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Must have features for small business website (and how to do it with WordPress)

On this page you'll find advice about the must have features for any small business website. Also, you'll get WordPress plugin recommendations, to help you add those features to your website. If you want to skip to the plugin section of this page click here - go to WordPress plugin recommendations.

Now, lets start with the must have features for any small business website. Those features could be categorized roughly into four main areas:

1. Essential information:

Be clear. (Small business website expert quote)

1.1 Compelling messaging

Your small business website should clearly convey a value proposition to your target audience. It should highlight your expertise, experience, and the benefits you offer to potential clients. This will help them quickly determine if you're a good fit for their needs.

1.2 Comprehensive service overview

Clearly outline the range of the services that your small business offers (with pricing if possible), and use simple language without jargon. This will make it easy for visitors to understand your offering, and decide to go ahead and contact you for collaboration.

1.3 Prominent contact information

Make it easy for visitors to find your contact information - including phone numbers, email addresses, and physical address of your small business. Also, include clear and easy-to-use contact form(s) for visitors to inquire about services or request a consultation.

2. User experience:

Be accessible. (Small business website expert quote)

2.1 Mobile responsive design

Ensure that your small business website is easy to navigate and view on all devices, including smartphones and tablets. This is crucial, because nowadays a significant portion of website traffic comes from mobile devices.

2.2 Easy navigation

Your small business website should have a clear and intuitive navigation structure, that makes it easy for visitors to find the information they need. Avoid complex menus or excessive clutter (on your website in general).

2.3 Strong calls to action (CTAs)

Include prominent CTAs throughout your small business website, encouraging visitors to take action - such as contacting you for consultation, requesting a quote, or downloading valuable resources.

3. Credibility and trust:

Be reliable. (Small business website expert quote)

3.1 About us section

Provide a concise overview of history, team, values, and mission of your small business. Highlight the qualifications and experience of your employees and any certifications or awards. This will help potential clients build trust and confidence in your capabilities.

3.2 Client testemonials

Showcase positive testimonials from satisfied clients to further establish credibility and trust of your small business. Include compelling case studies that demonstrate your expertise and the positive impact you have on clients' businesses.

3.3 Regularly updated content

Keep your small business website fresh and engaging with regular updates, including blog posts, industry news articles, and helpful resources for potential clients. It will also help your SEO (search engine optimization) efforts.

4. Additional technical aspect:

Be skillful. (Small business website expert quote)

4.1 Search engine optimization (SEO)

Implement SEO strategies to improve your small business website's ranking in search engine results pages (SERPs). This will increase your visibility and organic traffic from potential clients searching for services you offer. In short, there are three main types of SEO: a) on-page SEO - anything you do with website content to improve rankings, such as using relevant keywords; b) off-page SEO - anything you do outside of your website to improve rankings, such as building backlinks; and c) technical SEO - anything you do on the technical side of things, such as improving page speed or alt-text on your images etc.

4.2 Security & data privacy

Ensure that your small business website has a valid SSL certificate, which encrypts all data transmitted between the website and its visitors. This protects sensitive information and instills confidence in potential clients. Also, implement clear data privacy policies to protect client information that's collected through your website (by you or third party service providers you use), to be compliant with widespread regulation (GDPR in the EU region, etc.).

4.3 Web accessibility

You should make sure your small business website is accessible - meaning it's designed in a way that doesn't prevent people with disabilities (mainly visual impairment), to use it. This is important not just because of the legal liability, but mainly because you widen your user base and increase the number of potential clients.

If you're already overwhelmed with the info you read so far, and you need some guidance with your small business website - schedule a free consultation with me:

WordPress provides good basis for any small business website, being lightweight and providing basic features for a simple blog. For everything else, you need to select one theme and multiple plugins that will provide you with any additional feature you need. Best of all - in most use cases, you can get everything completely for free (with an option to upgrade to premium if and when needed).

KadenceWP wordpress theme installation page

When it comes to your content shaping, every building block you need should be provided by the single WordPress theme you choose. If you ask me - the best theme is the one that provides advanced features (that's usually provided by plugins commonly known as page builders). Theme I use for every of my projects, that provides many starter templates for free, and is lightweight (providing fast loading times) - KadenceWP.

Kadence starter templates wordpress plugin installation page

One important note here is that you need to install two additional plugins with this theme (Kadence blocks and Kadence starter templates ). Don't worry, there's no additional bloat. Plus, Kadence blocks provide you with features you would usually need a separate plugin for (contact form, testemonials and advanced image gallery).

For everything else, there are many WordPress plugins that can help you add countless features to your small business website. Here's the list of plugins I regularly use, that provide most things you'll ever need for free:

On every website (without exceptions):

1/9 Contact form

Ninja forms wordpress plugin installation page

If you need something simple for your small business website (one step form with basic fields - name, email, text of the message), then you can use a form block provided by the Kadence blocks plugin. It comes complementary to the KadenceWP theme, as I mentioned before. For anything more complex, I suggest you to use Ninja Forms - it provides more than 25 field types, with an easy to use form builder.

2/9 SEO (search engine optimization)

SEOpress wordpress plugin installation page

When it comes to search engine optimization for your small business website, one of the best choices is SEOpress. It doesn't provide just the usual options - generating sitemap, setting titles and meta description, but also an integration with Google Analytics & Microsoft Clarity (session recordings & heatmaps).

3/9 Security

Wordfence wordpress plugin installation page

Choosing a security solution, you should know that no single plugin provides all the features needed for your small business website. My first choice is Wordfence, because it provides firewall features for free. Everything else it maybe lacks, you'll get by using Cloudflare CDN (content delivery network). Cloudflare provides many security features for free - ddos protection, spam and content scraping prevention. You'll find out more about Cloudflare a bit later on this page.

