Last year, I wrote about my WordPress plugins toolbox, a series of WordPress plugins I find myself using day in and day out. Since then, the list has grown and developed further to adapt to my varying needs when constructing WordPress-driven projects. Below is an updated list of the plugins I find myself using almost always, in addition to the custom tweaks and widgets I’ve written to accommodate my needs within WordPress.
This plugin registers a new taxonomy (using the built-in WordPress taxonomy system) for tagging items in the Media Library. This has proved invaluable in many areas, allowing media to be stored literally as media, rather than as a content type which would be used in a non-content area, negating the purpose of storing it as a content type.
An example of where this has come in handy is with image areas (for example, a gallery). This “content” doesn’t really carry text and is, therefore, pointless storing it as a dedicated post type in the administration area and database. Tag the media item with whatever tag you like, use the built in function within the Media Tags plugin to get the media items with that tag and then work with them within your plugin or theme. This is a real time-saver.
WP Section Index
Yes, this is another time-saver. The exact reason I wrote this plugin. Necessity. The WP Section Index plugin creates a table of contents for the post or page the user is currently browsing, based on the way the content is divided (I usually tell the plugin to split the content on Heading 3 tags). The plugin also adds “back to top” links to the bottom of each section, should you wish it to.
This can be very useful for pages where the end user wishes to say a lot while not overwhelming the visitor. The visitor is then free to skip to the sections which they would find most useful and browse the remainder of the sections at their own leisure.
Read up more about the WP Section Index WordPress plugin.
All-in-One SEO Pack
Okay, so everyone uses this guy. There’s a reason or two why.
Firstly, it’s really easy to use and not in any way overwhelming. Every text field is clearly labeled and easy for the end user to work with. It is also really easy to dissect and see how the plugin works, should you wish to further understand a piece of functionality. Many other plugins also carry support for this guy out of the box, which is invaluable when trying to get two plugins to play nicely together.
While All-in-One SEO Pack doesn’t carry certain features that others do (meta tags on category and tag pages, for example), it’s ease of use for both the developer and end user is why I use it.
You never know just when you’ll need it. Extremely useful, I’d say.
The Capability Manager allows an administrator to manage the user roles and capabilities within their website. For example, if making use of the Maintenance Mode plugin (an extremely useful plugin for putting up a holding page while you run maintenance on your blog) the Capability Manager provides a neat and tidy user interface for allowing non-administrator users the ability to view the website when logged in. A simple process, which explains just how useful this plugin is. It’s not something you’d generally use on a day to day basis, but it’s nice to know that you’ve got it around, just in case.
Okay, I just had to put this one in here. I love typography and, as a developer, it’s a love that not many developers share or appreciate. Having widowed lines just doesn’t do it for me. This plugin fixes common typographical issues within your body copy as well as correcting several punctuation errors (for example, replacing quotation marks with the correct opening and closing quotations) and generally makes your text look a whole lot nicer and easier to read.
While not being an essential to most website owners, I love wp-Typography and will continue to use it, knowing that my blog is typographically sound.
XML Sitemap Generator
Another staple. The XML Sitemap Generator, along with the All-in-One SEO Pack and the WPTouch theme (covered below) is updated regularly and is extremely useful and power in generating a thorough and accurate sitemap for your website. This process, while seemingly tedious, is extremely important in getting your website noticed by website indexing and search engines. It provides a road map to your website’s inner pages and blog posts, prioritising them either automatically or with your own personal tweaks. A necessity for certain.
WPTouch iPhone theme
This plugin provides a neat and friendly interface for creating themes for your website to be easily viewable on smartphones. I believe it currently supports the iPhone, iPod Touch and Google Android. The plugin is feature rich and allows mostly full control over how your website looks on your iPhone. Smart move, I’d say, given the rise in popularity of mobile browsing. Having a mobile website is imperative in this day and age. Why not make it easy, using the WPTouch plugin?
Along with the above, as mentioned earlier on in this post, I’ve written a few custom widgets and administration screens to make certain tasks a bit easier for the end user. Making tasks easier for the end user is, ultimately, the key in my opinion. If the end user can login and begin working right off the bat with minimal knowledge of the system, the objective has been achieved.
I hope this list (and how short it is) help you in your next WordPress project and show that using thousands of plugins isn’t always the best solution to a successful project.