If your small business uses WordPress (as more than 60% of websites do!), you probably already have a shortlist of go-to plugins that are essential. Add ons like Yoast SEO, Akismet for comments, and Google Analytics Dashboard are all a must for businesses who want to easily and effectively manage their websites. But in 2016 there are some new essentials your business needs to be using if you want to get more leads and keep your website secure. Check out our list of nine must-have plugins you don’t already have for 2016.
1. WP Touch
With Google’s latest major algorithm update, the company enacted significant penalties for websites failing to meet its standards for mobile friendliness. That means you could be missing out on highly qualified organic traffic if your site isn’t accessible on mobile devices! To make sure your website is up to snuff, install WP Touch, a plugin that quickly helps format your site meet Google’s Mobile Test. Remember: In 2015 mobile digital media time surpassed desktop web traffic, so over half of your website visitors could be finding you on their smartphone or tablet.
2. Pure Chat
Even if you’re doing a great job attracting website visitors, more than 55% could be bouncing before you have a chance to engage them. To connect with and capture these potential leads, install a free live chat plugin like Pure Chat on your WordPress site. The plugin adds a chat box to your website that automatically pops up when visitors hit key pages, and turns into an email form when your team isn’t online. If your team isn’t at their desks often, Pure Chat also offers free mobile apps so teammates can respond to customers on the go.
In addition to live chat, it’s also essential to add other kinds of lead capture forms that help you get the most out of your content marketing efforts. Once you’ve attracted a qualified website visitor, capture their information by embedding a form to access even more robust, gated content. Although there are a number of free options to do this, Bloom is the tool we recommend because it allows you to add forms to your site in six different ways – one of which is within lead-attracting content. Live chat is one great way to capture leads, but general email opt in forms are another.
4. Better Click to Tweet
To keep traffic flowing to these lead capture optimized pages, make sure it’s super simple for readers to share them on social media and drive more visits. The Better Click to Tweet plugin is free and creates beautiful callouts in your posts that make it a breeze to tweet key takeaways in a single click.
5. Testimonials Widget
Another way to make your webpages more persuasive and add credibility is to incorporate styled customer testimonials within your content. Nielsen found that 92% percent of consumers say they trust earned media, such as word-of-mouth or recommendations from friends and family, above all other forms of advertising. Install the Testimonials Widget and use current customer recommendations to make your company even more trustworthy and relate to buyers.
6. Related Posts
Want to keep leads engaged with your brand and content? Offer them more content they’ll love! The easiest way to do this is to install Related Posts. At the end of every blog post, Related Post will recommend other content that your lead is probably interested in based on what they’re reading now. The longer the prospect stays on your site, the more likely they are to see you as an authority in your industry and trust your brand when they’re ready to make a purchase.
7. Thank Me Later
Once you have website visitors who are visiting and engaging with more content, you want to make sure your brand stays responsive. One quick way to do this is using Thank Me Later. Every time a website visitors posts a comment on your blog, TML automatically sends a thank you email to that commenter. By 2020, customer experience will overtake price and product as the key brand differentiator, so little perks are a great way to go the extra mile.
8. Broken Link Checker
The Broken Link Checker plugin monitors links in your posts, pages, and comments to notify you when it detects links that don’t work, missing images and redirects. It also prevents search engines from following broken links, so you never create a bad experience by sending leads to a page that doesn’t work!
9. Wordfence Security
Although just under 40% of small businesses have experienced a “security breach” that cost an average of $20,000 in the last year. Still, many owners haven’t made airtight security a top priority (probably because 25% don’t know much about it). Add web security to the top of your to do list and install Wordfence to check if your site is already infected. The plugin will do a deep server-side scan of your source code and compare it to the Official WordPress repository for core, themes and plugins. Then, after the check, Wordfence secures your site and optimizes it to improve loading speeds.
What are your business’ most essential WordPress plugins? Are there any unknown gems that your team can’t work without? Let us know in the comments!