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9 of the best plugins for your WordPress site

9 of the best wordpress plugins for your website

Its usability, affordable pricing, and excellent features have made it one of the world’s most popular website builders – around 28% of all websites are hosted by WordPress!

If you’re using WordPress, you already know the incredible power of the mighty plugin. Plugins allow you to customise your site, and with nearly 30,000 plugins currently available you can adjust your website exactly how you want to.

Plugins aren’t difficult to use, but they do require a bit of maintenance. This includes culling plugins you are no longer actually using.

Too many plugins can make your website crash and affect its performance, security, and speed. Also, when you have plugins left unsupervised, you’re at risk when one of them is abandoned by their developers or hijacked by hackers, making your website even more vulnerable to malicious attacks.

Your first task in creating a brilliant, effective, and secure website is to assess your plugin situation, keeping in mind the adage ‘quality not quantity’.

So, what makes a quality plugin? Here are a few of our faves.

 

For caching

About 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less, and 40% will abandon a page that takes more than three seconds to load. So caching plugins are an absolute necessity for a fast-loading website and significantly better user experience – especially for mobile users.

Our suggestion is WP Fastest Cache, which has both a free and premium plan.  This plugin works by creating static HTML files from any dynamic WordPress blog.

 

For security

Security plugins are a no-brainer. Despite WordPress having pretty sturdy firewalls, every user – especially businesses – should have a security plugin. This is even more important if your website gathers user data such as contact or payment details. A good plugin will block sensitive information from potential attackers without impacting usability for other users. You can choose between all-in-one solutions or plugins just to protect against specific issues.

Akismet, for starters, is a plugin everybody should have installed on their site to combat spammy comments.

Our favourite all-in-one security plugin is Wordfence, which has a free plan or premium plans starting from $99. If your site deals with e-commerce, we suggest iThemes Security.

 

For backing up

Possibly as important as security is ensuring your website is backed up. It just takes one unlucky event – a malfunction, a malware attack, or hacker action ­– and you could lose all your hard work. It doesn’t happen very often, but if you are that unlucky non-backer-upperer, it really sucks.

We recommend UpdraftPlus, which comes free with WordPress premium plans and has several premium versions available. This plugin can back up to a range of different cloud platforms, such as Dropbox and Google Drive, or can simply send the back-up to your email.

Here’s a nifty video from Updraft on how to back up your site:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MZCmAZ8rnMk

 

For search engine optimisation

Even if you have SEO specialists optimising your searchability, it’s always good to have an SEO plugin. It’s a big ol’ online world out there, and you definitely want your business to stand out at the top of Google search results.

In our opinion, the hostess-with-the-mostest is Yoast. Yoast SEO – again, available in free or premium – is easy to use, and tells you how to better your SEO as you go. It’s super-effective for blog-based sites, allowing you to make “bulk edits” to your site and manage SEO roles if you’d like your staff to also use it.

 

For image optimisation

Content is key, and words paint a thousand pictures (do we have that right?), but if you want to chuck a cherry atop your optimisation pudding, we recommend looking at your images.

Images – particularly big ones, or lots of them – can do terrible things to user experience.

Like any big gnarly files, loading takes time and can really slow down your website. So you might want to think about compressing some images.

When you’re decreasing an image’s size (or compressing) you want to retain its visual integrity – this ain’t Nintendo 64, after all (although wouldn’t be great if it was?).

We recommend TinyPNG for the job. It isn’t really a plugin per se, but it’s a very effective way to minimise your picture files without maximising pixilation. It’s free, easy to use, and there’s even a cute little panda on the dashboard smiling at you while you wait.

 

For social sharing

Social media is quickly becoming the most effective marketing option, especially for small businesses. If you’ve nailed your content, you need to have an easy way for people to share it. You need little buttons on the content – one click and it’s shared to the user’s preferred social platform.

Social Snap (free, the full version starts at $39) is our favourite button-making-plugin.

