If you aren’t using plugins with WordPress, you’re neglecting to use entire solutions that developers have coded to make your website more effective in obtaining patients. If you are using plugins, then you have have noticed that there in an entire ocean of them! Unless you know what you are looking for, it may be impossible to find quality plugins that help your site.
I have looked back at the websites I have built and taken inventory of which plugins I’ve used in each of them. These 14 are the plugins that I believe every dental website on WordPress should be using (or at least an alternative).
The solutions that I’ve provided are free. While there are many paid, premium counterparts, I can confidently say that for the typical dental office, these free plugins will be more than enough to deliver a strong website.
The 14 Essential Plugins
1. SEO Plugin: Yoast SEO
If you have any plans of doing SEO, Yoast SEO is a must. Not only does it help you further customize your website for cosmetic and SEO reasons, it is the single most powerful tool to have when it comes to growing your organic traffic. It’s free! Get it!
2. Live Chat: Tawk.to
Live chatting features have been trending lately. The premise is that customers enjoy being able to ask quick questions with no commitment or submitting their contact information. Tawk.to takes it to the next level with a high level of customization. The best part is that it provides in-depth metrics on liver user behavior.
3. Floating Button: Buttonizer
Floating buttons offer users quick ways to find the popular pages on your website, give you a call, find directions, fill out forms, etc. Adding this to your website can improve user experience and increase conversion rates.
4. Image Optimization / Compression: Compress JPEG & PNG Images
When it comes to SEO and Google Ads, image compression is a must! Compressed images will increase your website’s pagespeed, a critical variable. With a faster pagespeed, you get a lower bounce rate which means a higher SEO ranking and less wasted money on your Google Ad campaigns. Further, a faster pagespeed can reduce CPCs of Google Ads.
5. Contact Form: Contact Form 7
I debated between Contact Form 7 and WPForms. While WPForms has a premium version and a free version, Contact Form is completely free. Yes, this means that WPForm’s premium version offers many more solutions than Contact Form 7 for the average user. Here’s the catch. Contact Form 7 is created as a template to be developed on. It is completely flexible. With the proper skills, Contact Form 7 can be stronger than WPForms.
6. Data Tracking: Google Analytics Dashboard
GAD gives you a convenient way of seeing your analytics on your website dash. If you’re tracking metrics for any reason, this can help you keep an eye on your efforts.
7. Email Marketing Integration: MC4WP: MailChimp for WordPress
Email marketing, besides SEO, will give your practice the highest bang for its buck. If you don’t have a solid email marketing strategy, I high recommend looking into MailChimp as a starter. As you develop, you will probably want to use a service that does more holistically but MailChimp can certainly be a strong starting foundation.
8. Performance Boosting: W3 Total Cache
Caching is a way of increasing your pagespeed. W3 Total Cache does this in many ways including lazy loading images, optimizing CSS, JS, and HTML through minification.
9. Database Backup: WP Database Backup
Your website doesn’t have a backup? What will you do when it suffers a malicious attack, someone accidentally deletes an important file, your hosting provider messes something up, a file gets corrupt, a plugin update crashes your site, a new theme turns out to-… you get it. Back up your website! Set it on a schedule. If you’re pumping out content daily for SEO, do a weekly backup. If you’re not heavily pushing out content, once every two or three months and after a major update should suffice.
10. Responsive CSS Editor: Advanced CSS Editor
If you are looking to make your website responsive by editing CSS, Advanced CSS Editor lets you create different CSS code depending on what display you are viewing from: desktop, tablet, or mobile. Use this to create a smooth experience for your users across all devices.
11. Accessibility: Accessibility by UserWay
UserWay increases your website’s compliance with WCAG 2.1, ATAG 2.0, ADA, and Section 508. Moreover, it does this without refactoring your website’s existing code.
12. Drag & Drop Pagebuilder: Elementor
Elementor is a drag and drop pagebuilder that will let you build highly custom pages. Even with the free version, you can create stunning and functional websites. The best part is that you can choose which pages you want to build with your theme and which you want to build with Elementor. A must if you want a unique, custom website.
13. PDF Hosting: PDF Embedder
If you have important PDF documents to display on your website, use PDF Embedder. It gives users a preview of the PDF document they are about to click into instead of a suspicious link.
14. Font Support: Custom Fonts
Do you have a custom font for your branding typography? Do you want to import some cool fonts for your next special or as an accent? Use Custom Fonts to upload custom fonts onto your website.