best wordpress plugins

The 11 Best WordPress Plugins All Business Websites Need

Here are 10 of the best WordPress plugins that will help you get the most out of your website. Check these out! They make creating and promoting your content wayyy easier.

Yoast SEO

Why you need it: It Makes SEO a breeze!

While this plugin goes the extra mile to take care of all the technical optimization, it first and foremost helps you write better content. It forces you to choose a focus keyword when you’re writing your articles, and then makes sure you use that focus keyword everywhere.

UpPrev

Why you need it: It keeps people on your site longer by directing them to another article when they get to the bottom of one. (Scroll down to see it in action!)

When a reader scrolls to the bottom of a single post, page or custom post type, a button animates in the page’s bottom right or left corner, allowing the reader to select the previous or random available post or posts in the selected configuration:

Just previous
Previous in category
Previous in tag
Random
Related using YARPP (only post/pages)

WordPress Editorial Calendar

Why you need it: It gives you an interactive calendar view, so you can plan out your future posts easily.

The editorial calendar gives you an overview of your blog and when each post will be published. You can drag and drop to move posts, edit posts right in the calendar, and manage your entire blog.

Soliloquy

Why you need it: Create responsive sliders to make displaying posts or images exciting for your visitors.

By utilizing custom post types, Soliloquy allows you to create an infinite number of responsive WordPress sliders with an infinite number of images in each slider with a few clicks of the mouse.

W3 Total Cache

Why you need it: It makes your site load faster, which is important for SEO!

W3 Total Cache improves the user experience of your site by increasing server performance, reducing the download times and providing transparent content delivery network (CDN) integration.

Testimonials Widget

Why you need it: Social proof is a HUGE determining factor in building trust with your customers.

Testimonials Widget lets you randomly slide or list selected portfolios, quotes, reviews, or text with images or videos on your WordPress site. You can insert Testimonials content via shortcode, theme functions, or widgets with category and tag selections and having multiple display options such as random or specific ordering.

Important: These are created as a special post type, so they can be shared like a blog post.

Best WordPress Plugins (the bundle!) Jetpack

Why you need it: A bundle of extremely useful plugins.

Jetpack simplifies managing WordPress sites by giving you visitor stats, security services, speeding up images, and helping you get more traffic.

The Best WordPress Plugins – Just Writing

Why you need it: Easily format your posts for better SEO and readability.

Distraction Free Writing (DFW) Mode is a great way to focus on writing text, but have you ever found yourself wanting to do a bit more with it? How about spell check, or change the paragraph style without dropping back to the standard post edit mode? Now you can get all the functionality of the standard mode tools in DFW!

But maybe you think there are too many buttons in DFW, no problem you can get rid of pretty much all of them!

Google XML Sitemaps

Why you need it: Make it easier for search engines to rank all the pages and posts on your website.

This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. With such a sitemap, it’s much easier for the crawlers to see the complete structure of your site and retrieve it more efficiently. The plugin supports all kinds of WordPress generated pages as well as custom URLs. Additionally it notifies all major search engines every time you create a post about the new content.

Important: If you’re already using Yoast SEO to generate a site map, you don’t need this one.

Title Experiments

Why you need it: Test which title will result in more clicks to your post.

Use the process of A/B Testing to try different variations of your post titles to get a higher click through rate. It’s very simple to add multiple versions of an article title that will be randomly displayed in any post list. Each time the article is listed it is counted as an impression. Each time the article is visited it is counted as a view. This will easily let you see what percentage of impressions get clicked on for each title.

Revive Old Post (Former Tweet Old Post)

Why you need it: The best WordPress plugins for keeping people coming back to your older content.

This plugin helps you to keeps your old posts alive by sharing them and driving more traffic to them from social networks. It also helps you to promote your content.

The best WordPress plugins make it way easier to do the things you need to do to grow your business.

truths about content marketing

4 Not-So-Pretty Truths About Content Marketing

There are a few inconvenient truths about content marketing that you need to know, so you can reap the benefits and create a solid plan of action.

These are the things I wish I would have known long ago.

Truths About Content Marketing #1 – You have to keep an eye on your metrics.

