My Top 5 Picks – Plugins, Web Apps, Posts & More Dec. 21, 2015

Time for another collection of my Top 5 Picks!

I’m starting to think I could turn this into twice a week posts… my list of cool finds is getting longer and longer (which is great, but I need to get it out there quicker!). I’m thinking of doing a blab / podcast with a good friend of mine on the tools we find and why we like them, so there may be another version of this coming to you soon-ish. Think early 2016.

The cool thing about this weeks picks is that I’ve been testing / using most of them. One I just found (YouTube converter) and one is a podcast episode (interview of yours truly on a new WordPress podcast). The other three tools are being used regularly and I’m digging them.

As I’ve been developing my content strategy for 2016 part of that strategy is getting traffic and social shares for the content I create (yep, kind of obvious but somehow this often gets overlooked). I’ve been consuming everything I can over at the CoSchedule blog (I’m working on a post and videos about my love affair with CoSchedule) and really started diving into the tool itself (novel idea to use the tool you pay for, right? haha).

I had someone helping me with my social media over the past year but unfortunately she had to take some time off for health reasons, so my project manager and I are digging in. I may or may not hire someone to do this in the future, I haven’t decided. My primary reason for this is that I want to make sure I know what is working, how it’s working and what are objectives are before hiring someone to simply post, create and share.

So you may (or may not) notice my increase in social sharing (I recently had a client tell me that I’ve been really active on Linkedin lately. Which is true, but it’s been curated and automated, which is pretty much required to be able to scale your social media. Two of my Top 5 Picks this week are relative to social media content and sharing.

Here’s today’s Top 5 Picks:

Quuu (web app)
What it is: Quuu is a fabulous tool for finding curated content and sharing with your audience. What is so super fabulous about it is that it connects to your Buffer account and shares to your profiles you’ve connected. On the free version you can have two free posts per day. You select the categories you want to pull content from (ex: Branding & Content Marketing. There are a lot more, just giving a couple examples). Once you select your categories and link to your Buffer account you’re done (yep, that easy). If you want to moderate and edit the content that has been selected you then login to your Buffer account and make adjustments.
The best part? Quuu doesn’t simply scour the web with some autobot (yes, I totally used a word from Transformers)… it’s hand-curated content!

There is a free version (2 posts a day and you can earn more by sharing & referring) or the premium is only $10 a month (Pro account, which I quickly upgraded to! SO worth it).
[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#e05455″ size=”5″ radius=”0″]Checkout Quuu[/button] [divider top=”no” divider_color=”#bcbcbc” size=”2″][/divider]


Custom Login Page Customizer (WordPress plugin)
What it is: The name of this one is pretty obvious, right? A simple plugin that allows you to customize your WordPress login. The customization is done directly through the WordPress customizer in your dashboard (go into Appearance and then you’ll see ‘Login Customizer’). You can customize with a logo, background image and the color of the login button. I decided to skip the background image because loading a large image can slow things down.
This is one of those things that I’ve meant to do for a long time and was going to have one of my developers do it but then found this plugin. Easy peasy. This is a free plugin in the WordPress plugin repository.
[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#95aa4d” size=”5″ radius=”0″]Download Login Customizer[/button] [divider top=”no” divider_color=”#bcbcbc” size=”2″][/divider]


start A FIRE (web app)
What it is: startAFIRE is kind of hard to explain, so I may include a screenshot so you can really see how this works. I just found this last week so haven’t done a ton of testing with it but I like the idea of it (as I’m typing this I’m thinking that I should set up some custom links so I can track how this works! Smart idea, huh? I’m also wondering how it will work if you share internal links… hmm. I’ll let you know if I test that). startAFIRE let’s you add your own links to external links that you share. So as an example, let’s say I want to share a link to a post on CoSchedule (because their content rocks). You create an account / login with Twitter or email and connect to your Buffer account (as you can see, connecting with Buffer is a pretty common connection. I don’t know of many other social media sharing tools that connect with so many 3rd party apps). Once you’ve connected your startAFIRE account to your Buffer account, all your posts are pulled in. Then you can add your own links under the ‘promoted content’ tab in your account.

What this does is adds a little modal window in the bottom right of the screen (remember, this is on someone else’s page), says it was shared by you and adds your recommended content (the point of this would be to share YOUR content). See the screenshot below of how this looks:

Pretty cool, huh? Oh, and there are stats in your startAFIRE account with your promoted account. The one day that I tested this I had 8 impressions on one link and 11 links on another (again, I think if I’m going to do this I need to create Google tags so I can really track what’s working).
[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#2f90a1″ size=”5″ radius=”0″]Checkout startAFIRE[/button] [divider top=”no” divider_color=”#bcbcbc” size=”2″][/divider]


Softorino (iPhone app, iPad app, Mac app)
What it is: A YouTube video converter that WORKS! Hallelujah! Oh, and it’s free. I recently wanted to convert a YouTube video to an MP3 and it was kind of a pain in the arse. It’s a meditation that really resonated with me and I don’t know about you, but I what bugs me most about video on my phone or iPad is that if I close that window then the video stops playing. Which kinda makes sense but is also the reason I adore audio… I can do something else and have it on in the background (when I’m working out, driving, shopping, or even working). I think I found a Chrome extension but it was kind of a pain, which is why I’m sharing this link with you and not the work around that I found the other day. I’ve downloaded this and tested it and it worked perfectly!
[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#e05455″ size=”5″ radius=”0″]Checkout Softorino[/button] [divider top=”no” divider_color=”#bcbcbc” size=”2″][/divider]


WP Innovator Podcast (NEW Podcast)
What it is: A new WordPress podcast for design and development agencies with the super fabulous Lee Jackson. Lee and I connected about a month ago when he reached out to interview me for WP Innovator and I’m SO glad he did! It was probably one of the most fun interviews I’ve had (where I’ve been interviewed) and I’m looking forward to hearing more of the WP Innovator podcast (obviously… that would a little on the egomaniacal side if I only wanted to listen to myself. haha…). Lee has a great series of WordPress tips called ‘The 12 days of WordPress Tips’ going right now too, awesome tips and he’s pretty friggin funny if I do say so myself.

Be sure to check out the interview, subscribe to the podcast & tell Lee I sent you, you’ll be glad you’ve connected with him.
[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#95aa4d” size=”5″ radius=”0″]Listen to WP Innovator Podcast[/button] [divider top=”no” divider_color=”#bcbcbc” size=”2″][/divider]

Remember, I’d LOVE to hear if you have a favorite app, plugin, tool or even just a great post you want to share! Let me know if you’ve tried any of the Top 5 Picks in the comments section below. If you want to get the Top 5 Picks in a monthly summary just sign up below and I’ll send you the PDF version of everything for the month at the end of the month (that was kind of a mouthful, huh?).

Check out previous picks below:

Top 5 Picks 12-9-15 (includes free project mgmt. software, a free WordPress lead plugin, a quiz app & more!)

Top 5 Picks 11-30-15 (A booking tool, royalty free image site, graphic design tool, an Instagram advertising post & a feedback plugin)

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