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Top WordPress Plugins for the Smart Blogger

Top WordPress Plugins for the Smart Blogger
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If you’re a blogger, then you probably know about the power of the WordPress platform. Straight out of the box, WordPress is one of the best solutions for blogging. It has a number of SEO benefits built straight into the software. However, the smart blogger knows how to optimize WordPress for even further performance using plugins. Here is a list of plugins that the A-list bloggers are using.

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  • Akismet – If you run a blog, then you need this plugin.Fortunately, it comes preinstalled with WordPress. Popular blogs get hundreds of spam comments every day. Akismet helps eliminate this problem. Don’t waste your time deleting spam comments. Akismet will automate the entire process with ease by running hundreds of tests on your comments, trackbacks, and pingbacks to ensure their validity.
  • Bad Behaviour – This plugin isn’t as well known as the others but it should definetly be on your list. Bad Behaviour denies automated spambots access to your PHP-based Web site. This plugin complements Akismet by preventing spammers from ever delivering their junk in the first place.
  • Digg This – This plugin automatically adds a Digg story link whenever it detects incoming links from Digg.com. This is an excellent way to promote your articles on one of the most popular social bookmarking sites around.
  • Show Top Commentators – If you are looking for a way to increase your comments and the interaction among your readership, this plugin is an excellent choice. Show Top Commentators encourages discussion by rewarding readers for making a comment. The top commentators are displayed in the sidebar with the number of comments they have made and a link back to their website.
  • Related Posts – This plugin will find other blog posts that are related to the current post based on keyword matching. You can then display the related posts at the bottom of each article. This is an excellent way to keep visitors at your site for longer periods of time. Customize this plugin to display as many or as few related posts as you desire.
  • Adsense Deluxe – If you run adsense on your blog, then this is the number one plugin to implement. Adsense Deluxe allows you to automatically insert Google Adsense with ease.
  • WP-Cache – This plugin is an extremely efficient page caching system that will make your site much faster and responsive. This plugin is very useful for handling sudden bursts of traffic coming from social bookmarking sites like Digg and Slashdot. WP-Cache basically creates static versions of your pages so that they can be served to your visitors without querying the MySQL database.
  • Feedburner Feed Replacement – This popular plugin was recently adopted by Feedburner and renamed “FeedSmith” . This plugin forwards all of your feed traffic to Feedburner. FeedSmith often causes an elusive “bump in subscribers” when you first activate it because it will detect all ways to access your feed. Readers coming from http://www.yoursite.com/feed/ or http://www.yoursite.com/wp-rss2.php will both be redirected to your FeedBurner feed so that you can accurately track your subscriber base.
  • Ultimate Tag Warrior – This is the best tag system for WordPress. Ultimate Tag Warrior will help you pick up more traffic from Technorati and adds a number of SEO benefits to your blog.
  • Google Sitemaps – This plugin will automatically create a Google compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog to ensure that all of your pages are indexed in Google. This is one plugin you definitely don’t want to be without.
  • WordPress Dulplicate Content Cure – this plugin will eliminate any worries you might have about duplicate content. The WordPress Duplicate Content Cure prevents search engines from indexing WordPress pages that contain duplicate content. This includes archives and category pages.
  • Popularity Contest – This plugin allows you to show off your most popular posts in the sidebar of your WordPress blogs.
  • SEO Title Tag – Title tags are one of the most important on-page factors for search engine optimization. This plugin allows you to optimize your title tag for optimum traffic.
  • WP-ContactForm – If you’re looking to avoid email spam, then this is the plugin for you. This plugin allows people to contact you without actually emailing you.
  • WordPress Database Backup – Talk about a lifesaver. This plugin comes installed with WordPress, providing an easy way to backup your WordPress database. You can download the backup file or have it emailed to the address of your choice.

If you know of other great WordPress plugins, feel free to share them in the comments.

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Kim Roach is a productivity junkie who blogs regularly atThe Optimized Life. Read her articles on 50 EssentialGTD Resources, How to Have a 46 Hour Day, Do You Need
a Braindump
, What They Don’t Teach You in School, and Free Yourself From the Inbox.

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Last Updated on August 16, 2018

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

The Importance of Reminders (And How to Make a Reminder That Works)

No matter how well you set up your todo list and calendar, you aren’t going to get things done unless you have a reliable way of reminding yourself to actually do them.

Anyone who’s spent an hour writing up the perfect grocery list only to realize at the store that they forgot to bring the list understands the importance of reminders.

