Essential WordPress Plugins for your Small Business Website

There are literally thousands of free and premium WordPress plugins available. This post tries to shortlist the essential WordPress plugins for a Small Business Website. This assume the business owner or the person responsible for maintaining the website is NOT a geek and lists plugins that are easy to install, setup and maintain.

Now that the assumptions have been discussed, here is the the essential WordPress plugins list for your small business website:

Search Engine Optimization

Yoast SEO Plugin (FREE)

Yoast SEO WordPress Plugin
This has everything you need to optimize your webpages for Google and Other Search Engines. This analyzes your content, images, titles and metadata and provides optimizations tips.

Website Speed

After Google said website speed is a factor in their ranking it is super crucial that you ensure your webpage loads fast.
You can improve webpage speeds by using caching. WordPress has plugins that make it easy to setup “Caching” on your website.

Quick Cache (FREE)

Quick Cache WordPress Plugin
Quick Cache is a great options for not-so-techie users, as they are easy to setup and work straight out of the box. If your website is small to mid-size serving a few thousand page views in a month this will be the right choice.


Prevent website Hacking and Malware

In 2013 Sophos Labs reported 30,000 websites get hacked everyday. Yes 30,000 per DAY. Imagine the embarrassment if your website is hacked and you customer knows about it. It is very important you secure your website from any possible threats.

Wordfence Security (FREE)

Wordfence Security WordPress Plugin
Wordfence Security is a one stop shop for all your website security needs. This plugin has a built-in firewall, virus & malware scanner, real-time traffic monitor which can block IP(s) where hacking attacks originate. This plugin also comes with a killer feature, it scans core WordPress files and checks if they have changed. It can then optionally repair changed files that are security threats.

Stop Comment Spam

If you allow comments on your website/blog it is a huge pain to stop bots posting spammy comments. It is a fight that you cannot win all by yourself.

Akismet (FREE)

Akismet WordPress Plugin
Akismet can help you. It checks your comments against Akismet web service to see if they look like spam and blocks it automatically. Akismet has been downloaded 18 million times as of 2013. Every single comment from all of these websites are read and any new threat has been registered in their webservice. The moment a new spammer is spotted it is blocked it across all of the websites using Akismet. Install the Akismet plugin and get a free license key to use it.

Social Interaction

It is absolutely crucial that you allow people who come to your website to share your content to their colleagues, friends and family.
The leads from social networks are much more likely to become a customer since you were recommended by someone they know.

Social Sharing Toolkit (FREE)

This plugin allows easy sharing and connecting on social networks. This allows you to add most popular social network icons on your webpages and will also add a floating side bar which reminds users to share your content.


Has you website crashed? or have you accidentally deleted your content?
Does not happen but when it does you better have your backup ready. Backing up your website is like taking insurance, being prepared for the worst.

UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore (FREE)

UpdraftPlus - Backup/Restore WordPress Plugin
You can schedule your backups so your website and content is backed up periodically. It also has a one-click restore that allows you to go back to a old version in case something goes wrong. Along with Wordfence Security that can also restore the core files you can sleep well at night.


There’s a lot of information to take in when it comes to building and maintaining your website. If you just want to devote time to improving your business and let someone who “knows their stuff” take care of the website – Talk to Us, you can sign up for a free one hour consultation.
Email or Call Us – (404) 939-5748.

How to get new leads by ranking higher in Google Local Search

Gone are the days where you could create a website, throw it online, and assume it would work. Today, your website is a key part of your marketing presence. It’s not enough to be online, you need to have quality content that’s been optimized for search engines so potential customers can find you. First thing’s first: you need to know your keywords.

Step 1: Keyword Research

When you search for a local business on Google, you use two types of keywords: industry-specific terms and geo-specific terms. For example, if you searched for “electricians in Atlanta, Georgia,” the word “electrician” is the industry-specific term and “Atlanta, Georgia” is the geo-specific term.

Why does this matter?

It matters because Google will use both of those terms to determine what websites to show you. For instance, if you searched for “electricians in Atlanta,” it’d be pointless for Google to show you webpages for electricians in New York.

Your Geo-Specific Keyword

This is the easy part. To find your geo-specific keyword, you have to answer one question: what areas does your business serve? If you serve several cities, that’s okay. Your geo-specific keyword is the name of each city you do business in.

