Six Tips for Better Formatting in Microsoft Word

We are all familiar with Microsoft Word – it has been our go-to word processor for years. I’m sure all of you, at some point, have struggled with formatting a document in Microsoft Word. This post is for you.

These instructions and details are based on Word 2010 but they should work on older and newer versions as well.

Three Levels of Microsoft Word Formatting

The first trick is to begin to think like the enemy. The enemy in this case is Microsoft Word. We need to think about formatting the same way that the word processing program does. Humans might think of a document being built by letters that form words and words that form paragraphs and paragraphs that become larger documents. However, to Word, every document is comprised of three basic levels:

  • Sections. Every Word document has one or more sections.
  • Paragraphs. Every section has one or more paragraphs.
  • Characters. Every paragraph has one or more characters.

While Word sometimes makes it seem like you are adding formatting to an entire page, what you are actually doing is applying formatting to one of these three levels.

Show Word’s Hidden Characters


To work with styles, it helps to see your document the way Word sees it. On the Home toolbar, click the Show/Hide button (it looks like a paragraph mark: ¶) to turn on Word’s hidden characters.

You’ll see that a lot of extra things show up in your document. In Word, every non-navigational key you press inserts a character in the document. Tabs, returns, spaces, and paragraph marks are all just characters in Word (even though they contain some extra information) and Word treats them like characters. You can select, move, copy, and delete them just like any other character, which actually explains a lot of the formatting weirdness that goes on in Word.

It can be a little disconcerting at first having all those characters visible, but seeing what’s going on in your document is essential to controlling formatting. You can always turn it off when you’re writing if you find it distracting.

You can also control exactly what hidden characters are revealed by going to File > Options > Display and selecting items in the Always show these formatting marks on the screen section.

The one important formatting element that turning on hidden characters doesn’t show you is where section breaks occur in your document. For that, you’ll need to switch over to draft view (View menu > Draft).

Take Control of Sections

Sections control document flow. All Word documents begin with a single section. This changes when you do one of several things:

  1. Insert a section break. You can create a new section manually by inserting a section break (Page Layout menu > Breaks). There are two basic types of section breaks. A continuous break starts a new section without starting a new page. A next page break starts a new section on a new page. You’ll also see two other section breaks available: odd page and even page. Those are really just next page breaks that force the new page to start with that page numbering.
  2. Change page formatting on specific pages. Remember, Word only sees sections. When you change formatting on a particular page or range of pages, Word creates a new section for those pages by automatically inserting section breaks on either side of them. Any page-level formatting you apply is really applied to that section.

The Paragraph Is A Special Character

The paragraph is the most important element in a Word document. Whether you successfully format a document or not ultimately depends on whether you understand how paragraphs work in Word. In Word, a paragraph is a paragraph mark (¶) plus all of the characters preceding that mark up to, but not including, the previous paragraph mark.

So why such emphasis on the paragraph mark? Because in Word, the paragraph mark is a special character. That mark actually contains information about formatting applied to the paragraph. Ever wonder why sometimes you copy a paragraph, paste it somewhere else, and the formatting doesn’t come with it? It’s because you didn’t also select the paragraph mark when you copied. It happens all the time when you click and drag to select text instead of just triple-clicking to select the whole paragraph. That’s why it’s important to have those hidden characters visible—so you know what you’re working with.

Organize and Apply Formatting By Using Styles

word-stylesA style is just a collection of formatting information that you can apply all at once. Styles are used every day in web design because they are powerful ways of keeping your formatting consistent and easy to apply. The same goes for styles in Word, especially if you can convince other people working on the document to use your styles instead of applying formatting directly.

Word’s Home menu shows a simple style menu where you can choose from the built-in Word styles. To show the real thing, click the Change Styles button to the right of those built-in styles.

There are two types of styles in Word:

  • Paragraph Styles. These contain formatting that is applied to an entire paragraph. This includes formatting you might think of as belonging to a paragraph (like tabs, line spacing, borders, and indenting) as well as character formatting (like typeface, font size, and color). Paragraph styles are indicated by a paragraph mark.
  • Character Styles. Character styles contain formatting that is applied to selected characters within a paragraph. Character styles can only include character formatting and if you apply a character style to a group of characters that also have a paragraph style applied, the character formatting overrides the paragraph formatting. Character styles are indicated by a stylized letter a.

