7 Best WordPress plugins for small business websites 2017
There are literally thousands of plugins available for WordPress websites, and for many people choosing the best plugin for a certain purpose can be a daunting and confusing task.
We give you the 7 Best WordPress plugins for small business websites 2017 | Chosen for ease of use, proven practicality and effectiveness, you should install them on your small business website today!
Description Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimised WordPress site using the Yoast SEO plugin.
Link to get the plugin https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/wordpress-seo/
We make no apologies for putting Yoast SEO at the top of our list of must have plugins for small business websites. If you have been browsing other ‘top 10’ lists etc, you will no doubt see this plugin on almost all of them.
One of the most popular WordPress plugins in the world, WordPress SEO by Yoast was developed by Joost de Valk and team.
Save yourself a lot of time and effort researching potential rivals for this plug in. They simply don’t exist, certainly not in terms of how well it works, its scope, and its ease of use. The fact it has literally millions of downloads, plus very high review ratings, tells you all you need to know.
Yoast SEO offers a wide range of features all essential for proper website optimization. As a complete package for SEO we maintain that Yoast SEO out performs all other WordPress SEO plugins in the market.
Yoast SEO is extremely easy for users to set up. The plugin has loads of tutorials if you want to delve into more complex set ups. (Although some of these features are relatively technical and can be intimidating to novice users.)
Having said that, the basic settings do a fine job of preparing each of your pages (or posts) so they will be properly indexed by Google, and give your page the very best chance of getting as high as it can on the (SERPS) rankings.
The great thing about Yoast is that it actually prompts you to do your on-page SEO properly. It has a snippet simulator so you can actually see just how your listing will appear in Google’s search. It will also encourage you to write good, concise title and description tags, based around your main keyword(s).
Yoast does offer a premium version, which provides support, but for the vast majority of small business websites the free version is totally adequate.
We recommend Yoast SEO unequivocally as the best WordPress SEO plugin available and it certainly deserves its place as an indispensable WordPress plugin that you should have on your WordPress website.
Why we love this plugin – Full of practical features, easy to use, and works very well.
Any drawbacks? – Some degree of learning curve if you want to become a Yoast Ninja, but for the vast majority of small business websites, the basics of this plug in are more than satisfactory.
Optimize Database after Deleting Revisions
Description Optimizes the WordPress Database after cleaning it out.
Link to get the plugin https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/rvg-optimize-database/
Optimizing your WordPress database is very important for several reasons. If you don’t do so, your database will become bloated and ever larger. This will have detrimental long term effects for your WordPress website. The larger your database the larger the disc space required on your server.
More importantly, the larger your database the longer your website may take to load, which is not only annoying for the end user, but now frowned upon by Google which is increasingly favouring fast loading, light weight websites in its search results.
As your WordPress website evolves, and you add, delete, edit content, your database will accumulate lots of superfluous data such as post and page revisions, spam comments, trashed comments, data from plugins you are no longer using, and more.
Revisions alone can significantly bloat your database. Every time you change something on a page/post, even if it is only a single word, WordPress will automatically save (and store on your database) this page/post as a ‘revision’ version.
Removing all this unnecessary data will substantially reduce your database size, provide performance improvements and keep your website more Google friendly.
Why we love this plugin – This plugin is basically a ‘one click’ WordPress database cleaner and optimizer. Can be installed, set up, and run in less than 5 or 6 minutes. Does a great job of reducing your database size, plus you can easily schedule the plug in to auto run every day/week/month to keep things ship shape.
Any drawbacks? – The set up instructions could be a little more expansive, but overall it’s fairly self-explanatory.
Description This plugin allows you to clone a post or page, or edit it as a new draft.
Link to get the plugin https://en-gb.wordpress.org/plugins/duplicate-post/
This is the first plug in we install on any new website we are building.
In fact, it is so valuable and useful we cannot understand how WordPress themselves have not developed this as a core element of WordPress itself.
It allows you to quickly ‘clone’ or duplicate an existing page or post, thus saving you all the time it would normally take to create a new page or post. There are many instances where you have a framework for a page and want to make a similar page, but need only to edit certain elements or modules of that page. This plugin makes this task a breeze.
Why we love this plugin – Makes page or post duplication an easy and efficient task. A great time saver.
Any drawbacks? – None really, just be attentive when you duplicate a page/post, and make sure you also edit the ‘permalink’ / page file extension (as that can be easy to overlook) as it carries this over with the duplication.
Description This plugin speeds up your website (page) loading time.
Link to get the plugin www.wp-rocket.me
Don’t we all just hate slow websites? Equally importantly Google doesn’t like slow websites either, in fact it prioritizes fast loading websites as a factor in its SERPS algorithm.
Your website visitors’ dislike slow loading websites also, and your bounce rate will invariably be higher than it should if your website is slow to load
The good news is that there are loads of plugins available that claim to make your WordPress website faster. Some are free, others cost money. This article is all about improving your WordPress website without having to be a developer or have in depth technical knowledge, so with that in mind we are recommending a plugin which although it does not come free, it is worth every penny to you in terms of its effectiveness and simplicity to install and run.