You have to know which KPI (Key Progress Indicators) to look out for. These important metrics change, depending on what exactly you’re doing.

For example, you’d check the health of your social media campaigns by looking:

  • Facebook post engagement.
  • Facebook post reach.
  • Follower count.
  • Tweet Impressions.

You would monitor the success of your email campaigns by watching:

  • Open rate.
  • Click through rate.
  • Complaints.

You need to be able to see what’s not doing well, so you cease and desist.

Did something work exceptionally well? Do more of that!

Test, measure, and adjust accordingly.

Truths About Content Marketing #2 – It changes with the tides.

This truth is exciting, as well as unnerving.

However, if you don’t keep your eye out for the next big thing, it’s not the end of the world.

It’s just really helpful to keep an eye on things. Make sure your content strategy is aligned with the changing tides of what your target market wants.

The #1 Perennial Law of content marketing: Content First.

Truths About Content Marketing #3 – Without a hyper-focused strategy, you have nothing.

Since the general atmosphere of the internet and humanity is turbulent and changeable, your plan of action needs to be rather simple.

It should be evergreen and hyper-focused.

It’s like a tree. Your plan of action is the roots of the tree. No matter what happens to the limbs of the tree the roots are still good.

Your general plan of action needs to align with your brand.

Truths About Content Marketing #4 – Organic results take time.

Even a great plan takes time to show real results.

This is especially true if you don’t have significant money to pour into paid advertising.

You just have to be patient. Always keep in mind, however, that it doesn’t stop once you’ve reached your goal of how many new leads you’ve snagged, or how many sales you’ve made within an amount of time.

truths about content marketing

content marketing services

Content Marketing Services – Pour a Cup and Have a Seat!

Hello! I’m Angie. Read through this page to see which types of content marketing services I offer.

Content is what drives sales. However, great content with a strategy will take your brand light years further than just “good” content with no strategy.

No-brainer, right?

Luckily, on the interwebs, there are many different ways to become a successful entrepreneur. Or make a little side money doing something you love. There are so many options, and it’s exciting!

I love that I can use my knowledge and experience in content marketing to help small business owners carve out their own space, and create a community around their brands online.

I’ve written everything from blog posts to email campaigns to social media posts through my 6 years of working as a copywriter. By wearing many different hats (including a sombrero), I’ve been given a perspective of what The Big Picture of a great content marketing strategy should look like.

I offer my content marketing services at an affordable rate, so that small businesses who are just getting started can get the best returns.

whatido

I’ve taken the Digital Marketer certifications in Social and Community Manager, Content Marketing Specialist, Search Marketing Specialist, and Email Marketing Specialist. I’ve worked with a Certified Digital Marketer Partner team(specializing in the Customer Value Optimization model).

“Content and Value First” is the mantra that I work by. “Over-deliver whenever possible” comes as a close second.

Content Marketing Services I Offer:

If you don’t have a digital marketing strategy and a content plan, I can formulate one for you.

We’ll chat, I’ll get to know you and your brand during a 30-minute Skype chat, and I’ll get to work on your BIG PLAN of DOMINATION.

If you know exactly what you need:

  • Blog posts on specific topics
  • Copy for e-books, mini-guides and other info products
  • Social media posts
  • Press releases
  • Email campaigns, broadcast emails or newsletters
  • Web copy (product descriptions, landing pages, general webpages)
  • Sales letters

We’ll chat about the details (for as long as necessary) and I’ll get to work!

ANd never fear…

The consultation itself is on the house.

Ready to get started? Just fill out the contact form below, and I’ll get back to you ASAP.

Your Name (required)

Your Email (required)

Your URL (Official website or Facebook page)

Subject

What do you need?
 A Strategy Blog Editorial Calendar Blog Posts Written E-Book/Guide Social Media Posts Web Page Copy Press Release/s Sales Letter/s

Please briefly describe who you are, what you do and what you'd like to accomplish.

mistake-1

Marketing Strategies, Ethics and Thinking Outside the Opt-In Box

As a consumer myself (read: human being), I think about how certain marketing strategies make me feel.

I just stumbled over this website, and this is the first thing I see:

marketing strategies and ethics - This is a bad example of email marketing

My response:

marketing strategies and ethics

I’m sure having a big opt-in box at the very top of the page works more often than not, but it will also get you the side-eye.

