Top 5 Picks – Plugins, Web apps, Posts & More – Feb. 12, 2016


Catch your breath before going on!

If you thought the last top 5 was packed, we’re moving fast and furious here.  I love doing these picks because it means I get to play … I mean research.  Make sure to check out my last few picks so your site is drawing your target readers and are convincing them to stay.

More and more, we’re hearing about “Mobilegeddon,” a change Google made to their algorithms last April.  Mobile-friendly sites are ranking higher in search results.  Are you mobile-friendly?  Is your site responsive?  It’s time to double check what it looks like on all sorts of devices before we get further into 2016.  The faster, more responsive your site is, the better, meaning more clicks, more visitors and more people coming back to see what you’re up to!

My team and I are always busy scouring the web for the best apps, plugins and articles, but there are so many, we might miss something.  If you’ve got your own picks, definitely let us know in the comments section!

Here’s what we’ve got today:


DesignFeed (web app)

What it is:  Are you a graphic designer?  No?  Don’t feel badly – most of us aren’t.  As a matter of fact, if it were left to me, I’d have nothing but stick figures on my sites.  Enter Designfeed, a fantastic new web app, currently in beta.  Enter your message, choose a background, either your own or one of the gorgeous images DesignFeed has on hand, and create a graphic.  It doesn’t stop there, though.  The resulting designs are sized to fit whatever platform you’d like to use.  You can download the graphic or send it to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn, Tumblr, whichever social site you’d like, sized to give you the best visual impression.  Don’t have any big ideas?  Don’t worry.  There are plenty of pre-made graphics you can edit to fit your needs.

DesignFeed does more than let you create great-looking graphic designs, though.  It also works the way you work.  The more you use the app, the more it learns why you’re using it and where you’re most frequently using those graphics.  Over time, it’ll present you with those options first, although it doesn’t rule out being able to change to another type of design.

I can think of dozens of uses for this web app and can’t wait to see what you’ve created!  The app is in beta, so grab an invite and start creating!

[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#E05455″ size=”7″ radius=”0″]Checkout DesignFeed[/button]

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Chat Pirate (WordPress Plugin)

What it is:  I love sites where customer service is in the lower corner, just waiting to answer any questions you might have without being annoying.  Traditionally, though, live chat plugins are difficult to set up and maintain, so when I had the chance to play with the beta of ChatPirate, I was thrilled with how easy it is to work with.

ChatPirate is designed to integrate into your website easily, letting you start chatting with your visitors within five minutes.  Download the plugin, sign in, customize it to fit your site and you’re good to go.  A chat box will be added to your site automatically.

I’ve seen some sites adding live chat boxes to their sites that automatically pop up when a new visit is detected, whether a new visitor or someone returning.  ChatPirate lets you target those visitors by adapting to whether the visitor is new or returning.  For new visitors, you can have your live chat pop up and say something like “thanks for coming to our site.  If I could ask a question – what specifically brought you here?”  Then, you get automatic feedback from that new visitor as to what attracted them to your site.  From there, you have the opportunity to touch each visitor to the site, if you’d like.  For returning customers, the live chat can pop up to thank them for coming back and asking if there’s anything you can help with.

The analytics on ChatPirate are unlike other live chat plugins.  You can set up target goals for your team, find out how long someone stays on the site where they’ve chatted with you or not, and lets you see graphically how your site is doing with your customers.

Because ChatPirate is still in beta, there’s still time to test it out on your site before it goes live, so chat away!

[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#2f90a1″ size=”7″ radius=”0″]Checkout Chat Pirate[/button]

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Warble (web app)

What it is:  Keeping up with your Twitter feed can be difficult, especially if you’re managing several accounts or following specific hashtags.  And now that Twitter has changed your timeline away from “real time” to an algorithm, managing Twitter will be even more time-consuming.  Wouldn’t it be nice if there was a way to do that easily?    

Because you don’t have time to sit and watch Twitter all day long, Warble Alerts keeps you in the loop of what’s going on.  Enter the terms, hashtags and users you’d like to keep tabs on and Warble Alerts sends you an email with tweets that include those things you care about the most.

Set up couldn’t be easier; simply enter your search terms, hashtags and people you’d like to follow and your time zone and voila!  Your most important tweets will come into your feed.  Set up multiple alerts depending on your interests – one for your business, one for your personal interests and even one for your kids.