Reminders of some sort or another are what turn a collection of paper goods or web services into what David Allen calls a “trusted system”.

A lot of people resist getting better organized. No matter what kind of chaotic mess, their lives are on a day-to-day basis because they know themselves well enough to know that there’s after all that work they’ll probably forget to take their lists with them when it matters most.

Fortunately, there are ways to make sure we remember to check our lists — and to remember to do the things we need to do, whether they’re on a list or not.

In most cases, we need a lot of pushing at first, for example by making a reminder, but eventually we build up enough momentum that doing what needs doing becomes a habit — not an exception.

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The power of habit

A habit is any act we engage in automatically without thinking about it.

For example, when you brush your teeth, you don’t have to think about every single step from start to finish; once you stagger up to the sink, habit takes over (and, really, habit got you to the sink in the first place) and you find yourself putting toothpaste on your toothbrush, putting the toothbrush in your mouth (and never your ear!), spitting, rinsing, and so on without any conscious effort at all.

This is a good thing because if you’re anything like me, you’re not even capable of conscious thought when you’re brushing your teeth.

The good news is you already have a whole set of productivity habits you’ve built up over the course of your life. The bad news is, a lot of them aren’t very good habits.

That quick game Frogger to “loosen you up” before you get working, that always ends up being six hours of Frogger –– that’s a habit. And as you know, habits like that can be hard to break — which is one of the reasons why habits are so important in the first place.

Once you’ve replaced an unproductive habit with a more productive one, the new habit will be just as hard to break as the old one was. Getting there, though, can be a chore!

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The old saw about anything you do for 21 days becoming a habit has been pretty much discredited, but there is a kernel of truth there — anything you do long enough becomes an ingrained behavior, a habit. Some people pick up habits quickly, others over a longer time span, but eventually, the behaviors become automatic.

Building productive habits, then, is a matter of repeating a desired behavior over a long enough period of time that you start doing it without thinking.

But how do you remember to do that? And what about the things that don’t need to be habits — the one-off events, like taking your paycheck stubs to your mortgage banker or making a particular phone call?

The trick to reminding yourself often enough for something to become a habit, or just that one time that you need to do something, is to interrupt yourself in some way in a way that triggers the desired behavior.

The wonderful thing about triggers (reminders)

A trigger is anything that you put “in your way” to remind you to do something. The best triggers are related in some way to the behavior you want to produce.

For instance, if you want to remember to take something to work that you wouldn’t normally take, you might place it in front of the door so you have to pick it up to get out of your house.

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But anything that catches your attention and reminds you to do something can be a trigger. An alarm clock or kitchen timer is a perfect example — when the bell rings, you know to wake up or take the quiche out of the oven. (Hopefully you remember which trigger goes with which behavior!)

If you want to instill a habit, the thing to do is to place a trigger in your path to remind you to do whatever it is you’re trying to make into a habit — and keep it there until you realize that you’ve already done the thing it’s supposed to remind you of.

For instance, a post-it saying “count your calories” placed on the refrigerator door (or maybe on your favorite sugary snack itself)  can help you remember that you’re supposed to be cutting back — until one day you realize that you don’t need to be reminded anymore.

These triggers all require a lot of forethought, though — you have to remember that you need to remember something in the first place.

For a lot of tasks, the best reminder is one that’s completely automated — you set it up and then forget about it, trusting the trigger to pop up when you need it.

How to make a reminder works for you

Computers and ubiquity of mobile Internet-connected devices make it possible to set up automatic triggers for just about anything.

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Desktop software like Outlook will pop up reminders on your desktop screen, and most online services go an extra step and send reminders via email or SMS text message — just the thing to keep you on track. Sandy, for example, just does automatic reminders.

Automated reminders can help you build habits — but it can also help you remember things that are too important to be trusted even to habit. Diabetics who need to take their insulin, HIV patients whose medication must be taken at an exact time in a precise order, phone calls that have to be made exactly on time, and other crucial events require triggers even when the habit is already in place.

My advice is to set reminders for just about everything — have them sent to your mobile phone in some way (either through a built-in calendar or an online service that sends updates) so you never have to think about it — and never have to worry about forgetting.

Your weekly review is a good time to enter new reminders for the coming weeks or months. I simply don’t want to think about what I’m supposed to be doing; I want to be reminded so I can think just about actually doing it.

I tend to use my calendar for reminders, mostly, though I do like Sandy quite a bit.

Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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