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4 Useful WordPress Plugins Which Will Improve Your Efficiency

4 Useful WordPress Plugins Which Will Improve Your Efficiency

From a WordPress developer’s point of view, a solid plugin directory is valued as pure gold. You can have a full database with a ton of plugins and still use just, let’s say, 30 of them. It might seem odd to you, but a great plugin database does not need to consist out of a great volume of plugins. Having a solid number of multipurpose or single-target responsive plugins can generally bring ease and speed up your work. Keep in mind that it is important to categorize your plugin database for various usages in order to avoid getting lost.

WordPress is one of the most popular CMSs (Content Management Systems) in the world. Its growing community of users now counts over 35 million users, developers and designers, compared to just a few people, back when it was initially released in June 2003. WordPress was, in its initial form, just a simple typography tool consisted of a few lines of short-code, developed to help bloggers in their work. Now, after ten years of hard work by its active community, WordPress has evolved into a beautiful, open-source content management system.

Conventional PHP programming can be hard work if started from scratch. For every function you intend to implement on the specific website you are working on, you will need to type lines and lines of code and please, don’t get me started on the design. It is extremely tedious and boring when you have to program the whole gallery for a website with lines upon lines of code. This is where WordPress wins the race. It allows you to download and install plugins in a matter of minutes and completely customize it to suite your needs in less than an hour. Its extremely user-friendly interface allows you to set up the whole website without any exceptional knowledge in CSS and HTML programming.

I have prepared a deeper review of several great WordPress plugins and you might just find a valuable jewel for your plugin collection so, stick around.

uSquare – A Beautiful Responsive Grid for Your WordPress Website

    This beautiful plugin represents a grid layout for your WordPress website. In its initial release, uSquare was released for jQuery but later on, exactly because of the influence of the community, it was soon launched in a WordPress version. It made a powerful boom on the market because of its multiple features and its possibility to adapt to any form of WordPress website.

    uSquare represents a grid layout consisted of “squares” which are there to present your desired content in a more interesting way. I have chosen this plugin because of its multipurpose function and its possibility to adapt to all sorts of WordPress websites. For example, you can use it on your:

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    • “Team Page” – to present your team,
    • “Products and Services” page – to present your work.

    Each square consists of two boxes. One is reserved for an image file while the other is focused on the title and the description. The whole grid layout resembles a chess board and it is easy to focus and arrange. You can add up an infinite number of squares (depending on your computer, server and website optimization power); however, there can be a problem when you are opening a grid consisting of 90 squares in Internet Explorer 8.

    Although this plugin looks quite simple, it has a powerful back-end behind it. The authors have included option panels for various devices from laptop and desktop computers to small devices with retina displays such as tablets and smartphones with the Android and the iOS platform. This enables the whole grid to be responsive and easily adapt to all types and dimensions of displays. Given the fact that it is clean-coded, it also makes everything SEO (Search Engine Optimization) friendly.

    uSquare has great typography features built-in. Aside from the 600 Google fonts from which you can choose, you can also add color customization using an endless color palette. These customizations can be applied to the title, description, content body and info label. The rest depends on your creativity.

    You can implement social share buttons for various social networks such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram, as well as more buttons which can be connected to the official website or an email contact. Another great thing is that you can add additional icons to the bottom of an expanded square, which can be connected to any link you wish. This is very useful if you are trying to connect your team member to his or her posts on the website. It helps you build up a personal portfolio and it allows your visitors to quick-jump through content of your website.

    For more information about the authors, you can check out their profile on CodeCanyon or visit their official website.

    MyMail – Email Newsletter Plugin for WordPress

      If you are building a corporate or news WordPress website, a newsletter should be your main focus. Think of it this way: burst-emailing is an important factor in various online marketing campaigns. In order to inform and attract potential customers/readers, you will need to engage this strategy without it exploding back to your face.

