WPCP: 001 – My Go-To Plugins

WordPress Chick Podcast -WordPress Chick PluginsHOLY MOLY! I really should have video recorded myself doing this first podcast… it would have provided some comic relief for you to say the least. I lost count on how many times I started then deleted just the introduction! Forget the few times I recorded up to about 10 minutes then scrapped the whole thing.

 Here’s the crazy thing…

IT WAS TOTALLY FUN! I really had a ball recording my first episode and am already looking forward to the next one.

I had already planned out what I was going to do, but I think I need to do the show notes prior to recording- as in full show notes, not just an outline. Who knows… I can tell you I won’t be reading from a script… ever.

Here’s my full ‘arsenal’ of plugins from Episode 1 of the WordPress Chick Podcast. WordPress-Chick-Podcast1) Akismet: If you’ve done a WordPress Install, you’re familiar with Akismet. This is the built-in spam filter that comes with WordPress (so the plugin itself is free). You do need to register for an API key  (once you activate the plugin it will ask you for your API key).

2) Author hReview: There is both a free and premium version of this plugin (I’m using the free version). Author hReview creates a review box in your post where you can list the name, author, version number (if applicable), rating, and brief summary. I’ve adjusted this plugin so it shows at the bottom of my post as opposed to the default top right of the post (it was too crowded with my featured image).
You can view the premium version and the free version to see what’s right for you.

 3) Blubrry PowerPress: Blubrry PowerPress is an all in once podcasting plugin. There are a handful of podcasting plugins available, but I chose this one because it was recommended by The Podcast Answer Man (Cliff Ravenscraft) and is also the plugin my business partner, Steve O’Sullivan uses. I’ve recorded screenshots and am doing a step-by-step setup guide for the plugin (it’s pretty involved). This plugin (FREE) comes with everything you need for podcasting, including iTunes specifications & submission.

4) Complete Gallery Manager: I’ve done a full post with a video on the Complete Gallery Manager, so you can check that out if you want more details, but this is a great responsive photo and video gallery plugin. This is a premium plugin through CodeCanyon, but it’s truly worth every penny. Here are my post and video on the Complete Gallery Manager.

5) Custom Social Profiles: This is my free plugin that allows you to upload custom social icons (both regular and hover icons) that link to your social profiles (these are not sharing icons where people can share your content) so people can connect with you on social networks. You can subscribe to the site for a free copy (top right sidebar of this page).

6) Easy Digital Downloads: As I mentioned in the podcast, this is one of my favorite new plugins! And yep, it’s free! It was created by Pippin Williamson. The plugin works great as is, right ‘out of the box’. There are free and premium extensions available to add additional functionality and options. You’ll be hearing much more about this plugin in upcoming months from me, but for now, I recommend you download it and test it out (yep, just the free version will get you going). Keep in mind this is for digital products only. Get Easy Digital Downloads here.

7) Easy Digital Downloads – Amazon S3 Extension: If you have an Amazon S3 account and want to store your digital downloads for use with Easy Digital Downloads, then this is for you! I love my S3 account and any time I can use it without having to log in to Amazon I’m all for it. This is a premium extension, but remember the plugin is free! (can’t beat that!)
Get the Amazon S3 Extension here

8) Easy Digital Downloads – Aweber Extension: Want to add your customers to your list when they purchase from you through Easy Digital Downloads?  Don’t worry, they still have to confirm their optin (and you set up a little checkbox for them to check, it’s not forced), but for $12 it’s worth adding!
Get the Aweber Extension here

9) Font Awesome Icons: I am LOVING Font Icons (or is it Icon Fonts?) Font icons are exactly what they sound like – icons that come in a set like a font! WOOHOO! I just did a post and video on this FREE plugin. It’s not available in the WordPress plugin directory but I have the link to it in my post (it’s free on Github). Here’s a sample of a few of the Font Awesome Icons: [icon name=icon-bullhorn][icon name=icon-google-plus][icon name=icon-external-link][icon name=icon-film] Here’s my post on Font Awesome Icons

10) Genesis Connect for Easy Digital Downloads: This plugin provides optimized use of Easy Digital Downloads with Genesis (it’s not required to use with Genesis and EDD in order for them to work, it just makes it easier). Because Genesis has some custom widgets (and it works great with the Genesis Simple Sidebars plugin) this makes the integration seamless.
Get the Genesis Connect Extension here

11) Genesis Simple Sidebars: It’s no surprise I’m a fan of all things Genesis, so of course this plugin is no exception. Instead of using a plugin where you have to decide which page to put which plugins on, simply create custom sidebars for your pages and put your widgets in the sidebars. Easy peasy! And yep, this is a free plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.
Get Genesis Simple Sidebars here

12) Genesis Title Toggle: Don’t want your page title to show at the top of the page? Of course, you do need to be using Genesis (haha… couldn’t resist) to use this plugin and it’s really easy. Once you install this you can select if the page title shows on a per-page basis- simply by checking a box. Another awesome FREE plugin!
Get the Genesis title toggle plugin.

13) Google Analytics for WordPress: This plugin allows you to track your metadata (views per author and category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and pageviews. You do need to connect this to your Google (Gmail) account, but that’s pretty easy. This is a free plugin you can find in the WordPress plugin directory.
Get Google Analytics for WordPress here

14) Gravity Forms: LOVE LOVE LOVE this plugin! I’ve used free form/contact plugins and while they’re good, they don’t come close to Gravity Forms. Gravity Forms is a premium plugin, but for a small investment of $39 (for the personal license), it’s worth every penny and then some! Gravity Forms has a drag and drop builder as well as multiple add-ons (Aweber, Freshbooks, MailChimp, Authorize.net, and more).
Get Gravity Forms here.

