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5 Great WordPress Plugins To Help You Start A Blog

5 Great WordPress Plugins To Help You Start A Blog

Whether you’re a blogging veteran or just starting out blogging for the first time, making sure your WordPress setup is as streamline & effective as possible is crucial. However, slugging through the WordPress plugin directly to get the plugins you need functionality for can take hours and be a real pain. So we’ve simplified things for you. Avoid the headache & the runaround with these 5 essential WordPress plugins to help you start your blog.

1. WordPress SEO by Yoast

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    100% of new bloggers spend entirely too much time worrying about “SEO (Search Engine Optimization). The truth is that SEO takes years to master and is constantly changing. It’s tough to keep up with the changing landscape, and 99% of bloggers are better served by focusing on writing a regular schedule than figuring out SEO. Yoast’s SEO plugin lets you bridge the gap of making sure that the posts you do write are SEO-friendly without spending hours and hours of your time make sure you’re manually making each post as SEO-friendly as possible. Download WordPress SEO by Yoast (Yoast has both paid & free versions of their plugin).

    2. Gravity Forms

    This is hands-down the best form creation tool out there. It’s also a paid plugin—why pay for a plugin that just creates forms? Well, it does more than that. Hook it up with Zapier and sync contact forms to your email address or pull that data into any other application that you like. Don’t want to do that, but want to make a multi-party survey form? Instead of paying a subscription to survey monkey or another service, you can create the forms right on site and collect the entry data over a series of pages. It’s almost hard to explain how great Gravity Forms is until you’ve tried to use other form plugins and pulled your hair out for a good hour or two. Give it a shot, and you won’t be disappointed.

    Download Gravity Forms (Gravity Forms is a paid plugin). Screen Shot 2014-05-12 at 10.07.40 PM
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      3. OptinMonster

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        I’ve tried a ton of different pop-ups, and OptinMonster combines both usability & design (as well as performing better than other pop-ups I’ve tried). Not only does OptinMonster give you a traditional pop-up overlay, but they also have alternative email collection abilities including the “slide-in,” “sidebar and after-post,” and a footer opt-in as well as a few other ones on the way. If you’re against pop-ups, you should watch this video by Derek Halpern on why you’re an idiot if you’re not using pop-ups. Download OptinMonster (OptinMonster is a paid plugin)

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        4. iThemes Security

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          If you’ve ever had your site hacked, you know what a headache it is because of both the financial and mental resources you have to expend in order to get it back up & running again. Avoid this at all costs. Stop getting hacked before it even starts. iThemes runs 30 checks to secure your site checks and notifies you if you’re getting brute-force attempts on your login. Once you start seeing how many bots and scripts are out there looking for common, already-known vulnerabilities, you’ll be glad you took proactive measures on this front. There’s nothing more annoying and time-wasting than getting hacked. Download iThemes Security (iThemes Security has both free & paid versions of the plugin).

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          5. WP Super Cache

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            As your site grows, you’ll add more pages, files and images, and as you do, you’ll see that it slows down over time. Besides upgrading your hosting (which can be expensive), the next fastest win you can make id installing a caching plugin that basically takes a photo of your site and serves it up whenever someone visits the site (which saves time & resources). WP Super Cache is free and is the most lightweight & effective caching plugin out there. Speed up your site and install it now. Download WP Supercache (WP Super Cache is a free plugin). For more tips on blogging, check out our 25 blogging tips for new bloggers.

            Featured photo credit: Wesley Fryer via flickr.com

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            Last Updated on May 14, 2019

            8 Replacements for Google Notebook

            8 Replacements for Google Notebook

            Exploring alternatives to Google Notebook? There are more than a few ‘notebooks’ available online these days, although choosing the right one will likely depend on just what you use Google Notebook for.

            1. Zoho Notebook
              If you want to stick with something as close to Google Notebook as possible, Zoho Notebook may just be your best bet. The user interface has some significant changes, but in general, Zoho Notebook has pretty similar features. There is even a Firefox plugin that allows you to highlight content and drop it into your Notebook. You can go a bit further, though, dropping in any spreadsheets or documents you have in Zoho, as well as some applications and all websites — to the point that you can control a desktop remotely if you pare it with something like Zoho Meeting.
            2. Evernote
              The features that Evernote brings to the table are pretty great. In addition to allowing you to capture parts of a website, Evernote has a desktop search tool mobil versions (iPhone and Windows Mobile). It even has an API, if you’ve got any features in mind not currently available. Evernote offers 40 MB for free accounts — if you’ll need more, the premium version is priced at $5 per month or $45 per year. Encryption, size and whether you’ll see ads seem to be the main differences between the free and premium versions.
            3. Net Notes
              If the major allure for Google Notebooks lays in the Firefox extension, Net Notes might be a good alternative. It’s a Firefox extension that allows you to save notes on websites in your bookmarks. You can toggle the Net Notes sidebar and access your notes as you browse. You can also tag websites. Net Notes works with Mozilla Weave if you need to access your notes from multiple computers.
            4. i-Lighter
              You can highlight and save information from any website while you’re browsing with i-Lighter. You can also add notes to your i-Lighted information, as well as email it or send the information to be posted to your blog or Twitter account. Your notes are saved in a notebook on your computer — but they’re also synchronized to the iLighter website. You can log in to the site from any computer.
            5. Clipmarks
              For those browsers interested in sharing what they find with others, Clipmarks provides a tool to select clips of text, images and video and share them with friends. You can easily syndicate your finds to a whole list of sites such as Facebook, Twitter and Digg. You can also easily review your past clips and use them as references through Clipmarks’ website.
            6. UberNote
              If you can think of a way to send notes to UberNote, it can handle it. You can clip material while browsing, email, IM, text message or even visit the UberNote sites to add notes to the information you have saved. You can organize your notes, tag them and even add checkboxes if you want to turn a note into some sort of task list. You can drag and drop information between notes in order to manage them.
            7. iLeonardo
              iLeonardo treats research as a social concern. You can create a notebook on iLeonardo on a particular topic, collecting information online. You can also access other people’s notebooks. It may not necessarily take the place of Google Notebook — I’m pretty sure my notes on some subjects are cryptic — but it’s a pretty cool tool. You can keep notebooks private if you like the interface but don’t want to share a particular project. iLeonardo does allow you to follow fellow notetakers and receive the information they find on a particular topic.
            8. Zotero
              Another Firefox extension, Zotero started life as a citation management tool targeted towards academic researchers. However, it offers notetaking tools, as well as a way to save files to your notebook. If you do a lot of writing in Microsoft Word or Open Office, Zotero might be the tool for you — it’s integrated with both word processing software to allow you to easily move your notes over, as well as several blogging options. Zotero’s interface is also available in more than 30 languages.

            I’ve been relying on Google Notebook as a catch-all for blog post ideas — being able to just highlight information and save it is a great tool for a blogger.

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            In replacing it, though, I’m starting to lean towards Evernote. I’ve found it handles pretty much everything I want, especially with the voice recording feature. I’m planning to keep trying things out for a while yet — I’m sticking with Google Notebook until the Firefox extension quits working — and if you have any recommendations that I missed when I put together this list, I’d love to hear them — just leave a comment!

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