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      If you have ever entered a WordPress post, you should not have any problem at all in utilizing this plugin. The plugin has some great features:

      • It is easy to install and customize
      • It offers a fair amount of customization
      • It has a powerful backend that gives you full control over multiple campaigns

      In “General Options,” you can set up basic information about the newsletter such as name and address of the sender, reply address, sending delay and newsletter template (email form). When it comes to frontend settings, you are given an option to allow sharing of your newsletter on various social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, Google+, etc. This is a very useful option, being that your newsletters can be seen by more users and you can attract more potential customers/readers. You are given an option to double check the subscription which can be toggled on or off. By enabling it, your subscribers would have to confirm their subscription via email.

      For every action your visitors engage in such as unsubscribe, confirm, sign up, etc. you can add a text template. With this beautiful plugin is that you can also:

      • Create a simple email template – this will be sent for subscription confirmation
      • Create email lists on your own
      • Improve your online marketing campaign – you can do this by spreading the circle of potential customers with great interest for your products and services by having more hits than misses.

      Email marketing plays a great role in an online marketing strategy and if properly executed, it will not only raise traffic of your website and maintain your online presence, but it will also reflect on your business.The greatest thing about this plugin is that you can schedule, modify and execute a newsletter campaign with ease and with great efficiency.

      More information about MyMail, as well as the author’s portfolio can be found on codecanyone.net. The author is offering great support and will answer all of your questions in short notice.

      Slider Pro – Premium WordPress Slider Plugin

        Sliders have become a trademark of every WordPress website. They are a great way of promoting your products, services and portfolios. They bring a great visual background and their interactivity beautifies the whole website design. Currently, there are a lot of slider plugins for the WordPress platform; however, there are not many among them with the same efficiency/visual ratio as Slider Pro.

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        Slider Pro is a completely responsive slider and it is mobile ready. It holds a lot of beautiful features and doesn’t pull much resource from the server; thus it doesn’t make a huge impact on your page load time. The authors minimalistic approach can be seen in its visual design; however, don’t be deceived by its look. Slider Pro has a powerful backend with a lot of customization options. The plugin offers:

        • 2D picture slides
        • video support for YouTube, Vimeo and HTML5 videos
        • 7 different skins
        • 15 different scroll bars

        The skins are highly customizable so you can redesign them to suit your needs.  You can embed any content into the slider, from pictures in different layers to videos to posts from your website. Slides can be browsed using the keyboard arrows–the simpler, the better.

        Now, a beautiful thing about this slider is that you can opt between 100 transition effects such as swipe, fade, slide, etc. There are over 150 customization options for this beautiful plugin, but instead of downloading stacks of documentation for setup and customization, the authors have implemented rich inline help, which will follow you through the whole installation process, making everything far, far easier.

        You can toggle the automatic slide on and off, depending on the content you wish to present to your visitors. Aside from this, you have complete control over the transition effect of each slide. The “Lazy Loading” feature enables you to control the number of pictures that will be loaded in order to lower the resources which every page pulls from the server, thus increasing its load speed.

        Slider Pro is developed in HTML5 and exactly because of its clean coding, it is extra SEO friendly. If you wish to move the slider at any time it is good to know that the whole animation can be exported and moved to another website in just a few simple short steps.

        This is what makes this plugin beautiful–it is minimalistic, clean, highly customizable, responsive, and it finds its use in any type of WordPress website. If you wish to see more projects by BQ Works, you can visit their official website.

        Frontend Builder – Content Assembler by Shindiri Studios

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          This plugin is entirely user-friendly and responsive, and it actually gives you the best solution to setup your website as quickly as possible. You can assign it to any theme built for WordPress versions 3.4 – 3.6 and it will keep its stability and efficiency. It is designed in a wonderful way, so you will be able to do all this very easily and without fear of messing up the code.