First Prepare Your Document

It might sound counter-intuitive to most writers, but when it comes to Word, it helps to format and prepare your document before you ever add a single word to it.

There’s nothing nothing quite so frustrating as trying to fix section problems in Word or trying to fix an issue with styles after the fact.

Now, the more realistic way to approach this is to go ahead and write and just not worry about formatting at all. When you are ready to format, create a new document, prepare it using the tips we outlined above, and then copy your text over to the new document. Just remember to copy text into its new home as unformatted text and then apply all your styles to it.


There are many free online tutorials if you’d like to take this one or two steps further. You can begin by looking at How to Geek School – a pretty cool how-to website.

How to Delete Old DRM Copies of Music in Your ITunes Library

DRM stands for digital rights management. DRM prohibited easy transfer of music files between two parties – essentially you couldn’t give a song you purchased to a friend unless they used your Apple ID. Apple has long since removed DRM, but you might not have. Life Hacker has a really good ITunes DRM Management tutorial on this today.




Terrible Web Design Trends and How to Stop Them

From LiveStrong yellow wristbands to Planking, the power of trends is undeniable. In our digital age dominated by social media and audiences with ever-shortening attention spans, these rapidly changing trends extend to web design as well. Continuously developing design and development technologies means that web design trends come and go quickly. While it might be cool to be an early-adopter, it certainly doesn’t pay to be a late-adopter or you will be left with a website with one of the following five terrible web design trends. Thankfully, most of these are not that common anymore.

Splash Pages

We’ve all seen a site that loads with sliding photography, blinking status bars, and a cacophony of visual excess. The thought behind a splash page is “Watch this long ‘short intro’ video to discover how awesome our website is!”

Hoping for a strong first impression, websites that adopt this practice of showing a splash page definitely make an impact. Unfortunately, it’s usually an overly negative one.

Splash pages waste time and delay people from accessing the real website content. Site users just flock to the “click to skip” link, or, in some cases, can’t even find it and decide to leave instead of waiting.


A good homepage, information architecture (how the information is organized), and content strategy are all you need. Don’t waste precious time by showing users pointless filler content.

Web 2.0 Design

Rounded corners, reflections, drop shadows and gradients say one thing: 2005. As the Internet moves toward a flatter, harder-edged aesthetic, don’t let your site get stuck with an outdated look.

These days, dimensionality and drop-shadowing look soft and tentative. Skeuomorphism for skeuomorphism sake doesn’t really accomplish anything, other than potentially confusing your viewer with an over-complicated design. You can do better. Simplify your designs to make your interfaces more user-friendly and to improve UX.


With major tech companies like Apple, Microsoft, Google and others going flat, the reality is that this is what users will come to expect.

Stock Photos

Good stock photos don’t actually look like a stock photo, but they can be prohibitively expensive. So, instead, we are often shown cold, lifeless fake photos of people.


Use stock photography sparingly. If photos are needed on your website, try and take them yourself. If this is not an option, be very selective with your stock photography. Make sure that adding the photo is actually going to improve the look of your site instead of making it look like a joke.


Thankfully we don’t see this too often anymore, but in the mid-2000s, internet-savvy users were defined by the amount of personalization in their MySpace profiles. Unfortunately some web designers picked up on this trend, over-designing sites to the point of complete chaos.


This one is simple. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.

Flash Sites

The strength of Flash is also its weakness. Though animations and movement definitely grab attention and can enhance the look of your site, they are also incompatible with many Web devices (all Apple products).

What good is a large amount of visually-stimulating content if many of your users can’t even see it?

With the maturation of CSS3 transitions and HTML5 standards, it is now possible to create impressive animated sites without the use of proprietary, closed-source software.


It’s time to stop relying on Flash and get on board HTML5, CSS3 and JavaScript which accomplish many of the same things as Flash with less compatibility and performance issues.

Background Music

Some web designers want to engage their viewers’ senses, so they add some tunes to help build a connection. If you’re considering this, keep in mind two things: 1) some of your viewers have their sound muted and will thus miss out on your awesome jams, and 2) those that do have the sound on are likely listening to something else or looking to hear something specific.

