As an open-source content management system, WordPress is undoubtedly the most popular blogging platform on the market. What started as a simple blog tool evolved into a full website development kit. By incorporating the right plugins and templates, you can easily develop your WordPress site into anything imaginable.
It isn’t a secret, but this statica.com website is built on WordPress. It is simple to use and it expands as needed. If I ever expand this site beyond what it is, I know there are plugins already available to ease the transition.
In my real-life job I maintain several complex websites that utilize WordPress beyond what is normal. I am constantly asked to find solutions to difficult website issues. Due to the depth of the plugin-development community, I can usually find what I need already built. With a few modifications and perhaps some simple coding, I can tailor that plugin to my exact needs. There is no need to rebuild the wheel.
In the time I’ve spent as a WordPress developer, I have come across numerous plugins that are both useful and powerful. Some are well-recognized, downloaded by millions of users and integrated into sites across the globe. Other plugins are new and still finding their market.
With that in mind, here is a collection of five WordPress plugins I think are rather useful.
The native WordPress search function works well, but it doesn’t always provide accurate search results when indexing large or complex sites. Relevanssi addressed that issue and built a completely new search bar that provides improved search results.
There is both a free version and a paid version of this search bar available. The free version works well and should satisfy most search-related needs. If you are looking for additional features beyond the basics or a more robust system, the Relevanssi website has information on their pro version.
Features of Relevanssi:
- Search results sorted in the order of relevance, not by date.
- Fuzzy matching: match partial words, if complete words don’t match.
- Find documents matching either just one search term (OR query) or require all words to appear (AND query).
- Search for phrases with quotes, for example “search phrase”.
- Create custom excerpts that show where the hit was made, with the search terms highlighted.
- Highlight search terms in the documents when user clicks through search results.
- Search comments, tags, categories and custom fields.
All Video Gallery
The All Video Gallery was originally designed as a Joomla extension and has recently created a version for WordPress. While it is still a little buggy and there are a few complexities in set-up, this is one of most intriguing video gallery systems in the WordPress plugin market.
Features of the All Video Gallery:
- Supported Media formats : flv, mp4, 3g2, 3gp, aac, f4b, f4p, f4v, m4a, m4v, mov(h.264), sdp, vp6.
- HTML5 fallback.
- Simplified Shortcode to add Players and Thumbnail galleries either to your Posts [or] Pages.
- Thumbnail Galleries can be built based on Categories or Latest, Featured, Popular and Random Videos.
- Widget option to add Thumbnail galleries to your website’s sidebar.
- Coloring the player skin.
- Adding or Removing skin elements.
- Facebook and Twitter Share.
- Related Videos inside the Player.
- Branding of the Player.
- Option to add Videos by simply providing the Video URL.
- Youtube API to play Youtube videos.
- True Streaming methods like RTMP and Lighttpd.
- CDN streaming like Amazon Cloudfront, Highwinds SMIL and Bitgravity Streaming.
- Option to add Third party Embedcodes.
This is a very simple plugin that serves a specific function. If you have posts that need to be automatically removed on a particular date, this is what you need. The plugin also allows you to move the post into a new category.
When you create a post, the plugin provides a checkbox where you can expire the post on a particular date. Or, you can have the post move from one category to another.
Picture this… you have a post you want to move to an ‘archive’ category at the end of the month. Instead of manually changing the category, you can set the date and the new category. Simple as that. Or, if you want the post to be removed from your site, you can have the post revert back to draft mode.
Many modern WordPress templates are being released as ‘responsive’, meaning they will modify their format to accommodate cell phones, tablets, laptops, desktops, etc… In many cases, the entire structure of the site will change.
But what if you don’t have a responsive template? This is where WPtouch becomes an invaluable tool. This plugin changes your WordPress page into an app-like theme in order to be displayed on mobile devices. There are also features to specifically modify how mobile users will see your site.
There is both a free version and a paid version of this plugin available. If you are looking for a simple method to make your site mobile-friendly, the free version should do most of what you want. If you are looking for a solution that will take your site further, you may want to consider the pro version.
The Oqey Gallery is more than just a simple slideshow viewer. It has a wide range of built-in features taking a basic gallery and presenting the images in new, exiting ways. This gallery fully supports most image formats… and it also supports video and audio.
I have recently installed this gallery on another website and have been diving in to the capabilities. This is a very deep plugin and grows with your needs. It is different than others already on the market, so you may want to test the demo before installing it into your site.
Features of the Oqey Gallery:
- NEW: Language support
- Video support added
- Music scanner / locator
- New skins added
- Simple and intuitive gallery management
- Built-in video support
- Skinnable flash slideshow
- Free skins available
- Batch media upload
- Works with any wp theme
- Customizable slideshow size
- Drag & drop to sort images
- Custom skins on demand
- Insert in posts / pages with a single click
- iPhone / iPad detection
- Fullscreen support
- Advanced SEO tools for indexing photos in google and other major Search Engines
- Multiple play control – if you press play another instance of a slideshow in a page, the started slideshow will stop playing
- Custom logo support | commercial skins
- Captions support | commercial skins
- Flash Watermark support | commercial skins
- Auto-crop option
- Continuous play option
- Reverse order function
- Import from existing slideshows / galleries created by supported plugins without duplicating content