Business Plugins for WordPress

Class Notes For:

WordPress for Business —  Central Location 03.11.13

and WordPress for Business — West Location 03.18.13

Business Plugins for WordPress

Business websites are tools for building relationships with clients, they are stores, branding tools, and content libraries for customers and employees alike. WordPress is so popular with the business community because it is a FREE, open source, powerful content marketing platform. There is a huge ecosystem of developers supporting it, adding features to the core functionality through regular updates and plugin development.

A basic WordPress install lacks some of the functionality needed to meet the expectations of business owners. With the right plugins, an easy to install, and managed WordPress site can turn into a stable, flexible content management solution for business owners and managers.

Plugins extend the functionality of WordPress business site without writing code. Installing these plugins will fill-in the majority of the gaps present in a basic WordPress install, and will assure that your small business website is ready to make you money online.

Most plugins are free, but the ever expanding use of WordPress for business has created a niche industry of very advanced plug-ins that provide even greater functionality at a very affordable price.

It’s easy to get excited about all the possibilities the WordPress Plugin Repository offers, but, it’s not always immediately obvious which plugins are truly beneficial for your business site. Since we use quite a few of these plug-ins on a regular basis, we thought we could save you hours of research and testing, and share the go-to-list of plugins we use when developing business websites.

Testimonial Management

This plugin lets you manage testimonials as a separate type of information in your WordPress blog, which makes it easier to include them in other blog posts and pages.

Business Hours PlugIn

The Business Hours Plugin allows you to post your daily working hours and show it to your visitors:

  • In a configurable and templatable widget.
  • In a page / post using shortcodes

You’ll be able to choose between showing only today’s working hours, or a collapsible table with the hours for each day of the week. If you want to show only today’s working hours, the plugin will check your time zone settings to calculate which day to show.

Connections Business Directory

You can use Connections to create a simple address book, maintain a staff directory and even run a business directory or link directory. Connections was built bottom up to be as configurable as possible while providing the features you need. Connections offers simplicity in design and function, and a  vast array of unique features and versatility.

Features

  • Seamless integration with the WordPress admin.
  • A Dashboard admin page where you can keep up to date with Connections related news, such as updates notices for templates and the pro addons. Also see at a glance today’s anniversaries and birthdays as well as any upcoming anniversaries and birthdays.
  • When inputting an entry there are multiple entry types from which to choose. They are individual, organization and family. The family entry type is unique to Connections. This entry type allows you to group individuals together as a family which makes Connections ideally suited for creating church directories.
  • You control which entries are viewable to the public and which entries are private, viewable for logged in users only. You can even have entries set as unlisted so only admins can view them.
  • Fields, fields and more fields… no other directory plugin offers more. There are fields for addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, IM, social networks, an image, a logo, bio, notes and more. Want more? Many fields, such as addresses and phone numbers, you can assign as many as you need. Wait, I’m not done yet… want to be able to list the business phone but keep that cell phone number private? You can do that, too. Most of the fields have selectable visibility. What this means is you can have an entry set as public but keep personal details private or even unlisted so only them admin can view it.
  • Connections is being used to manage directories which contain thousands of entries so the ability to manage them easily is a must- a task which Connections stands and delivers. You can filter the entries list by category, entry type and visibility. You can search for entries. You can even search within the filtered entries. Of course Connections doesn’t stop there, there are several bulk actions available to make changes a breeze.
  • Category support. This feature was modeled after the category feature for WordPress posts. So if you know how to add and manage categories for posts, you know how they work for Connections. Categories can be hierarchical and entries can be assigned to any number of categories.
  • Extensive role support. For your users that have access to the WordPress admin, there is extensive role support. You can define which roles can perform tasks to manage entries in Connections.
  • Unrivaled customability with templates. Connections comes with many basic templates to get you started. For many, these meet their needs. But if you need more than these basic templates provide, check out these great premium templates.
  • Displaying your entries on the front end is as simple as putting a shortcode on a page. Don’t let this simplicity fool you. The Connections shortcode provides almost a dizzying array of options that are just too numerous to list. But if you want to know more, you can find it here.
  • Even a bit of SEO was sprinkled in. Every entry outputs following the hCard spec.
  • One last item. Extensibility.

