Must-Have WordPress Plugins

Must-Have WordPress Plugins

Don’t want to get hacked, lose or even destroy your own website? Then you’re going to want all five of these MUST-HAVE WordPress plugins before your website turns into a horror show.

It’s a website owner’s nightmare but it’s actually really easy to avoid the website of doom. I’m Kat Reynolds, website strategist and I’ve helped thousands of small business owners to grow their business through their websites. I always recommend starting a website with these five plugins and they’re all completely free!

5 Must-Have WordPress Plugins

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The Security Plug-in

The first plugin I always install is a security one. One of the top fears of business owners I work with is that their website is going to get hacked. Yes, this is a problem and they can take over your site, add hidden files.  I even had one client whose website hosted a whole secret porn site in the back end. She had no idea about it! You don’t want that –  no one wants that! So, always install a security plug-in to stop the nasties from getting in.

must-have wordpress plugins security

Hop onto your WordPress dashboard and click new plugins and there are so many options for security. My preferred option is Wordfence Security, it does the job without too many tweaks for the basic plugin and the free version is absolutely fine! Others, like iThemes Security and All-In-One, are great too. They will all block hackers from logging in, scan for malware and are all constantly updated to respond to any new vulnerabilities. Just don’t leave your website unprotected!

The Backup Plugin

Plugin number two is the backup plugin. Yes, many hosting services include some level of backup but they often save to the same server that you’re hosted on. If that server goes down – not good! So you want to make sure you have control of your own website.

A backup plugin will also protect you from the “oh my gosh I just broke my website, I lost my content, I accidentally deleted all my products!” nightmares you’ve probably already run through your head.

I recommend UpdraftPlus because it’s super easy to set up and makes sure your site is backed up to a safe space. It is also super easy to resurrect if things do go a bit pear-shaped. Just activate the plug-in and you’ll be taken through to complete your first backup. Then you’ll need to automate your backup. (So you don’t suddenly discover that the last time you backed up was 20 blogs ago and you’ve lost all that work!)

must-have wordpress plugins updraft plus

Choose daily backups for the database, which saves all the words and things, and weekly for the files. Then choose a platform to back up to and you’re covered for any “oops i did it again!” moments.

I know the fear of people hacking or breaking your site puts so many entrepreneurs off from even starting a website. Is this you? Type ‘solved!’ in the comments below – because now your security and the backup plugin is sorted, you really can’t break your own website anymore.

Website of doom averted!

The next three must-have WordPress plugins are there to make sure your website works for your business, starting with plugin number three – your caching plugin.

The Caching Plugin

A successful website needs to be fast. Your website visitors won’t want to wait around for the site to load. Really, you only have about three seconds to make an impression before they click away. Also, Google will rank your website higher if your website is faster. A caching plugin basically saves your page information so it can serve it quickly to your website visitors. It can cut vital seconds off your load time, which is crucial for getting more views.

I use SiteGround Optimizer. It’s dead easy to set up, with just the right amount of options to turn on without looking horrendously complicated.

must-have wordpress plugins siteground optimizer

However: it’s only available if you host with SiteGround (my favourite hosts – link here!)

There are loads of caching plugin alternatives though. Such as WP-Optimize, which also has some really good features to optimize your database and files. It also smashes up your images so they aren’t enormous. Test a couple out! Test your website speed using a tool like Pingdom Speed Test, before you activate the plugin and after. Then you can see which one does the job best for your site.

The SEO Plugin

Plugin number four is your SEO plugin. Now, this little tool won’t get you to the first page of google but it WILL help you optimize your site and content to be Google friendly. I recommend the very popular Yoast SEO.

 wordpress plugins Yoast SEO

It adds a very handy little SEO tool below the text editor, so you can optimize your pages, your posts and your products for a particular keyword. It then grades your efforts from red to green and gives you lots and lots of hints to improve your content. Plus, you can then edit the excerpt that appears on the Google search results so you can get more click-throughs.

This plugin is a must if you want your website to be found.

The Analytics Plugin

Plugin number five is your analytics plugin.

I know…the thought of stats might make you come out in hives

However, it’s so important to know how your website is doing because it has a job to do! If it’s not bringing in the visitors and not making you sales, you need to be able to see where it’s all going wrong. You will need to connect up to Google Analytics and Google Search Console.

Google Analytics will show you:

  • All the figures you need
  • The visitor numbers
  • What they’re looking at
  • What activity they’re up to on your site.

Google Search Console will tell you how your site is being found.