Sure, I might get something good, maybe once or twice out of giving you my contact information. I might actually continue to get some nice makeup samples for a while.

But THEN what happens??

Many online marketers talk about putting your Big Honkin’ Opt-In Box above the fold…

But this can be an issue because, well, see for yourself:

marketing strategies and ethics

If you didn’t scroll down before opting in, you wouldn’t have seen the fine print at the bottom of the page.

“There is no purchase necessary to access our list of links for samples but you do need to provide personal information, respond to survey questions and agree to be contacted by our marketing partners to qualify for a sample collection. By visiting the website and participating, you agree to the Terms & Conditions, which includes mandatory arbitration, and our Privacy Policy under which you allow us to share your personal information with our marketing partners who may also contact you via email, or if you separately consent, by telephone or text message. We may be compensated for connecting our marketing partners with consumers who may be interested in their products or services. We may substitute other products.

www.SamplesandSavings.com administers this website and does not claim to represent or own any of the trademarks, trade names or right associated with any of the samples which are the property of their respective owners who do not own, endorse or promote this website or the offers promoted on this website. Samples depicted above are representative only; actual samples available will vary from time to time.”

Many people are still using black hat marketing strategies to take advantage of people, whom they assume, will just opt in to get something ~for free~, without thinking about what might happen next (besides the promise of free stuff)… or what the owners of the website are getting out of the deal.

They’re selling your contact information.

They know that if most people were to know that from the get-go, they would promptly hit the X button.

Bad Marketing Strategies? Let’s Get Real…

I get it… some people want to make money the easy way by selling someone’s email address to another business. However, this is rather shady, even if you’re doing it the legal way. They’re not breaching any privacy laws, and it states what happens to your email address later on. This is all totally legal.

Whoever is making out on this deal (getting paid) will never know you personally, and quite frankly, doesn’t care what kind of crazy stuff can end up in your inbox later on.

My Advice for Online Entrepreneurs:

You might make a quick buck out of schemes like this, sure, but it’s not sustainable.

Why not use the power of internet marketing strategies for good? It works much better in the long run. .

There are so many other ways to make money online that don’t involve being scuzzy.

Do you enjoy talking to people about stuff?

Do you derive enjoyment from certain things?

Are you a human who can do things?

Congratulations — You can make money online (the good way).

When you can find who wants what you’re offering, and show that you actually care about them, the money will follow. Just be sure to position your offers the right way (With Content First!).

My Advice for Consumers:

Scroll down. Read the fine print. Read the Terms and Conditions and the Privacy Policy.

If those things don’t exist, put that X button to good use.

content-marketing

Down With Unsexy Ads, Up With Sexy Content Marketing

Let’s start by talking about the antithesis of good content marketing: horrible ads.

Did you know…

99% of ad revenue online comes from people who accidentally click on ads, and yell “shit!” as they hit the back button?

Actually, I’m just guessing, but that’s probably correct.

Yelling an expletive and hitting the back button frantically isn’t a good sign. It makes me wonder if advertising firms are even paying much attention to their campaigns.

Sure, clicks are all well and good if that’s all you’re going for. Your ads are getting paid for.

But how many of those people actually end up buying?

I’d wager to bet it’s not that many.

That’s no way to run an online business.

Losing respect for a brand is death, but that’s what happens when you resort to plastering a website with tons of scammy, ugly, spammy-looking ads that nobody is interested in clicking.

I’m talking about businesses who advertise, as well as the publications that display them.

CFF – Content First Forever™

(It’s not really a registered trademark, I just wanted to show how important it is.)

The good thing is, if you’re putting content first before making an offer, you can do it in a really fun way.

Actually, having fun while engaging with your target marketing is necessary.

Putting content first means a few things:

  • You’re educating your prospects, so they can make the right decision for themselves.
  • You’re creating a bond of trust and goodwill between your brand and your target audience.
  • You’re showing them that they don’t just look like walking dollar signs to you.
  • You’re expanding your reach far and wide, much farther than if you would have just slapped up a few Google ads directing them to your latest promo.