          But let me give a more thorough review of this plugin. The first great thing about this plugin is that you are able to access it via frontend and backend on your website as well. Beside the classic dashboard in WordPress, you can access the Frontend Builder while you are on the page, on a specific website simply by pressing the Tab button on the keyboard. This action will open a sidebar on the right side in which several elements can be found. These elements can then be added to the webpage. Among these elements you can find:

          • Heading
          • Image
          • Button
          • Video
          • Tabs
          • Accordion
          • Code
          • Sidebar

          A good thing about all of these elements is that each has a unique set of options for customization. You will have a large number of customization varieties because each of the elements has from five to twenty customization options. If you know how to utilize all of them properly, you will be able to create a unique design for the website you have and the website will be fully responsive and SEO friendly as well.

          You can simply drag-and-drop the elements to the page and you won’t have to worry about their position. You can put them anywhere you like, but it is advisable to follow some rules in design, and not just do it the way it seems nice. For each element you choose, you will have a sidebar with all customization options for the element in question. The options are, of course, different for each element.

          If you need any information about the plugin, it won’t be a problem for you to submit a question on their support forum. The following documentation, as well as its changelog, can be found here.

          This makes my top list of the most popular and most useful plugins found on the market today, based on their reviews, comments, sales and popularity, as well as my own personal review. As I already said, behind every good WordPress developer hides a wealthy and valuable plugin directory. Have you found any valuable jewels for your collection in this article?

          More by this author

          Ivan Dimitrijevic

          Ivan is the CEO and founder of a digital marketing company. He has years of experiences in team management, entrepreneurship and productivity.

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          Last Updated on February 17, 2021

          50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

          50 Ways to Increase Productivity and Achieve More in Less Time

          If you feel like you don’t have enough time to do everything you want to do, maybe it’s time to check-in with your time management skills.

          No one is born to be very good at time management, so that’s okay if you think you’re bad in it. But everyone can learn to boost their productivity and achieve more!

          Here are 50 ways to increase productivity and add hours to your day.

          1. Set a Timer

          Estimate the time you need to tackle different tasks and set a timer for each of your tasks. How you go about this is up to you as there are many different ways. There is the Pomodoro technique where you focus on a task for 25 minutes followed by a five minute break afterwards.

          In the event that you have a task that will take much longer than that, you can consider one of the many timer-based apps. One that comes to mind is Clockify. It’s used for freelancers and entrepreneurs alike, however it’s a good way to be setting yourself a timer. It provides reports and you can serve as a project manager of sorts too. Best of all, it’s free.

          2. Eliminate All Distractions

          Distractions include the phone, email notifications and having multiple web browsers open on the desktop. Just as it’s important to be organized offline, it’s key to have things organized online as well. This free guide End Distractions And Find Your Focus is a good tool to help you. With this guide, you’ll learn how to get rid of distractions and boost productivity. Grab your free guide here.

          You can also learn more on how to get rid of all distractions in this guide: How to Focus and Maximize Your Productivity (the Definitive Guide)

          3. Listen to Music That Boosts Productivity

          Distractions should be avoided, but sometimes a bit of music in the background can help you focus.

          Of course, it doesn’t need to be heavy rock music, but a bit of Beethoven may do you some good.

          Here’s a complete guide to help you pick the right music for better productivity: How To Maximize Your Productivity With Music: A Complete Guide

          4. Find Meaning in What You Do (And Love What You Do)

          Enjoying what you do is the ultimate way to increase your productivity.

          If you aren’t sure what you love doing yet, don’t worry. Leo Babauta has some unique ways to help you: How to Find Your Passion

          5. Prioritize your tasks ahead of time.

          By listing your tasks in order of importance, you can make sure that you finish all of your most important tasks during the day.

          Learn a unique technique to Prioritize Right in 10 Minutes and Work 10X Faster.

          6. Batch Similar Tasks into a Single Batch.

          Tasks like blog writing, phone calls, email and errands can be grouped into a single batch. You will save time by completing similar tasks in one session. One way to help you with organizing all of those things is through the app Todoist. It’s an easy and simple way for you to plan out your day, set reminders, and group all of your most important tasks in a convenient spot.

          7. Complete Your Most Dreaded Tasks First Thing in the Morning.

          Whichever activity you are dreading the most is probably the one you need to complete first thing in the morning.

