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Thirteen “Lesser Known” Helpful WordPress Plugins

There are zillions of WordPress plugins available, with many new ones released each day. Some are well known and almost universally employed, e.g., Akismet, Google Sitemap Generator.

I have discovered some useful plugins that are not as widely known, but extremely helpful. If you are not using the following plugins, you might want to consider them:

1. WP Plugins Tracker

Are all of your plugins up to date? This plugin will add a link to your Dashboard, allowing you to see the version of each plugin you are using, as well the most recent release, allowing you to update. This is helpful because plugin developers frequent issue updates correcting bugs discovered and submitted to them by folks who have downloaded and employed the plugin.

If you upgrade to WordPress 2.3, you will no longer need this plugin as the software automatically checks for the latest version of the plugin and provides a link to the site where the newest edition can be downloaded.

2. Duplicate Content Cure

This plugin prevents “search engines from indexing wordpress pages that contain duplicate content, like archives and category pages.” Allowing those pages to be archived dilutes the search engine rank and value of your site.

3. Feed Copyrighter

Adds copyright verbiage to the end of your posts alerting readers about web-based aggregator sites that steal content and republish it without permission.

4. Full Text Feed

The whole point of subscribing to feeds is to read posts in a blog reader such as Bloglines (my favorite) without having to actually visit each site. However, excerpts on a site’s main page are a great idea because they allow visitors to peruse recent content without excessive scrolling.

Even though you set your WordPress options to deliver a full feed, if you manually insert the <!–more–> tag in a post, the feed will be truncated and many readers, including me, will unsubscribe. This plugin allows you to employ the use of excerpts while still delivering a full feed to your readers.

Subscribe to my feed to see it in action!

5. Enforce www. Preference

Preserve your perma-links! The research I have done on this topic leads me to believe that it doesn’t matter whether you use www or not. But what does matter that you pick one version of your address or the other and use it consistently. This plugin also strips “index.php” from the ends of URIs.

6. WP-Chunk

Has a visitor ever left a comment that include an extremely long link that bled into your sidebar, ruining the look of the page? This will truncate that long link while retaining its functionality.

7. My Dashboard

Streamlines and modernizes the look of your WordPress dashboard, allowing you to pick from a few skins. The standard included gadgets can be moved into a custom configuration. They are: LatestComments, Latest Posts, Blog Statistics, Quick Links, Incoming links, WordPress development blog RSS feed, WordPress Planet Other news, Scheduled posts and Akismet statistics, in addition to a generic RSS Feed reader.

8. My Dashboard Gadgets

This brand-new plugin adds four useful gadgets to your My Dashboard configuration: Activity Monitor, Your Drafts, Technorati Graph and a replacement for the standard WordPress Blog Statistics gadget. This improved version displays the number of comments and pingbacks separately.

9. Executable PHP Widget

Ever find a great plugin that you couldn’t use because you could not understand how to insert the PHP code into your sidebar or other file? This plugin is a lifesaver! It gives you up to nine additional boxes akin to text boxes into which you can insert PHP code. For example, I used this plugin to place the code required by Alex King’s Popularity Contest plugin into a PHP box so that the list of “Most Popular Articles” would be displayed in the sidebar.

10. No Self Pings

WordPress automatically pings sites to which you link within an article. If you reference one of your own prior posts, you will send a ping to that post when you click “Publish”. This plugin prevents WordPress from sending pings to other posts on the same site.

11. One Click

How did we live without it? After you unzip, upload and activate this plugin, a new option appears on your Dashboard, “One Click Install.” You never again have to unzip and upload themes or plugins before activating them. One Click does it for you! This fabulous plugin is a bit dangerous, however. If you decide to delete a theme or plugin, there is no dialogue box saying, “You are about to delete ______. Are you sure?” So use this one carefully, but you definitely should be using it.

12. Automatic Upgrade

Like One Click, this one is a lifesaver. You can back up your database and upgrade to the newest version of WordPress with just a couple of clicks.

13. Contact Form

There are fancier contact form plugins available, but this one works nicely and Douglas Karr’s recent improvements include a drop-down menu (check his out . . . you can use it to propose marriage to him if you are so inclined) and spam protection.

Is there a plugin you use on your own site and/or have developed that is not listed here? Leave a comment with a link to the site where it can be downloaded!


64 Comments

  1. I don’t know WordPress, haven’t used it (yet?). Some can be helpful for other blogs too though.
    My TT shares 13 things to do or see in my hometown Velsen / IJmuiden in The Netherlands.

  2. Interesting list – I don’t use WordPress for my site but I’ve set it up for some friends so I’ll have to have a proper look at some of these later 🙂

  3. I use far too many plugins on my blog, – they’re addictive. I already use Plugin Tracker and Automatic Upgrade. I’ll check out the others you’ve listed too.

  4. Good information. I’m not a WordPress user but I’m sure WP people are lovin’ this list.

  5. I love learning about more plugins for WP. I’m like a kid in a candy store! Thank you!

  6. I just got my own domain and host and am a 1st time user of wordpress so this list is GREAT! And I love the one click!!!

  7. Hair Loss Cure

    downloaded all ! thanks a lot for this list, it’s going to prove very helpful.

  8. That’s the kind of post that makes me wish I’d gone with WordPress. The feature I envy most is the plugin to implement “I follow” (which turns comment links into REAL links). It’s such a great way to reward people who comment on your blog.

  9. Douglas Karr

    No proposals yet. 🙁

    Thanks for the mention, though!

  10. Turns out I was too dumb to use “hosted” WordPress, so I had to switch back to the free version.

  11. Thanks for this list Janie, I’m going to be adding a few of these plugins to my own blog.

    Especially the no self pings one! That’s a personally pet peeve of mine1 🙂

  12. Thank you. This is a great list. I have so many plug-ins that I am going to give WP Plugins Tracker a try.

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  16. I’ve used WordPress for years, ever since converting from MovableType, and you’ve got plugins I’ve never played with.