How to Make High Quality Content Marketing a Priority

Segment your audience into groups with specific interests on different aspects of what you offer.

☕️ Don’t just start with content on clients who haven’t purchased from you yet.

☕️ Over-deliver for better returns in the long run.

☕️ Show you care.

☕️ Use content marketing to speak their specific needs.

☕️ Be authentic.

☕️ Erase their fears in every way possible.

☕️ Personalize their experience as much as possible.

☕️ Let them know what to expect from you, and keep your promises.

DO these things before your competition can, and you’ll be 10 steps ahead. These are the basic things to keep in mind when using content marketing.

The times and technologies change, but these content marketing tricks of the trade will always be 1000% relevant.

Want more help with content marketing? Click here.

mad_max_fury_road_wallpaper_1920x1080_by_sachso74-d8r49ti

Angie’s Best of 2015: Mad Max: Fury Road

If you haven’t seen it or don’t know anything about it, this contains some spoilers. I don’t go into too much detail, but this does give away a few things. Proceed at your own risk.

Mad Max: Fury Road was just the right mix of everything awesome — just enough action and violence backed up by a great story. It also helps that they cast two of my favorite actors as the leads, Charlize Theron and Tom Hardy.

Awesome memorable, relatable characters? Check.

A realistic, boss female lead? Check.

A nasty villain and a dangerous team of other nasty people? Check.

A very satisfying ending? Double check.

When I first saw the trailer I didn’t care about going to see it. I thought it was going to be Just Another Action Movie.

But then I started hearing the outcry against it that I didn’t expect — some people were calling it “feminist propaganda”. It was making some people angry because it was perceived as focusing on women’s rights. They felt as though they were duped into watching propaganda when they thought they were going to see Just Another Action Movie.

Just Another Action Movie – A movie with super manly guys, action (duh), one-dimensional female characters/eye candy. Example: Almost every movie Tom Cruise has starred in. The run-of-the-mill action movies that cause me to look at my phone.

The thought that people would be angered by this makes me laugh, but also makes me lose a little bit of hope for our society. It also made me actually want to go see it in the theater.

The Characters

The whole team of characters in this movie are pretty well-explored and they each develop nicely, not just the main characters. I was also surprised how much of the story didn’t focus on Max.

maxresdefault

Not that Max isn’t an interesting character that doesn’t deserve our empathy, because he definitely does… we find that out right away. There’s a brief monologue and flashes at the very beginning of the movie that let us know why he’s “mad”.

Imperator-furiosa

I also have to confess that if there’s a bad ass (clever and strong) female lead, I’m all in. She works her way up in Immortan Joe’s ranks, builds a war rig that only she can pilot, all with the ulterior motive of escaping back to her homeland.

The Wives of Immortan Joe, who escape from him with the help of Furiosa, could be considered as the eye candy of the movie, and there’s inherently nothing wrong with that. Yes, they’re all gorgeous, but these characters were hardly JUST eye candy.

mad-max-fury-road-wives

Played by Rosie Huntington-Whiteley (The Splendid Angharad), Zoë Kravitz (Toast the Knowing), Riley Keough as Capable, Abbey Lee as The Dag, and Courtney Eaton as Cheedo The Fragile.

Aside from Furiosa, I liked Nux (played by Nicholas Hoult) quite a bit.

nux

You can’t help but feel for this character. He was considered weak because of his illness, but he charged into the fray and was desperate to get the approval of Immortan Joe. He was just trying to fit in to their idea of what was honorable.

The War Boys were definitely a wild bunch. And their version of a traveling minstrel?

mad-max

Yeah.

If the War Boys could tone it down on the murdering, I’d invite them to a party.

The Bad Guy and The Bad Situation

Mad-Max-Fury-Road-Immortan-Joe

This is the Bad Guy to end all Bad Guys — Immortan Joe. He’s played by Hugh Keays-Byrne, who was also in the 1979 original Mad Max.

He represents everything that could be wrong with society. He’s greedy. He’s controlling and hateful. He’s tyrannical and keeps all the goods for himself. He’s also revered as a Godlike figure by his subjects, the War Boys.

Everyone around him lives in poverty — hungry, thirsty and dirty, while he lives in his palace with all the food and water.

