Top 8 Advanced WordPress Features and Plugins to Beat Your Competition

Feb 11, 2021 | Website Design, WordPress

Reading Time: 10 minutes
Kevin Fouche

Top 8 Advanced WordPress Features and Plugins to Beat Your Competition

Posted by Kevin Fouche, Pixel Fish Director

Kevin handles the planning, design, launch and training of every website that Pixel Fish creates. He ensures that every website is highly engaging and aligned with our client’s goals. With over 20 years of design and web industry experience to draw upon, Kevin aims to pass on his knowledge to our clients and like-minded businesses wanting to grow their online presence.

The internet is more alive with activity than it has ever been. There has been a vast increase in online commerce, remote services, long-distance orders, and even online activity for local businesses is at a historic high. While the economy is in a state of flux, web design is flexing to keep up with the constantly increasing demand for new sites and services online. As every industry takes it to the digital realm, your website is suddenly facing an onslaught of online competition.

WordPress websites ready to adapt to the new fast-paced demand can also ride the wave to success. All you need is a WordPress website ready to welcome the waves of now-online customer traffic. Today, we’re here to talk in-depth about the WordPress website features that can help you rise above the crowd.

By advancing your WordPress design with additional features, WordPress plugins, and modules, we can make your site stand out from every other industry site on the net.

Let’s dive into the WordPress advanced features that can be used to conquer your online competition.

1. Built-In Onsite Analytics

Google Analytics made basic data available to all websites wanting to start. It’s great for beginners, but advancing your analytics game means tighter control over data collection and conclusions drawn.

Bring the data collection on-site. You can find an extension that gathers the data or puts custom data collection into your hands. If you want something specific for which there is not already software, then have it developed.

Once a team has mastered the basics of improving with analytics, the next step is to define your own data points that you’d like to collect. These might be unique to your company, product, clientele, website design, industry, etc. When generalised analytics services don’t provide, collect the data directly.

Key Google Analytics Data to Track and Monitor

Google Analytics can be used to measure website performance, customer behaviour and trends, as well as ROI from marketing campaigns. There are a few key metrics that all businesses should focus on when it comes to Google Analytics:

  1. User Acquisition – Track your visitors’ source and compare each channel’s performance. This will help you identify which channels are most effective for acquiring customers.
  2. Traffic Sources – Understand where your visitors are coming from and how they interact with your WordPress website. This includes organic search, referrals, direct traffic, and social media visits.
  3. Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO) – Track the conversion rate of each page to identify areas that need improvement. A/B testing can be used to test different versions of a page and optimize the conversion rate.
  4. Retention – Measure customer retention rates over time to identify areas of improvement in user engagement and loyalty.
  5. Funnel Analysis – Track the performance of each stage in your website’s funnel, such as lead generation or e-commerce checkout, to identify areas that need improvement.
  6. User Segmentation – Group users based on their behavior and interests to gain insights into which channels are most effective for acquiring customers.
  7. Attribution Modeling – Track the effectiveness of each channel in driving conversions and sales, so you can make data-driven decisions about your marketing budget.
  8. Heatmaps – Visualize user behaviour on your WordPress website to identify areas of improvement and optimize the customer experience.
  9. Analytics Audits – Analyze and audit your web analytics data to ensure accuracy and uncover insights that can be used to drive better results.
  10. Content Optimization – Use content optimization techniques to make sure your website content is engaging and helpful to visitors.
  11. A/B Testing – Perform experiments to test different variations of webpages, copy and design to determine which one performs the best.
  12. Conversion Rate Optimization – Analyze user behavior on your website and optimize the customer experience so you can increase sales and conversions.
  13. Paid Advertising – Invest in paid advertising campaigns to drive more traffic and leads to your website.
  14. Social Media Marketing – Leverage social media platforms to promote content, build relationships with customers, and acquire new followers.
  15. Email Marketing – Create targeted email campaigns that deliver personalized messages to potential customers.

2. Fully Integrated Map Location

Being “on the map” has always been a good thing, and now you can put yourself there. Every business should already be integrated with Google My Business (GMB) which places your pin on Google Maps. Now it’s time to make sure you are on the map through-and-through. Build a complete and thorough listing –with image assets– for your business based on your GMB profile. Then do an audit of the top 5-20 map services and make sure you have a complete profile on each one of those. Include things like Yelp and Angie’s List for local businesses.

Then integrate all the widgets for your greatest benefit. Add an online ordering extension to your website and then hook your GMB ordering API into it. This way, you get direct booking and the convenience of the search engine’s streamlined ordering UI.

Finally, integrate a map (Google again) into your own website. You can do this as a store-finder and/or an order tracking system which we will talk about next. Maps should be live (click-drag) and on prominent service pages.

Benefits of Embedding a Google Map on your website

  • Increased visibility of your business to customers in the area
  • Easier navigation for returning customers and better customer service
  • Greater SEO value thanks to added content
  • Opportunity to link directly to GMB locations, providing even more information about your business than ever before
  • Ability to brand the map with custom logos, images, and colors to match the look and feel of your website

3. Live GPS Order Tracking

Online ordering and deliveries have become essential in a post-COVID society, but not all services are riding the curve. Right now, it is easily possible to tell customers exactly (or approximately) where their order is at all times. Shipping scans through most major services will give a city-by-city update at minimum. Driver GPS allows tracking a package until it reaches their door.

