There are various services external to WordPress that add significant value to WordPress self-hosted websites. Here are five that we believe every WordPress website should be using:
Mailchimp for newsletters
If you blog, did you know that you can fully automate your email newsletter from people subscribing right through to sending newsletters monthly? And, best of all, Mailchimp provides the service free of charge for up to 2000 subscribers or 12000 emails sent per month. Mailchimp is easy to use and super reliable. You really should be using this free service. Oh, did we mention that they even deliver content from Sydney, Australia, so even if you host overseas you’ll benefit from your content being delivered from within Australia.
CloudFlare for security and speed
We’ve been harping on about how awesome CloudFlare is for ages (in fact we deliver our own WordPress content using CloudFlare). The basic and free account offered by CloudFlare is excellent; besides offering various optimizations and a CDN that will help your website load faster (and is good for SEO), they also throw in a number of security enhancements. It would be difficult to find a reason not to use CloudFlare for most WordPress websites.
Google Analytics to know who visits
There are numerous services available that provide analytics/data regarding who visits your website, where they are from and how they navigate your website. Google Analytics is widely used and provides all sorts of interesting data that will help you make your content more appropriate for your target audience. WordPress offers free analytics through the Jetpack Plugin which is a great service however doesn’t have the same level of analytics details that Google Analytics provides.
Google Webmaster to know what’s good and what isn’t
If you are serious about SEO or even just making sure that your website is well setup and functioning you really should be using Google Webmaster Tools. This service will let you know if there have been crawling errors, how you may improve your HTML, what Google sees as your most significant content keywords and so much more.
Bing Webmaster Tools is also very good if you prefer Bing services.
Mandrill for email
Another free service by Mailchimp, Mandrill provides a transactional email service. In plain English, this means that we can have far higher reliability and functionality when WordPress sends emails from our websites.
Mandrill has servers in many countries (yes, even in Australia) which means that your contact form or other WordPress emails will be sent reliably and very quickly. In addition, using Mandrill, it’s easy to change the sender name of emails from WordPress to your business name (or any other chosen name).
If you need help with setting up any of the services contact Gary and for a small fee we’ll help.