Useful WordPress Plugins

I am often asked what plugins are useful on a WordPress site. The main thing to determine is what you are using your site for. Sure there are a lot of plugins out there. I am amazed at what plugins can do for a site. But just because it is available doesn’t mean you should use it.

So here is my top 10 list of useful plugins that every blogger should have – whether a power blogger or beginner.

Contact Form 7: This is a very nice contact form that does allow for customization (I use it on my business site). You can also create multiple forms and use each one on your site. There are other contact forms available, but I like the ease of use of this one. (and it’s free)

WP Database Backup: Any blogger’s worst nightmare is to go to their site and realize it’s GONE! It can happen. Backups are so important. This plugin would be worth paying for if you had to (but it’s FREE!)

Tweet Meme Button: Allows users to tweet your post. Anymore, it is pretty much assumed that you’ll provide this option somewhere on your posts/pages/site.

Sexy Bookmarks: I love this plugin. I’m sure I’ll get tired of seeing it everywhere some day, but for now, I think it is an attractive fun way to allow your users to share your site on various networks (you get to select which ones are shown)

ShareThis: does the same thing that Sexy Bookmarks does, but in a smaller manner.

All-In-One-SEO Pack: This works “out of the box”, so it’s great for beginners. But advanced users will appreciate being able to tweak things even more.

WP-Touch: More and more web users are accessing sites via their smartphones. A site can look totally different on a mobile device. This plugin will allow the visitor to see your site on their device without you have to do any special coding or resizing. Another option is WP Mobile Edition.

WP Super Cache: Speeds up the time your users have to wait for your site to load. (explained via a lot of technical mumbo-jumbo… but all you need to know is FASTER!)

Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP): Keep your readers on your site longer by showing posts they may have missed. This plugin will show posts that are related to the current post (obviously…)

Google XML Sitemap: Helps search engines better index your site, and notifies search engines when you create new content.

I’d add Askimet, but it is included by default now when you install WordPress. USE IT!! 85% of comments on the internet are spam.

To install a plugin:

You can install a plugin by either downloading it to your computer and then uploading it to WordPress OR install it directly to your site via WordPress.org.

Click on “Add New” via your “Plugins” page on your dashboard (see below)

Then decide whether to “Search” (WordPress.org plugin directory) or “Upload”. Or to really be adventurous, filter them by what is popular, featured or recently added.

Install the plugin by following the screen prompts. Once it is properly loaded it will ask if you want to activate. Activate and then be sure to change any setting necessary for the plugin to properly function (*Not all plugins have settings options)

What are your favorite plugins? Which one would you cry over if it suddenly stopped working on your site?

Need more info or help on this topic? Do a google search, or feel free to ask questions in comments or email me.

Dial2Do: a simple way to update Twitter, Facebook and your blog

on phone

There are a lot of ways that you can now send emails and update your Twitter, Facebook and blog. Smartphones make it easier to do so when away from your computer. What if you don’t have a smartphone yet, or access to all of the handy apps that are available? Or what if you do, but want a quick easy way to do it?

Dial2Do is a free site that does these things for you. You call a number. Say what you want posted, then finish with “Twitter”, or “email” etc. They transcribe it and take care of the rest.

From the site:

Dial2Do lets you do common tasks by just calling a number and speaking. Use it to send EMAIL or TEXT messages, record REMINDERS to help you remember things, post updates to your TWITTER or JAIKU stream and LISTEN to your favourite internet content. It’s easy and handsfree..

For more info: watch the tutorial video here and read the FAQs.

Note: There are currently 26 countries that this site works in [though it only works in English]. See the listing on the FAQs page.

photo credit

Find Out Whether that Email is Truth or Fiction

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By now, most of us know that the Nigerian lottery email that hit our inbox is a scam. Scams are easy to spot.

Or are they? I’m still surprised by the number of emails, Twitters and Facebook messages I receive from (smart intelligent) people warning or alerting me about some new hoax.

Before you click forward, please please check through the following sites to find out the truth behind it. Your contacts will thank you.

Snopes – one of the best, most thorough and up-to-date sites for finding the truth or fiction in the

Truth or Fiction – “Get the truth about rumors, inspirational stories, virus warnings, hoaxes, scams, humorous tales, pleas for help, urban legends, prayer requests, calls to action, and other forwarded emails.”

Urban Legends at About.com – About.com has long been a good resource on many topics.

ScamBusters – very up-to-date; offers a free subscription to email alerts, alerting you of the most recent scams.

The internet is full of information. Not all of it is true. Sometimes, it requires a bit of digging. Don’t believe everything you read.

Sound off: What do you do to protect yourself from scams?

Shine Your Sink with the FlyLady

While she won’t come to your home and do the cleaning for you (I know… bummer), the FlyLady has a proven track record of helping women (and men) cut through the clutter that has taken over many many a home.

I started on the program 8 years ago, after my daughter was born. I came across the site and was immediately drawn to the idea of having my home in order. At the time, I printed out all of the information and placed it in a 3-ring binder.

I received my daily email reminder for that days step.
I cleaned my sink daily. And got dressed from head to toe (though I didn’t put on shoes – we don’t wear our shoes indoors)

Then one day, I just quit. Flat out quit.
(But I did continue to shine my sink!)

I think I just got overwhelmed with all of the information. Between that and a new baby, I was destined to have a head explosion.

But I’ve thought about the FlyLady a lot and I’ve seen many others have success with her program, so I decided to take another look.

And guess what?! The FlyLady has gone high tech! She’s got a radio program, videos and she’s even on Twitter.

Some links for getting started:

Where to Start
Beginner BabySteps
Forum

I admit that I still find the site really really overwhelming to look at (and dare I say, unattractive… but that’s a hang up with the artist in me). There is just so much information.

So go in with blinders – start with the links above and move from there.

In no time, you too will be living clutter-free and doing the Super Fling Boogie.

Busy Busy Busy

That is what I am.

My to-do list? It looks like someone vomited activities all over it.

And it keeps growing.

A sampling from it?

Currently have 5 blog designs I am working on

2 Blog Buttons

Need to prepare and email a quote to a customer for Thank you cards and Holiday Cards (it’s never to early!)

Finish up a proof for place cards and table cards for a customer’s wedding

Mail 3 Mommy Card orders

Add to that the fact that we are in the midst of a complete redesign for a huge re-launch at Blissfully Domestic. I’ve got a lot of design work for that.

Family? Oh yes! I’ve got one of those…

And we are moving in a week and a half {!!!!!!!!!!!!} I wish I could say that the boxes were packing themselves. But they aren’t.

Do you have something you’ve requested of me?

If so, and you haven’t heard from me, please be patient with me, but kindly email a nudge to me so that I can reorder my to-do list.

{I did take time away from my to-do list yesterday to head to Kohl’s, where I scored $170 worth of clothes for myself for $60. Actually, it came to $3.00, because I had $60 in Kohl’s cash from our Back-to-School shopping. SCORE!}