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Essential WordPress Plugins

The available plugins for the WordPress content management system is overwhelming. And Keeping up with all the updates, is nearly impossible. However, some of the plugins that I have been using in the past have been standing above the rest. It is mainly because they have been tested and fulfilled an important need.

This article is dedicated to just presenting the essential plugins that are available:

WP DB Backup

Description: WP-DB-Backup allows you easily to backup your core WordPress database tables. You may also backup other tables in the same database.

Cost: FREE

Plugin URL: (https://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-db-backup/)

Contact Form 7

Description: Contact Form 7 can manage multiple contact forms, plus you can customize the form and the mail contents flexibly with simple markup. The form supports Ajax-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, Akismet spam filtering and so on.

Cost: FREE

Plugin URL: (http://wordpress.org/plugins/contact-form-7/)

AKismet

Description: Akismet checks your comments against the Akismet web service to see if they look like spam or not and lets you review the spam it catches under your blog’s “Comments” admin screen.

Cost: FREE| Business $5 per month | Enterprise $50 per month

Plugin URL: (https://wordpress.org/plugins/akismet/)

ShareThis

Description: ShareNow is the new social tool that allows you to leverage frictionless sharing without having to create your own custom solution and puts your users in control over how they share content. Placed on the right or left side of your content, ShareNow makes it easier for your users to share, delete and re-share to their social network timeline.

Cost: FREE

Plugin URL: (https://wordpress.org/plugins/share-this/)

All in One SEO Pack

Description: All in One SEO Pack is a WordPress SEO plugin to automatically optimize your WordPress blog for Search Engines such as Google.

Cost: FREE | Pro for $79 per year

Plugin URL: (https://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/)

Conclusion

Before using a plugin, one needs to ask if the plugin is crucial. Do I need it? Do users need it? Do they want it, but don’t really need it, and if that’s the case, do I want to give it to them? What am I giving up by giving space and power to this feature? Can I use that spot for better purposes? Don’t get me wrong, plugins are nice. Some of the coolest WordPress sites just wouldn’t be possible without them, and the extensive nature of the platform is one of the reasons it is so powerful and widely used. My point is just don’t go overboard, that’s all I’m saying. Keep it as simple and as clean as you possibly can, and you’ll be just fine.

Top Content Management Systems

Creating a website can be easy, but if you would like to build a site with more than static pages, you will need to choose a content management system (CMS).

There are many great CMS on the market to choose from. Selecting from all these options, can be a difficult task. However, some CMS have become very popular because they are now both flexible and powerful.

I recommend, trying them all out, and selecting the one that best fits the requirements and needs of your clients.

Below is a small list of the best content management systems:

WordPress

WordPress is a content management system that will help create beautiful websites and blogs. WordPress is free to download and to distribute, but the kind of features and simplicity of utilization are incalculable.

Through plugins and custom themes, you can turn a WordPress site into more than a blog. WordPress.com also offers a hosted option.

This system was and is still continually built by the community of hundreds of developers throughout the world. There are over 60 million individuals who are using WordPress as a CMS to control their online presence. Visit WordPress website to download and use it. Nowadays, most hosting services also offer an easy installation of WordPress with just one-click.

Joomla

Joomla is another popular content management system. This system assists you in building websites as well as robust online applications. Development in Joomla is very easy and you do not have to be expert. Joomla is an open source which means it is obtainable freely for personal and commercial use. Most hosting services also offer a one-click installation of Joomla.

Drupal

Using Drupal will aid you in building various types of websites from blogs to large applications. You could find many add-ons and themes that will help in building any type of site you envision. Drupal can be used to build advanced database integration into websites with little technical knowledge.

Drupal has an energetic and diverse community of folks from all over the world. It is an open source system, similar to WordPress and Joomla, which is currently used by millions of websites and applications. And like the other systems, Drupal is also available on most hosting services with a one-click install.

Which Content Management System To Choose?

After going over the best content management systems, now the most important question is which system I should pick? Many will settle down with WordPress because of its massive popularity,  themes, and plugins availability, but unless you try all three systems out  how will you ever know what system is right for your and your client. My recommendation and most important point of this article is to explore and get familiar with all three content management systems so that you can provide the best service to your client.

10 SEO Tips for 2014

In this post, I have included 10 easy tips on search engine optimization. There are no secret answers for SEO success. Below are 10 very simple tips that could definitely improve your SEO this year.

