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Op-Ed: Top plugins for cleaning up your act in 2015

For many of us, resolutions may include being more productive or get organized; which can be particularly problematic for our online lives and personal/small business websites. But there is a solution. Plugins can help you to achieve your online resolutions, and here are a few top plugins to match your goals for this year.

Let’s face it. We are human and we get distracted. From emails popping into our inboxes every few minutes to social media sites luring us away from answering those emails, productivity plugins can help to keep you on task. StayFocused is a productivity extension for Google Chrome that “helps you stay focused on work by restricting the amount of time you can spend on time-wasting websites.” This plugin, featured as one of the top five productivity plugins for this year, makes focusing easier by simply eliminating distractions. You can either block yourself completely from websites or limit the amount of time you spend on particular sites. What better way to get stuff done!

Project Management
Effective project management adds organization to your business, and by using a plugin designed for project management, you can increase communication among project members, enhance communication with clients, and keep everyone on schedule and meeting deadlines. One unique WP project management plugin that relies on visual communication is Project Panorama. What sets this app apart from the others is its use of easy to read visual displays. You can easily communicate progress on projects with team members and/or clients to keep everyone in the loop. Another excellent feature of this plugin is the ability to clone projects by setting up templates to easily reuse for each new project, while the automatic progress calculation tool gives you an overview of the project, task, and phase completion.

Going paperless is one of the easiest ways to increase your organization of documents and files, but it can be difficult to manage all of those files. A plugin is an excellent way to get a start on organizing and managing your multiple documents and files. WP Document Revisions is a “document management and version control plugin for WordPress that allows teams of any size to collaboratively edit files and manage their workflow.” Users can manage documents, collaborate with teams of people on documents, or publish and securely deliver files. While this plugin can be used for project management, it shines in organizing documents as it allows users to edit files in different formats, and features a document management system to track, store and organize files. Another excellent feature is security: each document has a persistent URL protected with a password that you can give out as needed.

If your goal for this year is take an active role in securing your website against criminals and cyber-crimes, a security plugin can help you to achieve this goal. iThemes Security is one of the more popular plugins designed for WordPress. Formerly Better WP Security, this plugin offers users over 30 methods of protection, working to “fix common holes, stop automated attacks and strengthen user credentials,” as explained on their WP site. WordPress sites are common targets for hackers and your site may be more vulnerable than you know if you have forgotten to upgrade your site in a while. iThemes also allows users to set a wide range of permissions and detect multiple attempts to modify files. In addition, new this year, iThemes Brute Force Protection feature bans users who have attempted breaking into other sites by tracking IP addresses of failed login attempts. iThemes Security Pro offers more advanced features which include: the ability to track when content has been edited, requirement of two-factor authentication and automatic scans for malware.

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