Not to mention the potential issues with site loading speed, licensing, user experience, etc.


Unless you’re a DJ company or a radio station, please skip the urge to add music to your site.

Popup Windows

I think we have all experienced the frustration of loading a webpage and immediately being bombarded with a trillion unclosable pop-up windows. It truly harms our experience on the site and makes us wary of coming back.

Unfortunately, today, popup windows are being reincarnated in the form of modal window overlays that open automatically and interrupt our reading experience. Check out Tab Closed; Didn’t Read to see a showcase of disruptive window overlays.


Ads are a part of life, and they’re an important way for many sites to generate revenue. That being said, no one likes an ad that’s overly disruptive. If you’re going to use popups, use them sparingly, strategically, make sure they can be closed and don’t cover the entire screen.

Like any trend, what’s popular in web design comes and goes quite quickly. If you have a robust development and design team, incorporating current trends can make your site look fresh and relevant.

Just remember that trends have a shelf-life, and be prepared when it’s time to make a change. What’s hot right now could soon go the way of sparkly mouse pointers and site visitor counters.

For those who are more risk-averse (or strapped for time or by budget), it’s best to focus on more mainstream design ideas that will always look professional and be effective.


How to Improve Your Small Business Website

Websites are powerful marketing tools. Some are magnificent, drawing you in  and making you look deeper. Then there are those that fall far short because they are sloppy, hard to decipher, and lack inspiration.  Your website is often the first impression you make to your customers or clients. The website needs to be about your customer or client – not about you. It should help them find a solution to their problem.

The good news is that there are simple and immediate solutions that you can implement to keep prospects on your site longer and convert them to customers.

Five Simple and Immediate Solutions to Improve Your Small Business Website

Create a clear purpose

When a visitor comes to your website, your purpose needs to be clear and obvious. Do you want a prospect to enter her name and email into a website opt-in form? Are you trying to sell a product or service? Are you interested in educating the prospect over time? Your website should be designed to efficiently guide visitors directly to the information that they are seeking. It must have a clear and direct purpose.

In the overcrowded world of the Internet, you only have three seconds to capture a visitor’s attention. If your visitors are confused (even slightly), they are going to leave your website in order to find a more obvious solution.

Highlight your benefits

A prospect visits your site in order to solve a problem. It is your job to convince them that your product or service will accomplish this. You can succeed by highlighting the benefits that your prospect will receive if they purchase your product or service.

Will your product make your prospect happier? Will it save them time? Will they be healthier or wealthier? Your prospect must understand they will receive an obvious and important benefit if they purchase from you or select your service.

Keep it simple

Keep your web copy concise and to the point. You should use short paragraphs, bulleted lists and bolded and underlined text to highlight items of importance.

Time is precious. More than ever before, your visitors are looking for a solution to their problems in a quick and timely manner. They don’t have hours to browse through your website looking for the answer.

Give your visitors reasons to trust you

As soon as a visitor comes to your site, it’s paramount that they feel that they can connect with and trust you. There are a number of ways to increase the trust factor. Make sure your contact information is prominent and easy to find. Your website should be free from grammatical and spelling errors. Your site should have the look and feel of a well-established and successful company. Research suggests that trust must be established for prospects to either give you their information or make a purchase.

Offer something irresistible

No matter how spectacular your website may be, we know that visitors rarely make a purchase on their first visit. In fact, it can take up to twenty-seven exposures to your brand before they’re ready to buy.

That’s why it’s essential that you capture your visitor’s name and email address so that you can continue to communicate with them. However, you can’t just throw up a form on your website expecting your visitors to hand over their personal information.

You need to offer your visitors something irresistible in exchange for their name and email address. Ideally, it should be something they would gladly pay money to obtain. It might be an entertaining special report, educational ebook or engaging quiz. (Let’s face it, a long-winded whitepaper or subscription to your newsletter isn’t too irresistible.)

By giving away something irresistible to your first-time visitors, you’re able to market to them over time.

There are numerous ways to improve your small business website and keep prospects engaged in your website and convert them to happy clients and customers. If you revamp your website with a clear and specific purpose, keep things simple, create a sense of trust and offer something irresistible, you’ll soon find yourself with an abundance of new sales, clients and happy customers.