10 SEO Tips for 2014

  1. Content
    • Write quality content that is useful and gets updated regularly.
  2. Blog
    • It is vital to have a content management system that delivers an easy way to post content on the fly. (WordPress, Blogger, Drupal, and Joomla are reliable systems )
  3. Domain Name
  4. Title, Meta Keywords and Description Tag
    • Optimize those tags with relevant keywords. Do not leave those tags blank or over-saturate them. (Title: 60 characters max | Meta Keywords: 5-10 words | Meta Description: 160 character max )
  5. Proper Syntax
  6. Images
    • Use related keywords that describe photos in the title, alt, and file name.
  7. Hyperlinks
    • Hyperlink phrases that contain your keywords.
  8. Social Media
    • Create profiles such as Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and LinkedIn. Share your post/article’s on these Network. You can use an automated system called twitter feed. It is free to when signing up. Do not forget to add your domain name on those social profiles.
  9. Business Listings and Directories
    • Add your Business Website on Google Maps and other business listings. It is free and will help your local SEO. Also, submitting your site to major search engines such as Bing, Yahoo, Google, Baidu, and Yandex will benefit overall.
  10. Patience
    • The tips I shared can lead to much more traffic to a site, but it takes time. It may take up to three month.

Website of the year #1 – Vodafone UK

Every once in a while, I plan on featuring websites exclusively on my site.

The content that I share will emphasize inspiration and innovation that I came across.

This great website was created by Vodafone UK, a two time winner of the “Website of the year award” for the past year of 2013. I will not comment on the design because I believe the finished project speaks for itself.

So  take some time, view the images I have included in this article or view the actual Vodafonewebsite, and enjoy this stroke of genius.

Family Farm by Rob MacInnis – Creative Spark…

I have never before seen images that made animals look so personal and realistic until I looked at Rob MacInnis work (View Work). The way he captured those portraits of animals together was so creative. Something that I usually like to ask myself whenever I research an artist, what can I take away or learn from them? With Rob MacInnis it was not hard to do. What I can learn from him is the way he uses what I call a “creative spark”. It is difficult to come up with a new design. Moreover, it even harder to create something fresh, and yet likeable or attractive. So what’s the secret of coming up with something attractive, creative, and yet never done before? Well, I believe it is an inner spark that a design gets from time to time. It is a feeling or thought one needs to be aware of, and yet let it flow freely. If we could manage to be attentive to those “creative sparks” and realize what triggered it, we could constantly ignite that spark and give it what it needs in order to become a flame. For example, some people recieve that creative spark when they read a book, watch a movie, or stand in line at the coffee shop before rushing off to work. We have got to be aware of those moments, and keep having them and using them to our advantage. I honestly believe that it is that so called secret which makes certain individuals create amazing work. Again, be aware of it and do not let it go out.

Joan Charmant – It’s all about passion…

After viewing the Ten Masters of Photoshop article, I picked Joan Charmant as my favorite designer. Once I read more about him, I realized that there is more to him than just his great art work. He is a software engineer, and also does it as a living. It honestly surprised me when I read it. So I thought, how could someone have the time to practice his photo manipulation skills and at the same time still work as a software engineer? This made me think for a while, and I came to a personal conclusion. All successful people have one thing in common no matter what subject or field they practice. They have this consistent and continuous desire to push further without letting anything getting in the way of their passion. So, I believe it all comes down to what makes a person successful is passion. A passion that cannot be held back. I can see it in his work.

Exploring Eyemagazine.com

After reading the “Reasons to change your name” post published by eyemagazine.com, it clarified some aspects of the site as well. Eyemagazine.com was once called “Flash on the Beach” (FOTB) since it used to share mostly content concerning Adobe Flash work. Around six years ago, it has grown into multiple fields such as video, IOS, Android, web technologies, and much more. It seems more fitting for the people behind this magazine to have changed the name to “Eye Magazine”.

This site is great for Video editors, graphic designers, and web developers. It is up to date with current trends which would be great for any new designers or coders that would like to catch up on recent technologies or current trends. I really enjoyed exploring this site.

“Underheard in New York” – Exploring webbyawards.com

Out of all the websites that were up for vote on the webbyawards.com site, I voted for “Underheard in New York”. The reason why I voted for them was because the creators (BBH New York) came up with a simple but very caring idea which I thought was very creative and inspirational. They gave four homeless individuals in New York cell phones and twitters accounts. The idea behind it was to give those individuals a voice. If you have not already seen the trailer, I encourage you to do so.

Designer of the Month – Orman Clark

A designer that I would like to point out is Orman Clark. He is a UK based web/graphic designer.  I have been following his work for quite some time.  What I genuinely like about his work is that everything he creates looks so unique and inspiring.  I can honestly say I have never looked at one of his designs and said “it’s just ok”. All his work looks pixel perfect. Please feel free to checkout his work on his Dribble Page.

Delta Air Lines – A Logo Redesign

After looking at multiple logo redesigns, I found the new logo of Delta Air Lines had a positive transformation. One might claim that not much has been altered from the prior trademark, but I argue otherwise. Occasionally in design, small changes can make big differences.  When comparing both versions, I could tell the font has changed from a Serif type to a San Serif type, I could also tell the color has changed from a blue into a deeper blue, and last but not least, the figure changed from one dimension into a two dimensional perspective. All these to minor changes has completely given the logo a new and different feel. Now it looks modern and fresh.