As of this writing, there are over 25,000 plugins developed by the community for use with WordPress. These plugins range from the simplest single operations to the largest multi-feature systems. This article seeks to cover some plugins that are useful, but not necessarily consider widely popular.
This plugin replaces the description textbox found on an individual category edit page. By doing this, the description text for a category can be more than just plain text – it can include formatting and media, just like a typical post.
Free and available here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/categorytinymce/
List Custom Taxonomy
A regular installation of WordPress comes with widgets to display categories and tags. However, cross the threshold of custom taxonomies, and you will realize that you are up a creek without a paddle. That’s where this plugin comes in – it gives you a widget that can display any taxonomy – custom or otherwise.
Free and available here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/list-custom-taxonomy-widget/
Media Library Assistant
It is strange that the Media Library is very basic. This plugin fills in many of the gaps. For example:
- Categorization of media.
- Display which pages/posts specific media is referenced.
- Additional file types – other than images, audio, and video.
Free and available here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/media-library-assistant/
Generally, a Slider is a piece of tech that cycles through images. Mostly, you see these things on retail store sites – typically displaying the current deals. There are plenty of Sliders available out there and, although there are plenty that are, I chose one that was not free. I did so for the following reasons:
- Integrated directly into WordPress, so I can edit from the Administration view and reference the Sliders using shortcode.
- Contained maybe about 90% of the features across all potential Slider tech candidates.
- A clearly well-populated and active support site.
Available here for a price: http://dimsemenov.com/plugins/royal-slider/
There are maybe a half-dozen plugins available that can regenerate thumbnails. I chose this one because it is light – it does exactly one thing. Specifically, It puts in a link to the Media Library to regenerate thumbnails for individual media or for all media, at once.
Free and available here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/regenerate-thumbnails/
Rename Media Files
Normally, if you upload the same media to the Media Library, WordPress does not overwrite the existing image. Instead, it renames the file to be uploaded by appending a number to make it unique. Iterate on the same file multiple times and you can probably gather what a mess you will have. Enter this awesome plugin. It not only gives you a method to update existing media, but it also offers an option to repair any links you may have in posts or pages should you choose to rename the media.
Free and available here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/rename-media-files/
Fast Secure Contact Form
Most sites have a need for a contact form. This contact form sports a custom CAPTCHA for end-Users and a robust frontend allowing for lots of customization.
Free and available here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/si-contact-form/
As you venture further into WordPress development, you might come across cases where the regular Posts are not cutting it. For example, maybe you want to store recipes on your website. You could put each recipe in a post and tag it with a “Recipe” category. But, what if you want the recipes to be displayed differently? The answer – custom post types. As a Programmer, you could spend time figuring out how to register custom post types and custom taxonomies.. or, you could just use this plugin and click your way to what you want.
Free and available here: http://wordpress.org/plugins/types/
Related plugins that build on top of “Types” are available for sale here: http://wp-types.com/
Of the few fully-featured WordPress shop plugins, WooCommerce generally has the public vote. Out of the box, it offers a number of Administrative features like:
- Stock management
It also comes with some default front-end pages for end-Users. However, if you want to make things look really good, you might consider one of the WooThemes (usually at a price).
The base plugin is available free here: http://www.woothemes.com/woocommerce/
Extensions, both free and paid, are available here: http://www.woothemes.com/product-category/woocommerce-extensions/