What is 4K? Should I buy a 4K TV now?

TV manufacturers have to come out with something new each year to get people to continue buying new TVs. Last year there was a big push to get everyone on 3D TVs but watching 3D TV is complicated. If you watch alone, it’s fine – all you need is a special pair of 3D glasses. But inviting a bunch of people to your house to watch a 3D movie would involve buying special glasses for each person. The glasses aren’t interchangeable either; they only work with a specific brand of TV. Therefore, I think we’ll see mainstream 3D TVs going the way of the Beta tape.

This year – and actually starting last year – the manufacturers have been pushing 4K TVs. To complicate matters, there are now budget-conscious 4K monitors.

What is 4K?

In the evolution of resolution, 4K is the next step up from 1080p. Standard definition started with a resolution of 640×480 (480i/p), then we went up to HD for the first time with 1280×720 (720p), and finally topped out at 1920×1080 (1080i/p) for a while. When we’re talking about these resolutions, we are looking at the number of vertical pixels in a display. In the case of 1080p, for example, that’s 1,080 pixels in each vertical line. 4K has a somewhat different and sort of opposite approach, as it counts the horizontal lines instead.

And here’s where we get technical. The native resolution of a 4K display with a standard 16:9 aspect ratio is 3840×2160. With 3,840 pixels per horizontal line, you would be right to wonder where the “4” in 4K comes from. Apparently manufacturers decided to round up because 3,840 is pretty close to 4,000 and, if you do the math, it’s double the amount of 1920—you know, from 1920×1080. It’s fair to round up for a few reasons. First, the resolution of a 4K display is four times greater—that’s a lot. Second, we consider 1080p displays to have 2K resolution, and technically 1,920 isn’t quote 2,000 either. Third, not all 4K displays round up. Nearly every other 4K display with a different aspect ratio (not 16:9) exceeds 4,000 horizontal pixels.

Now I’m Confused….Who Needs This?

What’s the benefit? On a TV, 4K offers an incredibly sharp picture. Nowadays, most movie theaters project digitally in 4K. If it works well on a giant movie screen, imagine how sharp it’ll look in your home. Well, you’ll have to imagine because it’s pretty much imperceptibly sharp. However, most of us can’t tell the difference between 720p and 1080p from eight feet away, so more resolution won’t make a big difference in your home theater unless you’re projecting it on a gigantic screen yourself.

That all changes when you move your face a foot away from the screen, much like you do with your smartphones and tablets. Nowadays, it’s hard to find a new tablet that doesn’t have an ultra high resolution screen because it looks so good. That’s why Apple introduced retina displays and everyone else followed along. They’re easier to read and they make great images look a heck of a lot better. 4K monitors can provide a similar experience on your desktop computer, and that’s very appealing.

Why You Should Wait And Buy A 4K TV Later

If 4K can be the “retina display” for your computer then why shouldn’t you get one? The ones worth buying (such as the Sharp 32″ PN-K321 or the DELL UP3214Q) cost almost $1 per horizontal pixel. The more affordable options (such as the DELL P2815Q and UP2414Q) use low-cost panels that really don’t look very good. You’ll get higher resolution, but at the cost of good color representation and great viewing angles. You’ll pay less for a lower-resolution monitor with a great panel, and that’s just a better buy at the moment.

You can pick up a 4K television to use as a monitor instead of one designed for a computer. You’ll end up with a high resolution display for less than the actual monitors, but it will still be a cheap panel display – not as good color, poor viewing angles, etc.

Finally, even if you want to spend the money on a great 4K display, you need a computer with a graphics card that can power it. Many Windows desktops are up to the task, but few Macs support 4K resolution (you need Thunderbolt 2) and Apple has poor support for 4K displays at the moment. (Supposedly OS X 10.9.3 will fix that.) If you can get past all these hurdles, you have to remember that you’re getting the most out of a 4K display when you’re in high DPI mode which diminishes the effective resolution. Basically, to get those super sharp details you won’t get a 3840×2160 workspace, but rather an extra sharp 1920×1080 one.

4K displays aren’t cheap enough or useful enough to recommend to the masses – at the very least, wait until the 2014 holiday season.

