Welcome to 2017. We hope you enjoyed the ride getting here. Even if 2016 was… different, that should be even more incentive to get your online marketing strategy together.
That means you are probably (maybe) looking at WordPress as the center of your 2017 online marketing plan. As we update our own website and digital marketing efforts, we’re giving you our best tips and strategies for small businesses… like our favorite, must-have WordPress plugins.
Once you have WordPress installed, the fun really starts. There are a bunch of settings to configure, and then you add a theme on top of that to make things even more customized… and often, more confusing.
Whether you’re a seasoned WP pro or just digging in, check out our 2017 list of must-have WordPress plugins:
[su_note note_color=”#ff00cc”](#protip – save a step or two: copy the plugin name in pink and then paste into your WP dashboard>>Plugins>>Add new plugin)[/su_note]
- Jetpack. We love the simplicity of turning on various services through Jetpack. Our favorites right now are the Stats, Sharing, Performance and Security apps. For a small business owner who wants to set it and forget it, you want Jetpack.
- Wordfence. We have had the pleasure of cleaning far too many WordPress websites that were hacked. Insert Viagra jokes, not viruses. Wordfence works really hard to make sure our websites are secure, safe from hackers and monitored 24/7. It won’t fix the problem (unless you pay) but it will tell you when there are updates needed, exploits have been found or if any administrators log in to your website (that’s how the bad guys can get in…).
- Contact Form 7. We’ve used CF7 for many years, and in all that time, it has always been CF7. We’re a little curious about whether there was a CF6 or if there will ever be a CF22. But not curious enough to do more than check their FAQ. Even if your theme has a built-in contact form, you should probably still use Contact Form 7.
- All in One SEO Pack OR Yoast SEO. We like to think this is gonna start a rumble, like West Side Story, only BETTER! Yoast SEO is fantastic, so is All in One SEO. We use both, depending on the website and customer, but Yoast is probably better for people who are new to SEO or like a less techy interface. Here’s a really good breakdown of the differences between AIOSEO and Yoast SEO.
- Google XML Sitemaps. Don’t let the name fool you, this plugin also submits your sitemap to Bing! If that makes no difference to you and “sitemap” has you scratching your head… Google XML Sitemaps is what feeds your website directly to Google and Bing for your SEO efforts.
But that’s not all, folks! Well, it could be all, but we know plenty of sites that want additional functionality besides SEO and content management. For example:
- E-Commerce. When you absolutely must have e-commerce on your WordPress website, you want WooCommerce. It can be a little tricky (it caused us to re-theme our site because the products weren’t pretty enough) and there are some advanced tactics (attributes and variations… such fun!), but it can sell one product or a million virtual products, so we think its swell. Plus, there are tons of add-ons to help your e-commerce business grow and function beautifully.
- E-mail list building. If you’re a fan of the whole “give me your e-mail and you can have this awesome info” type of marketing (it’s ok, we are, too!), then you want this SUPER combination of WordPress plugins to get the job done. What’s the job? Well, there are 4… a person wants the information you are providing so they submit their e-mail address through Contact Form 7. That triggers the Email before Download plugin to tell the Download Manager to allow you to grab that super cool info and/or e-mail it to you. Your e-mail is then stored in the Contact Form DB. That process is all explained here.
- Appointment booking. If you are in a service-based business and want to be able to schedule appointments, consultations or meetings through your website, then you probably want to check out Bookly. It syncs with Google Calendar and integrates with WooCommerce, and it just does what we want it to do – help book our time!
We don’t know what the next year will bring, but we know that everyone needs to launch their 2017 online marketing strategy NOW. If you need a plan or help moving forward with digital marketing, eBooks, WordPress, SEO and more, we’re ready! Contact us today!