6 months support but again, they have a free version which doesn’t include premium features.
This plugin packs a punch and gives you access to an array of features. You can keep your site safe from malware and hackers, keep spammers away and back up your content. The features you get depend on whether you go for the free or paid version.
It can, in fact, form an integral part of your WordPress design too if you don’t wish to pay for a designer. You can choose from 165 professional themes to create whatever look you want and they come with customisation options too.
Mention Jetpack to most WordPress site owners and you’ll probably find a good majority of them wouldn’t go without it. If you want to make your life easy, join them for free. If you want more features, take up a paid membership starting from $3.50 per month or $39 per year.
There are thousands of plugins available and you’ll no doubt decide or even need to install many more. While it’s tempting to install plugin after plugin, do be careful. Some plugins can conflict with certain themes and if you install too many at one time, they could slow your website down. A slow website mixed with impatient visitors will equate to zero or a lot less business for you.
Also, ensure that you update your plugins regularly or let Jetpack do it for you, and keep an eye out for plugins that are no longer updated by the developer. The longer they go without an update, the more important it becomes to consider removing them. Outdated plugins are like secret gateways for hackers.