WordPress is kind of like a magic wand for your business. Even old school trades (like plumbers and electricians) and brick-and-mortar shops can benefit hugely from getting their companies online. Sales can skyrocket when you open your doors to the entire Internet – rather than just your town’s local residents.
So What Is WordPress, Exactly?
WordPress is a Content Management System (CMS), which means it’s a platform designed to help you organize and display the content on your website.
Content includes everything that appears on your site – posts, pages, images, videos, contact info, etc. If it’s on your site, it counts as content.
The Wizardry of WordPress
You don’t want to miss out on potential customers or new sales, so it’s important to get your online presence right the first time. That’s where the wizardry of WordPress comes in. Here are the top 10 reasons experts, entrepreneurs and developers around the world choose WordPress over the competition:
1. Built-in Search Engine Optimization
WordPress is second to none when it comes to SEO capabilities. The platform is designed with SEO at the forefront – title tags and meta descriptions are automatically generated for every page and post you create. This means that your content will be available to search engines (so it will be indexed by search engine crawlers and you can potentially move up in the rankings).
The default SEO tools in WordPress are great, but (as with everything in WordPress) they also offer a number of more advanced features to take SEO to the next level.
We recommend the All-In-One SEO Pack plugin as a must-have for any WordPress site. This plugin allows you easily create title and page description tags on the back-end of your website, as well as integrate Google maps, optimize your sharable social links with high resolution images and so much more.
Other popular SEO plugins worth checking out: Yoast SEO, Google Keyword Planner, SEMrush, SEO by Squirrly and Broken Link Checker.
2. Site Speed
Here’s the hard truth: if your site loads slowly, even the most patient customers are unlikely to stick around (except maybe your mom?). We recommend installing a caching plugin to give your site speed a boost. W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are two popular plugins to improve page-loading times (and make sure your visitors stay put).
Site speed is also one of the most important factors in search rankings – fast-loading sites can easily outrank their slower competition. So while you’re devoting hours to creating the best content you can (the fun part!), don’t forget about site speed.
Tools like Google Page Speed and Pingdom can test and analyze your page speed across all devices.
3. Social Media Savvy
The days of being able to have a successful online business without a social media presence are officially over. Today’s smart business owners understand the power of social media, and they make sure to engage their followers where they spend the most time – on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and other popular platforms.
WordPress websites do better than most because of the huge selection of social plugins they make available to users. You can pull your Twitter feed onto your homepage, feature your recent social mentions on your website, and even set your social media channels to update with new content from your website.
The best part? There are tons of WordPress social media plugins to choose from – and lots of them are free.
4. Mobile Friendly
WordPress websites thrive on mobile devices, which is something that can’t be said of very many other website platforms. As people use their phones more and more – for everything from ordering cat food to finding the perfect job – mobile functionality is critical to the success of your website.
WordPress understands how important it is for your website to function on a variety of devices, so they’ve made it easy to quickly see what your website looks like while you’re designing and revising pages.
5. Traffic-Driving Images
Images are a great way to increase engagement with your visitors, but if they’re not saved correctly, they can slow your site speed and have the opposite effect. Your images should always be optimized to improve your site’s overall performance and ensure a great experience for your visitors.
WordPress helps you to automatically optimize all images on your site by using the Smushit plugin, which results in faster loading time and improved accessibility. WordPress users can also modify images to include keywords and phrases to help with SEO optimization and ranking.
6. Beautiful Design
The aesthetics of your site should not be overlooked. These days, regardless of your industry, a beautiful website is a must.
WordPress sites are designed based on a theme, which determines the overall look and feel of the site (think: font style, color scheme, page layout, etc.). There are thousands of themes to choose from (seriously), and you also have the option of hiring a developer to create a custom theme just for your site (this could be perfect if you want to do something out of the ordinary in terms of functionality or design).
Whether you’re building a high-end, luxury brand or going for more of a friendly, laidback vibe, WordPress is your best bet for a site that looks beautiful, professional and gets results.
Here’s a list of some reputable theme hotspots:
- The WordPress Theme Directory
- Mojo Marketplace
- Template Monster
7. Serious Security
WordPress makes it easy to keep your site’s software up to date, which is critical to keeping hackers and data thieves away. Many software updates happen automatically, which is ideal. Updating isn’t difficult (it usually just involves checking a few boxes and hitting the “update” button), but it’s easy to forget about when you’ve got an entire business to run. We recommend opting for automatic updates whenever possible.