 

For forms

One excellent way to generate leads for your business is to include forms for users to fill out for enquiries, bookings, or e-commerce.

Contact Form 7 (a free plugin) allows you to customise and manage multiple forms in an easy coding-free way. This smart-form creator is also brilliant for preventing spam.

So, there you have it: the bare necessities of plugins. Tried and tested by us personally, these bare necessities (these simple bare necessities) will hopefully help you forget your WordPress worries.

On a final, more serious note (yes, we do serious): remember to check that a plugin has been updated recently (in the last 2-3 years) before installing it. This will help you avoid any nasty vulnerabilities.

Also, read user comments to find out if the plugin has unfixed errors that could put your site in jeopardy. This is especially important if you don’t have prior experience in coding or site development.

Alternatively, feel free to call us. You can also fill out our online contact form – it’s super-easy and spam-free.

Creative Content’s Guide to B2B Marketing

Creative content's guide to effective B2B marketing

Are you thinking about the next marketing campaign for your B2B business? Like many of the companies we talk to, you may be feeling confused about where to start – the services you offer may not translate well onto an appealing billboard or magazine ad, and even then, those ads wouldn’t effectively reach your small, specific target market!

The go-to strategies for B2Bs are often direct, outbound techniques – cold calls, tapping into referral networks or emails sent straight to identified prospective clients. This may deserve a place in your marketing toolbox, but it is not the only way to engage potential clients or your wider industry.

To generate leads, there are far better strategies to help you remain at the forefront of potential clients’ mind far longer than the time it takes for them to read the latest sales-focused cold email in their inbox!

 

B2B marketing versus B2C marketing 

B2B and B2C buyers have different mindsets. A typical B2C buyer is generally looking for one product, without much cost or risk to the transaction. Maybe, they’ll Google a product and read a few reviews or shop around, but often the sales process just a few minutes. Overt marketing tactics can easily inspire impulse buys for B2C customers.

B2B buyers are more sceptical and informed. Choosing to invest in a product line or service with business money carries far higher risk than purchasing as an individual. Also, a B2B purchase is often the start of a long-term relationship. So, they thoroughly research their future purchase before they even contact you.

Because the B2B buyer comes to you with knowledge, the best way to generate a lead is to have already established authority and trust within your industry.

To foster trust and bring your company to the forefront of your buyer’s mind first, effective strategies incorporating content marketing are crucial!

 

The elements you need for your ultimate content marketing strategy:

 

An absolute understanding of your audience

Content marketing is the creation of meaningful, helpful content with your exact consumer in mind. The goal of the content isn’t actually sales – it’s engagement. You are creating conversations and solving pain points for consumers in the wider context of your industry.

Content is useless if it doesn’t connect with your audience. Although you are discussing business and business processes, people make the purchase decisions. You’re targeting the key decision makers in these companies, so you need to gain their attention and respect through storytelling that resonates with them. You’re saying to your audience ‘I see where you’re at and where your pain points are, and here are several solutions…’ with an educational, interest-based focus.

So, you need to ask:

What is your core audience looking for? How do they communicate, and how do they expect to be communicated with?

Understanding the characteristics, needs and lifestyles of your consumers allows you to effectively craft marketing messages they respond to. A great example of this in action is our full rebrand of Connect Outsourcing, which we carried out based on extensive client interviews and market research to gain a deep understanding of their audience.

With your audience in mind, you can then begin to build your content.

 

An effective website

You need to completely tailor your website to your audience. There is no point creating an appealing website if it doesn’t contain useful, industry-specific information in the tone of the people you’re trying to connect with.

Given the risk involved in a B2B purchase, it is important to showcase up-to-date testimonials to assure prospects that your company ‘walks the walk’.

