Six Great WordPress Plugins, Vetted by Yours Truly

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Aren’t WordPress plugins awesome?

Whatever functionality you want on your website, chances are there is a plugin for that. Unfortunately, there are SO MANY of them, it can be difficult to find a good one. So how do you figure out which plugin offers the features you want, does the job well, and is easy to use?

Personally, I like to search Google for plugin reviews (for example “best contact form WordPress plugin”), and I also like to get recommendations from other WordPress users on which plugins are best. Here are a few that have passed my inspection (all of which I currently use).

  • Google Analyticator: If you use Google Analytics (and you should!), this plugin makes it super-simple to set up the tracking code for your entire WordPress blog or business site. It’s much easier than entering the code manually into each web page!
  • NextGEN Gallery: This is one of the best image gallery plugins available. I like it because it offers many different styles and options.
  • WP Socializer: I’ve tried a number of different social media sharing plugins, and this is by far the best one. You can tell it where you want the buttons to go (on pages, posts, etc.) and choose from different layout options, like a bar alongside your posts, or a row of buttons at the bottom of each page.
  • Gravatar Shortcode: Having a Gravatar is already quite useful for blog commenting, but did you know you can use a plugin to display people’s Gravatar photos in other places on your site? {I use this plugin to display my clients’ photos next to their testimonials, and love that it automatically reflects changes, like if the person uploads a new image.}
  • Custom Contact Forms: This is my contact form plugin of choice. It’s not the easiest to use (it takes a bit of getting used to, to learn how it works), but it’s very flexible and comes with a lot of adjustable style options (and is also customizable with CSS code).
  • Raw HTML: If you’ve ever been frustrated with WordPress messing up your HTML code (I have!), this is a great plugin to use. Even if you switch back and forth between the visual editor and HTML editor, this plugin prevents code from being altered.

All of these plugins and more can be found from inside your WordPress dashboard (go to “Plugins” > “Add New” and use the search box to find the one you want). Considering that this is only the tip of the plugin “iceberg”, I’d love to hear what WordPress plugins you swear by. Please share in the comments!

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About Barbara Austin

As the graphic designer & founder of Sweet Dreamz Design, Barbara loves working with women entrepreneurs to brand their businesses. She shares a variety of small business advice and anecdotes here on the blog. Check back every week for new tips, inspirations, and how-to articles, or subscribe to get regular updates in your inbox each week!

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