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Are You Plugged In?

Over the years I’ve come across tons of plug-ins but there are really way too many for me to seriously try them all out.  So I use those that directly benefit my clients and extend the functionality of applications I use on a regular basis.

The following is my experience with 2 plug-ins I use either with my clients or in my Virtual Assistance practice.

Back in April I introduced the Ezine Articles WordPress plug-in to my newsletter subscribers along with an instructional video.  Those with WordPress blogs were just as eager as I was to try it out.  So off we went with the intention of killing two birds with one stone. . . blogging and using the Ezine Articles WordPress plug-in to automatically submit the same blog post to Ezine Articles.  It was blogging and article marketing made easy.  Or so we thought . . .

After using the plug-in on my blog and speaking with some of my readers, here’s what we discovered.
Only those blog posts that are very cut and dry and meet all of Ezine Articles editorial guidelines can be submitted using the Ezine Articles WordPress plug-in.  You can check out Ezine Articles editorial guidelines here.

As you can see, there are a lot of editorial guidelines, most of which one does not consider when blogging.  Blogging and article marketing are two totally different platforms, each with their own set of guidelines.

Users Conclusion: Thumbs Down [needs improvement]
By the time you revise your blog post to meet Ezine Articles editorial guidelines, your original post has lost most of it’s meaning or you end up rewriting the blog post all together.

Although the Ezine Articles WordPress plug-in does work, it’s not tailored to work with the way bloggers write and is therefore ineffective.

Note: There are times when I am able to use the plug-in for very simple blog posts, but for the most part I usually end up blogging then manually submitting articles to Ezine Articles.  So, although I still have the plug-in installed, I hardly ever use it.  This has also been the case for most of my readers.

One plug-in I use regularly is Constant Contact’s QuickImport plug-in for Outlook & Outlook Express.  I really like it because it’s easy to install, easy to use, and saves me tons of time by allowing me to move contact information from Microsoft Outlook or Outlook Express into the Constant Contact lists I manage.  The plug-in is safe and secure and with just a few clicks I can import some or all Outlook contacts.

Users Conclusion: Thumbs Up [ease of installation & use]
After using the QuickImport plug-in and loving it, I reached out to several entrepreneurs who tried to unsuccessfully use the plug-in when it was still new and not very user friendly.  The improvement to the plug-in between then and now has made this plug-in so user friendly a kid can use it.  We love it!

Note: Be sure to review the full QuickImport plug-in tutorial. To get the free plug-in, you must have a Constant Contact account. You will find the plug-in in the “Contacts” section of your Constant Contact account.  Be sure to close your email client before installing.

Here are the 3 plug-ins I plan to check out next. I still need to research their functionality and feasibility so I would love to hear your feedback if you currently use or have used any of them.

  1. PayPal Payment Request Wizard for Outlook
  2. PayPal Payment Request Wizard for QuickBooks
  3. WordPress Survey & Quiz Tool

P.S. And if you use a plug-in that really lights your fire feel free to share it here.  I would love to hear about it!

About the Author:

Katrina Chesney is Founder & President of Portable Hands, a Virtual Assistance firm that provides leverage for small businesses.

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