8. Functional Versatility
Once upon a time, WordPress was strictly a blogging platform (which is why one of the common misconceptions about WordPress is that it’s just for building blogs). Now, with hundreds of different plugins and themes, WordPress makes it easy to build any type of site – from a women’s fashion blog, to a natural health food E-Commerce store, to a forum for enterprise sales representatives (and anything else you can dream up!).
9. Reliable Reputation
There’s a reason the best of the best use WordPress – it’s simply the best CMS you can choose to build a website on. Hands down. From endless themes and plugins to topnotch security, SEO and social media features, WordPress is known as THE place to go for the very best in website functionality and design.
At FreshySites, our team is a leader in WordPress website development. Get in touch if you’d like to chat about your project or see samples of our work!
10. Good Company
The WordPress community is huge. Join WordPress, and you’ll be joining the ranks of notable names like The New Yorker, BBC America, MTV News, The Walt Disney Company, Time Inc., and The Rolling Stones, among others.
The huge number of different users running their sites on WordPress means that if you ever have a problem or question, you’ll likely find an answer in one of the WordPress support or developer forums. It also means that if you ever want to outsource things like content creation, web design, or site maintenance, there will be plenty of developers, writers, editors and designers who already know how your site works.
Must Have WordPress Plugins to Supercharge Your Site
The magic of WordPress is in the plugins (all 55,000+ of them). With so many to choose from, it can be hard to know which ones are right for your site.
Many of our clients are business owners who often ask for plugin suggestions, so we’ve put together this list of must haves for 2018:
Every online business owner should have WPForms installed on their WordPress site. This drag & drop online form builder allows users to easily create contact forms, email subscription forms, order forms, payment forms and other online forms with just a few clicks.
There’s a free WPForms Lite version available and also a paid Pro version with advanced features.
Our clients love that they can use it with very little training, and as developers we love how fast, modern and clean it is.
MonsterInsights is known as the best Google Analytics plugin for WordPress. It is designed to connect your website with Google Analytics so you can learn more about your visitors (like where they are coming from and what they are doing on your site).
You can then use this information to optimize your site accordingly to attract more visitors and improve your earnings.
MonsterInsights offers both a basic free version and a paid Pro version with advanced features.
We’ve already mentioned the Yoast SEO plugin above, but it’s worth mentioning again here, as it is one of the most popular plugins on the entire WordPress platform. Successful business owners understand that their content needs to be optimized so search engine crawlers can find it easily and potentially increase your rankings on Search Engine Results Pages (SERP).
Search engine optimization should be a top priority for every business owner – and Yoast SEO can help.
If you use affiliate links on your site (or any other outbound links you need to have stats on), Linker is a must-have. It integrates well with software like Google Analytics to track outbound link clicks and show you which links your visitors are clicking on.
Broken Link Checker
Speaking of links, Google doesn’t like to find broken links on your site. This must-have plugin checks your pages, posts and comments to help you identify and remove broken links.
OptinMonster helps business owners boost leads and grow revenue with their existing website traffic. It is designed to convert abandoning visitors into email subscribers.
If you’re looking to grow your email list (and if you’re a business owner, you should be), OptinMonster is a must have.
While we’re on the topic of email lists, Constant Contact is one of the best email marketing service providers. They help website owners build email lists and connect with their subscribers via email.
Constant Contact is also designed to work well with email generation software like OptinMonster.
Security is a big concern for all online business owners – and it’s only getting bigger. From hackers and data thieves to viruses and malware, the world of online business can be a dangerous place.
Sucuri’s firewall is one of the best ways to protect your site (and your visitors). They monitor and protect your site from DDoS attacks, malware threats, XSS attacks, brute force attacks and practically every other type of cyber attack out there.
If you don’t have a firewall on your website, add Sucuri today.
Akismet is one of the most popular and effective ways that website owners can combat spam. It’s different than a lot of other plugins because it’s actually a web-based service that checks comments against their own system, which is one of the reasons it’s so effective.
Once suspicious comments are identified, you have the option to review and delete the unwanted comments.