To be effective, your company website should be an industry resource engaging current and potential clients, solving their business problems in the wider industry context. FAQ’s sections, educational pages regarding your specialty or regularly updated blog modules can achieve this. We created effective educational resources for Aaron Martin of New Zealand Immigration Law, which helped position him as an authority figure on immigration. He is now a source for news outlets reporting on immigration! This exposure places him first in employers’ minds when they seek immigration law services.

Your website can’t just provide information! It should contain persuasive ‘calls to action’. Keep in mind the people-based nature of B2B business decisions – you’re not pushing consumers directly to carts or ‘buy now’ options but encouraging them to contact sales-people or request quotes. You can provide a bit more information about who they will be speaking with – showcase your staff as helpful, friendly or professional (whatever your audience is looking for) using an ‘about us’ page or staff profiles.

Succinct, clear copy is also crucial for websites. Read our thoughts on creating the most effective copy for your website here.

 

A social media presence

Social media platforms aren’t always the right place for B2B businesses – your industry content may not be what people want to see when scrolling through their newsfeeds! However, if used the right way, Facebook and LinkedIn in particular are valuable avenues to get your message noticed by your audience.

These platforms can start conversations around industry tips and news. You can share business advice for people in your industry, industry news, snippets of success stories or case studies and cross-promote blog material from your website. Essentially, you’re connecting with prospects on an interest level rather than sharing sales-focused content. The more visually appealing the posts, the better! Check out our guide to an effective Facebook video marketing strategy.

 

SEO

Potential B2B clients are likely to do a Google search to find solutions to their pain points instead of waiting to be found. You need to proactively place yourself in front of these clients as their solution! This is where Search Engine Optimisation comes in.

SEO helps search engines find you and rank you according to relevant keywords on your website. By improving your website rankings on a search query, you improve your visibility over your competition.

More visitors to your website means more leads! SEO experts help you apply the most effective keyword phrases based on pain points of your audience to optimise your site for search.

 

An engaging blog

Blogs provide a platform to showcase content outside of static website copy about your business. They also provide opportunity to build on your SEO keywords as you will be discussing industry-specific issues.

Blogs set you up as industry thought leaders. They help retain clients by continuing to provide them with useful information outside your specific service, and engage potential clients in a wider conversation led by your business.

Your blog should create engaging experiences, with each post providing unique and helpful perspectives. High-quality stories have power to push your prospects to take action and reach out to your business.

Potential blog topics:

  • Business tips
  • Pain point solutions
  • Industry news
  • Interesting features of your products or services
  • Success stories and case studies

There is no point creating useful content without incorporating it into your wider marketing strategy – blog posts can be repurposed for social media and direct emails.

Ultimately, a well-crafted, relevant message must be at the heart of B2B marketing campaigns. It is far more effective to connect with your specified industry audience through education and helpful information, leveraged through several platforms, instead of overt sales messaging.

If you’re looking to start your new marketing journey, our Creative Content team specialises in B2B marketing. We create a cohesive strategy to build brand profiles and generate leads. You can check out some of our recent projects here. Contact us now!

Top 10 Apps To Market Your Business

The online marketing world can be daunting, at Creative Content it’s our job to make marketing easy for our clients, so we love it when we find useful tools that make our job easier. Luckily there are many simple and inexpensive apps that make it easy for you to market your business in the digital age.

Apps can be amazing tools to help you streamline processes. And with the right set of tools, you can spend less time managing campaigns and more time developing effective messages. They can also create a more enjoyable experience for your clients so that people are more likely to recommend you to others.

Check out our list of the top ten apps that we use every day in our agency that will help you with marketing your business.

1. Loom

Loom lets you create quick videos that display a desktop view of your screen. You can create a simple walkthrough video in a couple of minutes and easily share it by email or via an embedded link on your website. This is particularly good if you want to provide advisory services to clients who can’t meet face-to-face. You can also use Loom to create social media content to share.

Get it now: https://www.useloom.com

Cost: Free!

2. Canva

Canva is an incredibly simple platform to create professional-looking graphic design elements in minutes. If you need a quick graphic for a social media post or to jazz up a presentation or report for a client, you can create it in Canva in no time.

