August 29, 2015
If you are an SMB owner with a small website reading this, chances are you started out with a WordPress site to make the process quick, easy and ready-to-roll.
It’s not without reason that a little over 4.5% of all sites on the internet are built on WordPress. The beauty of WordPress is not in being a free platform (though I love that aspect of it, for sure!) What makes WordPress stand out from other website platforms is the seemingly limitless number of apps and plugins that are built just for WordPress.
This mind boggling library does not only make life easier for webmasters who use WordPress, but also makes sure visitors have a superlative, smooth user experience. Here are a handpicked collection of just WordPress plugins that each enable you to complete a specific and essential online functionality.
Allow Social Login
Does your site ask users to create an account and log in to access all your services? Make life easy for your users by incorporating a social login option into your site; users can sign in with the credentials of any of their social media accounts and essentially pair their social media profiles to their user profile on your site. As the site owner, you get access to your users’ social media data and get to know them even better.
I love the JanRain social login plugin for its comprehensiveness. It allows users to access your site via more than 30 different social media platforms. Users logged in with a social media platform can also comment freely on your site with their social profile as the identifier. Sharing is made easier by allowing users to share content from your site to at least 4 different social networks simultaneously, thus multiplying engagement rates on your site.
A WordPress blog that you’ve built and nurtured over the years is a perfect candidate for being taken to the next level: monetization. Capitalize on all the TLC you’ve put into your site by turning it transactional and making some moolah out of it. I’m not even talking about transforming your blog into an ecommerce site. You could do that of course, but if being an online merchant is not one of your life goals, you can always sell your expertise in the form of an ebook or a whitepaper via your blog.
The Shopify “Buy” button gets my vote for being quick to setup, super simple to integrate and inexpensive to boot. It comes with the entire ecommerce muscle of Shopify behind it, so you can change the scale of your selling ambitions anytime you feel like it. The plugin supports over 70 different payment gateways and a wide variety of currencies, so you can be an international seller in minutes.
Offer Personalized Content
Personalization has become de rigueur for websites of all shapes and sizes in the last couple of years. Thanks to pioneers in content personalization like Amazon and Google, users expect to see content that is suited to their tastes and past behavior on every site they visit, no matter what its size or scale.
What was once a tall order is now just a plugin away! InSite is a personalization plugin that allows WordPress site owners define hundreds of different situations where content that is most relevant to the user is displayed on the site. This could take many different variations. Greet a returning customer with a specific welcome back message. Or remind them of the last items / articles they browsed. Show up content related to the article a visitor is currently reading. And so on. The more relevant your website is to a visitor, the more likely is she to convert and return over and over again.
Optimize for Mobile
We know that there are more mobile internet users today than desktop users. Unfortunately, the number of sites with responsive WordPress themes, or even the total number of responsive sites on the web, *still* does not reflect this reality. A substantial number of WordPress sites still fall back on non-responsive themes as they often do not find all the features they need in the limited number of ready to use responsive themes available.
Enter WPtouch. This awesome plugin turns your regular, plain-Jane WordPress site into a sleek mobile optimized site in no time. WPtouch comes with a range of built-in mobile optimized themes to pick from, which are lighter and quicker to load than traditional responsive themes. Instead of loading all the pieces of content on your site regardless of the visitor using a mobile or desktop device, WPtouch prioritizes content display for mobile devices and displays only mobile-optimized content like responsive images, making site load times lightning fast. Not only does it offer its own themes, it also turns non-optimized themes mobile-friendly with one click.
Let Users be Heard
Most websites tend to be one-way channels in which business owners or bloggers convey their messages to visitors and expect them to respond by visiting them again or by buying something from them. However, this approach leaves a user out in the cold. They end up with no way to convey their opinions to the people that matter and soon lose interest in such sites.
An interesting way to keep your users engaged and allow them to voice their opinions is via regular polls and surveys on your WordPress site. TotalPoll offers WordPress site owners a simple yet extremely versatile poll plugin they cannot pass over. Not only can you put your own branding on polls created using the plugin, you can even add images, videos and HTML code to your polls to make them more enticing. TotalPoll’s polls are SEO friendly, helping search engines comb through the poll itself to improve your search rankings. They are also cheat-proof by incorporating various layers of authentication to prevent any funny business.
Picking WordPress to build your site is a smart decision to begin with. Kudos on that. A smarter move would be to make full use of all the flexibility that comes with being a WordPress user and take your website to the next level.
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