The free version of Akismet supports 50,000 comment checks each month.
Speaking of security, it’s also extremely important to have a reliable backup system in place. As a smart business owner, you simply can’t afford to put your business and customer data at risk without one.
In fact, one of the first things we install on every WordPress site we create is a backup plugin. BackupBuddy is a developer favorite and has been protecting half a million sites since 2010. It is a very reliable option for backing up and restoring content, as well as migrating WordPress sites to new servers or domains.
For $80 per month, users can rest easy knowing their entire site (WordPress files, WordPress Media library files, WordPress themes & plugins and more) is backed up and stored off-site in a safe, secure location.
W3 Total Cache
We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again – speed is one of the most important SEO factors. Google ranks faster websites higher, which means more visitors, more conversions and more earnings.
W3 Total Cache enables users to serve compressed and cached files to their website visitors. This reduces the load to their servers, increases site performance and leads to improvements in SEO page rankings.
Bottom line: Faster sites = more $$$.
WP Smush is another plugin that’s all about speed. It optimizes your images so they consume less space without having any impact on the visible quality of the images.
In other words, you get optimized images and a faster website – for free!
Shared Counts is one of the best WordPress plugins for social media. It includes some of the most popular social networks: Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Stumbleupon and Yummly.
Users can choose from several different button styles, as well as where the button is displayed on their site.
Social media is hugely popular and it’s not showing any signs of slowing down. Today’s smart business owners understand that these communities are packed with customers who are ready to be engaged with. You don’t want to miss out on these opportunities.
This free plugin makes it easy to display popular social media icons on your site. It supports over 100 popular social media platforms (think: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).
Use Social Icons to connect your social media accounts with your website (and then update your social content regularly to engage with potential customers).
Savvy business owners always keep one eye on the competition. SEMRush takes things to the next level, enabling users to find out exactly which keywords their competition is ranking for. You can even see their paid keywords as well as their organic traffic.
This way, you can optimize your own content and marketing strategy accordingly. It almost feels like spying!
P3 (Plugin Performance Profiler)
P3 is a plugin to manage all your other plugins! This one is designed to keep the rest of your plugins in check and make sure they’re not causing a slowdown on your site.
Enable P3 periodically to do a scan so you can remove any slow offenders and replace them with quicker alternatives.
Why Google Loves WordPress Websites
We’ve made it pretty clear why we love WordPress, but we’re not the only ones! Google is a big fan WordPress websites, too (which is another great reason to jump on the bandwagon).
If you’ve had a website before, you may know that it can be tricky to get (and stay) on Google’s good side. Here are the top three reasons WordPress is winning the Google game:
1. Content, Content, Content
WordPress makes it simple for users to create and share fresh content on their sites regularly. Because it’s so easy to publish new content, WordPress websites are often updated with new content frequently.
Google absolutely loves new content. Their algorithm is designed to emphasize new content so visitors are always getting the newest, most up-to-date information.
The bottom line: Google loves content and WordPress loves to make it easy to create, and share, content.
2. SEO Optimization
As we mentioned above, part of the magic of WordPress is its SEO capabilities. They offer a number of different tools to help you make sure your content is optimized for search engines, like Google. These tools can help you structure your content correctly, include keywords so your target audience can find your site, and incorporate metadescriptions and titles with your focus keywords.
Organic search engine optimization is something we focus on a lot here at FreshySites. We help our clients track key metrics to ensure their SEO efforts are successful and informative.
After all, most business owners don’t build a website for the fun of it. They want to create content that engages their audience, improves SEO, builds relationships and converts traffic into sales – and WordPress can get them there.
3. Mobile Responsiveness
Google drives a ton of mobile traffic, so it’s important for Google that websites have a responsive design. This means responding to various screen sizes with no decline in user experience.
WordPress understands the importance of functionality on a variety of different devices and screen sizes, so they’ve made it easy to view their sites on any device, regardless of screen size.
Check out these popular plugins for mobile responsiveness: WPTouch, WP Mobile Pack, and WP Mobile Detector.
Ready to supercharge your web presence and create a custom WordPress site for your business or brand?
The FreshySites team is here to help. We’re passionate about building beautiful websites and we believe in delivering exactly what our clients need.