Whether you are providing local food and goods deliveries or shipping long-distance, live tracking is quickly becoming a must-have.  This is especially important now that timing is so important – leaving orders alone the minimum amount of time for a no-contact delivery.

The good news is that the now-expected live order tracking is a great place to put an attractive live map for customers to watch as they wait for their orders. This functions as both highly accurate tracking information and an interactive ‘game’ element.

4. Stealthy Onsite Surveys

Have you noticed how many sites recently are using onsite surveys? You may not have, because the new trend is stealth. Slip a quick multiple-choice question into your chat-bot intro. Ask a quick question or two when onboarding customers, in the guise of a more conversational approach. Slip a survey question into emails, or where banner ads might have been, or between paragraphs of a blog article.

This trend is on the rise without making a big deal out of itself. Why? Because that’s how we like our surveys. Most people, on reflex, will answer one or two questions asked quickly and politely. Do you want a hot dog or hamburger? We answer without thinking. Web designers have begun to more effectively use this combined with today’s smooth graphics capabilities to slip survey questions to users without interrupting their experience.

Example: A user is shopping for hiking boots. There is a design-integrated question above the search results that asks : “Do your boots normally fit tight or loose?” They click without thinking, the size recommendation refines. The customer is eventually happier with comfortable hiking boots.

Top Survey Plugins for WordPress

  1. WPForms – This plugin allows you to create beautiful survey forms with a drag-and-drop builder and has pre-built templates for surveys, polls, quizzes, and more.
  2. Formidable Forms – Create functional surveys with conditional logic, custom HTML fields or even file uploads with this powerful plugin.
  3. Gravity Forms – This plugin has an intuitive drag-and-drop form builder that can be used to create surveys, polls, and other forms with ease.
  4. WP Survey And Quiz Tool – This plugin makes it easy to create surveys, quizzes, and polls for your WordPress site with multiple question types, captcha security, and more.
  5. Survey Funnel – This plugin allows you to quickly create surveys with custom questions, images, videos, and other content that can be used to engage visitors on your site.

5. High-Performance Smart Home Integration

Smart home integration has come leaps and bounds in the last five years, but there’s still much progress to be made. Very few websites have yet to grasp the financial potential of smart home integration. Those that do have apps and smart home skills, even fewer are well-designed and usable. The cutting-edge, however, are reaping the benefit of cutting-edge accessibility.

With a fully-functional smart home integration, your business/website achieves 3 things:

  • Voice search prominence – Voice searches through phones and speakers will turn up your business, services, and products
  • The smart home market – Customers who own smart homes and/or use the mobile features will buy and use your products
  • Smart home e-commerce orders – Customers who use smart homes can make quick orders for food, products, and services by talking to their devices hands-free.
  • Lifestyle Immersion – Make your brand part of customer lives with handy smart home skills used every day.

What does your website offer to customers? What could you offer with smart home integration? You could sell anything from morning coffee deliveries to daily financial advice. Your website is the ideal hub for smart home integrations because it already runs online services.

6. No-Contact Service Platforms

The next major trend that we can all see coming is no-contact service platforms on websites across the globe. E-commerce had us mostly there, but businesses are now honing the tools and procedures necessary to provide expert no-contact services. It really is possible to provide deliveries, meetings, and even maintenance without meeting face-to-face, especially if the online technology is there to connect us.

Websites will soon be adding a cascade of features to their order-tracking infrastructure. This is likely to include

  • Live Driver Tracking
  • Live Chat/SMS Communication
  • Photos of Delivered Orders
  • Delivery-Retrieval Coordination Tools
  • Mask Confirmation Photo Exchanges

We know that all or most of these things already exist, but the significance is that they will come together. Most businesses will need at least 3-4 steps of tracking and coordination to ensure the safe delivery of things like perishable foods or high-value/fragile items. Coordinating no-contact services may require even more features and coordination.

Get ahead of the curve by imagining and constructing a unified platform to help customers go from order-to-completion safely – constantly in-touch online and no-contact in person.

7. Content Delivery Network (CDN) Asset Hosting

There’s no question that website trends have been pushing into the cloud. We have cloud hosting, cloud SaaS services, cloud document management, even cloud phones and communication. Now it’s time to take our images and other static website files into their own cloud.

A CDN is a Content Delivery Network. In current terms, this means a cloud server that is specifically designed to serve content to web pages. Because page loading speed is so essential, it has become increasingly practical to delegate heavy loading tasks like images and videos to separate servers.

Not only does a CDN take the burden of some hosting from your web server, it is also streamlined to provide these heavy or static assets ASAP, where your web server must multi-task. With correct use of a CDN, your images can load faster and lighter than they did on-site or even sharing the same cloud-cluster as your web server.