Immortan Joe is a composite caricature of every nasty dictator and ruthless politician.

His wives being kept as “breeders” and treated as possessions, and their escape from him is partly where the “feminist propaganda” misconception comes in. That, and the fact that the matriarchal society that Furiosa is trying to get back to is depicted in the film as being good, and the patriarchal society lead by Immortan Joe is bad. But really, it’s the fact that Immortan Joe is just a nasty guy.

It’s this fact that throws any perceived misandry out the window. Max and Nux represent the good men. Immortan Joe is a cruel asshole that somehow got to be in power.

The Action Scenes and Cinematography

The whole thing was a wild ride. If you wanted to see everything an action movie can offer, Mad Max: Fury Road doesn’t disappoint (and then some!).

mad max bullet farmer

Really, every action sequence was incredible. The accompanying music made it even better. The whole part with The Bullet Farmer (the image above) was one of my favorites.

And what’s an action movie without explosions?

mad max

Every aspect of this movie was well done. The stunts, the vehicles they built for this movie, the costumes and the actors.

I’m hoping I didn’t give away too much, if you haven’t seen Mad Max: Fury Road and if you decided to read all of my silly review. I tried not to go into detail on what you could have already gathered from previews and other critical reviews.

I might just watch it again right now.

Follow my blog with Bloglovin

rebirth

Generalized Anxiety Disorder, and Planning My Rebirth

Last Thursday, I was prescribed anti-anxiety medication for the first time.

I’m rewriting this entry because it sounded like a commercial for anxiety medication. It feels weird to talk about, and I think that’s why most people don’t, and that’s why most people don’t seek help. I’ll just leave some links at the end of this post on the subject of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and you can read up on it if you’re curious, because that’s not entirely what this post is about.

I will say this, though: If you’re dealing with something, please talk to a professional about it.

I had a hard time talking to anyone, even my close family and friends, but I felt comfortable talking about it with my Dr. This is part of their job, so they’re knowledgeable and should be understanding. If they’re not understanding, talk to someone else.

My Own Personal Renaissance

Last year, I started planning a few things that I wanted to work on for myself.

I wanted to get in better shape and treat myself like my own work of art. It was all just outside work. A very superficial set of goals.

I neglected any inner work, and I think now I’m paying the price for that.

So right now, I’m planning my own inner renaissance, and I don’t care how dorky that might sound.

Part of that renaissance is not giving a shit about anything sounding dorky anymore, as a matter of fact.

I haven’t gotten to the point of writing it down yet, but I’ve been making a list in my head of all the ways I’d like to work on my inner stuff. The hardest part is finding a balance between accepting yourself as you already are, and working toward who you want to be.

Here are a few things, so far:

  • I’m comfortable in social situations, because I trust myself and love myself.
  • I don’t need to impress anyone. “What others think of me is none of my business.”
  • I’m calm and peaceful, which is why I can have fun.
  • I don’t let negative things affect me at my core.
  • I accept myself the same way I accept others as they are.

I got the idea for my inner renaissance after I started looking into affirmations during my most recent “upward swing”.

(Upward swing: When you finally start to feel better and things become more clear. This is short lived and followed by another downward swing. My own GAD is cyclical and each new downward swing is worse than the last. I don’t know if the upward and downward swings are talked about, I just call them that.)

I even think this is a part of cognitive behavioral therapy, which is essentially just working on reprogramming your brain to divert from negative thought processes. You don’t have to have a mental disorder to do it, either!

I’d also like to do some sort of ritual to kick this off and make it official. If my research on witchcraft has taught me anything, it’s that rituals and going through the motions is a powerful tool. Rituals can cement things into our subconscious minds.

I’ll sign off on this entry now, because it’s starting to get pretty long and I want to get started on planning this for myself!

Here are some links if you want to read more on generalized anxiety disorder, affirmations, etc.

National Institute of Mental Health – What is Generalized Anxiety Disorder

Shit Borderlines Do – Generalized Anxiety Disorder Checklist (helpful checklist to diagnose yourself to help you decide if you want to seek professional help)

Tiny Buddha – How to Change Your Mind and Your Life by Using Affirmations

Chopra.com – Transform Your Life With the Power of Ritual