Your website is often the initial point of contact your supporters have with your organization. Whether you’re a part of a nonprofit, corporation, association, or any other type of organization, your website is an incredibly important resource for anyone looking to learn more information about all of the amazing things you do.
A huge percentage of websites nowadays are created on WordPress. So you’ve probably already researched and chosen an appropriate WordPress theme for your site. Now, it’s time to consider the add-ons and plugins to maximize your use of the site.
You can enhance your website with plugins that accomplish the following best practices:
- Prioritize website security.
- Make sure it’s easy to log in.
- Optimize your content for SEO.
- Market your brand.
- Sell merchandise through eCommerce.
Make sure your website has everything it needs to succeed. Let’s dive into the first strategy to enhance your website through plugins!
1. Prioritize Website Security
Your number one priority for your website should always be security. While it protects your organization against hackers and unwanted outside access, it also protects your users who may submit contact, payment, and other personal information to your site.
Your users trust your organization to take care of their data, so it’s your job to keep it safe.
One of the most effective ways to ensure security for your website is to eliminate your need for passwords. That’s right, we said eliminate. >Passwords won’t protect your website. The average password is too predictable making it that much easier for others to hack in.
The following password mistakes are some of the most commonly committed by a majority of password creators. Think about your own passwords that you use on a regular basis, have you committed these mistakes?
- Including a personal information in the password
- Following common patterns or formulas to remember the password
- Using the same password for multiple accounts
- Including dictionary words in the password
- Using passwords that are not completely random
Security plugins like Swoop are a much better alternative to passwords in order to keep your website secure without needing to keep track of passwords. You can eliminate the need for the password, while actually making your site that much more secure!
2. Make Sure It’s Easy to Log In
If you offer memberships or other login options to your supporters on your website, be sure to simplify their login process as much as possible.
Streamlining this process will encourage your users to log into the website more often as they are less likely to get frustrated with difficult login requirements.
Some of the best ways to streamline the login process for your WordPress site include:
- Setting up passwordless login options. When your users don’t need to worry about remembering passwords, they can much more easily and quickly access their profile.
- Making sure users can check a “remember me” button or another button to keep them logged into the site for long periods of time from the same IP address.
- Enable Facebook login options. Some plugins make it possible to log into a website with their Facebook profile. Note: this option may not be as secure as logging in with another resource like an email account.
Many user profiles include information for users to employ while visiting your site. For example, they may have saved their credit card information in their profile. So when they see the cool custom t-shirt your organization is selling in the eCommerce store, they can easily make a purchase without inputting all of their information again. Simple logins work the same way.
Taking away complicated login practices (like remembering passwords, usernames, or which email you used for which account) makes a better user experience for your supporters and members on your site.
3. Optimize your content for SEO
SEO stands for search engine optimization. Search engines like Google are constantly crawling the internet and scoring websites based on a complicated analytics system to decide the ranking of sites for particular keywords.
But you’re too busy with your organization to worry too much about learning all of this complicated analytics to make sure your website will be ranked highly for your targeted keywords. That’s why you need plugins to assist with this extra step!
Look for plugins that will help you to control some of the best SEO practices, for instance:
- Optimize your title and meta description: Plugins like Yoast allows you to control the snippet that people see on search engines when your website comes up. Therefore, you can control the title they see and the short description below explaining the content of the page.
- Check out your standings on Google Analytics: While you can check Google Analytics on your Google account, it’s easier just to check everything right there from your website itself. Plugins like Google Analytics by MonsterInsights will make it easy to check these standings.
- Check broken links: Search engines don’t like it when you have 404 pages on your website or links that lead to nowhere. Plugins like Broken Link Checker make it easier to check for these links and fix them on your site.
These are just a few of the many ways to make sure your website is up to the standards of common search engines. For more plugins that will help you improve your SEO scores, check out this guide to 11 awesome WordPress SEO plugins.
4. Market Your Brand
Your organization’s brand should be marketed effectively from your website, but also from all the other internet interactions you have with supporters and consumers.
You probably have some type of lead capture on your website: one place where your donors can input an email or phone number or other methods of contact for your resources. Make sure you have plugins to maximize the use of these marketing leads.
For instance, MailChimp offers a popular WordPress plugin that helps your organization create more successful email marketing campaigns. It enables you to send targeted and mass emails to your users.
Making the best use of the leads and contact information you receive is just the first way to make sure you are effectively marketing your organization. You also need to make sure you are keeping up with the necessary analytics to market your particular brand. For instance, key analytics for nonprofit organizations might differ slightly from a large corporation’s analytics.
Some of the key marketing analytics that everyone should pay attention to (and can be measured by various WordPress plugins) include:
- Website traffic metrics
- Site session duration
- Bounce rate
- Conversion rates
Given these metrics, you have the ability to change certain aspects of your website to improve the rates and measurements for better website marketing.
5. Sell Merchandise Through eCommerce
Selling merchandise from your website is a trend that will never go out of style for any organization. Customizing merchandise is a great way to spread your brand and style to supporters while also making some extra cash on the side.
Make sure your website theme has eCommerce capabilities, or download a plugin that gives you access to this helpful tool.
Selling merchandise online enables people to buy your products no matter where they may be purchasing from. They no longer need to be at one of your events or come into your office to gain access to these cool products.
You may choose to sell branded merchandise such as:
- Custom t-shirts
- Water bottles
- Coffee mugs
- Pajama pants
- Computer cases
- Cell phone cases
Wrapping It Up!
If you’re curious about how payment information gets from your customer to the bank through these plugins, launch your research with Double the Donation’s guide to payment processing.
Don’t slack with your website! You can put all these best practices into use just by downloading a couple of WordPress plugins. Knowing what you’re trying to accomplish to enhance your site is only the first step to doing it. So go download some of the most helpful plugins!
John Killoran is CEO of Swoop, an exciting new login service that combines mailto technology, antispam encryption and WebSockets to provide a beautiful login experience that users will love. When he is not running a company, he is cooking food for his family and telling his dogs to stop barking.
(This is a Guest Post)