          Many people tend to check emails in the morning because after checking a list of emails, they feel fulfilled. But that’s just an illusion of having achieved more.

          Doing simple tasks like checking emails first in the morning is bad for you. Instead, do the difficult tasks because you have more energy in the morning to tackle them!

          8. Reward Yourself for Finishing a Big Task

          To stay motivated for whatever you do, reward yourself every now and then.

          Keep track of your small wins and milestones and celebrate them. So whenever you struggle about your progress, you see how far you’ve come!

          Find out more about this 2-Step Approach to Self-Motivation: Track Small Wins and Reward Yourself.

          9. Don’t Multitask

          Research has shown that multitasking is not productive. If you think you can multitask, think again.

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          For optimum productivity, focus on one thing at a time.

          10. Step Away from the Computer

          The Internet has become one of the number one distraction. To increase your productivity, try to do as much of your work offline as possible.

          I do this a lot when I try to brainstom new ideas and have found it to be very beneficial to simply unplug.

          11. Use Focus Tools

          Make good use of apps and technology to help you remove distractions.

          Here’re 18 Best Time Management Apps and Tools to help you stay focused. This way, you’re not distracted by the web, e-mail, or IM.

          Also, join the free Fast-Track Class – Overcoming Distraction, and you’ll learn the one simple method to work even when you’re surrounded by distractions. Join the free session now!

          12. Just Start

          Often times, starting is the hardest part. People tend to wait for the perfect time with perfect condition to start. But there’s no perfect condition.

          Once you get going, you will quickly get into a rhythm that could last for hours.

          13. Find out Your Productive Hours

          Everyone has a certain time of the day in which they are more productive than others. For me, it’s the morning.

          Find out when your prime time is for productivity and optimize your work schedule accordingly.

          14. Keep a Notebook and Pen on Hand at All Times

          This way, you can write down your thoughts, to-dos and ideas at any time. The key is to get everything out of your head and onto paper. Your subconscious mind won’t be reminding you about it every other second. Another consideration is getting the app Evernote. Not only does this save you on ink and paper, Evernote is a convenient place for you to jot down notes and thoughts and then share them with the team. In certain circumstances, this can prove useful if you’re the type of person that has a lot of ideas that you want to share.

          15. Write a Blog to Chronicle Your Own Personal Development and Achievements

          The blog keeps you accountable and always working towards self improvement and personal growth.

          When you write down all the small achievements you’ve been having, you’re also more motivated to move forward.

          And you know what, this is how I started Lifehack too! What also helped me in starting Lifehack is WordPress, which allows people to set up a website for free. WordPress has simplified a lot of the process of building a site to the point that virtually anyone can build a website now.

          16. Write out a To-Do-List Each Day

          I like to plan my day the night before. This way, I can get started on my most important tasks as soon as I wake up. The Full Life Planner is a nice tool to help you organize your days and get things that matter done. Check out the planner here and start to plan your day ahead easily!

          Make sure you don’t make any of these common to-do-list mistakes!

          17. Write Your Most Important Tasks and To-Dos on a Calendar.

          The key to good time management is knowing where to be and what to be doing there at any given time. Effective calendar management goes hand in hand with good task list management.

          Learn here How to Use a Calendar to Create Time and Space.

          18. Reflect on Your Productivity Constantly

          As you go throughout your day, repeatedly ask yourself:

          “Am I currently making the best possible use of my time?”

          This one simple question can be an excellent boost to your productivity.

          19. Get up Early Before Anyone Else

          I know it could be difficult for some to wake up early in the morning but nothing beats a quiet house!

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          Here’s How to Start Your Day at 5:00 AM and some Simple Things Early Risers Do to make waking up early easier.

          20. Get Plenty of Sleep

          When you work online, sleep can become a long lost memory. However, it’s important to get plenty of sleep so that your working hours can be as productive as possible.

          Try out this night routine which I highly recommend for productivity: The Ultimate Night Routine Guide: Sleep Better and Wake Up Productive

          21. Exercise

          Research has shown that midday exercise boosts productivity and morale in the workplace.

