Great Free Plugins and Widgets for WordPress

I’ve been using WordPress for around a year now and have had great success with it. When I began with WordPress I had the temptation to buy some great plugins. After further inspection I realised that a lot of these plugins have a free alternative that is just as good. After using these plugins for a year I can certain vouch for their quality. Here’s some of the fantastic plugins I’ve been using and I’m sure you will reap value your business also.


ClickDesk live chat is a widget that lets users message the webmaster from the browser. Its essentially an IM client to the user. The webmaster logs into the WordPress dashboard and logs into the app. Once a user wishes to initiate a chat your terminal will ring like a cell phone. The feature I like about this is that the webmaster is aware which page the user is on during the chat and any changes are immediately shown. The free version enables you 30 free chats a month. For me this is enough as I don’t get huge traffic and I find I never exceed the 30 chats a month. I have got sales from this so I’d recommend it. Once my business grows I will consider getting the paid version.

Hello Bar is a fantastic free widget. This enables you to have a message across each page at the top in a bar. We see this a lot on various sites these days and its popularity is ever increasing. My sales went up soon as this was added. The text parameters are customisable and its fairly quick and simple to set up.

Go pricing is a plugin I use to display prices for my products in easy to read charts. The cool thing about this is that the menu will rise when you hover the mouse above it.  I was able to take an image and split it into three placing each segment into a different column which offered a great presentation of this easy to use pricing widget.

Im also using newsletter widget by Stefano Lissa. This has enabled me to build up my email database of uses coming to my site. It sits discreetly in the bottom left corner of my footer on each page and is an effective tool for future marketing activities.

Finally WordPress SEO by Yoast. This is a must have for SEO. It enables the user to add the relevant details to beef up the SEO elements of the page. Yoast will grade each page for its relevance to a keyword and tell the user what action is required to improve the performance of that specific page. For targeting certain keywords this really helps. Of course this is all free. I believe there is a premium upgrade available but the functionality of the free version really is sufficient enough.

There’s a few fantastic WordPress plugins that will surely help your business. Just remember before you rush out and pay hard earned money for plug-ins that there may well be a free alternative just around the corner.

Good luck!


The Top 3 Uses for Dropbox



Extra Dropbox Storage


A favorite tool of mine that helps me manage my myriad of scattered web design files and applications is Dropbox. This article discusses my top three uses for Dropbox. Before we get into that I would like to point out that Dropbox is a must have for every computer user for the following reasons:

    • Syncing

After you install Dropbox on your local machine you will have a Dropbox folder that behaves just like any other folder except that its contents are synced up to the Dropbox cloud in the background while you work.

    • Speed

The upload speed to the cloud can be astounding. This is because Dropbox is intelligent and will not upload the same file if someone else has already uploaded it. Rather, Dropbox will just cross-reference your account to the existing file. If the file has been changed recently, it will only upload/download the changes rather than the whole thing. What this means is that you can drop a 1GB file into your Dropbox and it is possible that it will be uploaded in just a few seconds!

    • Backups

Dropbox keeps a history of all deleted and earlier versions of files for 30 days minimum. Therefore, if your file becomes corrupt or gets deleted accidentally, you can easily return to a previously saved version using the web interface.

    • Secure Storage

Dropbox is secure. All transmission of file data occurs over an encrypted channel and all files stored on Dropbox servers are encrypted (AES-256)

    • Accessibility

Dropbox can be accessed from Mac, Windows, iPhone Android and Blackberry.

    • Sharing

You can share Dropbox folders to friends. Anything you put in your shared out Dropbox folder will also appear in your friend’s corresponding Dropbox folder. You can also share photos by providing a link. When friends click on the link they can view your photos as a slideshow.

Here are my top three uses for Dropbox:

    1. 1Password

1Password is the premier password management tool for Mac OSX, Windows, the iPhone and Android. It allows you to generate strong, unique passwords and store them with corresponding usernames and other login details. After opening 1Password and selecting the web page you want to log on to, 1Password will automatically open the browser, fill in username and password fields and log on for you.

1Password has been engineered to sync with Dropbox. With 1Password and Dropbox you are combining a robust and powerful password manager with the ability to share passwords between multiple computers including mobile devices such as the iPhone. Install 1Password on each computer / device and when you add a new password it will be automatically synced to the 1Password application installed on the other machines.

    1. TrueCrypt

Using TrueCrypt you can create a secure, encrypted volume inside your Dropbox. Alternatively, you can have your Dropbox folder inside a TrueCrypt volume. Each method offers different advantages:

TrueCrypt volume inside Dropbox folder
This method offers ultimate security and ensures that files will be stored in an encrypted state in the Dropbox cloud and also on each computer. Install TrueCrypt on each of your computers with which you use Dropbox and then create an encrypted TrueCrypt volume inside one Dropbox folder. Wait for all your computers to sync up and then test mounting and dismounting the volume on each computer to ensure everything is working as expected. The initial sync may take some time, but subsequent syncs should be fast. With this method you must unmount the TrueCrypt volume before it can be uploaded by Dropbox.

Dropbox folder inside TrueCrypt volume
This method ensures that files in your Dropbox folder on your computer are encrypted. They will not be encrypted in the Dropbox cloud or on other computers that sync with Dropbox unless you encrypt those Dropbox folders also. This can be useful for example, if you have one computer in particular that is more vulnerable to theft (maybe a laptop that is out on the road a lot) and you don’t feel the need or want the hassle of installing TrueCrypt on the other computers. Install TrueCrypt on the machine that is to have the Dropbox folder encrypted. Mount the volume and then install Dropbox. Specify the mounted volume as the location where you would like to have your Dropbox folder.

    1. Portable Apps

Rather than carry all your portable apps around on a USB Key, you can share them between different computers using your Dropbox folder.

It can be very convenient to have certain utility apps available to you on the all the computers that you use without having to install them on each one. Small and useful applications such as Beyond Compare, NotePad++, SnagIt and Toad etc can all be installed once into a folder on your Dropbox and automatically synced across all the machines you use.

Extra Dropbox Storage

If you don’t already have Dropbox you can get a free 2GB account plus 256MB EXTRA free by clicking here.

Happy Syncing!