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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 December 2, 2019

          How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

          How to Develop Mental Toughness And Stay Strong

          Are you the kind of person who wants to achieve massive success in your life? Do you have the mental toughness to make that happen?

          I think we can all agree that no matter your ambitions, achieving success can be difficult; and over time, the daily grind can take a toll on your physical, mental, and emotional energy.

          Achievers and high performers from all walks of life face ups and downs along the path to success—they face failure, burnout, discouragement, fatigue, self-limiting beliefs, stress, and so much more.

          How do some people continually strive towards their personal goals year after year while others give up on them? How do those people stay strong and persevere when there is so much stacked against them?

          Studies now show that mental strength is a critical key to success. If you haven’t read Angela Duckworth’s book Grit, you should. In it, she shows that “the secret to outstanding achievement is not talent but a special blend of passion and persistence she calls ‘grit.’” In other words, mental toughness plays a significant role when it comes to achieving goals.

          Sometimes, our goals wear us down and leave us feeling exhausted. Other times, our goals get difficult, and success seems impossible, so we lose hope, become discouraged, and want to quit.

          At its core, mental toughness is simply the ability to stick to something when the going gets tough. People with high levels of mental toughness can push beyond these obstacles and forge a path towards success while those with lower levels of mental toughness may abandon their dreams.

          Want to know the good news?

          No matter who you are, what you’ve been told, or what you currently believe, you can develop the mental toughness you need to be successful.

          All you need to do is learn to develop a positive mindset, focus on your why, and utilize the people around you for support.

          1. Develop a Positive Mindset

          If you’re going to increase your mental toughness, the first thing you have to do is focus on building a strong, positive mindset.

          According to the Cleveland Clinic, the average person has 60,000 thoughts per day. Of those, 95% of those thoughts repeat each day and, on average, 80% of repeated ideas are negative.[1]

          That’s roughly 45,600 negative thoughts per day!

          Carrying around these negative thoughts is like going on a hike in the mountains with a backpack full of rocks. The hike is hard enough on its own, but having extra junk weighing you down is a recipe for failure.

          Sometimes, building mental toughness isn’t as much about building new strength as it is about saving your strength for the right tasks. Wouldn’t it be easier to dump the rocks out of the backpack instead of trying to get strong enough to carry the extra weight?

          Absolutely!

          But how can we learn to spot those 45,600 negative thoughts and get rid of them? How can we empty our metaphorical backpack?

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          Well, it gets a whole lot easier if you know what you’re looking for. Some of the most prominent types of negative thoughts are self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, and dwelling.

          Let Go of Self-Limiting Beliefs

          It’s pretty hard to be mentally tough when you’re constantly beating yourself up. Self-limiting beliefs are any beliefs that hold you back in some way. Here are some examples:

          “I’m not smart enough to…”

          “I don’t have enough experience to…”

          “I’ve tried that before, and it didn’t go well, so I must just be bad at…”

          When we allow these self-limiting beliefs to flood our minds, negative self-talk runs rampant, and we crowd out our ability to think positively. We’re effectively working against ourselves.

          If you want to keep your mind strong on your path to success, you have to overcome the self-limiting beliefs that are holding you back by realizing one key truth: self-limiting beliefs are thoughts, not facts.

          When you recognize a self-limiting belief cropping up in your mind, quickly silence it by telling yourself that it’s not true and then back that up with some positive affirmations:

          • “I am smart enough; I may just need to do some more research first.”
          • “I may not have as much experience as someone else, but that’s not going to stop me from trying. I have enough experience to get started. I’ll figure the rest out on the way.”
          • “Just because I failed at this last time doesn’t mean I’m going to fail this time. My past does not dictate my future.”

          Get Rid of the All-or-Nothing Thinking

          Another form of negative thinking that could be preventing you from building mental toughness is all-or-nothing thinking.

          All-or-nothing thinking is the concept of thinking in extremes. You are either a success or a failure. Your performance was totally good or totally awful. If you’re not perfect, then you’re a failure.

          But this isn’t true!

          If you’re trying to lose 30 pounds and only lost 28, isn’t that still better than not losing any weight at all? I’d say so!

          If you allow all-or-nothing thinking to rule your mind, you’ll be on cloud nine when you succeed, but you’ll beat yourself up when you “fail.” Acknowledging the shades of gray in between will allow you to see success more often and it will help you celebrate your smaller wins.