Four Tips for Securing Your Computer

Unfortunately the #1 cause of viruses and malware is the user – that’s you. If it was possible to take the user out of the equation, computers would be much more secure. Obviously that’s not practical so I’m going to offer you four relatively easy tips for securing your computer.

How to Secure Your Computer

Run the computer as a limited user account.

This will prevent the installation of software. Never run as an administrator. If you are, go to the control panel and create a new user with limited permissions. For you parents out there, you can create a limited account for your child and then set of parenting controls on it to set limits on the hours they can use the computer, the games they can access, and the programs they can run. For more information about setting up parenting controls in Windows 7 or Windows 8

Install updates and patches as soon as they are available.

Patches and updates are absolutely critical. Almost all of these are security related and the company that is creating the security update is essentially saying “we’ve found a security loophole and need you to install this so the bad people out there can’t access your private information. Just last week, Apple was in the news for a loophole that allowed what’s called a man in the middle attack, making operations that you think are secure (like online banking, for example) insecure. The reason it’s important to update as soon as the update is available is that the bad guys out there can immediately target users who haven’t the installed the updates and patches. Make sure you always have automatic updates turned on.

Use a router in between your computer and your cable modem.

A router is an additional line of defense. Obviously you want to make sure that the security settings are turned on. Visit and run the SHIELDS UP! App. It will test your network to see what parts are vulnerable to attack.

You are the final line of defense.

Each user must be the final line of defense. Avoid things like clicking on unknown links, opening attachments, and going to untrusted sites.


Windows XP Support Ends April 8th 2014: Are You Prepared?

What is Windows XP End of Support?

Microsoft has provided support for Windows XP for the past 12 years. But as of April 8, 2014, support for Microsoft’s Windows XP operating system will end.

As a result, after April 8, 2014, technical assistance for Windows XP will no longer be available, including automatic updates that help protect your PC. Microsoft will also stop providing Microsoft Security Essentials for download on Windows XP on this date. (If you already have Microsoft Security Essentials installed, you will continue to receive anti-malware signature updates for a limited time, but this does not mean that your PC will be secure because Microsoft will no longer be providing security updates to help protect your PC.)

If you continue to use Windows XP after support ends, your computer will still work but it might become more vulnerable to security risks and viruses. Also, as more software and hardware manufacturers continue to optimize for more recent versions of Windows, you can expect to encounter greater numbers of apps and devices that do not work with Windows XP.

How Do I Stay Protected?

To stay protected, there are really only two options:

Upgrade Your Current PC

Very few older computers will be able to run Windows 7 or Windows 8.1, which is the latest version of Windows. You can download and run the Windows Upgrade Assistant to check if your PC meets the system requirements for Windows 8.1 and then follow the steps in the How to Upgrade from XP Tutorial to upgrade if your PC meets the requirements.

Get A New Computer

The good news is that there are good deals on computers and you can get a new computer for very little money. You can also spend thousands. The key is to identify your use – buy for what you will do rather than what you might do.

WordPress Keyboard Shortcuts for WordPress Users

WordPress keyboard shortcuts let you access frequently used features with a keystroke, and with your fingers never leaving the keyboard to use the mouse on your computer, saving time and increasing productivity. On a Windows computer:

  • Ctrl + A = Highlight All
  • Ctrl + C = Copy
  • Ctrl + V = Paste
  • Ctrl + P = Print
  • Alt + Tab = Cycle through open Windows
  • Ctrl + Tab = Cycle through open browser tabs

The same types of wordpress keyboard shortcuts are available within the WordPress Editor:

Mac PC
SHIFT + OPTION + L ALT + SHIFT + L Align left
SHIFT + OPTION + C ALT + SHIFT + C Align center
SHIFT + OPTION + R ALT + SHIFT + R Align right
SHIFT + OPTION + A ALT + SHIFT + A Insert link
SHIFT + OPTION + S ALT + SHIFT + S Remove link
SHIFT + OPTION + M ALT + SHIFT + M Insert image
SHIFT + OPTION + T ALT + SHIFT + T Insert “more” tag
SHIFT + OPTION + P ALT + SHIFT + P Insert “page break” tag
SHIFT + OPTION + J ALT + SHIFT + J Justify text
SHIFT + OPTION + O ALT + SHIFT + O Numbered list
SHIFT + OPTION + U ALT + SHIFT + U Bulleted list
SHIFT + OPTION + Q ALT + SHIFT + Q Blockquote
COMMAND + A CTRL + A Select all

