Many people start a website to promote their local service based business such as landscapers, plumbers, cleaners, or hair stylists.
These people already have jobs, and don't aspire to be WordPress professionals, but they still care about quality and are used to a DIY attitude.
When I work with people like this, these are the tools that I choose or recommend to them.
Theme & Page Builder: Astra Pro + Spectra – 50% Off, Lifetime Available
Every WordPress site needs a theme and way to layout page.
I recommend Astra Pro and the accompanying Spectra Blocks as an excellent solution for business owners looking to create a website, without spending time learning about... building a website
What I mean by this is that Astra is designed to be very feature rich. When you use a theme like GenerateBlocks, they are expecting you to know some HTML & CSS to get things done, with Astra they try to put a shiney UI on everything to make it as easy as possible to build a nice looking site.
You'll get pre-build widgets in Spectra to accomplish most of the layouts that you want, no need to fiddle with building your own layout of containers.
There are very competent free versions of both Astra & Spectra, so take them for a spin to see if they're right for you.
Choosing Astra & Spectra over Elementor or Bricks means that you'll keep your site as close to "core" WordPress, which in plain english, means your work is a little more future proof.
SEO: SEOPress Pro + Insights Bundle – 33% Off Annual Plans
Every service based business needs organic traffic from Google and since WordPress doesn't include SEO markup in core (a really weird choice, but I digress), every WordPress site needs an SEO plug-in to have a chance of showing up in the ressults page.
I use SEOPress and have for years. It has great features for Local Business and includes things like Schema markup so that you can get your business details pulled into Google (of course you should still maintain a Google Business Page).
SEOPress is reasonably priced but still at the forefront of features, such as OpenAI integration for things like metadata.
I don't personally use the Insights add-on, but that's because I run an agency and we have SEO Tools to serve a lot of clients. With Insights, you get great data about your business. It's definitely work it in that scenario. I didn't already have PRO and was just starting out, this bundle would be a great option.
Forms: Fluent Forms – Up to 40% Off, Lifetime Licenses Available
Every service based business needs to capture leads and respond to inquiries, and there is still no more effective way to do that than a form.
Fluent Forms has been my goto form plug-in since 2020. You might notice that I'm not including many "feature" plug-ins in this list, but every site needs forms. So grab a lifetime license if you don't have one already.
Bookings & Appointments – Amelia
Note: This is a point of contention, please read to fully understand my position.
I have successfully deployed Amelia on WordPress websites for clients for years. It is great for service based business that need to schedule appointments, however it's not without flaws or competitors.
First, the setup process for any self hosted scheduling plug-in is a bit of a nightmare for non-technical people, and that's the whole point of this post.
So, no matter what WordPress solution you choose, know that you're going to need to create some "Apps" on platforms like Zoom and Google to get the integrations you want to work.
Also be aware that booking plug-ins have hosting demands, which is why choosing a great host is essential when you start laying things like scheduling plug-ins or an email newsletter tool on to your WordPress website. What seems like a great idea, can go sideways quickly as you find you need to scale up your hosting plan. Maybe a $12/month Calendly plan wasn't such a bad deal after all.
There is also the option of Google Workspace scheduling, which allows you to charge just Calendly, Amelia, and all of the other new comers to the WordPress booking space, but is already included in your Google Workspace account.
I would recommend Amelia to service based businesses that want to host events or have more elaborate booking needs. Be aware that you might need a professional to help you setup the software, I'm available here.
Customer Reviews & Testimonials: WP Social Ninja – 50% Off Annual and LTDs
I use WP Social Ninja as a way to allow clients to easily organize their testimonials and display them on their website. It is a great way to have a local database of testimonials and pull the right one out when you need it.
There is a lot more packed into WP Social Ninja, like displaying social media posts on your website, but we don't want to do that.
Social Media is top of funnel. Once someone is on your website, don't send them back out to social media where they will get distracted and forget you exist.
Email Marketing: FluentCRM – 40% Off
To be totally honest, I don't love hosting email marketing on a WordPress website for most businesses, but for local service based business who are willing to spend on good hosting, it can be a great way to keep overhead low.
FluentCRM is the market leader here, with 10X the install base of competitors according to Jack Arturo of WP Fusion, who recently moved his marketing efforts from Active Campaign to FluentCRM, likely saving him many thousands of dollars per year.
So, if you do this over something like Brevo, which I also recommend... make sure you're on a good host and that scaling up your server resources is within budget.
Hosting: Kinsta – 4 Months Free
Kinsta is known for excellent customer service. It is a premium brand and you are overpaying for hosting compared to something like Vultr, but that money can be easily made up relying on their excellent support.
Kinsta is going to take care of all of the big stuff for you like site speed, CDN, backup and even security.
They won't update your site content or build the site for you, but they will provide excellent support from the server side.
Facebook Ad Tracking: PixelYourSite - Lifetime License Available
Conversion tracking for your ads when you use WooCommerce or EDD.
PixelYourSite is one of the only ways to setup ad tracking properly, including Metapixel and Facebook Conversion API. Lifetime and Annual plans available this Black Friday. This is necessary if you do a lot of paid traffic, but if you're just getting started it can wait.
Legal Compliance: Termageddon – 30% Off First Purchase
And, you'll even get one of those annoying Cookie Consent pop-ups if you want. I fail to see how that's making the internet a better place, but the law does what the law does.
Termageddon has the legal people to make sure your policies are always up to date. They have a pretty long onboarding process where they ask a TON of info about your business, so that the policies cover what you need.
So, this isn't a one click solution. It's better than that. It's as close to having a legal team draw up the policies as a reasonable business person can afford, and they auto-update as laws change.
If you're starting off on you business building journey, I wish you luck. If you're looking to up your game and pick up a few missing tools, even better. Go get'em.
Want more sell online or create online courses? Be sure to check out my other posts this Black Friday.