          When you recognize an all-or-nothing thought, remember to look for the positive in the situation. What did you gain by trying? What would you have missed out on had you not tried? Could you do better if you were to try again?

          Ditch the Dwelling

          Self-Limiting Beliefs and All-or-Nothing Thinking can lead to a bad case of dwelling on the negative. If you want to build some mental toughness and keep your mind strong, you have to ditch the dwelling.

          Every day, bad things happen to each of us, and while there’s nothing we can do to prevent that, we can control how we react to these situations.

          When we dwell on our misfortunes, we waste massive amounts of energy that we could be using to achieve our goals. When this happens, we’re more likely to quit altogether.

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          But that doesn’t mean you’re not mentally tough; it just means you’re misusing your energy.

          The next time something bad happens, it’s important to allow yourself to feel the disappointment and frustration, but work on reducing the amount of time you dwell on the situation.

          Easier said than done, right? Try these:

          1. Call a friend or mentor and talk it through with them. Get some outside perspective on your situation.
          2. Time block your dwelling by allowing yourself to dwell for no more than one hour.
          3. Then, tell yourself to move on, that you’re human, and you’re allowed to make mistakes or experience setbacks.
          4. If all else fails, find a good way to distract yourself until you can calm down and reexamine things with a clear mind.

          The faster you can focus on the positives and move past the problem, the quicker you can get back to achieving success in your life.

          Be Patient about the Process

          No matter which negative thoughts tend to run around your mind, working to replace them with positive thoughts can take time.

          Learning to spot self-limiting beliefs, all-or-nothing thinking, or dwelling is one thing, but learning to quiet those thoughts is another thing entirely.

          If at first you don’t succeed, don’t fret. Instead, take a deep breath and try again. As you work towards improving your mindfulness and your mental toughness, remember that you’re going to get better with time.

          To make things a little easier, it helps to connect with your purpose.

          2. Connect with Your Purpose

          One of the most critical elements to building mental toughness and keeping a strong and focused mind is having a strong ‘why’ for everything you want to do.

          If you set out to achieve a huge goal that you don’t have a ‘why’ for, you’re going to find yourself distracted, discouraged, or disengaged as soon as you experience your first setback.

          Think about the last time you were working on a goal or resolution and things weren’t going well, maybe you even wanted to quit. Perhaps you thought you didn’t have enough willpower. Maybe you told yourself that you didn’t have enough discipline.

          Here’s the truth: you just didn’t have a strong enough why.

          Simon Sinek has been spreading his message “Start with Why” across the globe.[2] In short, he says that:

          “Your ‘why’ is the purpose, cause or belief that inspires you.”

          One of the biggest drains on your mental energy is pursuing a goal or a task that you don’t have a ‘why’ for. This is when we tend to look for external motivation or question our willpower, but those aren’t the issues.

          Often, we set goals because we like the idea of the goal, not the reality of the goal. Without connecting to our why, we can’t intrinsically motivate ourselves to achieve our most challenging goals.

          Find Intrinsic Motivation

          Intrinsic motivation is our innate desire to do something and it comes when we work towards something that satisfies ourselves above all else—not our parents or our bosses or our teachers.

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          Let’s say you think you want to quit smoking because you know it’s bad for you, but you really enjoy smoking. If you don’t truly want to quit smoking, it’s going to be nearly impossible, regardless of your willpower or mental toughness.

          But if you want to quit smoking because you just had a baby, and you don’t want your baby growing up around smoke, then that ‘why’ is going to give you intrinsic motivation. Intrinsic motivation is far more powerful than sheer stubborn willpower, and it’s far easier to maintain over the long haul.

          If you’re trying to develop mental toughness, connecting a why to everything you want to achieve will reduce the effort and energy it will take to achieve those things. Once you’ve found a strong why for all of your goals, you’ll find that you’ll have significantly more energy to pursue your more difficult challenges.

          3. Find Strength in Unity

          The final aspect of developing mental toughness is embracing the idea that you’re not in this alone. It’s a fact, anyone who’s ever achieved success in anything didn’t do so alone.

          Bill Gates didn’t build Microsoft alone. Oprah didn’t build her network by herself. Steve Jobs didn’t invent the iPhone without a team. Michelle Obama didn’t implement the “Let’s Move” campaign on her own.

