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Favorite Little Known Plugins

It’s another Expert Briefs, where I ask really smart business owners to answer your burning questions.

If you've missed past Expert Briefs, you can click on the undies to see them all –>

Back in 2010, I asked my friends to share their favorite wordpress plugins and I realized that it's about time to ask again. 🙂

So, this week I again asked our panel of experts …

“This question is about blog plugins. We all know about Akismet and All in One SEO and the other commonly known favorites.

Of all of the plugins that you've got installed on your own blog, tell us about 1 or 2 gems that you use that aren't as widely known.”


Terry Dean of MyMarketingCoach.com says:

I don't use too many plugins on each of my blogs, as I find the more plugins you add the more problems you create. The normal ones like XML sitemaps, Facebook comments, Social Share, Similar Posts, and Mobile packs are all there. To give you an idea of how many I use, my main blog only has 12 plugins running.

Here are two unique ones which aren't talked about often.

Add to Server

Add to Server allows you to upload content anywhere inside your site and then import that content into your WordPress uploads folder. This is perfect if you for example have a WordPress membership site and want to get a few downloads into the WordPress media folder but your host gives you any problems uploading them there. Upload them with FTP to any folder and import them into WordPress with this.
http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/add-from-server/

MaxA/B

Since I constantly seek to improve conversion on my pages, here is the easiest split testing plugin I've seen for WordPress. It's called MaxA/B. Simply choose your original page and up to 3 test pages from pages inside your WordPress site. Then choose the thank you page after you get a conversion such as a subscription thank you page. Let the test run and it will do all the tracking for you of which page converts best. Gets rid of any excuses you may have for not testing.


ConnieConnie Ragen Green of Huge Profits Tiny List says:

I was taught that ‘less is more' when it comes to plugins, so I was late to the game of finding new ones to help me manage my sites and build my business in a bigger way. I now keep my eyes and ears open to learn which plugins are helping my friends and colleagues with what they are doing online.

Theme Test Drive

One plugin I like very much is Theme Test Drive (http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/theme-test-drive) It allows you to test drive any theme as an administrator, while visitors continue to use the default theme. This comes in handy when you're deciding whether or not to make a change.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox

Another one of my favorites is the WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin from Michael De Wildt. (http://www.mikeyd.com.au/projects/wordpress-backup-to-dropbox) This plugin allows you to automatically create a backup of your blog and uploads it to Dropbox for you. It's secure because it uses OAuth so your Dropbox account details are not made available or stored for the plugin to gain access.

It seems like there's a plugin for everything, so make sure you know what you want and need and then make your life easier by installing the right ones for you.


LynnetteLynette Chandler of Tech Based Marketing says:

There are two plugins that are still new but are becoming my fast favorites.

Survey Funnel

First is Survey Funnel. This is brilliant – could it be because I wanted to build one just like that myself? On a more serious note, while I did have plans for a similar plugin, I think Jack & Ryan did well with this one. It lets you ask small questions that lead a prospect to different promotions or different opt-in lists at the end. This helps you build lists or send people to offers that they are truly most interested in right now and you know that because they just told you that's what they are interested in – affirmed by the survey they just completed.

WP Squeeze Pro

Next up is Jason Fladlien and Wil Mattos' WP Squeeze Pro. I've written an extensive post on why at times I prefer this over other more elaborate landing page plugins (http://techbasedmarketing.com/tools/wpsqueezepro/3063/). In short, it removes all the need to prettify and nitpick on your landing page. They have great looking templates, you get in, get out, finish the job and move on. There are times you will want to spend time to craft longer, well thought out copy for your landing pages but a lot of times, you just want it done. That's where WP Squeeze Pro works so nicely. Great for niches and newbies.

One more…

Dynamic Step Process Panels.

This can be found in Code Canyon. It's great for content that should be presented or consumed in a step-by-step manner. You can set it to let people jump from step 1 to 5 or make it where people have to go through each step to reach the end because sometimes you want that so people won't miss important information at every step. We use it at TechBasedTraining since many lessons are step-by-step in nature and this plugin lets us display them in an attractive, space saving, yet functional manner.


