My favorite WordPress plugins
If you’re a web designer or even a casual user of WordPress, no doubt you’re taking advantage of the many powerful 3rd party plugins available to perform all sorts of different tasks.
But how often do you forget the name of that one perfect plugin? With thousands of plugins out there, it’s easy to waste time searching around just to remember what you used on that project 6 months ago. To help cut down this search time, I’ve been keeping a list on a piece of paper. Today, I noticed the paper was full and decided to just put them online as a blog post. That way, I’ll always know where they are, I can edit and add to it as time goes on, and hopefully other people can benefit from the list as well.
The list of my favorite WordPress plugins is broken in to categories. The link either goes to the plugin author’s homepage, or the WordPress plugin repository. I recommend just using the in Dashboard “add plugin” and search to find the plugin and install. Just be careful to type it correctly, exactly as shown.
This list and post will be continuously updated as I find new and better plugins. I’m not saying this is a list of the best plugins, just one’s I know to have worked for me.
Easing Slider – Takes images from direct input or from post categories. 10 images maximum (?!). Many formatting options. Image + link only.
Meteor Slides – Can support multiple slideshows, even on the same page. One universal size for all though. Image + link only.
Slide Deck 2 – This is a premium slider, though, they do offer a free version. I purchased the developer license, and it’s been WELL worth it. It does everything you can think of and has a simple interface that clients can use as well. All text slides, dynamic content and imbedded video that stops playing when you go to the next slide. They even recently made the layout code responsive. It’s actively updated and the support is excellent.
WP Complete Backup – Does a “complete” backup of the database plus themes, plugins, settings, everything. I have NOT yet tested it to restore a site, but I assume that it works.
Backup Buddy – This is another plugin that’s very worth buying the developer license on. I’ve used it countless times since I purchased it. What it can do for you is restore, or move an entire wordpress installation, database and all in a few steps. you can download the single .zip backup file for local store, or even send it off to a cloud server. I must say, there have been some weird bug, and UI troubles, but it’s actively developed and getting better all the time. It’s never failed a full restore on me yet. One thing to note, you must create a new empty fresh database and clear your root install directory before doing a restore. Maybe someday they will have a single click restore, but no luck so far. Still, it’s a must have.
Contact Form 7 – The go to solution of most basic forms. Does drop downs, bullets, multiple forms, 2 recipients.
Contact Form 7 Honeypot – This is an additional plugin for Contact Form 7 which adds a not-rendered form field which if filled out flags the submission as spam. Works on 90% of spam, and no captcha needed.
PrettyPhoto – PrettyPhoto is a JQuery driven lightbox implementation that also comes in wordpress plugin flavor. I’ve used many different lightbox clones and this one seems to have risen to the top. It has a few different styles to choose from right out of the box. It’s easy to modify via shortcodes and can accept inline html as well as iframes. It just works. Here’s the dev site.
Google Maps Made Simple – Add right in the editor via a TinyMCE button and enter the address.
Simple Google Map – (no S, not maps) Drop in as a shortcode or widget. Comes with ability to get directions when you click the marker. Uses Latitude and Longitude. No Google API needed. Only one map per page. It’s slim on examples, check this out for code reference.
emOba – An email obfuscator, meaning, it takes a standard email link and encodes it so spam bots can’t harvest it. Work great, but kind of messes up the type.
Testimonials Widget – A simple way to drop in simple text testimonials as a widget. Custom creation of each testimonial. Adjust fade time and duration. No user controls.
Category Posts Widget – Display posts title (link) and excerpt in a widget. Can only display from one category. Can specify how many posts to show.
PHP Execution – Lets you put raw PHP in the editor (html view) without it getting “cleansed”
Ajax Events Calendar – So good. Easy to use. Does it all.
Lock Out – Lets you show a custom “coming soon” page to anyone who is NOT logged in. Logged in users can see the whole site. Perfect for on domain development.