4/9 Backup

UpdraftPlus wordpress plugin installation page

Complementary to already mentioned security practices, you should always have a backup plan for your small business website. If everything else fails (and it might), restoring your website to the previous state can be your last resort. I prefer using UpdraftPlus, because it provides many backup options (Dropbox, Google Drive, FTP, S3, Rackspace, email), plus the restore and migrate features for free.

5/9 Privacy (GDPR)

CookieYes wordpress plugin installation page

One of the most complicated legal issues you can face with your small business website, is the data privacy of your visitors. You not only have to provide the consent form for the data tracking/collection, you also need to log those consents (as a proof, if needed later). My first choice is the CookieYes plugin, because it provides the consent form for 25.000 views/month (you'd be happy if you ever come close to that), and consent log for free.

6/9 SSL setup

Really simple SSL wordpress plugin installation page

Your small business website needs a SSL certificates in order to secure online transactions and keep customer information private and secure. This certificate is usually provided by your hosting and/or CDN, but sometimes you need to set it up manually. In that case, there's no easier solution than Really Simple SSL plugin - it takes just few clicks and you're done!

7/9 Cache and CDN (content delivery network)

Cloudflare wordpress plugin installation page

When it comes to speed optimization of your small business website, one of the most effective tools is the CDN. I prefer using Cloudflare CDN, because it provides an easy setup through their official WordPress plugin. Besides the usual benefits of file caching, code minification, and faster loading time, it offers security features such as ddos protection, spam and content scraping prevention, for free.

8/9 Image optimization

Smush wordpress plugin installation page

If you want to provide a great user experience to the visitors of your small business website, you shouldn't make them wait long for the pages to load. One of the main reasons for slow loading speed is the multimedia content (images and videos). Videos should never be hosted on your server, but embedded on your website (from YouTube, etc.). On the other hand, images should be hosted on your server (uploaded through WordPress). But you need to optimize them on upload, so they won't take too much server space, or take too much time to load. My first choice in image optimization is the Smush plugin - it enables image compression and resizing, even those outside of the default media library (from theme or plugins).

9/9 Web accessibility

One click accessibility wordpress plugin installation page

Last, but in no way least important is the accessibility of your small business website. WordPress is accessible out of the box - the core code, and themes from the offical theme repository are required to be accessible. However, additional features added through plugins (that don't have the same requirement), are often unaccessible. That is why you should use an additional widget for accessibility. I recommend using One Click Accessibility plugin, that offers an easy and lightweight solution for this.

For advanced features:

1/7 Custom content types/fields

Pods wordpress plugin installation page

Sometimes, the default features provided by WordPress (pages and posts), just aren't enough. When you need a more complex structure of your small business website - to add custom post types, custom taxonomy (not just categories or tags), or custom fields to any piece of content type, you should use Pods plugin. It also gives you an option to make custom relations between any two pieces of content type. And best of all, most of it's features are completely free.

2/7 Multilingual

TranslatePress wordpress plugin installation page

Until WordPress introduces multilingual feature out of the box (in core, as they promised), we're forced to use a plugin for that. While there are many options, I recommend using TranslatePress plugin, because it offers WooCommerce integration for free. The main limitations of the free version is the fact it offers only 1 additional language for your small business website. But if you need a bilingual website, TranslatePress is the best choice.

3/7 E-commerce

Ecwid ecommerce
                                                                                                                                            shopping cart wordpress plugin installation page

Depending on the type and size of your online shop, there are few options to consider. If you need a simple shopping cart widget, for a small shop (up to 5 products/services, in 2 categories), I'd suggest you use Ecwid Ecommerce Shopping Cart plugin. If your focus is on selling digital products and files, there's no better choice than Easy Digital Downloads. Lastly, if you're looking for a solution that offers a lot of add-ons, that can help you easily scale - choose WooCommerce plugin for your small business website.

4/7 E-learning

Tutor LMS wordpress plugin installation page

Perhaps you need something more specific than a general e-commerce plugin - if you're specialized in selling online courses. In that case, you're best choice is Tutor LMS plugin, that provides most of it's features for free (including WooCommerce and Easy Digital Downloads integration for additional monetization options). On top of that, you can integrate easily with GamiPress plugin for free - to gamify the experience for your users, making the online courses on your small business website even more appealing and fun.

5/7 Membership

Paid membership pro wordpress plugin installation page

If you want a membership site that's not oriented (just) towards selling online courses, but other types of content, usually subscription based - use Paid Membership Pro plugin. You can easily set up unlimited levels of membership on your small business website (with different pricing and restricted content types for each level). Don't let the name fool you, most of it's features and add-ons are actually free.

6/7 CRM (customer relationship management)

Brevo wordpress plugin installation page

For all those looking to integrate their small business website with a CRM software - choose Brevo plugin. It has the most generous free offer - unlimited contacts, lists, subscription forms, and you can send up to 300 emails/day for your email campaign. Even their paid plans seem more affordable than most.

7/7 Multi-site management

ManageWP wordpress plugin installation page

In case you need to manage multiple websites (with separate WordPress installs), for yourself or your clients - you should always try to simplify and automate the process. One of the best solutions is the ManageWP plugin, that provides many useful features on top of the easy management of themes and plugins for all your websites. It provides performance and security checks, monthly cloud backup, and client reports for each website - for free!

If you need any additional help with your small business website or the websites of your clients, schedule a free consultation with me: