One of the things I enjoy most about attending wordcamps is learning about new and improved plugins that are available. There are literally so many plugins out there that it’s impossible for one person to keep track of them all so it’s always nice when developers openly share some of their favorite plugins w/ others. Since I will be speaking on ManageWP at Wordcamp Fayetteville this year, I figured I would put together this list of basic plugins that I use on a daily basis w/ my client projects. Hope you enjoy…
Genesis Specific Plugins:
The plugins referenced below all require the Genesis Framework.
Genesis Simple Hooks: This plugin creates a new Genesis settings page that allows you to insert code (HTML, Shortcodes, and PHP), and attach it to any of the 50+ action hooks throughout the Genesis Theme Framework, from StudioPress. Instead of the sometimes tedious and unfamiliar process of creating functions in your theme files, this plugin gives you an attractive, easy to use interface for modifying your Genesis theme via the hook system. The plugin accepts HTML, Shortcodes, and PHP and gives you access to all 50+ hooks built into the Genesis theme, and a few built-in WordPress hooks as well.
Genesis Simple Edits: This plugin creates a new Genesis settings page that allows you to modify the post-info (byline), post-meta, and footer area on any Genesis theme. Using text, shortcodes, and HTML in the textboxes provided in the admin screen, these three commonly modified areas are easily editable, without having to learn PHP or write functions, filters, or mess with hooks.
Genesis Simple Sidebars: This plugin allows you to create multiple, dynamic widget areas, and assign those widget areas to sidebar locations within the Genesis Theme Framework on a per post, per page, or per tag/category archive basis. Creating widget areas programmatically, then using conditional logic to properly assign them to sidebar locations can be a complex task for a beginner. This plugin allows you to do all this from a simple administration menu, and assign widget areas to sidebar locations with simple drop-down menus within the post/page edit screens, or when editing a tag or category.
Genesis Latest Tweets: Genesis Latest Tweets will add a new widget allowing you to show your latest tweets in any widget area. This plugin requires the Genesis theme framework which is available from StudioPress.com.
For e-commerce projects in wordpress I use one plugin exclusively,
Jigoshop: Jigoshop is a feature-packed eCommerce plugin built upon WordPress core functionality ensuring excellent performance and customizability. There are also tons of add-ons and themes for jigoshop available here. For additional information on jigoshop, please see some of my past blog entries…
Media Management Plugins:
The following plugins help to manage various types of media on your wordpress site including podcasts, photos, and videos, some even pull in content from 3rd party providers and locations such as Facebook, YouTube, etc.
kPicasa Gallery: This plugin displays your Picasa Web Galleries in a post or in a page simply by creating a post or a page with a special keyword. All the images are kept on the Picasa Web Gallery server. Please note that PHP5 is required. If enabled and properly configured, kPicasa Gallery will use the WP-Cache mechanism. You have to choice of using either Lightbox, Slimbox, Thickbox or Fancybox for displaying the large version of your photos. Slimbox support playing videos directly from your site. Selecting another engine will open a new window to the original Picasa URL.
Facebook Photo Fetcher: This plugin allows you to quickly and easily generate WordPress photo galleries from any Facebook album you can access. The idea was inspired by Fotobook, though its approach is fundamentally different: while Fotobook’s emphasis is on automation, this plugin allows a great deal of customization. With it you can create galleries in any Post or Page you like, right alongside your regular content. You do this simply by putting a “magic HTML tag” in the post’s content – much like WordPress Shortcode. Upon saving, the tag will automatically be populated with the Facebook album content. Presentation is fully customizable via parameters to the “magic tag” – you can choose to show only a subset of an album’s photos, change the number of photos per column, show photo captions, and more. Also, Facebook Photo Fetcher does not limit you to just your own albums: you can create galleries from friends and fanpages as well. This is very handy if you’re not the main photo-poster in your social circle: just let your friend or family upload all those wedding pics, then import them directly to your blog!
YouTube Feeder: Youtube Feeder allows you to embed a live Youtube feed anywhere in your WordPress blog. The feed is always up to date because it pulls directly from Youtube’s data api, but it can also cache the Youtube feed based on configurable settings. The feed can be: User Uploads, User Favorites, User Subscriptions, User Playlist, Standard Feed, Category / Tag, Search. The plugin is very flexible because every aspect is configurable. Each video feed can be configured separately, or you can use defaults that take effect site-wide. Each component is given accessible classes for complete customization of the display through CSS. The “Playlist” style of display was made possible by a jQuery plugin by Dan Drayne. The code is used with permission.
Powerpress: Blubrry PowerPress brings the essential features for podcasting to WordPress. Developed by podcasters for podcasters, PowerPress offers full iTunes support, web audio/video media players and more.
I like these two plugins to add a lot of functionality and usability to my projects:
Ether Content Builder: Ether Content Builder WordPress Plugin is a powerful tool for building custom content pages aided with innovative visual composer. It comes equipped with many commonly used widgets that can be laid out via interactive drag&drop interface. Ether Builder can use 3rd party widgets as well as custom crafted ones. Ether Builder is actively developed by Por Design and gets regular updates and bug fixes. No coding knowledge is required and it’s a must have brag for any serious content publisher that works with WordPress.
Elegant Builder: The Elegant Themes Builder is a plugin that provides some incredible tools for structuring the content on your page. The plugin creates a visual drag-and-drop canvas where you can add, arrange and re-size advanced elements on your page. This builder appears below the normal text editor when you create a post or page, creating a unique canvas for each. The builder allows to you quickly create columns, sliders, tabs, buttons, toggles, boxes and so much more.
For more on these two plugins see my blog…
User Engagement Plugins:
Timely Free Website Calendar: As far as event calendars go, I haven’t seen one better than this one. Timely’s All-in-One Event Calendar software helps companies, communities, and groups organize, promote, and share their events. I like how this calendar supports feeds, and can be shared across a network of websites.
Disqus Comments: The Disqus comment system replaces your WordPress comment system with your comments hosted and powered by Disqus. Disqus, pronounced “discuss”, is a service and tool for web comments and discussions. Disqus makes commenting easier and more interactive, while connecting websites and commenters across a thriving discussion community.
Facebook Comments: The Facebook Comments WordPress plugin makes it easier for you to setup, administer and customise Facebook comments from your WordPress site.