Tools To Protect Your Smartphone

Your smartphone is simultaneously your best friend and your worst enemy. It can help you find the nearest coffee or bagel joint, reach out to family in a crisis, or get the score or highlights from the Olympics. If it falls into the wrong hands, however, a smartphone can expose your contacts, location history, banking data, and more. As the reality of the extent and invasiveness of the NSA’s surveillance programs hits home, the pro-privacy movement has been cranking up its own ideas to counter spy-technology with pro-privacy technology. This post provides tactics and tools to protect your smartphone.

The most recent example of this is Blackphone – a smartphone that is designed to enable secure, encrypted communications, private browsing and secure file-sharing. The project is a joint venture between an encrypted email service provider (Silent Circle) and a Spanish smartphone startup (Geeksphone). Available for pre-orders within the week, the Blackphone has been built from scratch with security in mind. Few details are available as to what the phone might cost, and while Blackphone is an intriguing concept, there are already some viable tools for protecting your smartphone.

Silent Circle offers subscription services for Android and iOS. The $10/month option encrypts voice, video, texting and file communications sent to anyone who is also using Silent Circle Mobile. The more expensive plan encrypts your end of a phone call to a mobile or landline, even if the person on the other end isn’t a subscriber.

Tools to Protect Your Smartphone

Security Tools for Texting and Instant Messaging

Whisper Systems encrypts text messages between users, as long both users have installed the app and you use it for texting instead of your regular app. The texts are encrypted as they are sent back and forth and stay encrypted when they are stored on your phone.

TextSecure does the same thing but is currently only available for Android users.

ChatSecure offers encrypted messaging for Android and iOS users. This free app doesn’t replace texting; instead, it lets you send encrypted messages over a number of existing chat services like Facebook Chat, Google Talk, Google Hangout, and some others. Obviously this only works if both the sender and receiver have the ChatSecure app on their phone.

Security Tools for Phone Calls

When it comes to making phone calls, the options are simpler because there currently aren’t many.

One option is the Silent Circle service mentioned earlier.

The other option is Red Phone and currently only available on Android phones. Red Phone provides end-to-end encryption for calls, securing conversations so that nobody can listen in.

Security Tools for Browsing the Internet on Your Phone

Another common mobile phone security failure is browsing. Your search data, location and personal information can all be gathered, either by your carrier, government spies or hackers. Consider a secure browser or browsing app for your phone.

On Android, the Guardian Project’s free Orweb browser and companion Orbot apps offer private browsing that frees you from cookies, stops network providers from viewing your web travels and disables security threats. It also doesn’t keep a browsing history.

A good alternative for iOS users is the $1 Onion Browser, which, like Orbot, routes your surfing through the Tor network.

It’s worth noting that none of these options are 100% secure, but using any one of them is better than nothing.

Best WordPress Plugins 2014 – Admin, Backup & Security

WordPress is an incredibly flexible, easy-to-set-up and manage web publishing platform that has been downloaded more than 60 million times since its launch in 2003. As of August 2013, WordPress is used by nearly 19 percent of the top 10 million websites. The content management system’s popularity has spawned thousands – nearly 30,000 in fact – of plugins that expand the basic functionality of WordPress. At Connect4, we routinely use 45 WordPress plugins. We use some plugins, for security, admin, and SEO, for example, on nearly every site we create.

The problem with WordPress plugins is that many of them present as much trouble as they do opportunity on a website. Not all plugins play friendly in the same sandbox. And not all plugin developers continue to provide updates for their plugins. Plugins that haven’t been updated in a year make for a security risk. So make sure you consult with your webmaster or web developer prior to installing any of these plugins. It’s always a good idea to make sure you have a backup before trying out a new plugin.

Today we are going to talk about plugins that control the WordPress backend. These are critical plugins that nearly every site should have.