Your Industry-Specific Keyword

Finding industry-specific keywords is a bit trickier. You’ll need to use the Google AdWords Keyword Planner to find out how often people search for keywords related to your business.
1. Goto
2. Login to your gmail/google account (Sign up for free account if you don’t already have one)
3. From top menu click “Tools and Analysis” >> “Keywords Planner” menu option.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner
Sign in to Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Google Local Search Keyword Research
Look for low competition keywords in Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Select “Search for new keyword and group ideas,” then type in as many words that are relevant to your business along with your geo-specific keyword. Using our above example, you’d type in the following:

Atlanta electricians

Atlanta, Georgia electricity

Atlanta, Georgia electric problems

Make sure you check options to target leads in and around your local area and also look for “Low” Competition keywords – Words that are easier to rank for in Google.

Google Local Search Keyword Research Options - Choose low competition keywords
Options to choose in Google Adwords Keyword Planner

Click “Get Ideas” You’ll now see a list of keywords. Choose the ones you want to use on your website – you want to pick the keywords that have a high average monthly search number. Ideally, some of these words are also low competition.

Google Local Search Keyword Research Options - Choose low competition keywords
Low competition keywords that your leads are using in Google Search to find businesses like yours

Now that you have your keywords, you can move on to the next task.

Step 2: Search Engine Optimization

You’re going to use the keywords you found in step one to drive visitors to your small business’s website. How? Well, once your website is optimized with your keywords, it will appear higher on Google’s rankings. The higher it appears, the more visitors you’ll get, and in turn, the more business you’ll see. Remember, you’re goal is to appear as high as possible in local search rankings. To do that, you’re going to add your keywords along with geo-specific content to your website.

You can take a look at our How To Guide on Optimizing your Website for better Search Ranking using Free Tools.

Website Title

When someone searches for something on Google, the only thing they see in the search results are the website’s title and meta description. Ideally, you want your strongest keyword and your strongest geo-specific keyword to appear in your website’s title. Edit your website’s title so that both keywords appear.

Continuing our example, this would be a quality website title:

John Smith: Atlanta Electrician for Your Electrical Problems

Keep your website title under 70 characters.

Website Meta Description

You want to include your industry-specific and your geo-specific keywords in your website’s metadata as well. Edit your website so that the meta description includes both sets of keywords as well as your phone number. For example:

Atlanta electrician serving the Greater Atlanta area. Let us help you deal with your electrical problems. Call for a free quote. (404)-555-4321

Keep the meta data under 165 characters.

Your Address & Phone Number

You may not have known this, but both your business’s address and its phone number count as geo-specific keywords. As such, you need to make sure they appear on every page. Too many businesses make the mistake of only having their address and phone number appear on the “Contact Us” page. This is a valuable opportunity wasted.

Edit your website so that your address and phone number appear on every page, perhaps in a sidebar or a footer.
Serving More Than One Area

If you live near a major city such as New York or Los Angeles, you probably serve a bunch of the smaller cities in the area. Or, perhaps your business is a franchise and you have several shops across a few states. Instead of making a brand new website for each location, you only need to make one page. On that page, include the geo-specific term that you want to rank for.

Using our example, let’s say our electrician works in Atlanta but also serves Cumberland, which is a few miles to the north. Instead of creating an entirely different website for Cumberland, they would simply add another page to their website that references Cumberland.

Add a Map

Adding a map to your website doesn’t just help you in the search engine rankings, it also helps your customers find you. To add a map to your website, first go to Google Maps. Type in your address. Once you’re sure the map has found your actual location, click the “Link” button (it’s right beside the “Print” button). Once you do, you’ll see an HTML code that will put the map on your website. Copy this code, then paste it onto your “Contact Us” page and your “About Us” page.

Step 3: Google Places & Others

Imagine this: someone searches for your industry-specific keyword and your geo-specific keyword and your small business appears on the first page at the very top. Now think about what kind of extra traffic that will mean for your website.

In order to pull that off, you’ll need to claim your Google Places listing. You’ll need to locate your business on a Google map, then enter as much information as possible. Ideally, you should have at least ten photos of your business to upload. If you have any YouTube videos, link those to your business. Remember, generally speaking, the more links you have, the better.

If you work out of your house or would prefer that customers not come to your businesses location, Google provides an option to hide your address.

After you’ve filled out all of the necessary information, you’ll have to verify your business. You may be able to do this by phone, or you may have to wait for a postcard sent to your business’s address.

