A website can do a whole lot more for your blog or business if it has awesome features — and that’s where WordPress.com plugins come into play. These plugins are useful tools that are automatically included in every WordPress.com website and add increased, hassle-free functionality. While the WordPress.com Business plan allows you to activate third-party plugins, some of the most popular choices are already at your fingertips.
Here are five of the most useful WordPress.com features available for you to explore.
What does it do? Every small-business owner should understand how their website performs, which is why stats is such a useful WordPress.com plugin. It highlights key website information, including posting activity, the most popular day and hour people visit, the number of views and visitors, the most popular content categories, and more.
What are the benefits? This plugin gives insight into what readers like — and what they don’t. Let’s say you’re a fashion blogger and no one has left a comment on your site in the last six days. By viewing your stats, you can figure out what’s led to a lull in blog activity. Did you forget to post new content? Did you slack on social media promotion? Were your posts a little on the long side? Stats can help you adjust your blogging strategy by showing you what really drives traffic.
2. Essential SEO
What does it do? Search engine optimization (SEO) is a series of techniques that can get your website closer to the top of Google’s search results. Some of these tactics include using the right keywords and publishing informative posts — which helps Google recognize you as an authority in your field. Luckily, WordPress.com makes sure all of its website themes are SEO-optimized.
What are the benefits? When you select a theme for your website, most of the SEO work is already done. This is a huge time-saver, because you can focus your energy on other tools and features you’ll need to attract visitors. WordPress.com also sends updates to Google every time you change or publish a post, which is another potential boost for your site’s visibility.
3. Social media
What does it do? Give people the power to share your content across multiple social media channels with this plugin, which lets you decide which sharing buttons to make visible on your site.
You can add a share button to your blog posts, home page, and more. If you’re a restaurant owner who wants to spread the word about your revamped rooftop deck, summer brunch menu, or daily specials, the Share This button is a useful tool for website visitors to help you get the word out.
What are the benefits? If people don’t know about your site, they probably won’t visit. Social media extends your reach by allowing users to share your content across the web. Content can live forever on these platforms, allowing new people to discover it. If they love what they see, they may visit again and become loyal fans.
4. Form builder
What does it do? Form builder does exactly what it says — it helps you create forms on your site to gather more information from visitors. One of the most popular forms you can build is a contact form, which includes fields where website visitors can enter their names, email addresses, questions, and comments.
What are the benefits? Forms make it easy to collect information from users, but they also help you connect and create a two-way conversation. If you run a brick-and-mortar business, it’s an easy way for supporters to contact you outside of your regular business hours. They can request a quote, ask questions about your products and services, or leave feedback about a recent experience.
5. Related posts
What does it do? Keep users engaged with your website using the related posts plugin. This feature directs visitors to relevant content whenever they view a post. With this plugin, a user reading “Planning a First Birthday Party” on your parenting blog will also see links to “Five Birthday Party Games Kids Love” or “10 Simple Party Recipes.” To use this feature, you’ll need to enable it from the Settings menu when you log in to your site. It also requires that you have at least 10 posts with a minimum of 100 words each.
What are the benefits? Related posts allow users to see content they may be interested in (or might have missed) — keeping them on your site longer. It also increases the likelihood they’ll see content they want to share, which could help build loyalty and attract more visitors to your site. This is critical if you’re a blogger, because the success of your blog depends on how many people read it and visit regularly.
WordPress.com automatically includes the most popular plugins, so that’s one less box you’ll need to check as you get ready to launch. These five WordPress.com features are great starting points, but there are many more you can use to get your site in the best shape possible before it goes live — or long after.