Susanne Myers of Daily Affiliate Tasks says:

One of the many things I like about WordPress is that it allows me to automate tasks. With that in mind, I’d like to share two plugins with you that allow me to do just that even more.

Gravity Forms

Gravity forms is a form submission plugin. It’s used quite a bit for contact forms and the like. I like to use it as a content submission form. It’s a great way to get user generated content on your site. Create a form with instructions on what type of content you’re interested in (recipe submissions, questions, guest blog posts etc.). Upon form submission, you can have WordPress create a draft post for you complete with title, content and category. My assistant goes through those submissions, edits as needed and posts them to my sites. Without a lot of work on your part, you can have fresh, original content added to your site on a daily basis.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin

The second plugin I recommend you take a look at is called YARPP or Yet Another Related Posts Plugin. It creates a little blurp at the bottom of your blog posts with links to about 5 or so related blog posts that your readers may be interested in reading. You can take a look at my blog at AffiliateTreasureChest.com to see the plugin in action. Just click on any of the blog posts and scroll down to the end of the post.

Having those 5 links directly in your content helps with internal linking and SEO. More importantly though, it keeps your readers interested and on your site longer.


Shannon Cherry of Business Charm School says:

I still use all the plug-ins I've mentioned in the past Expert Brief, but have added a couple more to my roster:

Strictly Auto Tags
This plugin finds keywords to use as tags on the post automatically. They literally just show up! It's awesome.

EzineArticles WordPress Plugin
This allows you to post your great content on EzineArticles automatically, with multiple bios etc.

WordPress Backup to Dropbox
After being hacked in November and my blog destroyed this was a true gift. Just set it and (hopefully) forget it!

And I still am asking the question… Why is ‘Hello Dolly' a plug in there at all?


Mark Mason of MasonWorld Internet Marketing Blog says:

The best WordPress plugin in my toolbox that many people don't know about is the Yoast WordPress SEO plugin (http://yoast.com/wordpress/seo/)

Key features include overall blog SEO (replacing plugins like All-In-One SEO), on-page SEO per post (keyword optimization), a site map generator (replacing your Google XML site map plugin) and a preview of what your listing will look like in Google. It is awesome, and Yoast is awesome too.


Jeanette S. Cates, PhD of Organize Your Online Business says:

Shortcodes Ultimate

I am in the process of redoing my main blog so haven't activated this on JeanetteCates.com yet but I'm loving the results on my test site. It's a
plugin called Shortcodes Ultimate.

Once installed it adds a new button to your editing screen. When you click the button you can add more than 30 different shortcodes that will generate custom styles, buttons, pull quotes, drop caps, formatted lists, accordian type FAQs, tables, maps, sliders. It is truly amazing! By far the most comprehensive styling plugin I've ever used. And yes, it's free.

Backup Creator

For functionality Backup Creator gets my vote. They have continued to expand this paid plugin so that now it does automatic backups, will save to your S3 account or mail to you, and a whole lot more. I use it a lot when setting up a new site, as I can install a full blog, complete with theme, plugins, standard modifications I use all the time, in just a couple of minutes –
really! Great for client work, too!


NicoleNicole Dean of .. here! .. says:

I love the convenience of plugins. Every time I think “I wish there was a plugin that did _____” – I find one!

Google Analyticator

This plugin makes it super easy to tie your blog into your Google Analytics account. Why is this important? So you can see where your traffic is coming from, find who's linking to you, what terms people are using when finding you through the search engines. And, one of the most important – which of your pages is getting traffic. All important stuff.

Duplicate Posts

I also recently discovered the Duplicate Posts plugin – which I absolutely adore!!!

I recorded a video about it, because that plugin is already saving me hours in time every month.

Here it is:

Two of my long-time favorites are still…

WordPress Editorial Calendar.

Their description says:

The Editorial Calendar makes it possible to see all your posts and drag and drop them to manage your blog.

The Editorial Calendar is basically a way to organize and manage your blog posts.

I’ve found that it’s especially useful if…

  • You’re a visual person
  • You like to plan your posts and promos in advance
  • You’re outsourcing
  • You have guest bloggers or a community blog where others are contributing to your blog
  • You have theme days (like I do these Expert Briefs)
  • You’re doing a challenge or contest of some sort (like my month-long Computer Butt Challenge)

If I didn’t have this plugin, I think I’d have gone crazy(ier) by now. :)

Page Links To Plugin.