The technical term for this type of plugin is a caching plugin. Very simply put, Caching stores the most frequently requested data from your website in memory thereby making your website perform significantly better.
Caching involves creating — and storing — a ready-made static (i.e. unchanging) version of your website pages on your server ready to display to visitors at very short notice. This reduces the need for your WordPress website (and/or the user’s browser) to communicate backwards and forwards with the server to assemble the behind-the-scenes information that creates your site’s web pages.
With much reduced communication going on between servers, and less data being processed each time your website is accessed, the time it takes to load your posts and pages is significantly reduced.
Removing all this unnecessary requests to your hosting server will substantially reduce your database size, provide performance improvements and keep your website more Google friendly.
As we mentioned, there is a mind boggling number of caching plugins out there, and it can be extremely frustrating for non-experts to decide which is best for their website.
In our opinion the choice is narrowed down to 4 choices –
- Hyper Cache
- W3 Total Cache
- Super Cache
- WP Rocket
All four do a good job, but vary in how they do it, and significantly, in how much expert knowledge is required to correctly set them up to best suit your individual situation. All websites have varying degrees of hosting quality, of complexity and potential for conflict with other plugins installed and running on the site.
For this reason, a clear winner is WP Rocket.
It requires (by far) the least setting up, and works fine almost straight ‘out of the box’ as soon as you install and activate it on your WordPress website.
You should see significant performance improvements immediately you install WP Rocket.
Incidentally, we recommend you test your websites speed performance at two places –
- pingdom.com (not free – charges start at $7.95 per month
- gtmetrix.com GTmetrix (a free service) GTmetrix is a free tool that analyzes your page’s speed performance. It also gives you insights on how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it.
We use GT Metrix ourselves.
Run a test at GT Metrix prior to installing WP Rocket, and then again after installing and activating it.
Why we love this plugin – With WP Rocket, you get page caching, cache preloading, gzip compression, browser caching, Google Fonts optimisation, image and video Lazy Load, minification, and a whole lot more. And it’s a breeze to install and activate.
Any drawbacks? – We have had a few sites where WP Rocket has caused a conflict and our website started behaving strangely. If this happens to you, contact their support team, who are very helpful.
Description Allows administrators to globally disable comments on their site. Comments can also be disabled according to post type.
Link to get the plugin https://wordpress.org/plugins/disable-comments/
WordPress has its roots as a blogging platform. To encourage conversation and engagement, the facility to ‘comment’ on a blog post has therefore always been integrated into WordPress’s core.
However, WordPress has now evolved to be the most widely used CMS (customer management system) platform in the world. This evolution has seen WordPress move into mainstream web development for business to business, business to consumer websites.
As a result, many business websites have mostly ‘pages’ as opposed to posts, and there is no requirement for visitors to be able to leave ‘comments’ on each page.
In addition, ‘comments’ on WordPress is often abused by both human visitors (who write trolling or needlessly abusive comments) or by automated ‘Bots’ which seek out pages and posts with commenting allowed, and leave Spam messages or worse, potentially harmful backlinks.
There are ways to set up your WordPress site to disallow comments, but it can be tricky and not always thoroughly effective.
‘Disable Comments’ will do the job effectively and all at the flick of a switch (well, a button in your settings, if you know what I mean…) It stops comments from being available on your site, thus negating your having to constantly monitor and clean/remove unwanted ones.
This is also one of the first plugins we install on every one of our WordPress sites.
Why we love this plugin – Works perfectly, and takes about 2 minutes to set up. Once its installed and set up, you can forget about it (apart of course from updating the plug in when an update is published)
Any drawbacks? – None. That’s why you should install it today if you haven’t already.
Description This plugin allows you to display responsive image sliders on your page.
Link to get the plugin www.revolution.themepunch.com
There are quite a few plug ins made to display image sliders. Again some are free, some are paid for. In our opinion, Slider Revolution leaves the competition for dead. It’s slick, makes your website look great, has tons of features and is regularly updated by its creators, so it is always staying apace with the latest web developments and security issues. What we particularly like about it is that the functionality is reliable, isn’t buggy, and is quite intuitive to use, which you know is something we look for in a good plugin.
Slider Revolution (by ThemePunch) is a responsive slider plugin, used mainly to display eye catching images ( plus headers, text, bullet points, video and a whole lot of other options) right at the top of your website page.
Generally, sliders are positioned on the homepage at the top, above the fold and in the main eye line.
If you want a gorgeous and aesthetic slider enabled on your website, add Slider Revolution without delay. It comes with everything you need to make your website visually stunning.
This is what the Slider Revolution developers say about their product –
FRONT PAGE DESIGNER
Slider Revolution is not only for “Sliders”. You can now build a beautiful one-page web presence with absolutely no coding knowledge required. To get you started fast, we included a ton of premade examples that come with all assets included!
- Create Beautiful One-Page Websites
- Lots of Examples included
- Works Great on any Device (Desktop, Tablet, Mobile)
- No Coding Knowledge necessary!
