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WordPress Plugins for New Sites

It is not so simple to understand which plugins you will need when you install a brand new WordPress Blog.
It really depends on what your marketing strategy, your product and your audience are.
However after years of websites developing I understood that there are some plugins that you should keep in consideration for your new website and others you must have.

So here’s what you will learn in this article:

  • What plugin you can use for each section of your blog
  • Which ones are good for your kind of marketing
  • Free and paid versions Pros and Cons

Here the best list of plugins a brand new blog should have:

Spam protection plugins

Akismet

Akismet is an advanced anti-spam tool for comments. It checks every comment and filters automatically all the spam. It uses the Akismet Web service to see whether a comment looks like spam or not.

PROS:

  • It is the best spam protection plugin. This plugin is developed by Automattic, the same team that developed wordpress.

CONS:

  • You will need a Wordrpess API key. When you install the plugin it will take you to the registration page to get your key.

Akismet

The WordPress plugin that helps your blog to get rid of Spam comments. The best anti-spam comment plugin for WordPress

Cloudflare CDN

Cloudflare is not a proper WordPress Plugin but it is integrated in Worpdress through a plugin.
CloudFlare is a CDN service. It helps to distribute your contents around the web speeding up your site. It also offers a good spam filter reducing the number of robots accessing your site.

PROS:

  • It is a free service. It improves your Website Speed by adding a light CDN service. It offers complete statistics of the access on your website, and helps filtering spam

CONS:

  • • You need to set up your Name Server to point to the CloudFlare service. You need small knowledge or to refer to the support of your hosting

Cloudflare CDN

In conjunction with Akismet, Cloudflare service is the best option to limit spam and hacking intrusion. It speeds up your server by adding a CDN service and filtering out bad IPs for accessing your site.

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Broken Link Checker

Broken Links Checker WordPress Plugin

This plugin will check your blog for broken links and missing images. It checks inside posts, pages and comments and notifies you when something is not properly set up.

PROS:

  • Easy to set up. For the most, the installation is a set and forget plugin. It notifies you via Dashboard or Email. It identifies and deactivates broken links to be followed by search engine. You can review and set up each link directly form the plugin page.

CONS:

  • It is a great plugin. It misses some features that will help on the links management of huge links database.

BrokenLink Checker

If you run a Website especially when it has lots of articles one of the priorities is to have all the links working. This plugin gives you the most benefits from SEO and you will give a better user experience to your readers.

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Security Plugins

iTheme security pro:

This is my favorite security plugin. It is a set and forget plugin that I love. You just need to install it and push a button and everything is perfectly set up. It protects your installation from attacks and hacking. It also gives you a backup system for your blog.

PROS:

  • Brute force protection, file change detection, and many more features. It also adds a backup system to your blog.

CONS:

  • Some advanced features need to be bought in the pro version.

iThemes Security Plugin

This is the security plugin I trust. It is simple and in the free version it is full of amazing features. One click set up and the plugin is ready.

Vaultpress by Automattic team:

Developed by the Automattic (WordPress Team) it is perfect to work in conjunction with Akisment. It is a solid plugin but sadly it is not free.

PROS:

  • It is one of the best security plugins for WordPress. Developed by Automattic, it gives the best security as backup and protection.

CONS:

  • It has different plans. It is a professional plugin that costs some money.

Vaultpress

Vaultpress is a WordPress security plugin Developed by Automattic. It works perfectly in conjunction with Akismet. Solid and stable it is the professional choice for websites backup and protection.

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Marketing Plugin

Onepress Social Locker

Social Locker is a WP plugin that allows you to lock part of your site content behind a box – Your reader needs to share, +1s or tweet your page to unlock it.

PROS:

  • It is a viral plugin that makes your website grow fast. Easy to use. automatically tracked by Analytics.

CONS:

  • If you want to set up advanced design you should buy the Styleroller add-on.

