WordPress is an amazing platform for anyone looking to build a website.
Not only is it free to use, but it’s also very flexible when it comes to design and functionality, and is suitable for people of all skill levels.
In fact, with the help of your hosting provider, you can have a decent looking website up and running within a few minutes.
That said, if you’re thinking about taking your website to the next level, it’s time you start thinking about adding some helpful tools to your arsenal to help you reach your goals.
After all, if you’re going to start selling online products or services, build a bigger email list, or even begin your journey into affiliate marketing, you’re going to need more than just the basics.
That’s why we’re here to share with you the very best WordPress tools that even novice WordPress developers can take advantage of when trying to grow a successful business.
1. A backup solution
Imagine you spend all your time and effort building a beautiful website and publishing high-quality content, only to wake up one day and find it all gone.
Although this would put most people into a state of panic, if you’re using a reliable backup solution, you’ll know that after clicking a few buttons, your site will be restored and all will be well again.
One of the best backup solutions on the market today is a WordPress plugin called UpdraftPlus.
Simplifying the process of backing up your website, UpdraftPlus comes with features like:
- Backups into cloud services like Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3
- One-click restore options
- Automatic or manual backups of site data
- Fast backup processes using minimal server resources
Don’t risk all of your hard work, or your reputation, by not having a backup of your site readily available.
Using a solid backup solution will prevent significant losses in revenue, traffic, and followers, and save you the time of having to redo your entire website over again.
2. An analytics tool
There’s no sense in making a lot of changes to your website in an effort to succeed if you aren’t tracking what effect those changes are having on your site’s performance.
Luckily, Google offers website owners a free analytics tool, called Google Analytics, that’s designed to help you monitor data like bounce rate, pageviews, session, duration, and revenue.
If you don’t want to get bogged down with the data Google Analytics provides (because it’s a lot), there’s a neat WordPress plugin called MonsterInsights that makes tracking data easier.
MonsterInsights makes it effortless to connect your WordPress website to your Google Analytics account.
Then, from your WordPress dashboard, you’re able to access helpful reports that give you the metrics you need to make data-driven decisions about your website and business.
Track PPC ads, form conversions, your site’s most popular content, and even set up A/B tests to make sure the design and functionality of your website are working for you rather than against you.
By understanding how people find your website, and what they do once they land on your site, you can see where to improve and what to capitalize on to grow your business into a success.
3. A security and firewall solution
When it comes to scaling your business, there’s nothing more important than making sure your site’s data is safe and secure.
This is especially true if you accept payments through your website in exchange for products and services.
Sucuri’s web application firewall is probably one of the best ways to secure your site. It monitors and protects your WordPress site from things like:
- DDoS Attacks: the strategy of flooding your server to take down your website, and everyone else’s that is stored on that server.
- Malware Threats: malicious injections of code onto your website without your consent to perform black hat SEO tactics, maintain control, or take your site down.
- XSS Attacks: another type of injection, using a web application, to gain access to your website and leave client-side scripts on your site that only site visitors can see.
- Brute Force Attacks: the act of trying to hack into your website through a login page using trial and error
If you are looking for a more affordable option that offers comparable services, check out these free WordPress plugins:
You can even check out Sucuri’s own free WordPress plugin, Sucuri Security, to see if it has the security features you need to protect your website as it grows.
4. A Content Delivery Network (CDN)
Your site visitors expect your website to load within two seconds or less. And if it takes more than three seconds, you can expect 50% of people to abandon your site.
Unfortunately, your site’s images and static content take the longest to load and can affect the user experience drastically.
But there is a solution.
With a content delivery network (CDN), your site’s data is stored on multiple servers spanning the globe.
Then, when a site visitor clicks on your website, the server geographically closest to that user delivers the content, so it loads as fast as possible.
As a result, you’ll notice an increase in your site’s pageviews, a lower bounce rate, and better search rankings, all of which are crucial to building a strong following and generating more sales.
5. An SEO tool
SEO optimization is essential for any growing website.
Your SEO efforts will expose your brand to a broader audience, improve your search engine rankings, and even drive more traffic to your website.
In short, a solid SEO strategy will help you establish yourself long-term, even when the competition gets tough.
Though there are no shortages of SEO tools and plugins on the market, the one we like to recommend is Yoast SEO.
Not only is it free to use, but it also gives you everything you need to make your site’s content SEO-friendly, so the right people see your content and visit your website.
To start, let Yoast analyze your content to make sure you’re using the right keywords. Next, view your search result snippet to see what potential site visitors will see.
You can use the green light system to make sure you’ve done everything to optimize your content.
And if you haven’t, Yoast will give you helpful suggestions to get you on the right track.
The good news is, it’s easy to find free WordPress blog themes that are SEO-optimized from the get-go. While going with these is a step in the right direction, you should take that extra step and work on your content’s SEO to really pull ahead of the competition.
6. An eCommerce platform
If you’re looking to open up an online shop, WooCommerce is one of the most comprehensive, and affordable, options on the market today.
It’s simple to use, gives you a strong foundation to build your shop on, and of course, integrates seamlessly with WordPress.
Plus it’s really lightweight, so it won’t drag down your site’s speed.
Powering nearly 30% of all online stores on the internet, WooCommerce offers features like:
- The ability to sell unlimited physical and digital products, including product variations, downloads, and subscriptions
- A built-in blogging platform for publishing content your customers love
- Currency, tax, language, and shipping settings that span the globe
- Product sorting and filtering for the best buying experience
- Product ratings and reviews to build authority and sell more
- SEO optimization for better search rankings and more traffic
And that’s just the beginning.
If you need to expand on the design and functionality of your online store, WooCommerce comes with tons of free and premium extensions designed to do just that.
Save time and simplify your workflow
Each of these tools are so important to running a successful website and business. But there are also a few things you can do to simplify your workflow even further! Depending on what hosting, plugins, and tools you already have on your site, there are steps that aren’t necessary for each and every WordPress site. The last thing you want is to negatively affect your site’s performance, and that’s why it’s so important to understand the resources you already have!
For example, if you’re hosting with Flywheel, there’s no need for caching, security, or backup plugins. It’s all taken care of by the awesome Flywheel team and managed through their delightful platform. And with the latest addition of the Flywheel Cloud Platform, you can add CDN to any site (for free)!
So if you’re already running backups, you don’t need to waste storage on another tool to do so. If your cache is already optimized for you, focus on doing your best work and less about the technical nitty-gritty of maintaining your sites. So before you start adding all these tools to your site, check what features you might already have from your hosting company or other tools. Afterall, your site performance plays a key factor in your online success.
Creating a WordPress website is inherently easy.
However, if you want to grow your following and customer base, it’s going to take much more than just a basic WordPress site to achieve your goals.
Luckily, there are many WordPress tools out there designed to help you make your website fast, secure, and profitable.
All you have to do is find the ones that suit your needs and set them up to do the work for you.
Before you know it, you’ll be well on your way to having a huge audience that comes back to read your content, purchase your products, and engage with others that share a similar interest.