A Live Google Place

Once you’re verified, you want to get as many reviews from your customers as possible. The more reviews you have, the better. Note that if you see a bad review, you will have the opportunity to respond to it.

While ensuring customers review your business may be out of your hands, you can offer some incentives. Give your customers the chance to win a prize if they review your business, or simply remind them before they leave.
Other Options

Setup your business on Google Places
Setup your business on Google Places

After setting up your Google Places account, you’ll want to add your business to a few other directories. Remember, the more directories you can be found in, the higher your search engine ranking is likely to be.

Yahoo Local

Your first stop is Yahoo Local. Claim your basic listing, which allows you to add your contact information and business hours. If you want, you can spend the extra $9.95 per month to add photos and coupons.
Setup your business on Yahoo Local
Setup your business on Yahoo Local

Yahoo also has paid options to list your business in more than 40 local directories.

Bing Places

Claim your listing on Bing Local and add the usual ingredients — your business’s description and some photos. As with other sites, you’ll need to verify yourself.
Setup your business on Bing Places
Setup your business on Bing Places


Arguably the most famous of the search directories, Yelp allows users to post reviews — but also lets you respond to them to demonstrate your customer service ability.
Setup your business on Yelp
Setup your business on Yelp

Other Options

Setup your business on Merchant Circle
Setup your business on Merchant Circle

You should also check out Merchant Circle, Superpages, and Yellow Pages. The process is similar for each.

Step 4: Building Links

Your goal here is to get a bunch of quality local websites to link to yours. While some might consider the shortcut of building several low quality websites, note that Google will penalize you if you over-optimize.

Your first move should be to contact business that are related to yours, but not competing. For example, a store that specializes in lighting might be interested in linking to our Atlanta electrician. Typically, this will happen in two steps. First, you’ll find the related business and check to see if they have a resources page that links out to various other business. Second, you’ll need to contact the business owner and explain why they should be interested in linking to your website.

Next, be on the lookout for local events that might involve you. You may want to sponsor a few smaller events. This is good for the community and it’s good for you search engine ranking. If your business can provide a service for a charity, you should find a way to do so. Most charities will link to your business as a small thank-you.

Step 5: Facebook and Google+ for Business

By now you should have a website with quality content that’s optimized for your selected keywords, a variety of websites linking to you, and your own local business directory listing. Next, you’re going to create Facebook and Google+ profiles for your business. Google incorporates Google+ listings into its search results, giving you another chance to rank highly and draw customers to you.

Start by creating a Google+ page for your business. If you’ve already set up your Google Places listing, you’ll be able to transfer some of the information over.

Setup your business on Google+
Setup your business on Google+

Once you’ve created your Google+ profile, you’ll need to make a few minor changes to optimize it for local searches. Start by including your current location in the “Places Lived” section. Remember the keywords you found in step one? You’ll want to pepper those throughout your Google+ profile as well.

Add local connections. When you add someone as a connection, typically they’ll check your Google+ profile, and if it looks promising, they’ll add you back. Once you have a handful of local connections, you’ll be able to target your status updates just for them.

Remember to double-check that your profile is visible to the general public.

Setup your business on Facebook
Setup your business on Facebook

Facebook has more than a billion users and counting – some of your local leads are in Facebook. Creating a Facebook page for your business lets you reach those audience for your business and turn them into your customers.

Step 6: Monitor Your Results

Any good business knows where it’s getting its best results. Before you optimize your website, you should check to see where it ranks. If it isn’t within the top two pages, you have a problem – most people won’t bother going through three pages of search results.

You’ll notice that as you add your business on multiple directories, get more fans/likes on Facebook, get more connections on Google+, receive more reviews on Google, Yelp and/or other directories, and have more links, your search engine ranking will start to rise. Keep doing what works.


There’s a lot of information to take in when it comes to optimizing your website for Google’s local search results. If you’re curious to know more, or want to take your small business to the next level, you can sign up for a free one hour consultation –
Email or Call Us – (404) 939-5748.

Service First Roofing

Service First Roofing is a family owned business created at the peak of the recent recession,
It is a full service commercial roofing contractor that specializes in preventative maintenance, repair, and new roof installation for:

  • Commercial Properties
  • Hospitals / Healthcare
  • Industrial / Manufacturing Facilities
  • Restaurants
  • Schools

They are a family oriented company that believes: “Treat people the way you want to be treated.” They view each situation as: “What would we do if this was our building?”
In following these beliefs they have grown the company primarily from referrals by customers and repeat business. Scott Satory the business owner, also won 2012 Gwinnett Chamber’s Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year Award.

clean call to action button
Service First Roofing – Website Feedback

Home Page

The home page took 30+ seconds to completely load, and the same is the case with the secondary pages of the website.One of the minor factors in Google search ranking is site speed and this has to be improved upon.