WP Customer Reviews 

WP Customer Reviews allows your customers and visitors to leave reviews or testimonials of your services.

WP Customer Reviews allows you to setup a specific page on your blog to receive customer testimonials for your business/service OR to write reviews about multiple products (using multiple pages).

  • WP Multisite and Multiuser (WPMU / WPMS / WordPress MU) compatible.
  • All submissions are moderated, which means that YOU choose which reviews get shown.
  • Reviews are displayed to visitors in a friendly format, but search engines see the hReview microformat.
  • Multiple anti-spam measures to prevent automated spambots from submitting reviews.
  • Provides a configurable Business hCard, to help identify all pages of your site as belonging to your business.
  • Completely customizable, including which fields to ask for, require, and show.
  • Shortcodes available for inserting reviews and review form on any page or widget.
  • Works with caching plugins and a majority of themes.
  • Includes an external stylesheet so you can modify it to better fit your theme.
  • Reviews can be edited by admin for content and date.
  • Admin responses can be made and shown under each review.
  • Support for adding your own custom fields.
  • The plugin can be used on more than one page, and can be used on posts.
  • Supports both Business and Product hReview types.
  • Shows aggregate reviews microformat (hReview-aggregate).
  • Fast and lightweight, even including the star rating image. This plugin will not slow down your blog.

Contact Us 

Contact Us adds the ability to enter business contact information, business hours, business location, etc and output the details in your posts, pages or templates. Contact Us adds the ability to enter business contact information, business hours, business location, etc and output the details in your posts, pages or templates.

Contact Form 7 

Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.

Docs & Support
You can find docs, FAQ and more detailed information about Contact Form 7 on contactform7.com. If you were unable to find the answer to your question on the FAQ or in any of the documentation, you should check the support forum on WordPress.org

Contact Form DB

Saves submitted form data to the database and provides short codes to display it. Captures data from Contact Form 7 and Fast Secure Contact Form.
This “CFDB” plugin saves contact form submissions to your WordPress database and provides short codes to retrieve and display the data.
By simply installing the plugin, it will automatically begin to capture submissions from:
•    JetPack Contact Form plugin
•    Contact Form 7 (CF7) plugin
•    Fast Secure Contact Form (FSCF) plugin
Other form submissions can be saved with the addition of the [cfdb-save-form-post] short code on the target submission page.
Contact form plugins are great but generally one thing…the ability to save and retrieve the form data to/from the database. If you get a lot of form submissions, then you end up sorting through a lot of email.
Looking at your data in the WP Admin Area

Acobot Live Chat Robot

This subscription plugin will enhance your WordPress with Acobot live chat robot in 3 minutes or less. Boost online sales like never before. It’s simple, easy and fast.

An Answer Beats a Thousand Web Pages! Go to the beach without worrying about your online business. This happy, chatty and clever robot will say Hello to the website visitors, answer their questions and turn them into paying customers 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Business Directory Plugin

Business Directory Plugin allows you to build local directories, business provider listings, Yellow-Pages style business directories, Yelp-like review sections. Increase interaction on your website, improve customer retention and a add revenue-generating section to your site with Business Directory Plugin. Business Directory Plugin allows you to build local directories, business provider listings, Yellow-Pages style business directories, Yelp-like review sections and more. You can add any kind of directory using Business Directory plugin.

Features:

  • Fully customizable form fields
  • Accept payment for listings OR have free listings
  • Allow for featured/sticky listings for an upgrade fee
  • Create multiple fee plans, which can be assigned to categories for posting
  • Support for reCAPTCHA to avoid spam listings
  • Users who post can edit listings without access to WP dashboard
  • Support for ratings (NEW!)
  • Support for Google Maps (NEW!)

All-in-One Event Calendar

If you have a regular schedule of events you need to broadcast to your audience, this calendar system combines a clean visual design, and a powerful set of features to create the most advanced calendar system available for WordPress. It’s completely free and also includes Facebook  Integration, and an interesting Posterboard View that displays events like a Pinterest board. The calendar system combines a clean visual design, solid architectural patterns and a powerful set of features to create the most advanced calendar system available for WordPress. Best of all: it’s completely free.