Social Locker

This is a fundamental marketing plugin. It can be part of your traffic strategy helping you create viral contents. Locked contents that needs to be shared on social network to be unlocked. Check how it works on my blog

Pretty Link

Pretty link is one of the plugins I use most often. It is an affiliate links cloaking plugin and more. I set up every affiliate link through Pretty Link. It gives you lots of amazing Features among which the pretty bar that allows you to open a website with your branded – affiliate bar on top. It gives you different redirection type, statistics, clicks received on the links and more.

PROS:

  • • Easy to set up, lots of amazing features, statistics, click tracking, difference redirection type, nofollow option. A great efficient plugin to manage all your affiliate links.

CONS:

Pretty Link

Is there something that you must have in your website toolbox? Yes, Pretty link. It allows you to set up your own link shortcuts. You can track clicks on your links not only in your website, but also in Youtube, on your social networks and many other places.

Thirsty Affiliates

Probably you are asking yourself why I am taking about Thirsty Affiliates when I have just mentioned Pretty Link. I am doing it because I use both. And you can choose between them the one that fits better to your needs.

Like pretty link, it is an affiliate links cloaking plugin. I use it to automatically replace words in forum with affiliate links.

PROS:

  • Easy to set up, you can add features and statistics easily buying its amazing add-ons.

CONS:

  • I find it more complicated than Pretty Link and with less features.

Thirsty Affiliates

Thirsty affiliate is a great plugin. You can add many features through add-ons. In the Free version it comes with all the essentials you need to work with Affiliate Links. It also adds a button on the editor that helps you insert your affiliate links.

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Opt-in plugins

This is a professional marketing plugin collection for your blog.

Those are all plugins that you have to take in account to set up your marketing campaign.

Here you will find all that’s needed for landing page generation, quality opt-in form creation, leads generation – Anything you need to create a list of subscribers. I have been in Internet marketing for many years and I have understood that those plugins are the “Must Have” for those who want to have results that matter.

LeadPages

LeadPages is an app that allows you to generate Landing Pages, opt-in forms and all the opt-in funnels you need, and it perfectly integrates with WordPress. Actually it is the most relevant software every successful marketer uses, leader in landing pages generation.

PROS:

  • • Extremely Easy to set up, it converts leads in Facebook, WordPress, and more. Due to his features professional marketers use it. It is improved every day with more effective ready to use templates. 30 Days money backs warranty.

CONS:

  • It costs some money, but it’s worth at least three times the price.

Lead Pages

Professional web marketers use LeadPages because it is the fastest landing page generator in the market. If you watch it in action you can understand why they use it, and why you should.

OptInMonster

Do you run a blog? Do you want more subscribers? This is the plugin you should use. Nothing has the same quality as OptinMonter.

PROS:

  • Footer bar, top bar, popups forms, exit intent detection, analytics and more. Easy to set up. Work with the most reliable email services, stunning opt-in, catchy design.

CONS:

  • Nothing is bad with this plugin

OptInMonster

Opt-in Monster is the best opt-in form generator - pop up form creator in the market. Nothing is as stunning and easy to use as opt-in monster is.

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Contact Form

Contact Form 7 – CF7

The most used contact form plugin. It allows you to create many different contact forms ready to use with short codes to integrate them directly into your pages. Free.
It is easy to integrate with every website. Also there are many add-ons like Really simple Captcha you can use with CF7 to add more features to your Contact forms.

PROS:

  • Free, stable and easy to use. Free add-ons available in the WordPress plugins directory

CONS:

  • It has not forms design options.

Contact Form 7

Every time I install a website this is one of the first plugins I install. You can use it not only to create contact forms, but also special forms for many uses. Create contact forms in seconds for free.

Gravity Form

This plugin is an advanced contact / opt-in form generator. You should go to their website and try the demo to understand what I mean. It is the perfect plugin to generate special contact forms, test forms, informative documents, questionnaires, and much more.

PROS:

  • Simple to use, stunning graphics, lots of features. It integrates with WooCommerce and a lot of known themes.

CONS:

  • Hope in future they add more design to this great plugin.