15) Gravity Forms Aweber Add-on: Kind of obvious what this what does, huh? It gives you the option to have people added to your mailing list when they submit/fill out a form on your site with Gravity Forms. Not too shabby, huh? Of course, you do need to be using Gravity Forms to use the add-on (and this is a premium add-on as well).
Get the Gravity Forms Aweber Add-on here.

16) Juiz Social Post Sharer: You can see what this plugin does just by looking at my social sharing buttons at the top of this post. This is a free plugin that comes with 5 different options for social sharing buttons. It works GREAT, is easy to set up, and looks awesome. Gotta love it! Oh yea, and it’s a free plugin.
Get Juiz Social Post Sharer here.

17) MarketPress: This is a great eCommerce solution for anyone and is SO easy to install and set up. It is a premium plugin from WPMUdev.org. One of my favorite features of this plugin is that you can put affiliate products into your ‘store’ or ‘shop’ and instead of an ‘add to cart’ button you get a ‘buy now’ button and it goes directly to the page of the affiliate product for them to purchase (through your affiliate link of course). WPMUdev.org has amazing support as well. This is a premium plugin that you can purchase for $19 OR become a full member of WPMU for $79 and have access to all their plugins, themes, and support.
Get MarketPress here.

18) Microkids Related Posts (Related Posts for WordPress): I mentioned in a podcast that I don’t actually have this plugin activated because there’s a conflict with my video player (I’m testing some other related posts plugins and will let you know). Once you install this plugin it will appear on your post/page editor page. You just enter a search term (ex: plugins) and it pulls up all your content (posts and pages) and you can select which links you want to appear at the end of the post. You can also choose to have a reciprocal link placed on the bottom of the posts you’re linking to. Yep, this is a free plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.
Get Microkids Related Posts plugin

19) Pretty Link Lite: If you do ANY affiliate marketing (and if you’re not, I recommend it. I only promote things I use myself or have personally tried) you need this plugin. Once you install it you can mask your affiliate links- so instead of links that look like this: http://affiliateproduct.com/amember/go.php?r=123456&i=78 , your links look like this: http://thewpchick.com/affiliate-link . Cool, huh? You can get the free version of Pretty Link Lite from WordPress.org OR take a look at the premium version of Pretty Link Lite.

20) Styles With Shortcodes:  Having tried a handful of shortcode plugins, this is definitely one of my go-to standard plugins. It comes with SO many available shortcodes: accordion query, blockquotes, buttons, colored boxes, columns, dividers, social sharing buttons, galleries, maps, picture frames, and MUCH more! Crazy, huh? This is a premium plugin from CodeCanyon and is $25. The support is great and this plugin is updated regularly.
Get Styles With Shortcodes.

21) TinyMCE Advanced: Ever feel like you’re missing a few options in your WYSIWYG editor? Yea, me too. Which is why I install this plugin on all my own sites AND client sites. It’s a free plugin from the WordPress plugin directory and you can select which options show up.
Get TinyMCE Advanced here.

22) Webinar Engine: WOO HOO! Yup, this is our first premium plugin over at WP Plugin Lab! We just released it two weeks ago and are adding more training and working out a few bugs, but I am SO proud of this! You can offer free OR premium webinars, it links with PayPal as well as Aweber, MailChimp, Constant Contact, 1Shopping Cart, AND Infusionsoft. Nice, huh? We have lots of cool new features on the way too. It is a premium plugin and you can check it out at WP Plugin lab.

23) Wordfence Security: This plugin has been a godsend lately! I’ve had some serious issues this past year with my site (most stemmed from a plugin and are all cleared up now) and I wish I had this plugin when this all started (it may have prevented some of the hassles I had). This is a free plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.
Get Wordfence Security here.

24) WP Affiliate Platform: This is what I use for my affiliate program on this site as well as on WP Plugin Lab. It’s a premium plugin that allows you to run your own affiliate program- affiliate banners and all. They have a great support forum as well.  At $49.95 it’s an affordable way to get started with your own affiliate program.
Get WP Affiliate Platform here.

25) WordPress SEO by Yoast: Last and certainly not least is the WordPress SEO plugin by Joost deValk. This plugin does SO much I won’t be able to put it in a brief summary here for you, but even as much as I love Genesis I always install WordPress SEO (which then overwrites the default Genesis SEO settings) on all my sites and client sites. You can set up your site-wide SEO and then make sure your posts and pages are optimized for the search engines as well. This is a free plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.
Get WordPress SEO here.

That has to be the LONGEST post I think I’ve ever written! I’d LOVE LOVE LOVE to hear your feedback on the podcast as well as have you subscribe in iTunes (and leave a review there as well). I’m open to all feedback, really. Just be constructive & helpful if you want to leave less-than-kind feedback. Please. 😉

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  1. GREAT JOB! *throws confetti*
    Hey, always wanted to ask you…how come you don’t use Disqus? I use it for comments and it totally eliminates the need for Akismet. I tested it against regular WP comments (so I could use all the fancy comments plugins) and didn’t see any diff between # of comments/shares/etc. But you’ve had more time to play around with this stuff. Maybe you know something I don’t?

    1. Hey Tea!
      Thanks- I had so much fun doing this, I’m getting ready for episode 2 already!
      I used to use disqus, then I wanted to try comment luv and needed to remove it. Then I removed that (go figure) and I just wanted to stick with the built-in commenting system (also because it allowed me a little more flexibility for styling).
      Thanks again girl!

  2. Thanks for this list, Kim! I’ve just tried out the Styles With Shortcodes plugin and love love love it! It will make me look like such a design genius. 🙂

    1. You’re welcome Nina- glad I could help! I’ve tried a handful of shortcode plugins and always go back to Styles with Shortcodes- it’s got just about everything you need! 😉 Happy New Year!

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