Canva has hundreds of pre-made templates for all kinds of professional uses. It also comes with handy images and font suggestions so that even the most design-challenged among us can create something classy and professional.

Get it now: https://www.canva.com

Cost: Free to use, with some premium fonts, templates, and images having a nominal cost.

3. ContentStudio

ContentStudio allows you to organise all your social media marketing from a single place. You can curate engaging content, share it through multiple channels, and strengthen your content marketing.

A popular feature of ContentStudio is its ability to fetch fresh content from over a thousand sources, meaning you can delve in and compile trending content from any niche or market. You also have the ability to compose unique posts and schedule them to be published through your social accounts, helping you create better-looking posts at a faster pace.

Get it now: https://contentstudio.io/

Cost: Free to use, with premium packages offering advanced features.

4. Asana

Asana is a simple project management tool designed to help teams organise their workload and get more done. In Asana you can map out steps, assign work, see what’s currently in progress or what still needs to be done, track due dates, and see visually how work is tracking. It’s a great tool to help your team manage their workload and to give you visibility over how client work is tracking.

Get it now: https://asana.com

Cost: Free to use, with premium packages offering advanced features.

5. Biteable

Biteable is an awesome site where you can create unique video ads, explainer videos, animations, infographics, and much more. You’re essentially able to create pro-quality video in the time it takes to drink your coffee. You have the ability to choose from hundreds of styles, insert your own digital content, choose high-quality soundtracks, and easily share it through multiple channels.

With a lot of social networking sites becoming more video-centric, this is the app you should be using if you want to set your business apart in the digital world.

Get it now: https://biteable.com/features/

Cost: Free package available with a limit of 5 projects per month or a premium package offering unlimited use.

6. Yesware

There’s no doubt that you send and receive a lot of emails. This clever app allows you to use simple email templates, and then see who actually opens your emails and clicks on any links. It also offers other useful email tools and shortcuts. It integrates with Gmail and Outlook, so you don’t have to learn a new tool.

Get it now: https://www.yesware.com

Cost: $12 per user per month, with a free trial period.

7. Trello

Trello is a project management tool much like Asana, but it’s probably even simpler. It’s great for small teams that don’t need a ton of tools or features, but just want to get more organised and have visibility around their workload.

Trello works with a system of cards – like virtual index cards on a big virtual pinboard. You can move and arrange the cards any way you like and add due dates, files, and collaborators.

Get it now: http://www.trello.com

Cost: Free, with premium packages offering advanced features

8.Pixel Me

Pixel Me is a great way to track and measure the links you’re posting and who is clicking on them. This means you can track the audience of the content you’re posting and target them again through remarketing. It gives you the opportunity to speak through different ad platforms to your custom audience and increase your brand awareness.

Get it now: https://pixelme.me/

Cost: Basic to comprehensive paid packages available

9. Missinglettr

Missinglettr increases traffic to your website’s blog by creating strategic, automated social media campaigns. It automatically pulls snippets from your blog posts to create promotional content – your only job is to review the content and choose how long you’d like to promote it.

Missinglettr markets the unique content you’ve created by connecting your social channels and running your campaigns for you. This provides regular social updates to your clients and encourages clicks to your content year-round.

Get it now: https://missinglettr.com/

Cost: Free, with personal and business accounts available.

10. Full Story

Ever wanted to know what your website visitors do once they land on your homepage? Want to find ways to convert more leads with your site design or copy? Then you need to try Full Story.

Once installed, Full Story tracks website visitors and shows you what those visitors actually do in a recorded video you can replay. It also shows you where your site traffic comes from and highlights areas of your site that cause visitor frustration. It’s great if you want to improve your online marketing and understand the effectiveness of recent online marketing campaigns.

