Many (if not most) agents now use a WordPress platform to host their websites and blogs. The beauty of the free platform is that is can be customized in literally millions of ways due to the open source design. Plugins are little snippets of programming that can be installed into your WordPress site to give it additional functionality. A couple of years ago Steve Cousino wrote an article outlining several recommended plugins for WordPress websites. Since that article was published I’ve come across a few more plugins worth considering for your WordPress websites.
DUDA Mobile Website Builder – this plugin makes it easy to convert your WordPress website into a mobile-friendly site. It’s fast, free and easy (note: there is a free version as well as a $9 per month upgraded paid version). And it works with all WordPress themes including websites and blogs. The unique advantage of the DUDA plugin is that your mobile site will retain the look and feel of your WordPress website, will automatically sync with your website, includes free site analytics, and is mobile SEO friendly.
Limited Login Attempts – by default WordPress allows unlimited login attempts, allowing to be “brute forced cracked” with relative ease. My first recommendation is to NEVER use “admin” as a user name to access your WordPress dashboard. Further, don’t use anything that can be easily guessed as a user name. There have been attempts to hack my sites, using “ships” and “kickbutt” as possible user names (easily derived from the website URL). If they can figure out your name (i.e. from the “about us” page) then don’t use your name as a user name either.
My second recommendation is to install the Limited Login Attempts plugin on your website. The plugin blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit is reached, making a brute-force attack much more difficult. The plugin is fully customizable, allowing you to set the number of attempts allowed, the length of time to be locked out, and sending you email notifications advising of unsuccessful attempts to login to your site.
Connections – this is a great plugin that provides you with a simple to use directory for your website, whether it’s a staff directory, address book, or a business directory. We have used this plugin for an agent directory on a consumer website. It is extremely easy to use and very customizable.
bbPress – do you have a need for a forum on your website like the TRO Community? A forum would be a great place for group members to converse and share their excitement about an upcoming, shared trip. It’s also a great place to allow ICs to ask questions and share information. Forums can be private or public, based on your needs. And most importantly, it is easy to use!
Newsletter sign-up widgets – if you produce a newsletter or do any type of online marketing with Mail Chimp, Constant Contact, or Aweber, then it is important for you to incorporate the plugin for the system you are using. Don’t miss the opportunity to allow new site visitors to sign up for your newsletters or other communications!
If you have a favorite plugin, share it in the comments below. Or if there is something you wish you could do with your WordPress website, ask about it in the comments and we’ll see if we can figure it out.
Susan Schaefer is the owner of Ships ‘N’ Trips Travel located in Nashville, Tennessee, and specializes in leisure travel with a focus on group travel and charity fundraisers. Through their division Kick Butt Vacations she focuses on travel for young adults under 35. Susan can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (888) 221-1209.