Their description says:

Allows you to point WordPress pages or posts to a URL of your choosing. Good for setting up navigational links to non-WP sections of your site or to off-site resources.

The easiest way to show you how this works is to point you to my navigation bar at the top of my page. If you go to the top navigation where it says “Tools I Use in My Business” – hold your mouse over those words and you’ll see a list of sub-pages.

If you click on some of the pages that display, you’ll be taken to pages here on my blog. If you click on others, you’ll go directly to other sites where you can learn more about the tools. I didn’t have time to create pages for each tool yet, but wanted my readers to know what I personally use in  my business, so I started to list them there.

Here’s what the plugin looks like when you’re using it. This is my settings for my “Contact Me” page under “About Nicole” on my top navigation.


Recommended Resource

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Blogging Faster and More Productive?

Click here to check out Blog CPR!

 

It’s Your Turn.

So, now, I’ll pose this question to you. What are your favorite lesser known plugins? I’d love to hear what you have on your blog!

Warmly,
Nicole Dean

I adore comments! Please share your thoughts.

  • Leslie Truex
    Reply

    Wow Nicole, Lots of great plugins I’ve never heard of. I have to figure which plugins to let go, so I can add some of these. Great post.

  • Ian Dixon
    Reply

    The one I like is called SI Captcha which I have installed on several blogs. It prevents much automated comment spam from ever getting into my control panels or onto the blogs.

    Akismet is not all it seems because it is only free for personal use and internet marketers are using it for business. It might be a very good option but check out the pricing. It easily reaches $100 a month or more. Read the page and check the charges

  • Darlene Durham
    Reply

    I’m not sure if this qualifies as a little known plug-in but I love Broken Link Checker. It will notify you by e-mail when a link is broken on your website.

  • Allegra Sinclair
    Reply

    Great list! There are 4-6 Facebook Comments plugins. Which one is Terry referring to?

  • Priti
    Reply

    Great post with inputs from the best in the business. I also prefer not to clutter my blog with too many plugins and hence keep the best and remove the clutter. Among the list I liked them test drive the most. It can come handy when I am selecting the perfect theme for my blogs without creating any hassle for the visitor.

  • Andre Koppies
    Reply

    Hi Nicole,
    Here a message from the Netherlands.

    I really loved reading this blog post. I started using duplicate post plugin and indeed. It saves a lot of time.

    Personaly I love the plugin: Conditional Widgets. This plugin gives you control over where and when a widget is displayed. Easy for example if you need to place a banner next to 1 blog post or article, or just want that information shown on your front page..

    I am definitely going to try the YARPP plugin recommended by Susanne Myers.

    Keep up the good work Nicole.. I keep following!

  • Diane Merriam
    Reply

    Maybe it’s just my habits, but I don’t know how many times I’ve hit publish or update and immediately see something I want to change. A handy little plug in that’s saved me lots of grief is “Are You Sure”?

    Another one that helps in getting return traffic is “Thank Me Later”. It automatically sends a ‘thank you’ e-mail to those who comment on your blog at whatever time delay or other options you set.

  • debralmb
    Reply

    Great post! It’s late and I’m still recuperating from Issac but I’ve bookmarked the page to explore in more thoroughly this weekend (hopefully – but certainly soon) as well as the previous posts under expert briefs. I absolutely love that graphic and noticed some other quite creative ones too. Do you come up with those yourself or do you have some assistance? In any event, very catchy!

  • Kevin Ocasio
    Reply

    Excellent post Nicole… the “WordPress Backup to Dropbox” plugin sounds interesting. I might need to try that one out 🙂 Quick question… what do you use to add the “You can add a link to follow you on twitter if you put your username in this box” in the comments section of your posts?

  • Elizabeth Soler
    Reply

    Wow some of these plugins look amazing and I will have to check some of the out. I use watermark reloaded to set a copyright to all my images. As a scrapbooking site I uploaded tons of my scrapbooking layouts on a regular basis. I can change the watermark on all my photos that I upload just by going to the settings of this plugin.

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