More Good WordPress Plugins

by Martin Malden

Back here and here I listed some plugins that I generally use on new blogs.

Since then I’ve come across some more.

However, as I’ve mentioned previously, you should be thoughtful about the plugins you install.

Not all of them are faultlessly coded and those that rely on external sites for data (e.g. related sites type plugins) can slow your blog down quite a bit.

For example:    

I recently dropped the ‘Share This’ plugin, one that I’d used for a long time.

The reason was twofold:

  1. It frequently slowed down page load times
  2. Social bookmarking has changed in character over the past several months and people are becoming more focused on one or two networks. For me those are Twitter and Facebook, and their respective plugins don’t slow my site down.

Another I recently removed was the Related Sites plugin. This caused a few PHP errors on new posts and slowed down load times. So it’s gone too.

As I’ve mentioned before, a plugin needs to demonstrate a very clear benefit to me before I install it. And if it causes me any problems it’s out.

So be thoughtful about the plugins you install.

Having said that, here are a few more that I’ve found recently and do like:

1. Raw-HTML. I reviewed this plugin here and I absolutely love it. Finally, I can use the HTML view to write posts and not suffer arbitrary editing by WordPress.

2. Contact Form 7. A contact form plugin. For a while I used cforms11 which, to be sure, is more flexible than CF7. But it was fiddly to upgrade and it signed its own death warrant when it threw a wobbly after I upgraded to Thesis 1.5.  CF7 is simpler, but still quite flexible, and easy to upgrade.

3. Add to Facebook. A nice, light-weight plugin that enables Facebook users to share your posts with their friends.

4. MaxBlogPress DealDotCom Widget. A neat plugin and widget that automatically displays a new ‘deal of the day’ in your sidebar each day. It promotes Clickbank Internet Marketing related products, so this won’t be of any use to you unless your blog is Internet Marketing related.

5. Really Simple CAPTCHA. A CAPTCHA plugin that was originally part of Contact Form 7 but is now maintained separately. It can be used with other plugins. It integrates seamlessly with Contact Form 7, but I’ve not tried it with any other plugins.

6. WP-Greet-Box. It adds a greeting to visitors in the same way as the What Would Seth Godin Do plugin does, but it’s more flexible. It can identify which site a visitor is clicking through from (Digg, Twitter, etc) and enables you to create a tailored greeting for visitors from each source. You can also restrict the frequency with which it displays to the same visitor to cut down on nagging.

The down side of WP-Greet-Box (and this is irritating) is that it’s fiddly to upgrade: you have to re-set a couple of the settings after each upgrade and re-do any styling you’ve set up.  It becomes even more frustrating when upgrades come in quick succession, which usually happens when an upgrade contains bugs.

OK, that’s it for now.

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