Admin, Backup & Security

  1. Akismet
  2. Wordfence Security
  3. VaultPress
  4. Google Analytics Dashboard for WP
  5. GZip Ninja Speed Compression
  6. Members
  7. Velvet Blues Update URLs
  8. W3 Total Cache
  9. Adminimize
  10. Page Comments Off Please
  11. Yith Maintenance Mode


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. You’ll need an API key to use it. Keys are free for personal blogs, with paid subscriptions available for businesses and commercial sites.

Download Akismet

Wordfence Security

Wordfence Security plugin

Wordfence Security is a free enterprise class security plugin that includes a firewall, anti-virus scanning, cellphone sign-in (two factor authentication), malicious URL scanning and live traffic including crawlers. Wordfence is the only WordPress security plugin that can verify and repair your core, theme and plugin files, even if you don’t have backups.

Download Wordfence Security



VaultPress is a real-time backup and security scanning service designed and built by Automattic, the same company that operates 25+ million sites on

The VaultPress plugin provides the required functionality to backup and synchronize every post, comment, media file, revision and dashboard settings on our servers. To start safeguarding your site, you need to sign up for a VaultPress subscription.

Download VaultPress

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP

Google Analytics Dashboard for WP  is a plugin that will display Google Analytics statistics on your website backend. Analytics data, like number of visits, provided through Google API, is integrated into a simple widget on your WordPress Administration Dashboard.

Using a widget, Google Analytics Dashboard displays detailed analytics info and statistics about: number of visits, number of visitors, bounce rates, organic searches, pages per visit directly on your Admin Dashboard.

Authorized users can also view statistics like Views, UniqueViews and top searches, on frontend, at the end of each article.

Download Google Analytics Dashboard

GZip Ninja Speed Compression

Have you been told that your website is slow? Try this very simple plugin that allows you to quickly compress and GZip your site. Only Works On Apache Servers (almost all WordPress installs are on Apache Servers). This will give you the ability to increase your speed and possibly even your rank in Google from a speed increase.

Download GZIP Ninja Speed Compression


Members is a plugin that extends your control over your blog. It’s a user, role, and content management plugin that was created to make WordPress a more powerful content management system.

The foundation of the plugin is its extensive role and capability management system. This is the backbone of all the current features and planned future features.

Plugin Features:

  • Role Manager: Allows you to edit, create, and delete roles as well as capabilities for these roles.
  • Content Permissions: Gives you control over which users (by role) have access to post content.
  • Shortcodes: Shortcodes to control who has access to content.
  • Widgets: A login form widget and users widget to show in your theme’s sidebars.
  • Private Site: You can make your site and its feed completely private if you want.

Download Members

Velvet Blues Update URLs

This is one of those plugins that you might use very rarely, but is still unbelievably valuable.

If you move your WordPress website to a new domain name, you will find that internal links to pages and references to images are not updated. Instead, these links and references will point to your old domain name. This plugin fixes that problem by helping you change old urls and links in your website.


  • Users can choose to update links embedded in content, excerpts, or custom fields
  • Users can choose whether to update links for attachments
  • View how many items were updated














Download Velvet Blues Update URLs

W3 Total Cache

There are quite a few caching plugins out there. W3 Total Cache is recommended by web hosts like:, Synthesis, DreamHost, MediaTemple, GoDaddy, HostGator and countless more.

Trusted by countless companies like: AT&T,,,,,,,,,,,,, and tens of thousands of others.

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.

Download W3 Total Cache


This is a great plugin. As WordPress becomes a more complex content management system (particularly once you install all of these plugins), the dashboard gets cluttered. Not all of your users need to access to all of the backend features. Adminimize visually compresses the administrative header so that more admin page content can be initially seen. The plugin also moves ‘Dashboard’ onto the main administrative menu because having it sit in the tip-top black bar was ticking me off and many other changes in the edit-area. Adminimize is a WordPress plugin that lets you hide ‘unnecessary’ items from the WordPress administration menu, submenu and even the ‘Dashboard’, with forwarding to the Manage-page.

Download Adminimize

Page Comments Off Please

This is another great simple plugin for anyone using WordPress as a content management system. You can manage page and post comments (and their defaults) separately.

Download Page Comments Off Please

Yith Maintenance Mode

If you’re working on your website and would like to make it known to your visitors, install the plugin YITH Maintenance Mode to quickly set a lovely customizable page to let your visitors know the site is closed for maintenance.

Download Yith Maintenance Mode