Over the years, WordPress has redefined web development and transformed the online business world. It opened the internet’s doors to millions of bloggers, entrepreneurs, and businesses who aspire to have their own websites without prior development experience.
According to BuiltWith, around 17.4 million websites are powered by WordPress as of January 16, 2017. Joomla, which is the second most popular CMS, is not even close with only about 2.2 million sites.
One of the many reasons why WordPress is so popular is the myriad of plugins that can add useful functionalities to any site. Sure, experienced web developers have enough room to let their creativity loose. But with WordPress, you don’t need to be a coding expert to incorporate features like carousels, calendars, and contact forms.
The best part is that you don’t even have to spend a fortune to build a professional-looking website. That’s why it’s perfect for small businesses and freelancers who are taking baby steps towards building an online presence.
Here are a few WordPress plugins that will help you build a standout website on the cheap:
1. Yoast SEO
Simply put; your online presence will never be complete without SEO in the mix. SEO – short for Search Engine Optimization – is the key to bringing a steady stream of traffic to your site without spending money on ads. You may not be looking to invest in a full-service SEO agency yet, but at the very least, you should use Yoast SEO to ensure your pages are ready to rank. It works by providing insights and recommendations on how to optimize your content as you build it.
2. Google Analytics
New websites may not have much to look at as far as web analytics goes, but learning to use Google Analytics is essential for long-term growth. Just like Yoast SEO, it can provide you with recommendations on how you can improve your website performance-wise. Additionally, it can provide you with in-depth data such as your top keywords, where your visitors come from, and what posts get their attention.
CaptainForm is one of the most promising form-building plugins out there. It has all the tools you need to build surveys, order forms, registration forms, and just about any other type of form you require – all without touching code. It works through a fluid interface that operates within the WordPress infrastructure. Some of the advanced fields you can use with this plugin are star ratings, Google maps, terms of service and captcha forms.
4. CSS Hero
If you want to get your hands dirty in making visual adjustments to your site, you can start with CSS Hero. It allows you to quickly apply CSS-based effects such as box shadows, borders, and padding on every single element on your site. The plugin works as an overlay to your WordPress pages, which will help you determine what works through a live preview.
A website is an investment, so you should treat it as such by installing a security plugin like Sucuri. Doing so will protect your site from malware, DDoS attacks, and brute force login attacks. The plugin also scans blacklist engines such as McAfee Site Advisor, Yandex, and Google Safe Browsing to check for security flags regarding your site. This will help you deal with underlying issues that may ruin your website’s credibility.
6. Booking Calendar
Booking Calendar is an easy-to-use plugin that integrates an online booking system to your site. This is the perfect plugin for businesses and professional freelancers who offer services such as consultations, reservations, and everything else that require scheduling. It utilizes a visual calendar so you and your prospects can easily see eye-to-eye with your availability.
7. Testimonials Widget
Showing off positive testimonials is a great way to build your audience’s trust, thus, boosting conversion rates on your site. You can easily implement a testimonials system using the Testionials Widget. Some of its interesting features include different transition styles, shortcode support, multiple content types, and user ratings to make testimonials as believable as possible.
Building a website with WordPress is like being a kid in a candy store – you may like everything that you see, but it might get difficult to determine what you need. Take note that selecting plugins for your site should always involve identifying your online objectives. Create a list of the things you need to accomplish and try not to overload on too many plugins.
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February 27, 2017 at 8:30 am
Hi christopher ,
Great article! No doubt WordPress Plugins are Perfect for Small Businesses and Freelancers and you really describe well each part. I am also working on it and your article are really helpful for me. Can you please tell about Best Responsive WordPress Themes ? Thanks for sharing it with us.