          Take a short walk at lunch or do some simple stretches during your break to maximize your productivity.

          Here I have some exercises recommendations for you:

          22. Outsource as Much as Possible

          If you want to achieve more in less time, learn to delegate or outsource work. Here are just a few of the companies that will help you outsource your everyday tasks:

          Also, read this guide to learn how to delegate effectively: How to Delegate Work (the Definitive Guide for Successful Leaders)

          23. Set Some Exciting Goals

          Without worthy goals, you will never be motivated to get things done.

          Set goals that are challenging and achievable. The best goal setting framework is a SMART goal. That said, there are other tools that can help you out as well. For example, The Dreamers’ Guide To Reaching Your Goal is a great guide to help you set and reach goals effectively. Grab your free guide and learn how to make your goals happen this year!

          24. Tell Other People About Your Goals

          When you tell others about your goals, you will instantly be held accountable.

          25. Listen to Podcasts

          Listen to educational podcasts or audio books while you’re driving to work, cleaning the house, exercising, or cooking dinner.

          Audio learning has the power to add hours to your day. Not to mention, your cranium is sure to thank you for it.

          Some recommendations for you: 11 Podcasts To Inspire Yourself

          26. Read David Allen’s best-selling book Getting Things Done

          This is one of the most important productivity books you will ever read. Read it, apply the tips in your daily lives and get more things done.

          Here’re more great books about productivity too: 35 Books on Productivity and Organizational Skills for an Effective Life

          27. Learn to Speed Read

          When you can read faster, you will read and learn more! Check out these 10 Ways to Increase Your Reading Speed.

          You can also make use of the app OutRead to help speed up your reading speed!

          28. Learn to Skip When You Read

          When you’re reading a book, just read the parts that you need and skip the rest. But you have to read with a purpose.

          Learn how to make it work here: How to Read 10X Faster and Retain More

          29. Focus on Result-Oriented Activities

          Pareto’s law (also known as the 80 20 rule) states that 80% of the outputs result from 20% of the inputs. This means that 20% of our actions result in 80% of the results.

          We must find the 20% that is creating the 80% of our desired outcomes and focus solely on those activities.

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          30. Take a Break

          You can’t always be working at optimum productivity. Instead, you should shoot for working in short bursts at your most productive times.

          31. Start a Polyphasic Sleep Schedule

          What is polyphasic sleep?

          Polyphasic sleep is a sleep pattern specification intended to compress sleep time to 2-5 hours daily.[1] This is achieved by spreading out sleep into short (around 20-45 minute) naps throughout the day. This allows for more waking hours with relatively high alertness.

          While you can learn more about it here, you’re recommended to take some naps during the day to recharge your energy too.

          32. Learn to Say “No”.

          We can’t do everything and therefore we must learn when to say no in order to save our sanity.

          Learn the Gentle Art of Saying No from Leo Babauta.

          33. Go on an Information Diet

          Most of the world lives on information overload. We must eliminate mindless Internet surfing.

          Stop reading three different newspapers a day and checking your RSS feeds multiple times a day. Otherwise, you’ll never get anything done.

          The key is to limit yourself only to information that you can immediately take action on. Here’re some simple tips you can try: 10 Simple Productivity Tricks To Manage Overloaded Information

          34. Organize Your Office

          The piles of paper around your desk can be a huge barrier on your productivity. Optimize your time by organizing your office, setting up a system and dumping the junk.

          Check out these 21 Tips to Organize Your Office and Get More Done and 20 Easy Home Office Organization Ideas to Boost Your Productivity.

          35. Find a Mentor

          By modeling after those who have already achieved success, you will save yourself a lot of time and energy.

          A good mentor is hard to find, so here’s a guide to help you: What to Look for in a Mentor

          36. Learn Keyboard Shortcuts

          With technology’s help, you can double your work efficiency. Even better, you learn all the shortcuts when using technology, for example keyboard shortcuts.

