A  Look At Powerful Business Plugins with Examples

There’s been a lot of people quoted as saying: “I had no idea WordPress could do that!?!?” After reading this article you’ll discover some of the greatest plugins WP has to offer. These functional plugins have the power to create new platforms and concepts by simply using these amazing plugins in conjunction with each other or stand alone. They open up the open-source community of this amazing CMS even further. WordPress can help your business in ways you may not have considered. Let’s discuss a few.

 

1.) A Powerful Social Network: BuddyPress

Buddy Press as shown on Spark Logix

BuddyPress was and is constructed as open-source and its primary function is that of an online social network. Its strength enables people with like interests to gather and communicate online. BP is currently being used by niche groups with specific topic interests, communication platform for companies and organizations, and social networks for schools.

This plugin provides features that can be configured to specific needs. You can select which features you want to use and which are useless to you. You can activate and configure the features you want and turn off the features you don’t. All of this capacity at the click of a button. As is custom with WP, when you disable or enable a feature your website will act accordingly. It makes the adjustment and only shows the items you want. Visit BuddyPress.

BuddyPress Example as seen on Spark Logix

An example of an activity page within a BuddyPress website. This can be customized to look however the admin wants (as long as they have the "tech chops" to get it done)

 

 

2.) A Highly Configurable E-Commerce Plugin: WP E-Commerce

WP-Ecommerce for WordPress

WP e-Commerce is a highly customizable, bolt-on shopping cart that lets customers buy products, services and digital downloads from a WordPress website. With the ability to 100% customize this plugin you can easily create the exact layout that will increase sales for your product or service. In addition to design control the plugin features a streamlined checkout, shipping options, product sliders, downloadables importer, and a multitude of payment gateways:

Payment Gateways Available with WP e-Commerce:

  • Manual Payment (checks/money orders)
  • PayPal Payments Standard
  • PayPal Payments Pro
  • PayPal Express Checkout
  • Google Checkout (Level 2)
  • Chronopay
  • PayPal Payflow Pro
  • Authorize.net
  • FirstData/LinkPoint
  • eWay Payment
  • iDEAL
  • BluePay
  • DPS
  • Paystation
  • SagePay
  • Virtual Merchant

 

Standard Product Layout:

WP E-Commerce Layout Example

Product Slider

WP E-Commerce Slider

The One Page Checkout

WP E-Commerce One Page Checkout

Updated Totals in a Sidebar

Functional WP E-Commerce Sidebar

WP-Ecommerce has a lot to offer any size business selling products or services online. It fits nicely into your WP Dashboard and is easy to configure and control. You can purchase the upgrade or download the free version of WP E-Commerce.

 

3.) Affiliate Platform Plugin

WP Affiliate Plugin

The ‘WordPress Affiliate Platform’ is easy to use once configured. It’s perfect for affiliate recruitment, management and tracking. This plug-in lets you run your own affiliate campaign/program and allows you to reward (pay commission) to your affiliates for referred sales. The admin can upload/configure banners/links which the affiliates can use on their blog/site/social network to drive traffic to your site. All the clicks, leads, sales etc are tracked.

Affiliate Membership Levels

Affiliate Membership Levels WP Plugin

What an Affiliate Sees to Manage the Account

Affiliate Plugin for WP

Affiliate features include: real time reporting, two tier structure, integration with WP-Ecommerce and other shopping carts, unlimited members, and a whole lot more. Learn More about the Affiliate Platform Plugin on their website.

 

4.) WordPress E-Member

WP Affiliate PluginE-Member is brought to you by the creator of the affiliate platform plug-in just listed. WordPress eMember is a WP Membership plugin that will create a membership website on your current WP website. With the plugin you can selectively protect articles by creating various membership levels (eg. Free, Basic, Premium, Ultimate) and protect content (posts, pages etc) of your site. This plug-in manages all the membership management aspects on your website.

This plugin works in conjunction with the affiliate platform if you’re looking to charge your affiliates a monthly fee to be an affiliate. With this plugin you’ll have the power to protect content, PayPal integration, autoresponder, + more. Learn more about the WordPress E-Member.


5.) Sexy Bookmarks

Sexy Bookmarks Plugin

SexyBookmarks is a useful tool to get readers to submit articles to various social bookmarking websites. The reason most people like the plugin is for aesthetic reasons, it’s nice, clean and useful. Visit WP and download the Sexy Bookmarks plugin for your blog.

 

6.) Contact Form 7

Flexibility and design constitute this perfect little plug-in. You can manage multiple contact forms within the WP dashboard. In addition, it supports many features including AJAX submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering, file uploading, etc. Download the Contact Form 7 Plug-in.

WP Dashboard Management

Contact Form 7

Contact Form 7 on the Spark Logix Studios Website

COntact Form 7 On SPark Logix

 

7.) All-In-One SEO

You’ve already heard of this one but it’s worth mentioning here because of its importance. The All-In-One SEO Pack is the #1 MOST DOWNLOADED WordPress plugin. It will optimize each page and post in WordPress for Search Engines. See More about the All-In-One SEO Pack.

Backend Dashboard View of the All-In-One SEO Pack

Dashboard View of All In One SEO Pack


8.) Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator

This plugin generates a compliant XML-Sitemap for your WordPress website. This format is supported by Ask.com, Google, YAHOO and MSN Search. If you need your website to be search engine optimized this plugin is a must. Visit the Google (XML) Sitemaps Generator website.

 

The last two examples are to emphasize the need for great SEO while the other plugins mentioned are to highlight the expandability of WordPress. Not only can you create a customized CMS website with WP you’ll also be able to configure options via plugins that could possibly expand your business even further. The best part – No monthly fees to have quality e-commerce, contact forms, and a social network? Yes!

Now you should try out the Sexy Bookmark and share this page! Thanks!

5 Comments on “Top 8 Incredible WordPress Plugins for 2011

  1. Stephanie

    I’ve been looking for a way to create a membership site. I will have to look into the WordPress E-member plug-in.

    I have to agree with Tracy, you really have provided some awesome resources here!!!

    Reply
    1. Tommy

      Paula,

      I’ve just recently started working with BuddyPress and it is a pretty cool plug-in.

      You will have to work with it some to make it your own, but hey, it’s free, so they sky is the limit.

      Good luck with it!

      Reply

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