Calendar Features For Users

This plugin has many features we hope will prove useful to users, including:

  • Recurring events
  • Filtering by event category or tag
  • Easy sharing with Google Calendar, Apple iCal, MS Outlook and any other system that accepts iCalendar (.ics) feeds
  • Embedded Google Maps
  • Color-coded events based on category
  • Month, week, day and agenda views
  • Upcoming Events widget
  • Direct links to filtered calendar views

Woo Commerce 

We have tried many of the cart solutions out there and we settled on Woo Commerce. It delivers enterprise-level features all within the WordPress CMS. This robust system is based on a core plugin that provides the basic store functionality. It is then extended by a collection of modules that can be added to design the custom commerce experiences our customers need.

Features:

Security

WooCommerce 2.0+ has been fully security audited by the leading WordPress security firm Sucuri to ensure it meets the highest WordPress security standards possible.

Reporting

Get a birds-eye view of your stores performance or drill down to check out reports per month, per product category or even per individual product.

Intricate tax & Shipping options

Use WooCommerce various methods including shipping classes to create intricate shipping rules. Configure comprehensive tax settings with tax classes and local tax rates

Comprehensive Store Management

Easily manage your simple, digital and variable products in WooCommerce with our intuitive UI. Assign Store Managers to handle the day to day management of your stor

SEO

WooCommerce markup adheres to Schema vocabulary to fully assist your search engine rankings and is, of course written in fully semantic HTML5 markup.

 

WP-ecommerce

Whether you use your site for selling products, services or collecting fees this is a great plugin. This is especially helpful for sites where you are focusing on bands and record labels, selling clothing, crafts, artwork, books, or media, have membership opportunities or need ticketing capabilities.

Features:

WordPress Integration

  • Easy to install WordPress plugin
  • Works with any standards compliant WordPress theme
  • Plays well with other Plugins
  • Supports regular WordPress widgets, as well as a few snazzy ones of our own
  • Utilizes shortcodes and template tags (just like WordPress)
  • Works out-of-the-box with WordPress MU (make sure you use sub domains with your MU setup)

100% Customizable

  • A designers dream – use your own HTML & CSS and have complete control over the look and feel of your store
  • Easy to modify templates

Support

  • Lots of video tutorials
  • Guaranteed speedy response (through our premium forums)
  • Access to instant support from our community of users

Payment Gateways Integration

  • Manual Payment (checks/money orders) (included)
  • PayPal Payments Standard (included)
  • PayPal Payments Pro (included)
  • PayPal Express Checkout (included)
  • Google Checkout (Level 2) (included)
  • Chronopay (included)
  • PayPal Payflow Pro (available with Gold Cart)
  • Authorize.net (available with Gold Cart)
  • FirstData/LinkPoint (available with Gold Cart)
  • eWay Payment (available with Gold Cart)
  • iDEAL (available with Gold Cart)
  • BluePay (available with Gold Cart)
  • DPS (available with Gold Cart)
  • Paystation (available with Gold Cart)
  • SagePay (available with Gold Cart)
  • If you still aren’t happy, we provide you with the necessary info to write your payment gateway

Marketing

  • Flexible coupon/discount pricing rules
  • Product specific sales
  • Quantity discounts
  • Free shipping options
  • Multi-tier pricing for quantity discounts.
  • Search Engine Friendly URLs
  • New Products widget
  • Cross-sells on product pages (in 3.8 this is now available as a Plugin)
  • Google Site Map
  • Uses the popular “Share This” button for easily promoting your products on popular social networking sites
  • Integrates with Facebook Marketplace (Facebook Marketplace API has closed – we’re working on it)
  • Integrates with Google Base
  • Integrates with Campaign Monitor for advanced email marketing
  • Integrates with Intense Debate for shared comments
  • Mail Chimp integration coming soon

Search Engine Optimization

  • 100% Search Engine Friendly
  • Meta-information for products and categories
  • RSS feeds for products and categories
  • Integrates with Google (XML site maps and Google Merchant Centre)
  • Integrates with the All in One SEO plugin for WordPress (which includes Google Analytics)

Internationalization Support

  • Multi-lingual (the first Plugin to fully utilize and integrate with GlotPress)
  • Support for multiple currencies
  • Ability to target specific countries