DRAG & DROP VISUAL SLIDER BUILDING
Building sliders has never been easier! Even though Slider Revolution is sporting an impressive number of options, even beginners will manage to create beautiful presentations with our new, more intuitive workflow.
- Text, Image, Video, Shortcode, HTML Content Layers
- Complete Graphical User Interface
- Custom Slide Content for different Devices
- Full Control over Styles, Animations, Transitions
FULLY RESPONSIVE SOLUTION
We made sure that Slider Revolution looks great and is intuitive to use on every device, be it desktop computers, tablets or smartphones.
- Works on Desktops, Notebooks, Tablets & Smartphones
- Optimised for Android & Apple Devices
- Custom Slide Content for different Devices
- Fallback Options for Mobile Devices
TRUE MULTI-MEDIA CONTENT
We want Slider Revolution to integrate into your website as seamlessly as possible. Why not show any content with it?
- Regular Image Display with Bulk Upload
- HTML5, YouTube & Vimeo Video Support
- Popular Social Media Content Stream
- WordPress Post & Custom Posts
You get tons of navigation styles for bullets, arrows, tabs & thumbnails with Revolution Slider. The kicker is that you can now easily modify or create your own sets of navigation elements!
- Arrows, Bullet, Tab, Thumbnail Navigation
- Lots of “Ready to Use” Styles included
- Markup and Style Builder with Preview
- Export your own Navigation Sets!
WE TAKE SECURITY SERIOUSLY
Our Slider Revolution WordPress Plugin was audited by professional researchers at morxploit.com to make sure that it’s no threat to the security of your WordPress website.
- 100% Secure WordPress Plugin
- New Update Notifications via the Backend
- Constantly Maintained ThemePunch Quality
Good looks aren’t everything, so we made sure that Slider Revolution also loads lightning fast!
- Loaded core file size automatically scales with used features
- Intelligent Lazy Loading options
- SEO Optimization
- Monitor and optimize all aspects of your sliders
- Advanced Debugging Options
Why we love this plugin – Full of features, easy to use, and works flawlessly.
Any drawbacks? – Some degree of learning curve if you want to use some of the more advanced features, but for the vast majority of small business websites, the basics of this plug in are more than satisfactory.
Description This plugin is a ‘page builder’ allowing non developers to easily build WordPress page/post layouts, using a modular template.
Link to get the plugin www.vc.wpbakery.com
WordPress is a very flexible platform, and allows you to customize your WordPress website so in theory you can get your page/post looking exactly how you want it. Unfortunately, not all of us are trained coding developers. The reality is, many WordPress users don’t know anything about Java Scripts, HTML or CSS.
Luckily, this has been recognized by plugin developers and a multitude of ‘page builders’ have been created to enable anyone to ‘build’ a page layout.
These page builders vary in how they look, feel and for ease of use, but basically they all try to do the same job.
They essentially create modules, which can be edited (very much like a traditional Word editor, which most of us are familiar with) and these modules can also be moved (‘drag & drop’ is the terminology used) around the page so you can attain the style and layout you desire.
Drag & drop page builders are a widely available plugin but and are also integrated into many popular ready-made themes. Theme Forest is one of the largest ready-made WordPress theme vendors and many of their themes have Visual Composer page builder built into the framework.
WPBakery, who have developed Visual Composer claim it is used on 1.5million websites.
If we ever purchase a WordPress theme, we always favour any which has Visual Composer built in. We have used many other page builders and can say unequivocally that Visual Composer is by the far the most superior.
It has the most intuitive framework, which makes it the easiest to use. Other page builders seem clumsy and hard to understand in comparison.
The modules are easily moved around to your liking, can be customized for size, column width etc and it’s a breeze to add new features. Overall it’s a joy to work with, and it is robust also.
The other great thing is that Visual Composer is not a free plugin (it costs around $34 to buy (for 1 licence/ 1 website) but if you buy a theme with it built in you will be getting that licence and the product as part of the deal to buy the overall theme.
If you are buying an ‘off the shelf’ WordPress theme, try and make sure it has Visual Composer built in. It’ll make your like a lot easier and your website a lot nicer.
Why we love this plugin – In its field, it is has no serious rival. It works better, is robust, easier to use, and has the most features.
Any drawbacks? – Some compatibility issues arose last year (2016) after a WordPress core update, and many website owners were faced with visual composer ceasing to function properly, and hence not being able to edit/update their websites. Mass panic ensued and a storm of support comments on Theme Forest was testimony to the degree of unrest this caused. We felt that WPBakery could have dealt with this issue better than they did (they simply kept repeating the same mantra about no compatibility issues if you update your Visual Composer version) but many website owners were confused because their theme developers (not WPBakery) had not issued version updates to include the new Visual Composer. It was all a bit of a mess in our opinion, and we just felt WPBakery could have handled the situation a tad better. We trust that WPBakery have learned from that episode and similar situations in future will be handled in a more sympathetic way.
That said, this plugin is still an amazing piece of kit, and we recommend it wholeheartedly.