How to improve page load time?

  • This page has 30 external Javascript scripts. Try to combine as many as possible into one script and minify them. You can also put the javascripts at the bottom so load the most important features/images/content first then the scripts.
  • This page has 17 external stylesheets (CSS). Try to combine as many as possible into one style sheet and minify them.
  • This page has 7 external background images. Try to reduce the use of images or optimize (reduce file size). You can also try to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like CloudFlare.

There are no big design issues with their home page. They have a simple and clean design and great call to action button right in the middle of the page. One small suggestion is to move “The call to actions” a little higher up the page by reducing the size of header images since it is “cutting off” on some monitor screens.

clean call to action button
Image: Clean “Call to Action” buttons on Service First website

Missing H1 tag, irrelevant title tag and missing Meta Description tags

These are 3 critical factors for a page ranking for a search keyword, so your webpage should show up when people search for “About Service First Roofing Services” or just “Service First Roofing”.

How to improve on H1 and Title Tags

  • Title tag has 10 words and 90 characters. This should be only 70 characters and exactly have the search keywords you want to rank for like “Commercial Roofing Service”
  • There are duplicate H1 tags. There should be only one H1 tag on a page
  • Meta Description is missing. When someone googles your service this is what shows up in the description.
    clean call to action button
    Image: Meta Description

This text should be some thing you what you want your customers to see for each page and not a generic text. This helps get more clicks from Google searches.

There is also no mention of the 2012 Gwinnett Chamber’s Pinnacle Small Business Person of the Year Award on the home page. This should be mentioned with a picture. This improves a prospective customers trust on Service First Roofing.

Services Page

How to improve Services Page

Even though the page looks simple and concise, it will be better if you could add second tier web pages for each sub-service you offer. This will add more content to your website, bringing in more traffic and also explain to your customer the services you do more clearly.

Suggested Sub Pages for Second Tier

  • Roof Inspections
  • Construction
  • Consulting
  • Custom Design
  • Estimation
  • Roof Repairs
  • Replacement
  • Installation
  • Maintenance
  • Preventative Roof Maintenance
  • Waterproofing
  • Energy Savings
  • Environmental Solutions

Ensuring the quality of your site and other SEO factors, will give your business a boost in terms of new referrals.

Learn how to find out the issues on your website and improve them for better Search Engine Ranking using free tools.

Setting up your own Ebay like store on Facebook using XtabApps XTabProducts

Why use XtabApps’s XtabProducts?

There are over a billion users on Facebook (and counting). If one of the user come to your page and is blown away by your product and he/she likes your page, he/she is recommending that products to 100′s of his/her friends. If you are selling something online you should definitely be selling it on Facebook.

I know your wondering, “It’s been so hard to set up my website, now I have to setup my online store on Facebook?!”.
XtabApps’s XtabProducts make it so easy to setup your store on your Facebook page. If you have your product details and images already you can use the intuitive and easy to use point-and-click interface to upload and create your own Store on Facebook in a few minutes.
XTabApps sells the XtabProducts bundled with several other super tools to,
• Creating stunning Facebook pages with videos, images, etc using XTabPages
• Create contest and engage your fans using XTabContests
• Create “Groupon” like group buying deals on your Facebook page using XTabDeals
• Create and add users to your email list using XtabLists and
• Create documents that users can download/view after liking you Facebook page using XTabDocs

XTab Apps

Setup Facebook page using XTabApps
Image: XTabApps make your life easy to setup an awesome Facebook page

Setup a e-commerce store on your Facebook page using XTab Products
Image: A Facebook store created using XtabProducts

Case Study – Bardi Heating and Air

Bardi Heating and Air was founded in 1989 by Alex and Susan Bardi and incorporated in 1991. This business is a recognized leader in commercial HVAC and a provider of award-winning home heating, cooling and plumbing services. They have won numerous awards and most recently the Gwinnett Chamber’s Pinnacle Small Business Award for 2013 Overall Small Business of the Year in Gwinnett County.