Gravity Forms

If you need a professional form generator more advanced than CF7 this is the plugin to buy. Check out the demo on their page, you will understand immediately all the power it has.

Clickdesk Live Support

This is an advanced plugin for professional use. If you run a professional website and you need to give a better customer service or support, this plugin helps you set up a live chat on your website. It is available in three different versions, Free, Lite and Pro. It helps you increase conversion and helps you make your service appear more professional and reliable.

PROS:

  • The free version works great, it is simple to integrate and stable.

CONS:

  • Video chat available only in the Pro version.

Clickdesk Live Support

Professional websites should have this plugin installed. It improves the quality of your service and increases the conversions.

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Video Plugin

Simple Video Pro

This plugin adds to your videos many marketing features. From a web form that appears during playback asking you to submit to continue, to advertising and more. This is the best marketing plugin if you work with videos. It helps you make your list grows faster than ever.

PROS:

  • Simple video pro has incredible features, it don’t cost a lot of money compared with the features it offers. You must have this plugin if you want to improve your video marketing conversion

CONS:

  • I don’t really like the selling page they made, but if you still work on the video the product will impress you.

Simple Video Pro

This plugin improves your video marketing conversion. It helps you increase contacts and affiliate clicks. It is one of the best list building plugins for video marketing.

Video Profit Surge

Do you want a Simple video pro alternative? This plugin is a good option you can check. Video profit surge seems to be a great alternative to SVP and the price seems to be good too. Check out the special offers for LifestyleUltimatum user.

PROS:

  • Good features, API from Aweber, GetResponse, iContact and more. Simple to set up. A good competitor of Simple video Pro

CONS:

  • It seems to be less known than simple video pro. But it still is a good product.

Video Profit Surge

Do you want to try an alternative to Simple video pro with the same features and a lower price? This is the product you should try.

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Reviews Plugins

Author hReview

This plugin allows you to set up a perfect reviews website in seconds. I have personally set up many review websites with free and paid plugins. But this is the best solution in my opinion. There are no other plugins or templates that can give you the same quality and SEO features that this plugin can offer you.

PROS:

  • It allows you to set up a perfect review page in seconds, fully integrated with your blog or website. It generates all the SEO codes to make the review snippets appear in Google with description, stars ratings and products images.

CONS:

  • No Cons.

Author hReview

There are not so many plugins for set up a reviews website. Mainly you will find themes, but what if you want to set up a great website with an easy to use review system installed that doesn’t interfere with your blog activity?

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Advertising plugin

FooBar

Foobar adds to your website a great looking notification top or bottom bar. You can create as many different bars as you need.

PROS:

  • Unlimited bars. Simple to use and cheap plugin. Conditional logic allows you to set up different rules why the bar has to appear. Full of features. Twitter compatible.

CONS:

  • It is not free but it really doesn’t cost much.

FooBar

Foobar is one of the most effective and elegant tools to advertise something to your blog. Simple to set up, you can configure as many bars as you want.

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Comments plugin

Every professional blog should have a good clients retention system. This plugin collection helps you set up all the redirections and pages you need to get in touch with your audience.

Each time a reader leaves a comment on your blog he needs to be alerted when an answer arrives and he needs to be redirected to a properly set-up thank you page, etc. You should keep in consideration to install and configure properly each of this plugins to work the best.

Comments Redirect

Comment redirect allows you to redirect the user to a specific page after the commenting to your blog. It is useful if you want better marketing for your website redirecting your readers to a page where they can subscribe or get in touch with you via social network.

PROS:

  • Free, extremely easy to set up, you just need to set a redirection URL

CONS:

  • Nothing

Comment redirect by Yoast

Comment redirect is a basic Plugin that does a great marketing work. It is a Yoast plugin, it helps to redirect the user after commenting to a specific page.

Subscribe to comment reloaded

This plug-in notifies your reader when someone answers to their comment. It is a basic plugin you must set up in your blog. It helps to increase visits and give a better user experience to your reader.

PROS:

  • Free, basically a set and forget plugin, helps people to keep in touch in the conversation.

