The internet is more alive with activity than is 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 website ready to welcome the waves of now-online customer traffic. Today, we're here to talk in-depth about the website features that can help you rise above the crowd. By advancing your WordPress design with additional features, 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.
8 Advanced WordPress Features & Plugins to Beat Your Competition
1. Built-In Onsite Analytics
Google Analytics made basic data available to all websites that want to get started. 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.
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.
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 makes it possible to track 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.
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.
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.