I spend most of my waking hours working on all things WordPress, so I explore and test new plugins constantly.
But when it comes down to it, I use certain proven ones over and over. Many of the must-have lists include the usual suspects: Akismet, All in One SEO, Google Sitemaps, etc. You know what I’m talking about.
But sometimes we don’t hear about the less known ones that perform small but important tasks for us. And there are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of them.
I could make one heck of a list here with the jewels I’ve found, but instead offer 10 interesting plugins and widgets for your browsing pleasure:
This easy-to-use plugin will embed video from popular platforms. I prefer this one over the simple embed because you can use the URL and not have to worry about the embed code. It also allows you to customize the skin of the video a little and set default sizes. Works great on both pages and posts.
There is a similar one that comes standard on WordPress.com, but it needs to be installed if you are self-hosted. This simple widget allows you to upload any image to your sidebar, add a caption/description, resize it, and hyper link it to a URL inside or outside your site. It’s perfect for single logos of vendors you may want to promote on your site—or even affiliate ads.
This easy-to set up and use plugin does just that: it holds back a post, category or tag that you want to exclude in the search results, archive or feed. For example, maybe you have posts on events you don’t want to go out via RSS. By simply assigning them to a category, and excluding that category, they won’t’ go out. You even have the option of excluding the same things from your front page.
Again, very simple but with some nice features. In the settings, you can set up how you want your own simple player to look, as well as some other basic options. It allows you to insert the player in a post or page using a simple, short code. It also has a widget you can install that works great for your sidebars.
If you create galleries using the built-in feature of WordPress, this is worth checking into. Normally, when you create a gallery in WordPress, when people click on the thumbnail, the photo either opens in a new browser window or in a new post, which is not the best for viewing images. Once you install and activate this plugin, if someone clicks on an image in your gallery, it opens a nice slideshow of all the images.
This simple to set up sidebar widget shows up to eight 125 x 125 pixels ads. Perfect for ads that you don’t need to do serious analytics or tracking on.
This widget will show random testimonials in your sidebar one at a time. It allows you to size the widget area, as well as how many seconds you want them to show before the transition to the next one.
The Social Media Widget lets you easily add the icons of any social media platform you are active on. For most of the popular ones, it’s as simple as just putting in your profile URL. It also lets you add customized icons and links to other platforms not included in the widget. Comes with three sizes for icons and five styles.
This plugin is great for adding social share buttons on your posts and has several options for placing them. There are a ton of social share plugins out there, but this one really has some nice features.
There is nothing more frustrating than hearing you have a broken link on your blog. And who has the time to check those 100+ posts! This plugin will check your posts, comments and other content for broken links and missing images. What’s great is it monitors your blog and will notify you when it finds a problem.
So there you go: the tip of the plugin iceberg. A few gentle reminders:
- Too many plugins can slow down load time; use only the ones you need and choose carefully.
- Delete any unused plugins.
- Keep your plugins updated.
- Watch for plugin conflicts. If you install one, and something weird starts happening on your site, it may be time to do a little detective work and find out which plugins aren’t playing nicely with each other. Then make a choice of which one you can live without.
- If a plugin breaks, delete it.
By now I know you are just itching to share, so go ahead. Which of your lesser known, favorite plugins have I missed?