You can connect to these by adding code to your header –  not the most beginner-friendly solution! This is why I recommend using a plug-in like Monster Insights which takes you through the process of linking up to Google Analytics. It will also show you some of the stats right on your WordPress website. Super easy and super handy!

google analytics monster insights

So, those are the five must-have WordPress plugins that will stop the ‘website of doom!’ from raising its ugly head. They’ll make sure your website is doing its job and bringing you in more business.

Are you going to be adding any of them to your website? Let me know in the comments.

Kat x

The sales tactics used by 8-figure businesses!

The sales tactics used by 8-figure businesses!

Ever wondered how those 8-figure business owners get their customers to commit to their products? It’s all down to having WINNING SALES TACTICS! Through all of their marketing, to their perfect sales pages – they have it covered. So, how do you do the same?

Want to know what makes those 8-figure businesses sales pages so successful? In the video below, I take the BOSSBABE Societe sales page – their main money-maker -and study every little section. I dig the dirt on their online membership sales page to find out what makes it SO profitable and give you 12 ways you can steal their sales tactics for your own sales page.

Watch as I show you the EXACT conversion-first and sale psychology tactics they use that you can steal for your own sales page! Then, stick to the end where I’ll take my time machine back to their previous sales page and reveal what key thing they changed to massively improve their sales page conversions last year.

I’m Kat Reynolds and I help small business owners build powerfully successful online brands and websites. Ones that actually get more traffic, get more leads and get more sales! Let’s jump on in.

Steal those sales tactics!

Now you’ve watched me talk through a winning sales page, it’s time to put these tactics into action. To make it easier, I’ve collated the 12 SALES TACTICS discussed in the video and put them into a worksheet for you to use right away. Best news – it’s totally free! As a reminder, the worksheet covers the following areas:

  1. How to focus your marketing on your chosen product.
  2. Four elements to a sales page header.
  3. How to use a permanent top menu.
  4. Use words that speak to your audience.
  5. Using storytelling to poke the bear!
  6. Powerful images that show not tell.
  7. Boost up your case studies.
  8. Make the choice clear!
  9. How to do pricing.
  10. Bonus sections.
  11. Leave no question unanswered.
  12. Make your CTA’s stand out.

Download here for FREE:

Kat xx

6 Essential Branding Elements for Small Business

6 Essential Branding Elements for Small Business

Do you find creating marketing graphics in your business takes you hours?

Fiddling around with different colours, fonts and images and it all ends up looking a bit like the dog’s dinner?

Suffer no longer! I’m going to show you the 6 Branding Essentials, that you need to nail, to transform your design process and make putting together those essential graphics so much quicker, easier and effective.

Each of the branding essentials I’m going to talk about come together to create your overall brand identity in different ways. Miss one and you’re missing out!

Branding Essential 1: Your Logo

The first of the branding essentials is of course your logo! This element plays an important part in appealing to the correct audience. However, I don’t want you to think that your visual brand identity is just your logo. It is actually just one tiny little element of your visual branding.

A logo is not your brand.

Think of it as your business’s signature. In fact, I work with a lot of entrepreneurs who are building a personal brand and I’ve actually used a form of their signature to create their logo. It’s a trick a lot of the big entrepreneurs employ to show that they are real people, approachable and experts in what they do. Keep it simple. Use as few colours, fonts and elements as possible so your audience can recognise it instantly.

Top Tip: If you’re an online or personal brand just go for it! I’m so going to get hate mail from all the graphic designers out there! Investing in an expensive logo when starting out just isn’t necessary and won’t be a huge part of your brand strategy. However, If you’re a product-based business and investing in packaging then you might need to invest in something a bit more future proof.

Branding Essential 2: Your Colour Palette

Your colours set the mood! Use the right colours and your customers will feel right at home. Use the wrong colours and you can really put people off! This is because colours have a remarkable psychological power! They can influence our mood, our feelings and even our behaviour which is a powerful place to be when creating your persuasive marketing graphics.

Ah the control!

Top Tip: Deciding on what your colour palette needs to be will tie all of your marketing together and make your powers of persuasion much more effective. I suggest including no more than five or six main colours at the most with one standout action colour to make people take those actions and buy from you.

Branding Essential 3: Your Fonts

The fonts you use, set the style of your brand. We are opinionated beasts and fonts come with a whole raft of preconceptions. Use a font that is misaligned with your brand and you could be sending out completely the wrong message to your audience. For example:

  • Using a childish font for something serious can make your business look unprofessional
  • Having a handwritten font for signage can be hard to read and look like you just threw it together yourself on a word doc.
  • Using overused default fonts can make your business seem bland and old-fashioned.

