Below is a list of what we consider to be some of the best, and most popular, third-party applications, plug-ins and widgets that your website can benefit from.
More than 3 million people use MailChimp to manage, design and send email marketing campaigns. Managing subscription lists manually and sending mass email campaigns directly can lead to a plethora of problems.
MailChimp can be directly integrated with your website so that your customers can subscribe to your list quickly and easily. Signup forms can be created to match your website’s look and feel, and the service is ideal for sending your subscribers updates, invitations or announcements. In-depth reports help to shape your campaigns and provide more information about your subscribers, for example how many people read your email, clicked on a link or made a purchase or enquiry afterwards.
What we like about MailChimp
Manage your mailing lists, both subscribers and unsubscribers, with ease.
Send out mass email campaigns and let MailChimp worry about the logistics and deliver-ability.
View reports to help measure the success of your campaigns and improve them over time.
MailChimp is currently free for lists of up to 2,000 subscribers.
Google Analytics is a statistics service offered by Google. Once a small piece of tracking code is installed on your website, Google Analytics will provide in-depth reports about your site’s visitors, traffic sources, conversions and sales.
I often joke with clients that the service will provide you with everything you could wish to know about your visitors, including what they ate for breakfast. In reality this is far from the truth, since all of the statistics are anonymous. None-the-less, there is such an unbelievable wealth of information provided by Google Analytics, no website should be without it.
What we like about Google Analytics
Provides all the statistics you could ever want including number of visits, conversions, where visitors came from and what they searched for to find you.
Considering the amount of information provided, Google Analytics is fairly easy to use, even for a novice.
Excellent reporting with charts and graphs.
In-page Analytics provides a visual representation of where people click on your pages.
If your website visitor’s first language isn’t necessarily English, the Google Translate widget provides them with the ability to instantly translate your web pages into any language of their choice. The widget is easily installed in the header or footer of your website, and can be customised as a simple dropdown or easy to recognise country flag icons.
What we like about Google Translate
Avoids the high cost of translating pages professionally.
Provides a much broader range of languages than you might otherwise be able to offer with manual web page translation.
Is scarily accurate compared to some automated translation software.
Back in the day, web designers would likely spend an age manually drawing a map for their client’s “contact us” page. Not only did these static maps take a lot of time to produce, but more often than not they weren’t especially helpful.
Today, it’s usually easier to embed a Google Map widget on your contact page. Not only do Google Maps look beautiful, but they offer a range of other features such as the ability to drag the map around, zoom in and out, and view satellite and Street View versions.
What we like about Google Maps
Easy to embed anywhere on your website.
Provides rich interaction, for example the ability to zoom in and out or to switch to Street View.
If you move premises it doesn’t take half a day to draw a new map!
WordPress has grown into the largest and most popular self-hosted blogging tool in the world. It’s used on millions of websites and viewed by tens of millions of people each and every day.
If you’re thinking of implementing a blog on your website, WordPress is definitely the platform to use. Although it started as a blogging system and is primarily just that, it has also evolved into a full website content management system (CMS) with a host of plug-ins, widgets and themes to enhance and extend its functionality.
What we like about WordPress:
The ease of use in which website owners can update their own content and publish blog articles.
WordPress has a variety of search engine friendly features right out of the box.
Additional plug-ins can extend its functionality with ease.