As you all know, WordPress is the preferred web design and blogging platform because of how flexible it is. With WordPress you can easily make your site search engine friendly, make it look nice and appeal directly to customers.
A lot of this is made possible thanks to plugins. WordPress makes plugins available so designers have an infinite number of possibilities to customize, tweak, and fiddle to their heart’s content.
However, the most important goal of any person designing a website or blog is to make it as inviting and engaging as possible so that visitors will remain on the site as long as possible. How long they stay indicates how engaged they are. The longer they are engaged, the more likely they are to become a customer.
Plugins can help make the site functional and inviting so that mere visitors are converted into customers. Here, I take a look at a few plugins that work the hardest toward maximizing the on-site experience for your customers.
Building a Consumer-Friendly Website
In order to determine what kind of website or blog to build and what plugins to use in the design process, it is imperative to consider who the customer is. Look at what you’re offering.
For instance, if the website is for an auto parts retailer, the site needs to be an easy-to-navigate online store that contains a lot of details about the parts being sold. The design needs to consist of primary colors since those working on cars are predominantly men. If the website is for a bridal shop, however, then the design needs to be elegant and more refined.
Both of these website types need to be easy to understand, attractive, and functional. Plugins can enhance the simplicity for the customer. Some WordPress plugins that can enhance the usability of sites that sell products online include:
Light, yet powerful, the Cart66 Lite WordPress Plugin makes selling both physical and digital products easy. The sellers of eBooks can benefit a great deal from this. It also allows for the selling of services, tax by state, and promotions.
The eShop WordPress Plugin is easily accessible and is ideal for a customer that needs multiple merchant payment gateways, multiple shopping options, and statistics for the purchases made on the site. It’s another great way to provide convenience to your customers.
PayPal Payment Terminal
For businesses that do a lot of their online financial dealings through this payment site, PayPal Payment Terminal WordPress Plugin is useful. It does come at a fee of $15, but it’s reliable with many reporting options, making it a worthwhile investment for businesses large and small.
Add Graphic Appeal
Another important element to quality WordPress web design that can enhance the customer experience is ensuring the site is attractive graphically — without causing sensory overload. When a visitor lands on a website that has a lot of videos and photos with hardly any text explaining what they are all about, the visitor leave before they can click on anything. Balance is very important.
Site load time is also important and images that aren’t optimized can slow down a site considerably. Using a plugin like WP Smush.it can help to reduce the time it takes for images to load on your site thus improving the customer’s experience.
Add Social Integration
Increasing social engagement is a good way to increase the time a visitor spends on your website, too. This means installing all of the relevant social media plugins to make sharing website content easy. A few must-haves include Digg Digg or Floating Social Bar, Facebook Like Box Widget, and the Publicize and Sharing modules in Jetpack. You can also spark discussion in the comments section of each post to increase site engagement. When a reader gets to the end of a post or page (on some types of sites), he or she should feel compelled to express their opinion on the subject. Asking a question often does the trick.
To enhance your customer’s site experience, make your best effort to provide relevant content. For instance, you may want to offer visitors a chance to see content on your website that is related to a specific post. When that’s the case, you can add a related posts plugin. Some popular ones include:
- nRelate Related Content: The plugin analyzes the website and all of the content on it so it can display related posts. You can customize where the related content appears as well.
- Context.ly: This one isn’t free, but it is highly customizable. With tiered pricing options containing different features, many websites can benefit, and as a result, their customers will benefit.
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin: This plugin displays related content for every post and even for pages. There is a free version and a pro version available. The pro version has more customization options.
A Few Plugin Essentials
The number of plugins that are out there to make a website or blog exciting is incredible. These small conveniences increase website functionality and usability. However, it can be tempting to use them all. It is very simple to make every relevant plugin seem like a necessity. The fact is that using a lot of plugins isn’t ideal. Here is why:
- Too many plugins slows down the blog or website. Each one has to make a separate HTML request, so being selective is important.
- When plugins are not regularly maintained by their makers, security problems can result. It is best to do a little research to find which plugins are reliable and secure.
- An increased number of conflicts can occur when a new WordPress or plugin version comes out.
That being said, narrowing down your choices to the most important plugins will ensure the highest functionality of your site. Beyond the ones already mentioned above, you may wish to consider the following three. These plugins streamline site operations or add valuable functional to improve the end-user’s (your customer’s) experience:
W3 Total Cache
Page loading time is sped up with W3 Total Cache. This is important since faster loading means better user experience, better ranking, and higher conversions. It also has simple Content Delivery Network integration which allows images to be stored on another network, thus decreasing the server load.
Provide Support Live Chat
On-site chat gives visitors instant access to customer service. When in need of assistance or an answer to a simple question, the Live Chat WordPress Plugin is a way to provide a unique customer service experience. It is genuine customer support at its finest. The plugin also monitors the entire website, which means it even keeps an eye on those pages that don’t have the live chat button integrated into them.
WPtouch Mobile Plugin
A large number of individuals access the Internet on their mobile devices, which is why it is important to have a mobile version of your site. People search for businesses while on the road, so a mobile version can be the difference between securing a new customer and, well, not. WPtouch Mobile makes it simple to create an elegant mobile version of your WordPress site. There are free and Pro versions available.
All in all, having a website that creates a successful customer experience is important for a business’s bottom line. With approximately 80% of consumers turning to the Internet to find business solutions, they are looking for information and easy-to-use websites. These two elements produce an aura of credibility around a website, which is what drives conversions. By considering the type of customer that you wish to appeal to, integrating social elements, and ensuring that only the necessary relevant plugins are used, you can create a powerful website that gets the results you need.
What plugins have improved the customer experience on your WordPress site?