    I’d consider mentioning DoFollow, which strips the rel=nofollow tag from comments so that they provide linkjuice.

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  22. I like the idea of the feed one. 🙂 Thanks. I’m installing it now.

    Jenny’s last blog post..Sitely Future & Life Happenings

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  25. nice posted.

    i am trying
    thanks

    tpde03’s last blog post..Parents Advice on Baby Gifts Giving

  26. ooo awesome plugin. Really appreciated your clear installation instructions. WordPress comes in two version 2.0.xxx and 2.1.xxxx, so it might help beginners like me if you add version compatible.BTW, I heard that the new version of WordPress has been released :D.Brodian’s last blog post..From Gadget Spy – Smoking Isnâ??t Cool-Its Downright Toastie Warm

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  28. Web Dev :: Alex

    I’d like to list my ‘lesser-known’ plugin that I wrote recently, ‘New User Email Setup’. It is used to define the email sent to new users when they register on your blog, and everything is defineable, subject, from address etc, and even allows HTML.
    It is the first plugin I have written, and would love it if you could stop by. http://webdev.mysoutham.com/new-user-email-set-up/

    Out of the plugins you listed, I use the no self-pings one, i find it really useful to stop un-needed clutter.

    Web Dev :: Alex’s last blog post..New User Email Set Up

  29. Executable PHP Widget – that is a widget I have grown to love. On some of my websites I used wordpress and this is before i knew amything about php. It would take me hours and days to try and install specific code, to the point that I felt so discouraged. Highly recommended by Mr Yeast 👿

  30. Code4Gold

    I’ve been using a few of these plugins for quite a while now. The “Executable Php” plugin comes in very handy as does the “No Self Pings”. Douglas Karr’s “Contact Form” is a must have and I always install it firt on any new WordPress install I bring up for myself or a client.

    I don’t know why anybody would use any other blogging software but WordPress. It truly the most amazing software ever develped beside SMF forums.

  31. Thanks for the list. I’m trying some of them. 🙂

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    This is really a solid post. I like seeing what each persons favorite plugins are for various reasons. There are more by the day, it hard to keep up. Thanks for taking the time to put this together!

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  33. These are some great plugins and I must say that today was my first visit and I have really enjoyed your site. Thanks for making the popular articles section because I’ve found some goodies in there!

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  34. I got here from entrecard and I have enjoyed reading your posts. I never knew there were lots of useful available plugins available. I am not a techie, but this post sure got my attention. I got your site bookmarked.

    Very informative. Thanks for sharing! Best regards! 🙂

    Jennie’s last blog post..The Story Behind “Marriage and Beyond”

  35. i’d love this info..already downloaded them.. thanks

  36. Home Security Guru

    Janie,

    Great list of wp plugins. The one I’m excited about is the duplicate content manager. I’ve been looking for a plugin for this.

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  37. Thank you. This is a great list. I have so many plug-ins that I am going to give WP Plugins Tracker a try.

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  38. Jason Pearson

    Thanks for the list. I didn’t know half of these existed–but I am pretty green at all this. Keep up the good work.

  39. This is a great post. I’ll use some of this on my own blog site.

  40. I was wondering why I feel like I haven’t came accross around 90% of the plugins you listed. Then I read the title. Lol. Sure are ‘lesser known’ to me. Thanks for sharing!

    Nai’s last blog post..Skribit: Let Readers Tell Bloggers What to Write!

  41. Do you have a plugin of “Feedback form” for my wordpress blog? If yes then I will be very obliged if you send me the download link of that form. From past two days I am searching it but cannot find it.

    Thanks

    Gaurav’s last blog post..Panty

  42. Mr. No Fax Payday Loans

    This is a great list. I’m particularly interested in the duplicate content plugin. That one is new to me and will sure come in handy. Thanks!

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    Thanks for this list of great wordpress plugins. There are a few on the list that I will add to my arsenal of plugins.

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  44. Oooh! One Click, and the no-self pinging! Off to get one click, followed by no self pinging. I HATE pinging myself! It looks so…gorfy, for lack of a better word :(, then I have to go delete the pings myself!

    I just downloaded the All in One WP SEO package, and it also avoids duplicate content. But my question is, if we turn the follow attribute off of the categories and archives, how do the spiders find them? (Newbie question alert! I’m very new to WP.)

    Jennifer Bogarts last blog post..Thank You For the Cardy Welcome!

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    Great list of plugins. As a noob, these plugins will be invaluable. I am especially excited to try the duplicate content cure plugin. Thanks again for making my life a little easier.

  46. great lists of plugins there

    I must admit I have seen soo many articles on WP plugins but yours contains some real unique ones..I try to avoid the use of too many plugins in my blog but i guess i will use a couple from here..

  47. Having experienced the duplicate content , at least being a victim , Ill have to look into that one further

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  48. Thanks for the plugin list. Having the right plug ins is critical to making wordpress work properly for you instead of you doing all the work.

    Id be curious if you would modify this list any at this point and time?

    Justins last blog post..Grammar Tips: Basic Sentence Structure

  49. I love learning about more plugins for WP. I’m like a kid in a candy store! Thank you!

  50. Ps3 Gamer

    Im liking the “Duplicate Content Cure” Very good plugin!

  51. It is amazing to me how many awesome plugins are available for WordPress… and some of the best ones aren’t the ones that come up on the list of most popular or most downloaded. They are updated so frequently that you have to make sure to check the WordPress site regularly to avoid missing any newly authored plugins!

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    Thanks for this post, it just contains such valuable information for WordPress users, I’m just installing some.
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