WordPress Plug In’s Worth Having, Issue 1

Okay, so you have your WordPress blog or site all set up… and now it’s time to add some plug-ins… and that’s really one of the great things about a CMS engine like WordPress, the plug-ins. Below are my favorite 9 WordPress plug in’s and what they do– all of these I have used and strongly recommend for their respective purposes.

Ive sorted these plug-ins into three sections: Website Functionality, Back of House Coding and Back of House Non-Coding. hopefully you find something new to use in your next site!

Back of House Coding Plug Ins:

1. Specific CSS/JS for Posts and Pages

This plug in is a MUST install for nearly ANY website or blog. It allows you to easily add internal/page specific CSS (or JS). Makes it very easy to overrule external without having to write a ton of inline commands– no brainer.

2. Browser specific CSS

Just call this one a huge time saver. Ever notice that a plug in or element on your site doesn’t load right in Internet Explorer 6, 7 or 8? Well, this plug gives you a simple set of classes that will impact specific browsers (like IE) with CSS commands. So for instance that widget that doesn’t load right in IE7? .ie7 { CSS adjustment } and DONE. It’s literally that easy. A must for any web designer looking for IE compatibility and making an effective cross browser website.

Non-Coding Back of House

3. Simple Page Ordering

Couple this with the next plug in on the list, and consider your time saved. Simple page ordering allows you to drag/drop WordPress pages up and down on the pages page to order them.

4. CMS Page Order

This page order plug in lets you drag and drop AND set parent/child hierarchy of the pages. Why install this AND simple page ordering? Well this one you have to be on a “page order” screen and the other one is more on the fly on the main pages screens. So why not just have them both?

5. Exclude Pages

Quickly exclude certain WordPress pages from site navigation. Simple, easy and useful.

Site Functionality (front of house) Plug Ins

6. Q and A (FAQ Page)

The simplest and possibly best implementation of a Q and A (FAQ) section I’ve seen for a site. It lists your questions, and then you click them and the answer smoothly fades in below (pushing the other questions down a bit) and disappears upon clicking the question again. Way better than the FAQs that send you way down the screen. This can also be used just for sorting information into an accordion like structure and has categories you can set to have multiple FAQs/Accordions on your site.

7. Login-Logout

Its a very simple “login” button that you can throw into your widget bar. Very small, hardly noticeable. Nice if you’re looking to create a discreet login in your widget area.

8. GetSocial

Getsocial is one of the better social sharing widgets I’ve used… which is saying a lot considering how many there are. It can create an adjustable vertical floating or static set of share buttons– including a Google Plus One, (which is still missing from most other social networking plug ins), and even space for custom buttons. Getsocial does require some tinkering to get it to look right on your site– but the options are easily available to do just that. Getsocial does have some quirks, and what I would consider a bug with the Google plus one display width– which may or may not give you problems depending on your use of Getsocial, I have a simple solution here for the Google Plus One width issue.

9. WP Google Fonts

You know when you see a website with text title logo that’s actually an image? They did that because the designer thought that to have a unique font– you need an image. That is no longer true and don’t let that be you. These days almost ANY look can be achieved with a font with Google Web Fonts. The value of having actual text instead of an image of text is clear on so many levels (size/looks/SEO etc…). Use this plug in to quickly and painfully adjust certain tags (like H1, H2 etc…) to use a specifically Google Web Font. The plug-in both loads the font from Google and overrides existing font-family tags to make the web font the first font used. First and foremost though, go bookmark the Google Web Font page as you’ll be depending on that to choose the fonts you want in WP Google Font.

Thats a wrap, if you have a plug-in you would like to suggest, please leave a comment.

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