CONS:

  • The design interface can be improved

Subscribe to comment reloaded

One of the basic tools a blog should have. This plugin is something that you should not forget to install because it helps your reader to know when someone, especially you, answers to their comments.

Bringmyblogvisitorsback

Improve the quality of your users experience when they subscribe to your RSS and get benefits out of your copied blog’s contents adding in your RSS a special link to your pages

PROS:

  • Free, extremely easy to set up, helps people to get in touch with your contents. It generates more traffic to your pages due to steal contents.

CONS:

  • Interface can be improved

Bringmyblogvisitorsback

This plugin improves the number of readers coming back to your blog when subscribed to your RSS, and add to the steal contents a link back to your site.

Thank me later

Thank Me Later sends a thank you message to your commenters after a given time. You just need to write a message and the plugin will email them after a time you choose. It helps to bring visitors back to your blog.

PROS:

  • You can set up any time values. Works in different languages. Allows various forms of message personalization

CONS:

  • You should evaluate if it fits your marketing strategy.

Thank me later

It attracts readers back to your website. Helps reader to keep track of your answer in comments, but also you can issue offers and ask for connection to your social networks etc..

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SEO WordPress Plugins

Seo by Yoast

Seo by Yoast is the most popular SEO plugin for WordPress. It adds many functions from the Sitemap to the Permalink control to all the aspects of the SEO of your blogs. How to set up rel=”canonical”, SEO title and description and many more features fundamental for a good SEO set up.

PROS:

  • One click set up. FREE and easy to use, allows you to have complete control over the SEO of your blog.

CONS:

  • Some functions may appear a little bit difficult to understand.

SEO by Yoast

TThis is the best known SEO plugin for WordPress. It allows you to set up properly every SEO aspect of your blog and also many aspects of your social sharing.

Seo Rank Reporter

You will love this plugin. It adds only one function to your blog, and so track as many keywords you want and not only in your website. So if you are searching how to track your ranking with a wordpress plugin this is the plugin for you.

PROS:

  • No keywords limits, no website limits.

CONS:

  • It track every 3 days.

Seo Rank Reporter

I love this plugin, it is one of the best plugin for WordPress SEO purpose. If you want to track your keywords performance it is a must have.

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Forum Plugin

BBPress

This plugin adds a complete forum to your WordPress installation. Full of features, it has a huge library of add-ons you can use to improve the quality of your forum. Check them here: https://bbpress.org/

PROS:

  • Full of features and free add-ons you can use to add functions to your forum.

CONS:

  • I have experienced some problems to set it up with old themes.

BBPress

If you want to install a forum in your blog this is the only plugin you should look for.

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Statistics plugin

There are many plugins you can install and configure directly inside WordPress. However to have complete control over your traffic the best advice is to use external services like Google Analytics and Inspectlet. Here’s the complete list:

Google Analyticator

Simple to configure this plugin make easy to connect your WordPress blog with Google Analytics. It adds to your dashboard a statistics chart and data. If you want to set up the Affiliate tracking system like in my event-tracking tutorial, you should remember to disable the outbound links tracking.

PROS:

  • Easy to set up, you need to be logged-in to your account and it connects automatically.

CONS:

  • It tracks everything also outbound links. You should disable them if you use my tutorial on how to track affiliate links with Google Analytics.

Analyticator

The best plugin for set up Google Analytics to your blog. It adds your Google Analytics account in seconds.

Inspectlet

I use this plugin every day. It answers all the questions I have on how visitors move around my website. It tracks all the mouse movements allowing you to understand how every page converts, where people click and why. Also it generates heat-maps to let you understand where people watch and click inside your page. It is an amazing plugin to use, especially for those who want to improve conversion and selling.

PROS:

  • The best heatmap and eye tracking plugin for wordpress in my opinion. Free Version available.

CONS:

  • Nothing negative to say.

Inspectlet

Heatmap -Eye-Tracking – It adds a video tracking system of the mouse movement inside your blog. This plugin grab every movement of your visitors inside your blog and shows it to you in a video.