          Behind all of these successful people were countless other people who were there offering support, mentorship, guidance, and encouragement.

          If you want to develop unmatched mental toughness, you need to understand that you don’t have to go it alone. Even the toughest Navy Seals have a team backing them up.

          If you want to stay strong in your endeavors, you need to build a team of supporters who will step in and back you up when it counts.

          Find a Mentor or Committee of Mentors

          The benefits of having a great mentor are far too many to list, but to boil it down to the basics, a mentor is someone who will help show you the path to success.

          A good mentor will help you discover your greatest strengths, spot and overcome your blind spots, and work through your weaknesses.

          If you’re struggling to deal with your internal negativity or with finding your purpose, talk it through with a mentor. Sometimes we lose the forest for the trees, and a mentor can help us take a step back and see the bigger picture.

          Here’s how to find the right mentor for yourself: How to Find a Mentor That Will Help You Succeed

          Recruit Some Cheerleaders

          If you want to stay strong, it never hurts to have a group of personal cheerleaders. Unlike mentors who are going to jump in and help you address your problems, a group of cheerleaders will help keep your spirits up.

          Even if you have a strong ‘why’ and a positive mindset, it’s nearly impossible to maintain a positive attitude 100% of the time. It doesn’t make you weak to need some help from time to time. Having a group of people cheering you on will make all the difference in the world.

          As you work towards your goals, tell a few close friends about what you’re doing, and when things get tough, tell them about it. And when they give you the pep talk you need, don’t resist their positivity or counter it with your self-limiting beliefs or your all-or-nothing attitude.

          Allow their optimism to refill your energy and use that energy to press on.

          Form an Accountability Group

          Cheerleaders are great, but sometimes we need someone to give us the kick we need to keep going. You might have a strong ‘why’ for running a marathon or losing 30 pounds, but that doesn’t mean it’s going to be easy; and trying to force yourself to follow through is a sure way to tax your mental energy.

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          Why not save some of your mental energy by forming an accountability group?

          Find a person or a few people who have similar goals, or at the very least, the need for an accountability partner. Then, form an agreement within the group to push each other every day.

          Even if your goals aren’t the same, accountability partners are great for giving us the push we need when we need it most.

          Regardless of which relationships you choose, sometimes we have to be able to work through things on our own. Mentors, cheerleaders, and accountability partners are a great way for us to combat our naturally negative mindsets, but occasionally we have to be able to pick ourselves back up.

          4. Learn to Pick Yourself Back Up After Setbacks

          Building a strong mindset and developing mental toughness isn’t easy! Anyone who’s ever achieved massive success knows that obstacles, setbacks, and failure are inevitable, and you’re no different.

          As you work on your goals, you’re going to face many ups and downs, but this doesn’t mean that you don’t have mental toughness, willpower, or discipline.

          We all struggle. We all fail. It’s what we decide to do after we fail that truly counts.

          When you find yourself in a low spot, ask yourself these questions:

          • “Am I being too hard on myself?”
          • “Are negative thoughts such as Self-Limiting Beliefs or All-or-Nothing Thinking distorting my view?”
          • “What’s the positive side of this setback/obstacle/failure?”
          • “Why was this goal important to me? What was my purpose?”
          • “Is this goal still important to me? Do I still have a ‘why’?”
          • “Who can I ask for help? Who can mentor me or cheer me on? Who can help hold me accountable?”

          Asking yourself these questions is a great way to check in on your mindset. When we get lost in negative thinking or lose connection to our purpose, it’s far too easy to become discouraged. When we feel discouraged, we start feeling weak, maybe even a little hopeless.

          Also, this article provides some useful tips to help you get back on track: How to Deal with Failure and Pick Yourself Back Up

          Tying it All Together

          Are you still with me? I know I’ve thrown a lot at you, from developing a positive mindset and combatting your internal voice to connecting with purpose and building a committee of mentors. It’s a lot to take it!

          But here’s the bottom line:

          A crucial part of developing mental toughness is learning to recognize these tendencies and taking action to correct them early on. Developing mental toughness is not about eliminating weakness, but learning how to deal with it and overcome it.

          No one is perfect, but when we focus on the right things, we can develop a mental toughness worthy of life’s biggest challenges.

          More About Mental Strength

          Featured photo credit: Zulmaury Saavedra via unsplash.com

          Reference

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