These are not the impression you want to make!

Top Tip: A great rule of thumb is to stick to two fonts. One with a bit of character that you can use for your big titles and the other for the smaller body text that needs to be easier to read.

Branding Essential 4: Your Patterns

This is a much-missed but essential element of your branding because patterns can be such a flexible tool. You can use them as backgrounds, to fill space and to make stock photographs look like your own. If you have a set of patterns that you use consistently – and consistency is the key when building a strong brand across all of your marketing – your audience will instantly recognise your post, your videos, your products and your downloadables as uniquely yours.

Top Tip: Don’t go overboard! Choose just two styles of patterns that suit the character of your brand.

You may want to check out this fabulous little website creativemarket.com for some pre-prepared patterns and graphics. Let me know if you go on there – it’s a little addictive I warn you!

Branding Essential 5: Your Graphics and Icons

These are so helpful because you can use them pretty much anywhere. Get a set of icons or mini graphics that match your brand and your marketing will be so much more effective. Consistency – I might have said this before – is key to building your brand.

Items like arrows, circles and icons all the way up to illustrations help to establish your look. Once you have them you’ll be able to easily brand up all your marketing so it’s recognisably you.

Top Tip: I know it’s tempting to pick a random arrow or free illustration in Canva when you’re trying to create your pics but this can really make your brand look unprofessional and thrown together. So, choose a graphic style and stick to it!

Branding Essential 6: Your Photos

Images can really evoke emotion. Using the right image at the right time can communicate the right message in seconds. Nowhere is this more evident than on websites, where decisions to stay on the site are made in a scarily short three seconds of landing on the page. An image really does say a thousand words – quickly!

Deciding on the style of all your images, that reflect exactly how you want your audience to feel about your brand, will make your marketing far more consistent and effective.

We don’t all have the budget to get professional photos done. And with the number of images needed for social posts, we often have to use stock photos or just take our own some of the time. (Or all of the time!) Just make sure they match your image style. So, use similar lighting, colours, filters and subject matter.

Top Tip: What do you do with all these brand identity elements once you’ve pinned them down? I always suggest creating a simple style guideline sheet that you can refer back to when you’re creating your marketing graphics. The elements of a style guide include:

  • Your colours
  • Your images
  • The colour codes to use on canvas
  • Your patterns
  • Your fonts

Having this sheet will help you save so much time deciding and it will make your graphics far more consistent and much more powerful.

If you still need help pinning down your brand identity elements, I’ve created an easy and fun brand design course for complete beginners, untechys and not at all arty business owners called BrandUp. Shimmy on over for more info on the course or if you’re ready to start creating some of these elements for yourself, check out this blog for some easy ways you can get started.

5 Common Website Myths That Limit Your Success Online

5 Common Website Myths That Limit Your Success Online

Build it and they will come! “I just need somewhere to send people to”. “I need a website to be more credible.” As a website strategist, I hear so many of these whopping big website fiberoonies that actually stop business owners in their tracks and prevent them from growing a successful online business. That’s because a website is really not what we are told it is! In this Blog I will be smashing my Top Five WRONG Website Myths so that you can see how powerful your website really should be for your business when it’s firing on all cylinders.

I’m Kat Reynolds and I help entrepreneurs build profitable websites to grow their business, get more leads and make more sales. So, come on: let’s debunk those myths together! I’d love to hear below in the comments if any of these are a surprise to you and whether you’ve had any ‘a-ha!’ moments. This could be the thing that really changes your business!

Website Myth #1: A website is a brochure for my business

Many website owners get a website as somewhere to send people to, so they can check them out online or make them seem more credible. Or because they just think all the cool kids have one, so they have to have one too. This little myth may sound harmless but it’s the most damaging misconception about websites. Effectively, it takes away all of the customer attraction, money-generating selling power of your site.

The important part for a business.

The best reason to build a website for your business is with the intention of making more sales. It’s not a nice to have, cherry on the top “look how well I did” business card. It’s a marketing tool that helps you to grow your business! So, if you’ve got a nice little website just sitting there looking pretty (but not doing much else) then you actually have a powerful marketing tool that you haven’t even started to utilize. You can:

  • Add calls to action on every page
  • Start list building
  • Start attracting new customers through Google search
  • Sell your stuff on your website
  • Automate your marketing

…the list goes on!

What potential! A website is really a powerful little beast.

* I hope that gets you excited to start putting it to work create some website goals. If you’re stuck on this one, I have created a useful little free website strategy cheat sheet. You can download here. *

Website Myth #2: My website is all about me and my business.