          When you use keyboard shortcut, you gain 64 hours every year!

          Not sure what shortcuts to lear? Check out these 22 Tricks That Can Make Anyone A Keyboard Ninja.

          Besides learning the shortcuts, you can also create keyboard shortcuts with AutoHotKey.

          37. Improve Your Typing Speed to Save Time

          Do you know you can save 21 days per year just by typing fast?

          You don’t really need to take some serious courses to type faster, try these typing games online:

          38. Work from Home and Avoid the Daily Commute

          If your job is a flexible one, consider working from home. This saves you the commute time and you’ll find yourself more energetic throughout the day as you have saved the long ride.

          Take a look at these tips to help you stay productive while working from home:

          How to Work from Home and Stay Ultra-Productive

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          39. Get Rid of Time Wasters

          Common time wasters include Instant Messenger, video games, Flickr, checking your stats 10 times a day, television and extraneous Internet surfing.

          Don’t rely on your willpower, make use of some of these useful tools to help you stay focus: 10 Online Apps for Better Focus

          40. Plan Your Meals in Advance

          Plan out all of your meals a week ahead and make your grocery list accordingly. This allows you to focus on the necessary – saving you time and money. You can also save yourself even more time through a wide variety of apps. One app that I find helpful is Mealime. It’s an app that provides you with a wide selection of recipes and also a convenient spot for your grocery list as well.

          Considering the fact that over 4 million users have this app, it goes to show that there is a good selection of meal plans that you can follow and that the app is friendly to use.

          41. Cook Your Meals in Bulk

          When you cook your meals in bulk, you will have plenty of leftovers. This can avoid having to cook everyday.

          Find out more about how to make cooking in bulk works: Once a Month Cooking: Productivity Hack or Overrated Time Suck?

          42. Protect Yourself from Unnecessary Phone Time with Caller ID

          The minutes you spend on picking up unnecessary phone calls are time wasted. You can prevent that from happening.

          Check out this detailed guide how you can deal with those unnecessary phone calls: How To Lose the Useless Items that Weigh Down Your Day – Cellphone Calls

          43. Take Shorter Showers

          This one may sound silly but it’s actually something I struggle with. I spend up to 30 minutes in the shower. Think of the time I could save simply by speeding up a bit.

          44. Save the Trips to Bank by Taking Direct Deposit

          Many employers now offer direct deposit. If yours does, then be sure and take advantage of it and save yourself from a number of trips to the bank.

          45. Auto Pay Your Bills

          How many times have you been worried about whether you missed the bills deadline?

          Auto paying your bills will save you time and eliminate late fees and increased interest rates.

          46. Shop Online

          Whenever possible, avoid going to the store. When you shop online, you can be more focus about what you’re getting.

          47. Speed up your Internet With a Broadband Connection

          Many people are aware of the slow speed of internet but aren’t doing anything about it. In fact, this is the number one Internet time-saver!

          If you must use dial-up, then you can use accelerators like Propel and SlipStream to double or even triple your speed.

          48. Keep up the Speed of Your Computer

          If you’re a Windows user, use Windows hibernation feature to avoid the slowdown of exiting and restarting Windows.

          Or maybe, consider switching to Mac as there’re plenty of Advantages You Probably Don’t Know About Switching To Mac From PC.

          49. Turn off the TV

          The average American watches more than 4 hours of television every day. Over a 65-year life, that’s 9 years glued to the tube.

          For better health and productivity, turn off the TV. Here’re 11 more reasons to tell you to stop watching TV so often.

          Turn off the TV and you are sure to get more out of life.

          50. Use a Tivo or DVR

          This can help you cut an hour-long television show down to just 40 minutes. You can save time while not missing the fun.

          So, here’s the ultimate list of techniques you should learn to boost productivity. Pick the techniques that work for you and make them your daily habits. As time goes, you’ll find yourself being a lot more productive.

          More Time Management Tips

          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

          Reference

          [1] Medical News Today: What is biphasic and polyphasic sleep?

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