Get it now: https://www.fullstory.com/

Cost: Free, with premium packages offering advanced features

These are the ten online marketing apps we love the most in our agency. With new apps appearing almost daily, there countless possible solutions to boost your online marketing and communication efforts. What are some of the apps that you use that we haven’t mentioned? Send us an email if you have a tool that you think we have missed! Contact us

I have a new website should I be doing AdWords?

Is digital marketing including services like AdWords right for my business?

When a customer asks us this question, I always want to know:
Where do your current leads come from?

Understanding where you already get leads for your business is the key to finding value for your marketing budget.

Jumping too soon into an AdWords campaign when you don’t have a landing page squeeze page set up, or your sales copy in not compelling enough to convert any prospective visitors you do get can mean you can waste a lot of time and money on advertising that delivers no results.

From the outside digital marketing looks very attractive, as once you set up your campaigns, done right it seems you could set it and forget, watching the inquiries come in. The facts are, the further away the contact point between you and the customer you are trying to attract to your business, the lower the average conversion rate for acquiring that customer.

The reason most small businesses don’t succeed online is that creating a communication strategy where you don’t get the power of the face to face interaction, the harder it is to share, define and explain your offer to your customers.

I always suggest to a small business owner that you analyse where your current leads come from, and work on improving your content and presentation before stepping into the world of digital advertising.

Creating memorable media creates engagement and gets results.

Ask yourself what improvements in presentation, or communication could you make to your existing sales material? If your current conversion rate is say 40%, if you increased your ease of understanding around your offer with a new brand, flyer, and website would that increase your sales?

When you feel ready to enter into promoting your business with AdWords, get a good strategy set up first.

You need to understand the conversion process and all of the content that will need to be created to assist a customer to evaluate your offer from your website. You also need to be clear about the cost of customer acquisition Most AdWords agencies suggest if your business average sales value is under $250 because of the cost per click/ over the volume of inquires ad-words will never be able to deliver an effective return on your investment.

What advertising channels have you tried? What were your results?

Want to find out more about our small business AdWord services? Click here. 

Speak to us for free one hour strategy session and we can assess what marketing channels we think would be right for your business.

Remarketing Cheat Sheet

What Is Remarketing

Remarketing is the process of tracking your digital traffic from a search campaign (Google AdWords) and retargeting your message to your potential customers.

Why use remarketing?

If you have a search campaign running (AdWords) and you’re paying Google for traffic to your site, on average out of 100 people that visit your website only 4% will take an action after viewing your landing page. So if you are paying $1 a click then that is $25 per customer!

This is because not everyone is ready to contact you straight away, statistics show 30% of traffic are in a position to act but many factors delay them from doing so.

But you still have to pay Google for each click.

So what are you doing with the 96% of people who didn’t convert? That’s where remarketing comes in.

How remarketing works:

If a customer visited your website or a landing page but didn’t call or contact you, you can remarket to them on the Google Display network, the YouTube ad network or through Facebook.

This means when they are browsing other websites and they are logged into their personal Facebook account, an ad would appear for your business so they are reminded and can click on the ad again. You can do this by adding a tracking pixel (cookie) to them after they visit your page.

The price tag for re-marketing is much lower than a standard pay per click (PPC) search campaign.
While a Google Pay Per Click search ad could have an average cost per click of $2- $3, a remarketing ad has an average cost of $0.25-$0.60.

Just like a PPC search campaign, you are only paying when someone actually clicks on the ad. If they do not click on the ad, there is no cost, but you still are able to give a visual reminder about your site to that potential customer.

The reason that remarketing is so effective is that seeing your offer appear multiple times, creates brand awareness and reminds your visitor to take action.
So when they are ready to make that decision to pick a solution you are the one they remember to choose! And guess what is even better, your competitors are probably not using retargeting so you get a bigger piece of the pie

Customer case study

443 contact form inquiries (leads) in the last month, 19% are coming from Facebook remarketing alone (86 users)
Cost of each lead through Facebook = 32 cents 86 x 32 = $27.52 for 86 leads Cost of each lead through Adwords = is between $1.20 and $2.26

Remarketing Cheat Sheet

Contact Us

Get in touch with us to find out more about remarketing for your business or click here to learn more about digital marketing strategies.