Sure, you want to sell your things, you want to tell people what you do, why you do it and why you love your business. I know you do. But this little website myth can stop our websites from actually doing their job. It encourages us to write and design a website journey about ourselves, our business and what we want. Really, to attract visitors, generate customers and make those sales we need to write about what our customers need to know. To answer their questions, to solve their problems and guide them through the website to buy.

So, have a read through your major web pages. Do you focus on who you are helping? How you are helping them and showing them how they can find the solution and buy from you? Because that’s what it needs to do

Website Myth #3: A website is where people go to find information

(and the more information the better right? Oh no!)

Many website owners pack in as much information as they can. Things like:

  • The whole history of their business from the year dot
  • A detailed breakdown of their staffing structure
  • Pages of core values
  • Endless technical breakdowns of all their products
  • An essay on how they know everything about a certain topic, their unique approach – why it’s their unique approach and all the certificates they have to prove it

The temptation is to throw more content into your website without thinking about how it moves your potential customer from problem to solution. From asking a question in Google to buying from you! People don’t want to know how much you know or whether you’re the most innovative bestest, biggest business on the planet! They do want to know how your product or service can benefit them and they want to find that out in the easiest way possible.

So, take a look at your web pages, your product pages, sales pages and even your blogs! Is the information on there written to move your customer on that journey from problem to solution?

Website Myth #4: A good website is expensive

This one is a game-changer! Things have changed so much since websites had to be built in the olden days. Built from scratch by a developer, a design team and probably overseen by an expensive graphic design company. (Who charge you extra for every little change you need to make now and in the future!)

Ah I remember those days!

Nowadays, the power is in your hands. Not only do you have the tools to build your very own website, with very little experience or techie know-how but, even if it is built for you, you can update, change it around, and test it! You can now work with it, so it works for you and your business.

I build all my websites on WordPress using an easy to use builder- Divi by elegant themes. Here’s a link if you want to check them out. I highly recommend them and use them for all of mine.

The websites I design or teach other entrepreneurs to design are planned, designed and built unique to that business’s goals and objectives. There’s nothing cookie-cutter about it. No restrictive template-looking sites and it’s not expensive. The website tech itself doesn’t cost the earth.

You can get started just with the cost of hosting, which can be as low as £40 a year, and nothing more than free themes and plugins. There’s no big digital design company to brief and manage, no cost for using your own website and no waiting around for somebody else to change that typo!

Power to the people!

Website Myth #5: Once you’ve launched your website, the work is done

Sorry…but no!

Your website is a big part of your marketing. It’s a tool that you can use to attract a bigger audience, get more leads and make more sales. Much like Facebook or Instagram can be, but you own it! Once it’s launched and out into the wilds of the internet, the fun can begin. Some of the best ways to use your website include:

  • A well-structured SEO’d-up Blog! You can stop churning out and constantly changing content on all the social platforms and concentrate on creating permanently useful content that will continue working for your business for many years to come.
  • Getting list building – inviting your website visitors to take the next step and experience working with you.
  • You can start networking with other, relevant websites in your niche to build up your website’s ranking and Google search. Get even more people clicking onto your site!
  • You can send people through from your socialsYes it’s that way round!
  • To convert them to sales, you can start to send paid traffic through to your site.

As you do all of these things and more your website will grow and grow and generate more of the good stuff. It’s all a big lovely snowball effect.

I love websites – can you tell? Probably because I’m just a big control freak who doesn’t want to let Facebook rule the world!

I want to!

If you’ve had a long-held website myth busted today I’d love to know in the comments below. And if you’re on the fence about choosing between using a landing page and a website to sell your thing- then this blog here is the one to read next!

Landing page vs website | Which one should YOU choose?

Landing page vs website | Which one should YOU choose?

You’ve got your product, your class, your course or your brand-new shiny freebie all ready and waiting to be sold. Exciting! And now you’re wondering whether a landing page or a website is the best way to sell it.

It’s a great question but actually, the question you should be asking is: “What is the best way for me to get this thing online, looking great, converting a bazillion people and getting sold?”

Answer: There isn’t a best, only a best for you right now!

In this blog, I’ll take you through exactly what you should consider with both of these tools to get the quickest, most effective results for your business.

What’s my preference?

If you don’t know, I’m a bit of a rebel. When people tell me to do something, I’ll probably want to do the exact opposite.

That can be a bit of a nightmare when choosing between those sensible mummy jeans and the swishy full-length – had to be imported in – dress.

