WordPress Plugins to the Rescue!

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i-love-wordpress

If you’re like me, you love WordPress for lots of reasons…not least of which is the ability to EASILY add cool + useful + even essential features to your site, just by installing a plugin.

But alas, finding a great plugin that does everything you want it to is not the easiest task there is.

In the year+ that I’ve been on WordPress, I’ve cycled through probably half-a-dozen captcha plugins, several social sharing plugins, and at least two contact form plugins, in search of the ones that do everything I want + more.

If you too are struggling to find the right plugin to fit your desire (a good-looking social sharing bar!), or fulfill a pressing business need (a shopping cart with all the bells and whistles!), check out these plugins + tips + resources.

So you want to…

…find an easy-to-use Captcha for your comment form, that is tough enough to deter spammers, yet won’t drive your readers insane. NuCaptcha* is your new best friend! (See it in action, in my comment form below this article.)

…cloak your website-in-progress, so no one can see it until it’s ready to be unveiled to the world. Try underConstruction*! It’s simple enough to do yourself, yet can be customized by your designer or other code-wielding helper to fit your brand colors/styles.

…quickly + easily place people’s Gravatar photo next to their testimonials on your site. Gravatar Shortcode* does the trick – all you have to know is the e-mail address they use for their Gravatar account.

…connect your site with Google Analytics to track your traffic + conversions. Google Analyticator* does the job nicely, or if you have a full-featured theme like Thesis, you can connect your GA account right in the theme’s control panel!

…find a great free plugin. Search by plugin name or keyword from your WordPress dashboard (go to Plugins > Add New), or head to Google and search for “best free ___ plugins” (fill in the blank with the type of plugin you’re looking for).

…find a highly-specialized and/or well-supported paid plugin. CodeCanyon has an amazing selection of reasonably priced plugins, with user ratings and demos!

* Find any of the plugins mentioned here, by going to Plugins > Add New in your WordPress dashboard, and seaching the name.

Before you go off installing plugins like crazy, though, keep in mind that the more plugins you install = the slower your site will load. So limit them for essential purposes only.

» Got a favorite plugin you’d like to share? Leave a comment below!

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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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