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The Best WordPress Plugins for Business 2015

The Best WordPress Plugins for Business 2015

Simple Plugins that Work With Little Coding or HTML Knowledge

Since its initial release in 2003, WordPress has become a web publishing tour de force. From casual blogs to internally recognized websites like TIME and CNN, this content management tool has been renowned for its simple user interface and endless customization options.

And with seamless integration to offline WYSIWYG editors like Adobe Dreamweaver, it’s easy to create a web property that truly reflects your brand. You can even work directly from a theme (a website template) to effortlessly get an aesthetic style that suits your needs.

But what really makes this open source tool truly incredible is the diverse selection of plugins that users can install. These – often free – tools not only eliminate the need for hard coding, but they also take a lot of the frustration out of making edits to your site.

Whether you’re a hands-on business owner designing your own website or a developer creating a site for a client, you should definitely check out what I consider to be the Best WordPress Plugins for Business 2015.

Visual Composer for WordPress

Category: Web design
Cost: $33 USD (Free demo available)

This isn’t a truly WYSIWYG editor, but it’s pretty close. Perfect for first-time web designers or those looking to save a bit of time, Visual Composer for Word Press allows you to divide your page elements into various rows and columns. There isn’t a lot of wiggle room for how wide you can to set each column, but you can add custom CSS to the page for added flexibility.

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Here’s how it works. You start off with a blank page. By selecting the Backend Editor you can then add elements (rows) one at a time.

You’re then able to select which kind of content you want to insert: images, headers, lightboxes, contact forms and custom CSS or HTML.

Each row can then be divided in several columns – so here’s hoping you’re decent at fractions!

Simply repeat the process until your webpage is complete.

Take a look at the onsite elements for my home page, as well as the finished product.

Visual Composer’s user interface

The raw HTML output for these elements

Finished product

If you’re new to WordPress, $33 USD is a small investment that, in my opinion, eliminates much of the coding and guesswork required to build a website.

Shortcodes Ultimate

Categories: Web design, coding, CSS, site customization
Cost: Free (Basic)

Shortcodes are an amazing part of WordPress that take long, complicated snippets of HTML or CSS coding, and condense them into one standard line that can be inserted anywhere on your site. In essence, they’re coding shortcuts.

By default, WordPress already supports several shortcodes, so this plugin isn’t exactly mandatory.  However, it’s still definitely worth the download, thanks to its addition of more than 40 new shortcodes and increased functionality. Adding more complicated features like accordion items, animated buttons or boxed CTAs is a breeze, and is something that can easily be mastered after just a short amount of time fiddling with the menu. There’s also a premium add-on to this plugin (currently $15 USD) that allows you to create your very own custom shortcodes.

If you’re looking for the Best WordPress Plugins for Business, you should definitely make Shortcodes Ultimate part of your plugin repository.

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Add more than 40 design elements with this shortcodes plugin


Categories: E-Commerce/ Online Sales
Cost: Free (Basic)

You don’t have to be a multi-million dollar business to run a successful e-commerce shop. WooCommerce is the choice WordPress’ e-commerce plugin for many online retailers. If you have something to sell, WooCommerce allows you to easily track your product inventory, item descriptions and tax rates – all while creating a seamless shopping experience for your users.

Granted, once an order has been placed, it’s up to you to successfully you fulfill it, but this plugin has been levelling the e-commerce playing field for quite some time now. What’s more, thanks to its advanced customization options, WooCommerce allows even the smallest businesses to seem just as credible as their larger, big box counterparts.

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Easy Digital Downloads

Categories: E-Commerce/ Online Sales
Cost: Free (Basic)

If your store centres more on selling electronic media (word documents, PDFs, videos, images and other files), then Easy Digital Downloads definitely deserves a mention on this list of best WordPress plugins for business. Easy Digital Downloads allows you to monetize every time a user downloads a file.

This plugin features:

  • The ability to set pricing, discounts and promo codes
  • Add-to-cart functionality for purchasing multiple items
  • PayPal and manual information options
  • Bundled products
  • Custom purchase receipts
  • Detailed sales reports
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WordPress SEO (Yoast)

Categories: Search Engine Optimization, Social Media
Cost: Free (Basic)

You may have amazing content, but without an audience, most of your efforts are wasted. That’s where Search Engine Optimization (SEO) comes in. By modifying your onsite elements, you let search engines like Google and Bing know your website exists, and what it’s about. A few tweaks here and there can make a drastic impact regarding where your site ranks on Search Engine Results Page (SERP).

This plugin’s developers tout WordPress SEO as “The first true all-in-one SEO solution for WordPress“. I’ll have to admit, it is a pretty great WordPress plugin.

If you’re new to web design and coding, this plugin’s intuitive user interface makes those necessary onsite tweaks a breeze.

You can add webmaster verifications for Google, Bing, Alexa and Yandex right from the plugin, eliminating the need to actually go into your website’s root files (you normally have to add specialized coding to your site’s Header.php).

You can even include advanced social media sharing to your site for Twitter Cards, Pinterest Site Verification, Facebook Insights/ Open Graph, as well as your Google Publisher Page.

My favourite element of this plugin’s user interface is actually a small, but very thoughtful one. The developers have added the links to instructional pages for each respective social network – saving you quite a bit of time searching and navigating the web to locate these often deeply embedded pages.

Admittedly, the world of SEO is rather complex with a whole slew of strategies that publishers must employ to increase their rankings, but this plugin is a  fantastic start.

Get it for your site!

Verify your website on Google, Bing, Alexa and Yandex right from this plugin

Automatically create Twitter Cards and Facebook Open Graph data


Category: Website Maintenance
Cost: Free

Depending on the size and scope of your website, you’re going to be burning through a lot of bandwidth. Over time, these costs can definitely add up. WP-Optimize is an automatic tool that removes unnecessary files from your domain hosting. Think of it as clearing out your computer’s caches and Recycle Bin. For those experiencing lag while actually working in WordPress, this plugin can also help speed up your user experience.

Features of this WordPress plugin include:

  • Optimizes your database
  • Removes spam and un-approved comments
  • Clears out your trash
  • Ability to keep backups of several weeks
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Category: Mobile Web Development
Cost: Free (Basic Version). Extended Version is $69 for a single license

Now that Google has implemented a new mobile search ranking system that takes into account exactly how mobile-friendly your website is, it’s a very good idea to start optimizing your content for viewing on smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices. WPtouch is a WordPress plugin that claims to make your site mobile friendly in just minutes. Simply install and activate the plugin, choose a theme and you’re done!

This is a great plugin for people with older, non-responsive websites who don’t want to completely overhaul their existing desktop site. With more than 2 million users worldwide, this is definitely one mobile conversion tool to consider.

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Categories: Social media, sharing, content syndication
Cost: Free (Basic Version)

Now that you’ve build your website, you may want to consider promoting it. While WordPress does come standard with a sharing option, the number of social media networks you can post on is quite limited.  That’s where Shareaholic comes in.

This plugin allows you to add share buttons or links to related content throughout your site. Readers will have the option to post your page to more than 60 well-known and more obscure social networks, including main staples like Facebook, Google+, Twitter, Pinterest and Tumblr.

For those seeking added customization, the user interface also includes a shortcode you can copy and paste anywhere into your text field to have it appear on a particular part of your page.

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