One of my favorite books of all time is Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell. I’ve read it about 10 times and I’m pretty sure that anyone who is keen to succeed in life has probably done the same. One of my favorite chapters in Outliers talks about why people become so good at things. One of the arguments is that successful people pour extensive amounts of time into the things that they love. Gladwell puts forward the idea of 10,000 hours – meaning that you literally need to put 10,000 hours into something before you can be an expert at it.
10,000 hours is a lot of time. When was that last time you spent 10,000 hours doing something?
In my life I’ve spent 10,000 hours doing two things: shooting arrows and building websites.
From January 2003, when I first picked up a bow to October of 2007 when I tore a muscle ending my archery career, I shot consistently, nearly every day, between 100 and 400 arrows a day. I even spent 10 hours one cold winter day shooting 1,000 arrows as part of an Olympic Training Center archery challenge in 2006. During those 4 years, I have recorded no more than 105 days off. Meaning I trained roughly 1,760 days in total. A light training day consisted of around 2-3 hours of training whereas a heavy day of could extend up to 10 hours (when you added in weights, running, physio and mental training). Even though I don’t have a gold medal to show for my efforts, at least I have a video to show that my 10,000 hours of training made me an expert at shooting beer cans…
If you are reading this blog, you probably don’t care about archery but you probably do care about how to build an effective website, blog or e-newsletter. You probably care about how to best use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and LinkedIn to your advantage AND you probably want to read about these things from an expert.
Considering that I used to sleep with my computer before I found a husband and have been manipulating software since 1993, one might argue that I’m well past the 10,000 hour rule.
Therefore, what I’m about to tell you probably took me 100 hours to learn but I’m determined that you will learn it in about 100 seconds. Why share these wonderful tips when I could keep them to myself and charge you for them? Mostly because I would have loved it if someone else had done it for me because then I could have used those 100 hours discovering something else.
Below is a list of my absolute FAVORITE 10 Plugins for WordPress.org
They are easy to set up, easy to use and will transform your website or blog into something you never thought it could be. Enjoy and pass this list on to your friends. As a reminder – you need to use WordPress.org to benefit from the use of Plugins.
- Gravity Forms – There are countless reasons why Gravity Forms rocks. Here are a few – spammers don’t use them so you won’t get flooded with spam AND if you want others to help build your content, you can allow front end users (people who visit your blog) to easily publish posts – no other plugin does this as well as Gravity Forms (and I tested quite a few!). You do have to pay for this plugin, but it is worth the money.
- All-in-One Event Calendar by Timely – If you run a calendar of any sort, this is the plugin for you. Again, it is one that you have to pay for BUT like Gravity Forms, with this plugin, you have the ability to let users submit calendar events. It also looks great. My only negative with Time.ly is that front end users can’t submit reoccurring events, only back end users (admins and editors of your blog/website). Still, being able to add reoccurring events – with exceptions (dates that a reoccurring event isn’t taking place) – is an outstanding feature.
- WP Customer Reviews – Free. Simple. Awesome. I love this plugin because it allows the front end user the ability to easily review a post AND rate it. At the same time, it gives the back end user the chance to edit and approve or trash the comments. It also doesn’t incur a lot of spam, which is a bonus.
- Intuitive Custom Post Order – If you use WordPress.org, you know that posts within a category are listed chronologically. If you are using WordPress.org to build a guide that needs to be alphabetical (for example) then this will become a very annoying feature. The Intuitive CPO plugin fixes this quite easily. Again, I searched far and wide and this was the most simple, the most intuitive (no pun intended) plugin that does the job. This plugin is free.
- Slideshow – Many websites now have sliders. There are a ridiculous number of slider plugins and many are over complicated for what a slider needs to be. I adore this plugin because it is easy. Much like Gravity Forms allows you to build several forms and then just insert a short code, Slideshow allows you to build several slideshows and simply insert the short code. Very cool, very simple, very effective.
- RSS Multi Importer – Ahhh… the beauty of bringing in outside content which your readers will not only like but appreciate. Currently I run a blog for a non-profit organization whose readers tend to be either teachers or entrepreneurs. We don’t publish new content every day, BUT by installing the RSS Multi Importer, we are providing links to new content which is relevant to our readers. This simple thing drives readers to our site and is a total no brainer. It also helps me stay up to date with what is trending in our industry. This plugin is free.
- YouTube – This plugin is great because it allows you to put a YouTube link into your post (on its own line) and then the video shows up embedded in the post. You can even set it so that when the reader opens a post, the video plays automatically. This plugin is free.
- Google Analytics – WordPress JetPack has its own statistics (which I quite like) but some advertisers prefer Google Analytics. Installing this plugin makes using Google Analytics super easy. Once installed all you have to do is set up your Google Analytics account and then literally enter your Web Property ID into the plugin and you are finished… you can then check out all your stats easily. This plugin is free.
- JetPack by WordPress.com – A great plugin if you are used to WordPress.com and have moved recently to WordPress.org. I wrote about this plugin already. This plugin in free.
- Custom Favicon – This was a great tip from the boys at WPThemes NZ (who by the way are one of my favorite theme designers!). You know that little symbol at the top of a tab? That is called a Favicon. Using this plugin you can upload the image you would like to use. It is easy to use and free.
To install any of these plugins, all you need to do is go to your Dashboard in WordPress.org and click on Plugins. From there click on ‘add new,’ type the bolded name I’ve included above into the search and off you go (no two plugins have the same name so you won’t go wrong using the names I’ve included above). Please note however, if you decide to use Time.ly, it would be best to purchase the plugin and download a copy directly from them rather than install the plugin from WordPress.