Maximising A Small AdWords Budget

How to make the most from a small AdWords budget:

From the outside AdWords looks very attractive, you simply set up your campaigns, set it and forget, and watch the inquiries come in.

The facts are, without a good strategy in place it is likely you will be throwing your money away with very little results! To create a great adwords campaign with a limited budget you will need to understand some basics strategies to implement a successful campaign for your business.

1. If you don’t have an effective landing page and your website is not optimised for mobile then stick to desktop search.

Mobile visitors are the least likely to convert on a non-responsive page especially if your landing page is not ideal.

Adwords Budget

Best practice tip: Create Targeted & Conversion Optimised Landing Pages

An important component of your ad quality score is your landing page, which is judged on the parameters of relevance, content originality, transparency, and navigability. You will not get conversions from poorly structured or outdated landing pages.

2. Limit your ads to key days/ key times that makes sense to your business.

Think about days and times that your visitors are more likely to search and when you are able to reply. If you take too long to reply to an inquiry then it is likely that they will look elsewhere.

3. Restrict your search area to localised search queries.

You can set a limit of area that your ads will appear or simply target one area close by your business.

4. Focus the budget on the keywords that are cost effective.

In some industries adwords is extremely competitive. For example, a search for “web design agency is $8.65 a click, whereas “Design agency” is $4 a click. So, it pays to look for unique and longer keywords to compete effectively on a smaller budget. Your best performing keywords are those that bring in conversions at the lowest price.

5. Make use of the “negative keywords” function.

It lets you exclude all the words associated with your expressions that don’t represent the needs of your target audience.

6. Make sure you have exact match set up for keywords instead of Broad Match.

Pro Tip: Keep your PPC expenditure in control, keep exact match or phrase match keywords. Speaking of web services industry, choosing exact match keywords such as [web design company] will not display your ad for terms like “website design company” or “web design agency”.

Manage your campaigns rigorously

7. The first rule to follow is to not spread yourself too thin.

Don’t create more than 3 campaigns at first so that you can manage them properly. Work on your segmentation and avoid keyword overlaps at all costs, so you’re not “paying” for them multiple times.

8. You can use effective ad extensions to make your ads more attractive; they have a definite effect on the click-through rates.

9. Generally speaking, you should adopt a very strict monitoring process; monitor the quality index for each keyword.

However, it’s not necessary to make changes every 5 minutes; wait until you have a certain visibility over time. Although it’s good to perform tests, it’s best to limit this practice if you have a tight budget. And above all, remove the keywords that aren’t working!

10. Refine your ads by trying as hard as possible to attract your genuine prospects and “scaring off” internet users who don’t belong to your target audience.

For example, you can specify the price of your product, which will prevent those looking for very low rates from clicking on your ad.

11. Avoid Dynamic Search Ads:

These ads are not triggered by specific keywords chosen by you. Instead they are displayed when someone searches for anything related to the content of your landing page. While this seems convenient, it often results in irrelevant impressions and clicks, which push your daily budget up.

12. Make sure you have conversion tracking in place

Not tracking conversions is essentially like driving down a windy road, in the dark, without your glasses. There is no clarity as to whether your marketing efforts are actually working. You could be wasting your money and time on Pay Per Click due to a lack of conversions.

To gain insight into what’s working and what’s not you need to by measure the conversions so you can see what campaigns, adgroups, keywords, ads, and landing pages are receiving the most conversions and make changes accordingly.

We can help you to set up all of these steps and create a cost effective adwords campaign that can grow with your business. Speak to us to set up your adwords and remarketing campaign today.

Contact Us

Get in touch with us here to receive a quote on how we can help improve your AdWords strategy accordingly to your budget.