Get the Skinny on WordPress Plugins and Hosting

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It’s not an exaggeration to say that WordPress powers the Internet. In fact, 25% of all websites run on WordPress. That’s up from 18.9% in 2013. In October, WordPress 4.4 had been downloaded 21,567,575 times – and that number grows by the minute. Millions of people around the globe have decided that WordPress is the right solution for their website, and they’re in great company since household names like the NFL, Major League Baseball, CNN, Time, and TechCrunch have used WordPress to power their online presence.

WordPress is an extremely powerful content management system that offers endless possibilities when it comes to content, but it’s also incredibly user-friendly. Even the most non-tech savvy member of your team can learn their way around this platform and create amazing content and experiences. The only limit is your own creativity.

Some small business owners may worry that WordPress is too complex of a solution for their business. They might wonder, is a platform this powerful also complicated to run and maintain? The answer is short: no!

WordPress is one of the most user-friendly content management systems available and it gives small businesses real control over their online presence. We could talk for days about the wonder of WordPress, but let’s start with two things that help small businesses increase their productivity on WordPress: plugins and hosting.

Here’s the scoop:

Plugins & Widgets
Customization is important for any user, which is why WordPress plugins and widgets are so helpful. They allow the user more control over the structure of the website and plugins can be particularly useful for helping you to accomplish a large variety of tasks, including search engine optimization, website backups, comment moderation, visitor opt-ins, marketing, and so much more. Seriously, so much more. At the time of this writing there were 43,666 WordPress plugins in the WP plugin directory. Many plugins make easy work of time-consuming tasks by automating them, which saves small businesses time and allows them to accomplish twice the amount of work.

If there is a task you need done or a feature you want added to your website, there’s a good chance there are WordPress plugins that are right for you. It’s all about knowing what you want to accomplish. Here are just a few WordPress plugins for small businesses:

Testimonials by Aihrus
Recommendations and testimonials can be great for demonstrating social proof and boosting the reputation of your business. This plugin lets users display testimonials from real customers in text slides, video slides, and image slides in various customizable ways.

Business Contact Widget
You want your customers to be able to content you. With this plugin, you can display all the relevant contact information for your business, including telephone number, email, and physical address. You can also choose to display a map and your opening hours. Visitors are also able to send you a message through the widget.

Rating-Widget: Star Rating System
Need to easily integrate a star rating system on your website? You can add one to your website’s pages, posts, and comments with this widget. You can also display your top-rated content in the widget area. By upgrading to the pro version, you’ll receive ratings analytics, bbPress, BuddyPress integration, and Google Rich Snippets integration.

Image Widget
Some users don’t feel comfortable with HTML – and that’s okay. This plugin helps users to add photographs, banners, and logos to a website. It also makes linking uploaded images as easy as pie.

There are thousands upon thousands of WordPress plugins available, so you’re bound to find a plugin or widget that helps you achieve your business goals. The only hard part is choosing which one to use!

But what comes before the plugin stage? One of the most important things to consider with WordPress is also the first step:

Hosting
The hosting provider you choose for your WordPress site can have a big impact on the functionality of your website and your productivity. WordPress offers free hosting on WordPress.com, but customization is limited. A self-hosted install from WordPress.org, however, gives you complete control over your WordPress website and allows you full use of plugins, freedom over your design, and the ability to monetize. For small businesses we absolutely recommend a dedicated domain and a self-hosted install so you can really leverage the power of WordPress. (We can help you get started, and will handle your WordPress installation from start to finish. Just click here.)

With a self-hosted install, you’ll need a hosting provider. It’s crucial to know the ins and outs of the provider you choose. What is the average uptime? How quickly do they respond to support requests? You’ll lose valuable “face time” with customers if your website goes down, and you don’t want to waste time dealing with an unresponsive web host. It’s important to know that your hosting provider really has your back.

Have another concern?
With WordPress, you’ll never have to go it alone. Because WordPress is an open source content management system, there are thousands (if not hundreds of thousands) of developers working on improving it and creating new plugins every day. These developers and other WordPress users can be found hanging out in the WordPress support forum, and many will be happy to answer any questions you have.

We understand how critical it is for a small business to have a robust online presence. With time being at such a premium, you want tools that make your job easier, not harder – WordPress is one great tool to use to propel your business forward without wasting time.

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