Warbler Alerts is free to sign up and use, so jump in there and take the hassle out of managing your Twitter alerts.

[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#95aa4d” size=”7″ radius=”0″]Checkout Warble[/button]

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Content Marketing Toolkit (blog post)

What it is: I love toolkits, especially when it comes to things that’ll help me do more and do better. This is totally the case with this post. Content Marketing Institute has outdone themselves again, by giving us this awesome content marketing toolkit that includes everything you’ll need to get your website noticed in the next year.

I especially am in love with the way they’ve broken down the categories within the toolkit into when you’ll need each item:

• Thinking phase
• Planning phase
• Doing phase
• Improving phase

After all that, you’re set free to, as they say, go forth and conquer. Focusing on SEO is great if all you’re looking for is new visitors to your site, but having great content will make or break your rankings, since the number of initial visitors is no longer as important as the content, return rate and conversion. Having 100 people visit your site in a week would be useless if they never come back or leave early because your content never changes, is irrelevant or outdated or, worse yet, has bad grammar and poor writing.

So whether you’re doing the content for your site or you’re getting it elsewhere, having a cohesive content strategy is absolutely critical to the success of your site. And like anything worthwhile, it takes work and dedication. The toolkit isn’t just a list of apps and plugins you can get to improve your site; instead, it includes lots of checklists, templates and resources you can use to upgrade your site’s content yourself without added brain damage.

The checklists are fantastic. One example is the content marketing mission statement. What are your goals with your site? What’s your target audience? Big or small, everyone having a website needs to know those things and revisiting it at least every year (better yet, every six months) lets you see your site as a new visitor would. From there, you can make changes to keep your site fresh and enjoyable for your visitors.

Check out the toolkit. I guarantee you’ll find at least a dozen things that’ll help beef up your content and your marketing, leading to the best site you can have.

[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#e05455″ size=”7″ radius=”0″]Checkout The Content Marketing Toolkit[/button]

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Bookly appointment plugin

Bookly (WordPress Plugin)

What it is: There are many ways to let your customers set appointments with you and your team from your website, but none are as easy to use and all-encompassing as Bookly. While other scheduling systems are apps with a link you put on your site, Bookly is a specially-designed app that interacts with your target audience the way they use your site.

The layout of Bookly is responsive, making it easy for site visitors to set up appointments from anywhere on any device. It synchs automatically with Google Calendars for an unlimited number of team members. And while some schedulers limit you to accepting PayPal or Stripe, Bookly allows PayPal, Stripe and Authorize.Net payments along with WooCommerce integration and a built-in cart.

Scheduling group meetings can be difficult with other scheduling apps, but Bookly makes it easy, especially if you’re scheduling meetings for your team. You have instant access to everyone’s calendar, making setup a snap.

Want to send reminders to those who have scheduled appointments? Bookly lets you send customized messages as texts and emails.

You can start with the free, lite version in the WordPress plugin repository or jump in for the premium version. Bookly is available for $46, which includes six months of support; you can buy an additional year of support for $13.80.

[button url=”” target=”blank” style=”flat” background=”#2f90a1″ size=”7″ radius=”0″]Checkout Bookly[/button]

That’s it for this selection of my Top 5 Picks! I’d love to hear what’s in your toolkit! Let me know in the comments below.

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Check out my previous picks below:

Top 5 Picks – Feb. 2, 2016

– WP Google calendar plugin, WP databse clean-up plugin, content marketing web app, quiz builder online web app for your content, and a post on making shareable images for social media.

Top 5 Picks – Dec. 21, 2015
– Social Media Marketing on autopilot, free WordPress login customizer, startAFIRE external links, YouTube Video downloader & a new WordPress podcast

Top 5 Picks – Dec. 9, 2015
– Free project mgmt. software, Free WordPress lead plugin, a quiz app, a blog metrics tool and a free screenshot extension for Chrome

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One Comment

  1. As a web designer, I am also using live chat feature on my website. It is helpful when someone want to contact with me directly while they are visiting my website. My current website is in HTML and currently I am planning to move to WordPress. I have just checked the free plugin Chat Pirate after reading your post and I think this plugin is a good plugin for my website’s new version. Thanks for sharing.

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