Shipping

  • Integrates with UPS, USPS, Australia Post and Shipwire for real-time shipping rates
  • Flexible built-in shipping rate calculators
  • Domestic and global shipping rates
  • Flat rate shipping
  • Table rate shipping
  • Weight rate shipping

Checkout

  • One-Page Checkout or Stepped Checkout, whichever you prefer
  • SSL security support for orders on both front-end and back-end
  • Checkout without account/Guest Checkout
  • Shopping Cart with tax and shipping estimates
  • Option to create account at beginning of checkout
  • Fully customizable checkout page

Managing Orders

  • Admin dashboard for sales overview
  • Export orders and customers into CSV formats
  • Order history with labels for order processing status
  • Email notifications of orders
  • Print invoices and packing slips

Catalog Management

  • Single-page product data entry
  • Ability to duplicate products
  • Quickly edit your products from the store front (saving you heaps of time)
  • Smart Groups allow you to organize your products with hierarchical categories, as well as by brand.
  • Batch import/export of catalog
  • Google Base integration
  • Product variation management
  • Create attributes on the fly
  • Downloadable/Digital Products
  • Support for donations
  • Customer Personalized Products
  • Media Manager with automatic image resizing
  • Handles multiple product images with easy drag-and-drop sorting
  • support for Special Prices
  • Tax rates per location
  • Basic inventory control

Catalog Browsing

  • Live product search – mmm just like apple.com (available add on)
  • Cross-sells
  • Product listing in list format
  • Product listing in grid format (available with Gold Cart)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Product Image Zoom-in Capability
  • Stock Availability
  • Multiple Images Per Product (activated with Gold Cart)
  • Product comments
  • Filter by Product Tags
  • New Products widget
  • Features Products widget
  • Live updating shopping cart (put it wherever you want)

 

Editorial Calendar 

The Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog. Did you remember to write a post for next Tuesday? What about the Tuesday after that? WordPress doesn’t make it easy to see when your posts are scheduled. The editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.

Features

See all of your posts and when they’ll be posted.
Drag and drop to change your post dates.
Manage your drafts with our new drafts drawer.
Quickedit post titles, contents, and times.
Publish posts or manage drafts.
Easily see the status of your posts.
Manage posts from multiple authors.

Events Calendar 

This is a free plugin, but also has a paid version if you need extra features. The Events Calendar is a nifty calendar plugin that allows your customers to see what events you are at and also what is happening with your business. You can advertise your own events or the ones you are going to. There are also extra plugins for this plugin (like woocommerce) that adds to the functionality of the plugin, such as connecting it to eventbrite.

Events-Calendar is a versatile replacement for the original calendar included with WordPress adding many useful functions to keep track of your events. The plugin has an easy to use admin section that displays a big readable calendar and lets you add and delete events.

The plugin is widget ready so you can easily add a small calendar to the main sidebar with the ability to roll over the highlighted event day to see a brief description of the event or click the day to get a full description of the event without ever leaving your current page.

The ability to add a large public calendar is available by posting a page and adding [events-calendar-large] to the page content to create a stand alone calendar page. Also, when entering an event from the admin section, you can check the box saying “Create Post for Event”, which will cause a post to be created with the event information.

Additional features will be added so make sure that you keep up to date on upcoming changes and new features by subscribing to the RSS feed on the Events Calendar site.

 

Job Manager 

Your business needs quality new employees and you want to make the process easier for yourself.  A job management board on your website. Ad job descriptions, potential employees apply from a form on your website. You can then review all the applicants straight from the dash board.

 

J Shortcodes 

 

This plugin allows you to easily create customized styled web elements like buttons, content boxes, tabs, accordion panels and more. It’s an easy way to help content stick out without having to know CSS or HTML.

Simple Business Manager

Simple Business Manager allows you to manage your company, track invoices and keep finances in order. Letter generator allows you to create letter templates and then send them to your customers. A Company report allows you to quickly see your company finances, expenses and deposits as well as the ability to track miles traveled.

 

Installing a Plugin

To install a plugin on your website all you have to do is click on plugins, search them and install them click through the steps and lastly activate the plugin.

 

Comments

  1. Invaluable! Thanks so much.

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