Benefits of a CND for your website include:

  • Improved page loading speeds, allowing for better user experience
  • Reduced impact on hosting resources (bandwidth and disk space)
  • Increased reliability when it comes to serving large files, such as images and videos
  • Additional security measures like DDoS protection

8. Universal API Receptivity

Lastly, websites will continue their climb for API versatility. WordPress websites and modular designs tend toward receptivity but there are always improvements. This is especially true as the diversity of APIs available has become vast. Benefit from the extensions and APIs are essential for working with high-quality proprietary additions to your website – like live maps, for example.

The more receptive your web design, the more cutting-edge features you will be able to integrate as trends progress.

Steeped in the currently-churning web design culture, we can see where many of the most practical and leading trends are going today, but there are still more to come. To stay on the cutting edge, we must ride the wave of apparent progress while also remaining flexible for the unknown ahead.  Contact us today to explore your website’s cutting edge features and plans.

More information about WordPress Plugins

How do WordPress plugins increase the functionality of your website?

Third party WordPress plugins are software that can be added to a WordPress website to extend its functionality. They offer access to powerful features, and allow you to customize your site in ways that wouldn’t be possible with a basic WordPress installation. Some WordPress plugins let you add contact forms, integrate e-commerce functions, or create custom post types.

Others provide analytics tools, search engine optimization (SEO) tools, or ways to improve user experience. No matter what type of website you have—from a simple blog to an online store—a plugin can likely help you meet your needs.

List of the most popular free WordPress Plugins

  • Yoast SEO –  Improves your WordPress SEO and helps you to write content that’s optimized for both readers and search engines.
  • Jetpack – Monitors your site’s traffic, security and more. Offers dozens of features, including site performance, security, backups, traffic growth tools, and more.
  • Elementor Page Builder – Creates stunning pages without coding
  • WPForms – Builds beautiful forms with drag & drop
  • MonsterInsights – Get insights from your website data
  • Jetpack by –  Supercharge the WordPress design process
  • Akismet – Helps protect your blog from spam comments
  • WP Fastest Cache – Make your site faster and more reliable
  • Contact Form 7 – Easily create contact forms for visitors to use
  • WooCommerce – Powering over 28% of all online stores
  • W3 Total Cache – Improve website speed

Tips on how to find the most suitable WordPress plugin for your website

  1. Decide what kind of functionality you need to add on your website. Do you need a new form builder, analytics, or a website security plugin?
  2. Research the available plugins and read user reviews for each one that catches your eye. Look for features, ease of use, and customer service ratings from actual users.
  3. Test out the plugins you’re considering before making a final decision. See how well it works with your website and ensure it meets all your needs.
  4. Compare pricing models for each plugin, including free versions if available. Check for any hidden fees or subscription plans that could affect your long-term costs.
  5. Take the time to thoroughly read through the terms of service for any plugin you’re considering. This will help ensure that your website remains secure and compliant with all applicable laws.

Once you’ve identified a suitable WordPress plugin, please take steps to properly install and configure it on your website in order to get the best performance out of your new addition.

Premium WordPress plugins vs free WordPress plugins

Which is better for your website? Both free and premium plugins can offer great features, so you’ll need to consider the cost, performance, support and user ratings before deciding.

When it comes to WordPress plugins, you’ll typically find two types: a free wordpress plugin and premium. Free plugins are often created by independent developers or open-source projects, while premium plugins are usually commercial products from established companies or individuals.

What is the best wordpress ecommerce plugin?

Woocommerce is the leading e-commerce plugin for WordPress , with more than 4 million users. It provides a complete solution for setting up and running an online store that supports multiple payment methods, shipping options and other features. Woocommerce is highly customizable and easy to use, making it the ideal choice for anyone looking to create an ecommerce website with WordPress.

What is the best SEO plugin for WordPress?

Yoast SEO is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress and is used by more than 5 million websites. It provides a comprehensive suite of tools to optimize your site’s content, technical structure, and social media presence. It also offers features like XML sitemaps, page analysis and link-building suggestions, making it an invaluable tool for improving your website’s search engine rankings.

Speak to the WordPress experts and take your business to the next level with a Pixel Fish Website.

Check out some of our latest Website Design projects.

Further Reading
10 Tips that Maximise Your WordPress Website Design ROI
12 Tactics to Increase Your WordPress Website Speed
10 Best Practices for Installing New WordPress Plugins
Successful Web Design for Kids: Four Important Tips
How to use your Website to Increase Referrals
How to know if you are ready to Start your E-Commerce Website
How to choose the right domain name for your business
10 Best Practices for a Successful WordPress Website Design Project
9 Business Web Design Package Features Your New Website Must Have
Elementor Website Design
10 Interactive WordPress Plugins to Bring Your Website to Life
Why Your Business Needs Mobile Responsive Wordpress Website Design
The Impact of Smartphones on Mobile Responsive Design
Small Business SEO: Why Your Business Needs Google Analytics
How to Build a Customer Journey Map to Enhance Your Website Design

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Kevin Fouché, Pixel Fish Director