I’m a huge proponent of using WordPress for building websites and blogs. (Note: I’m referring to self-hosted WordPress sites, not the free wordpress.com service.)
And although there are tons of great features built into the core WordPress application, most people are going to want to take advantage of plugins to make it easier to manage their sites. I have a couple of dozen, but these five are probably the ones I use the most.
Anti-spam by webvitaly
When you first install WordPress, it automatically installs the Akismet plugin to try to prevent comment spam. Unfortunately I never found it particularly effective so I was thrilled when a friend recommended Anti-spam. Since I installed it (quite a while ago) I almost never get spam in my comments anymore. Huzzah!
The basic plugin is free and there’s a Pro version that provides additional controls.
Duplicate Post by Lopo
Every Friday I publish a post with tech headlines I’ve found during the week that I think my readers would be interested in. I use the Diigo tool to create the bookmarks and provide code that automatically pulls in the headlines and descriptions. I use the Duplicate Post plugin (also recommended by a friend!) to create a clone of the previous week’s post and the only things I need to change are the Diigo tags for that week’s headlines.
Note: When I first started using this plugin, I didn’t understand the difference between Clone and Copy to a New Draft. The first command just creates the duplicate and keeps you on whatever screen you were on. It’s useful if you want to duplicate a lot of posts at once without actually working on them. The Copy to a New Draft creates the duplicate and takes you to that new post’s edit screen so you can start working on it immediately.
This is the only plugin by this developer, but it’s a goood one! 🙂
Post Expirator by Aaron Axelsen
I’m kind of surprised this functionality hasn’t actually made it into core WordPress, but until it does, this plugin is great for when you have posts that you want to automatically expire at a specific date and time. I have a custom post type for ads and promotions that I then insert in various places throughout T4L and a lot of these are for time-limited deals. So when I create them I can set them to expire when the offer is no longer available. But you may also have regular pages and posts you want to use it with. You can choose to have the posts change to Draft status, be deleted, or change the categories for them.
Post Snippets by Johan Steen
This plugin is great if you have certain content or code that you use a lot and don’t want to have to type it in from scratch everywhere you use it. For example, I use this plugin in any post where I have a lot of screenshots, which I store in a specific folder on my web host. (I don’t use the Media Uploader for screenshots because I don’t want to generate all the different sizes of it.) I’ve set it up so that it will create the HTML for inserting images in the post, with a blank field where I can enter the actual file name. Using Post Snippets reduces the chance of me making a typo in the code that prevents the image from showing up.
Another nice feature of the plugin is that you can use it to create shortcodes that you enter into your posts. This is helpful if you have a certain piece of content on multiple pages and you need to update at some point. Instead of having to go into each individual post, you can change it just once in the plugin’s settings and it will update everywhere the shortcode appears.
Remove Widget Titles by Stephen Cronin
This plugin is so. freaking. brilliant. There are lots of times when you’re adding a widget to your site and you don’t want the title to appear. Usually you have to leave the title field blank, but then that makes it hard to tell what the widget is on the main Widgets page. With this plugin, all you have to do is add an exclamation point in front of the title in the widget box and it will not show up on your site!
Note: Some widgets don’t allow you to enter your own title, in which case this plugin won’t work with them. But it’s really great for plain text widgets, which make up more than half of the widgets I use on T4L.
So those are my faves? Do you have other plugins you’d like to recommend? Leave them in the comments below!
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