SEO Rank Reporter

You won’t believe that this plugin exists. Seo Rank Reporter allows you to track the ranking of every keyword you choose. It keeps track of the movement of each keyword with charts straight in your admin area. It is the perfect tool to tack your ranking for free.

PROS:

  • It is free and it is great, no keywords limit.

CONS:

  • It allows you to track the ranking every three days.

SEO Rank Reporter

The best Free rank tracker plugin for WordPress. It is free and allows you to track unlimited keywords drawing a chart of the ranking position.

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How to improve the loading speed of the website

W3 total cache

This plugin improves the performance of your website. It optimizes the load speed of your site and adds caching features, minifies your CSS and improves the quality and speed of your blog in general.

PROS:

  • One of the most trusted plugins. Reliable and complete. Many features.

CONS:

  • Needs some knowledge to be set up.

W3 total cache

The most trusted caching plugin for WordPress. It helps reduce the load time of your website adding caching features on server and client side.

Wp smush it

Wp Smushit reduces image file sizes in order to improve page load speed performance.

PROS:

  • Compresses image while loading

CONS:

  • It can have some conflicts with other plugins.

Wp Smush it

Using the Smush.it API this plugin allows you to reduce the data volume of each image. It improves the load speed of images.

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E-commerce, digital downloads and Payment Plugins

Tips and Tricks WpEstore

This is the most underestimated plugin for creating a small Digital Download shop. It allows you to create a shop in seconds fitting your page’s design, and also your landing page easily.

With the other plugins of the suite at a small price it allows you to set up also a membership area, protecting your digital download cloaking the original URL, and also the suite allows you to set up in second an Affiliate area for your own products!

PROS:

  • I love this plugin and the entire suite. It allows you to set up a professional digital download area with integrated affiliation system and membership.

CONS:

  • Needs a small learning curve, but once you understand how it works, you will love the suite.

Tips and Tricks WpEstore

This plugin allows you to set up a great digital download shop in seconds. If you buy the entire suite you can set up also a members area and an affiliate program in seconds.

WooCommerce

The most complete and free plugin to set up a complete ecommerce website with your WordPress.

PROS:

  • It is free in the basic version. Stable and effective. It needs to have a compatible theme to work best.

CONS:

  • Many useful add-ons have to be bought.

WooCommerce

WooCommerce allows you to set up a great ecommerce website in seconds. Complete and reliable, it is the fully featured e-commerce plugin for WordPress.

Easy digital downloads

This plugin allows you to set up in seconds a digital download website to sell digital goods.

PROS:

  • Easy to use and fast to set up.

CONS:

  • Needs some arrangements on design. You need to buy some add-ons for your store to work properly.

Easy digital downloads

This plugin allows you to set up a great digital download shop in seconds. With many add-ons you can in every moment improve all the features of the shop.

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Affiliation Area

Tips and Tricks WPAffiliate

This is the Tips and Tricks Plugin to create an Affiliate area for your own products in your WordPress blog. It works in conjunction with the entire suite – WpEstore and WpEmember

PROS:

  • It creates a simple but effective affiliate area to run your own affiliation program.

CONS:

  • To customize the affiliate area design you should work with the CSS.

Tips and Tricks WpAffiliate

This plugin allows you to create your own affiliation program for your products. Easy to set up it generates all that you need to create an affiliation in your WordPress blog.

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Membership plugins

There are plenty of membership plugins for WordPress. And most of them are complete and full featured. However here I want to give you some easy to manage and setup options.

Tips and Tricks WpEmember

This is the WpEmember plugin from the Tips and Tricks Suite. It allows you to set up a membership area in seconds and you can easily configure this plugin with the entire Tips and Tricks suite to create a digital download shop and a paid membership.

PROS:

  • Easy to set up, ready to use. Works with the other plugins of the suite.

CONS:

  • Needs a small learning curve, but once you understand how it works, you will love the entire suite.