When it comes to negotiating my way around the many ‘should do’s’ and ‘have to haves’ in business, my natural tendency to do my own thing comes into its own. I’m not going to tell you that you should use a website for your landing pages. Or that you should invest in the newest, whizzy landing pages platform for best results. That’s because these things are never one size fits all! Which one you choose to use is entirely down to the following:

  • You!
  • Your tech abilities
  • Your design abilities
  • How much you like or hate stats
  • Where you are in your website journey
  • Your website strategy
  • Your particular business.

Now, as a website strategist/guru master head cheese, I favour building landing pages on a website. That’s because I design websites that are built as a marketing tool that brings in customers and converts them to sales. Landing pages are an integral part of that but this isn’t right for everybody.

Landing Page vs Website: Quiz Time!

To help you decide which one you should choose, I’m going to do a little quiz. Do play along in the comments!

*such fun*

Question one: Do you already have a website?

‘No, I just want to get selling!”. If you have a product course or freebie just waiting there and ready to go, don’t hold yourself back by trying to create an entire website to serve it. Just get it out there. Using a landing page builder like, Leadpages, Unbounce, HubSpot or even the signup form that comes with Mailchimp is fine. They are designed to help you sell your thing and they aren’t a sloppy second that you have to use because you haven’t yet invested in getting yourself a website. You don’t have to have an expensive website to start selling at all.

I know, I’m a website strategist!

If this is you – congratulations you’ve chosen! Now go sell it.

Question two: How good are you at the tech and design side of things?

Be honest with yourself here! Does the idea of creating a landing page on your own website fill you with fear? Does it take you forever to work out how to edit the pages you’ve already got? Or does your website limit the design of your pages because of the template or theme you’ve already got on there?

If any of these is yes, then you need to also choose the landing page software option. That’s until you have an easy to edit, easy to update landing page template on your website. Or a VA who’ll do it all for you! There is nothing worse than struggling with tech you hate or trying to get something to look good on screen when it’s just not your zone of genius. So make these things easy for yourself.

Question three: Can you create a great landing page on your website?

If you have a website and you’re fine learning how to build a fantastic landing page. Or have some kick-ass landing page templates to choose from – I’d go with that! Then you don’t need to spend more money on a landing page specific platform. Go with what you’ve got and you don’t need to make it more complicated than that.

Question four: Will this landing page improve your website?

Will it be better for you and your audience? A great website should be created to support and grow your business. Your website should be set up to attract new audiences through SEO. To boost your brand presence and take visitors on a journey. Building those relationships with them and then converting them to sales.

Moving your landing page off-site could mean that you’re losing some of that lovely SEO juice that will boost your website’s authority and get you ranked higher in Google search.

So, if you want this landing page (that you’re thinking of for this specific thing you’re selling or opting into) to support your website in doing that job, then you need to create your landing page on site. If that landing page/sales page/freebie sign up page is the pinnacle of your sales journey on your website – it makes perfect sense to keep it all on there.

Question five: Do you LOVE numbers?

One of the best features of landing page software, like Leadpages, is the in-built conversion stats and A/B testing features. But will you use them? If you are more likely to stick a pencil in your eye than fiddle around testing out different headlines to raise your conversion rates by x per cent, then forking out the extra for this sort of platform just isn’t essential. You can still do this on your website using Google analytics and some themes, plugins or extensions let you A/B test too.

But if you can’t wait to get your hands on all those lovely stats then using a landing page platform could be the best option for you. I’m not going to argue with you!

And now… the BIG MISTAKE business owners make when choosing between a landing page or website.

They think they have to buy a BIG EXPENSIVE WEBSITE to sell their thing. Whether it’s a small thing or a big thing (and before they’ve even tested the market to see if anybody will buy their thing anyway!)

If this is you and you are thinking that you need a website to sell, or you need a website to show you are serious in your business, then I’m here to tell you: You don’t need one. Not now, not yet.

You can build a successful landing page for very little. That landing page can be your conversion page after you’ve gathered your audience together on social media, in your groups or from your podcast. Get selling!

Get your business off the ground and test out those waters before you consider investing in website marketing. That way, when it comes to creating the perfect website to grow your business further, you will know exactly who you are talking to, who will buy from you and how you can attract and convert more of those lovely customers into your crazy little world.

Convinced that you’re ready to take that next step in growing your business through your website and making landing pages a solid part of your online ecosystem? Then I’ve put together a free workbook for you to get started on your wonderful website strategy.

Click the link and download your freebie!

Or, you can get in touch with me directly by clicking right here and we can start the conversation about how I can help you get the right website for your business.

Kat x