With their mission to “always, always, always do the right thing” this family-owned business has been raking up awards for Best Customer Service, a A+ Better Business Bureau rating and is one of the best places to work in Atlanta.

Bardi Heating and Air

Bardi Heating and Air – Website Feedback

There are no big issues with their website. They have a simple and clean design and great call to action button right in the middle of the page.

Bardi Heating and Air
Image: Beautiful “Call to Action” buttons on Bardi Heating and Air website

Some page had multiple H1 tags. H1 tag is a critical factor for page ranking for a search keyword. For example Plumbing Services page has 2 H1 tags:
<h1 class=”logo“>……………………………….. </h1>
<h1 class=”pagetitle“>………………………….</h1>

How to improve on H1 Tags

There can be only one H1 tag on a page and that tag needs to have the search keyword you want that page to rank for.

Bardi Heating and Air – How to rank higher in Google and get more customers

Inspite of Bardi Heating and Air being a customer service champion they still don’t rank for any of the search keywords (“Heating” OR “Air Conditioning” OR “Plumbing” ) related to their industry in Gwinnett county area (DuluthSuwanee, etc).

How to improve on Off Page Optimization to enhance Search ranking

This will make sure you show up here (see below),

Bardi Heating and Air
Image: Where Bardi Heating and Air listing will show up after listing on Google Places

  • Register you business with services like Merchant CircleYelpYellow PagesYahoo LocalGoogle Plus for Business with a description of all the services your provide.
  • If you have very happy customers ask them to leave a review on yelp, kudzu, google places, etc. Send them a thank you card or email them if they give you a good review.  One local Gwinnett business sends $15 gift cards if you give them a 5 star rating. This has given them incredible ratings and this in turn drives more customers to this business after a Google search.

These are just a few tips to take Bardi Heating and Air to the next level and serve more satisfied customers.

Learn how to find out the issues on your website and improve them for better Search Engine Ranking using free tools.

Case Study – Garrell Associates

Garrell Associates is a Atlanta based company that sells pre-designed home plans. Garrell Associates was co-founded by Michael W. Garrell who is an Architectural graduate from Southern Technical Institute. They sell pre-designed house plans online and to builders. Nearly a decade and a half of designing has yielded a portfolio of over 3000 home plans. To date, this prolific output has garnered the firm more than 200 professional awards, with numerous Street of Dreams® honors in 1999, 2001, 2005, and 2006. One rustic yet elegant design for a show home in Big Canoe, Georgia featured truss work made from 200 year-old virgin pine logs reclaimed from a river bottom, and a kitchen with oiled, natural slate countertops.This “Tranquility” show home earned the firm the prestigious “Best in American Living Award” (BALA) from Professional Builder magazine.

Garrell Associates website – Website Feedback

You will find below how this fantastic business can further do well by doing some minor enhancements to their website.

Home Page

Page Load Time:
First Time page load took 40+ seconds to load and consecutive page loads of same page took 3-4 seconds. One of the factors in Google search ranking is site speed and has made it very clear.
How to improve page load time?
• This page has 13 external Javascript scripts. Try to combine as many as possible into one script and minify them. You can also put the javascripts at the bottom so load the most important features/images/content first then the scripts.
• This page has 23 external stylesheets (CSS). Try to combine as many as possible into one style sheet and minify them.
• This page has 21 external background images. Try to reduce the use of images or optimize (reduce file size). You can also try to use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) like CloudFlare.

About Us

Missing H1 tag and irrelevant title tag
These a 2 critical factors on a page ranking for a search keyword, so your About Us page should show up when people search for “About Garrell Associates” or just “Garrell Associates” or “Michael W. Garrell”.

How to improve on H1 and Title Tags

• Title tag has 17 words and 108 characters and reads “(House Plans, Home Plans & Custom Home Design, Mansion Floor Plans | House Plans by Garrell Associates)”. This should be “About Garrell Associates” or just “Garrell Associates” or “Michael W. Garrell”.
• H1 tag is missing. This should be something like “About Us” or “About Garrell Associates” or being a bit more descriptive and saying “Why Garrell Associates can provide you designs for your dream home”.

Other Pages

Irrelevant title tag

The title tag is very important for a page ranking for a search keyword, so all pages should have the appropriate keyword in the title tag to rank in search results for that term.

These are few tips to take Garrell Associates to the next level and help several customers move into their dream homes designed by Garrell Associates.
Learn how to find out the issues on your website and improve Search Engine Ranking using free tools.