Tips and Tricks WpEmember

If you want to set up in second a fast paid or free membership area this plugin is something you can't miss.

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MultiLanguage Website

WPML Multi languages plugin

There are many multi languages plugin for WordPress. But if you need to set up a professional website this is the one you should look for.

PROS:

  • A complete plugin with all the features you need to set up a multilanguage blog. Allows different translation and a translation service directly for the WPML team. Many add-ons to help you work on large sites.

CONS:

  • It needs a small learning curve to understand all the features it offers.

WPML multilanguage plugin

This is the most complete and advanced multi language plugin for WordPress. Easy to set up and administrate. This is the plugin you need if you want to have a professional multi language website.

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Other Very Useful Plugins

Crayon syntax highlighter

A full featured syntax highlighter. It cannot be absent from a plug in collection.

PROS:

  • Easy to setup, simple to use.

CONS:

  • Nothing

Crayon syntax highlighter

A simple WordPress syntax highlighter plugin, ready to use. Simple and affective works with short codes. Fully featured.

Allow php in posts and pages

If you want to implement special PHP function to your posts or pages to offer to your audience more advanced features from your blog, this plugin is the best choice for the purpose.

PROS:

  • It is safe and simple, if you develop in PHP you know how to use this great tool.

CONS:

  • Adding PHP code to post can lower the website security

Allow php in posts and pages

Again something for coder and developer, this plugin is a great plugin for who want to improve the features of their blog adding special code to the post.

Advanced Custom Fields

In many Worpdpress installations what happens is that we need to set up some special features that are not yet integrated in the theme. With this plugin we can set up some advanced custom fields for our installation. It works with a visual editor and allows multiple input types (text, textarea, WYSIWYG, image, file, page link, post object, relationship, select, checkbox, radio buttons, date picker, true / false, repeater, flexible content, and more)

PROS:

  • WYSIWYG Editor. A plugin with many features and easy to set up and use.

CONS:

  • Needs a small learning curve to understand how to use the advanced custom fields.

Advanced Custom Fields

For those who want to have more advanced features to their WordPress blog this plugin allows you to set up more advanced custom fields, with an integrated visual editor it allows you to set up a lot of new function to improve your customer experience.

Widget menuizer

This plugin allows you to have a widgetized menu where to insert widgets like in the sidebar.

PROS:

  • Something amazing to have. It allows you to do some things that usually are not so simple to have in a WordPress blog.

CONS:

  • Nothing

Widget menuizer

This plugin allows you to set up a widget area also in your menu. Have you ever thought about this possibility?

Leaflet Maps Marker

The travel blogger best friends plugin allows you to set up a map everywhere in your post, pages and sidebar. And it is fully compatible with many different kinds of maps. It also offers other amazing features.

PROS:

  • Works with many different types of maps: Google Maps, Google Earth, OpenStreetMap, Bing or customized maps. It displays also your spots through a virtual augmented-reality system.

CONS:

  • This plugin is complete. It doesn’t miss any feature

Leaflet Maps Marker

A very useful and effective plugin to integrate a map in your Worpdress installation. You can pin, organize, show your favorite places and more.

Event Manager

An easy and rare to find event manager plugin. It allows you to set up an event manager system, a simple booking system and more inside your blog. It has some good features that can be useful if you want to set up some special website like a travel blog, hotel, events and bed & breakfast blogs, or schedule your event online with your audience.

PROS:

  • Fully featured event registration management. It includes location, calendar, booking and recurring events management.

CONS:

  • The admin area is not easy to understand.

Event Manager

A fully featured events manager plugin. It is a flexible and reliable WordPress plugin with many powerful integrate tools!

 

This is only a basic list of plugins you can install on your website. Which plugins to install really depends on the purpose and the business model of your blog.

Are you using other plugins? Suggest them on the comments below.

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  1. Brian Duffy October 25, 2014 at 11:23 am

    This is a really good post Andrea …checking out inspectlet now! 🙂

    • Andrea October 25, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      Thanks Brian! Hope you will like it 😀