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