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WordPress Plugins & Tutorials: Your Pick


Depending on your needs and professional skills, the choice of an optimal weblog engine can be quite time-consuming. There are many options, and selecting the best engine, you should know exactly what you’d like to have and which level of flexibility you’d like to achieve.

Among dozens of options, WordPress1 remains the most popular weblog engine out there. It is simple, powerful, extensible and flexible. There are literally thousands of plugins, themes, tutorials and related articles describing the ways to optimize WordPress for publisher’s needs and achieve the best possible performance of the blog.

You know them, because you use them and because you’ve searched for them once you needed them. In this post we’d like to give you an opportunity to share your knowledge and help us to create the essential list of WordPress life-savers – plug-ins, ideas, tips and useful tutorials you need to have ready to hand developing web-sites upon WordPress.

Wordpress Plugins and Tutorials: Essential Lifesavers

Begin: Date: 29.06.2007. Time: 08:00:00 EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) / 14:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time).

End: Date: 30.06.2007. Time: 08:00:00 EDT (Eastern Daylight Time) / 14:00 CEST (Central European Summer Time).

Folks, it’s your turn now. You have 24 hours.

How can I contribute? Link

Submit your best suggestions in comments. Please share one or more life-savers you use permanently using our comment form. Select the best ones, the ones you really couldn’t live without. Please provide the URL, the problem it solves and a brief description of the tool.

We’ll update this post permanently over the next 24 hours. During the next 24 hours we’ll scan through each and every one of the comments, select the best suggestions, add them to the list and provide a brief description of the tools (with or without screenshot). Of course, we’ll also directly link to the person who has submitted the suggestion.

We need your support. To make sure this post will provide web-developers with the best possible hints, we need your support. Please vote for us using the buttons at the top of this post, making sure this article reaches as many web-developers as possible and therefore offers the highest quality. Spread the word in your weblog.

Contribute: helping other developers, you help yourself. Please share your knowledge. Help us to help developers seeking for solutions you’ve already found once you needed them. And get solutions from other developers, ready to contribute to this post as well as you do.

You can submit your own work. You can also recommend plugins you’ve written and ideas you had, as long as they are useful. However, please don’t provide us with lists of WordPress plugins and tutorials – we know them already.

Spam will be blacklisted. Every comment spam will be blacklisted manually, so the link will never appear on Smashing Magazine again.

Share your knowledge, folks. We’ll do the rest.

WordPress Functional Plugins Link

  • Include AdSense and YPN ads automatically. AdSense-Deluxe2 offers advanced options for managing the automatic insertion of Google AdSense or Yahoo Publisher Network (YPN) ads to your WordPress posts. (TheBlogJoint.com81757146163)
  • Use a lightbox. Lightbox 2.04 overlay images on the current page for WordPress. You can turn it on and all images are now working with it. This version of lightbox – Lightbox version 2.0 uses Prototype JavaScript Framework and Scriptaculous Effects Library. (Yehia Nada48115)
  • Use an instant comments editor. WP Ajax Edit Comments6 allows users and admins alike to edit comments on a post. Users can edit their own comments for a period specified by the admin, and admins can edit all post comments. What better way to show reader appreciation than letting the readers edit their own typos? (AJ7)
  • Use a code cleaner. HTML Purified8 will not only remove all malicious code (better known as XSS) with a thoroughly audited, secure yet permissive whitelist, it will also make sure your documents are standards compliant, something only achievable with a comprehensive knowledge of W3C’s specifications. (Edward Z. Jang9)
  • Use an audio-player. Audioplayer10 makes it very easy to play mp3 files within your posts. (Yehia Nada48115)
  • Use an enhanced admin interface. Admin Drop-Down Menu12 transforms admin menu in a quick drop-down menu; you can reach any admin page in one click, instead of first clicking on the first level link (”Manage” for example) and then only on a submenu link (”Comments“). (ozh4413)
  • Use an enhanced comment form. PXS Mail Form14 creates a mail form with multipart verification, various messages and an auto redirect on successful send. It is much more easy to contact with website author. Alternative: Contact Form v2.015. (TheBlogJoint.com81757146163)
  • Use a post star rating. Post Star Rating enables users to rate posts of your weblog.
  • Use a search-and-replace tool. Search Regex17 adds a powerful set of search and replace functions to WordPress. These go beyond the standard searching capabilities, and allow you to search and replace almost any data stored on your site. In addition to simple searches you have the full power of PHP’s regular expressions at your disposal. (Sassan)
  • Use a spam-filter to prevent spam in your comments. Spam Karma 2 Akismet Plugin18 is a standard solution for preventing spam comments. (Cory Miller975319)
  • Use a stylesheet switcher. CSS Ajax Switcher20 combines the power of Server Side processing and DOM scripting to swap style sheets on the fly with the power of Ajax. If JavaScript? is disabled – UDASSS degrades gracefully to improve your website accessibility. Needless to say, it is very sexy indeed. (Dan Cameron4021)
  • Use a tagging system. Simple Tagging is a smart, quick and powerful tagging plugin with high performance and low server requirements.
  • Use and control RSS subscription in a smart way.. Feedburner Plugin4122. Forwards all feed traffic to Feedburner while letting through some important User-Agents. (Andreas4223)
  • Use caching to reduce the server usage. WP-Cache 2.024 an extremely efficient WordPress page caching system to make your site much faster and responsive. It works by caching Worpress pages and storing them in a static file for serving future requests directly from the file rather than loading and compiling the whole PHP code and then building the page from the database. (Brian25)
  • Use CAPTCHA to prevent spam. Anti-Spam Image Plugin26 works perfectly with users who have cookies disabled, users can pick random words to display. Alternative: reCAPTCHA27. (redwall-hp663528, Max29)
  • Use maths to prevent spam. Anti-Spam Image Plugin30 asks the visitor making the comment to answer a simple math question. This is intended to prove that the visitor is a human being and not a spam robot. (Tobbi3331)
  • Use validation to prevent trackback spam. Simple Trackback Validation32 performs simple but very effective tests on all incoming trackbacks in order to stop trackback spam. (Tobbi3331)
  • Use comments subscription for your posts. Subscribe to Comments34 is a robust plugin that enables commenters to sign up for e-mail notification of subsequent entries. The plugin includes a full-featured subscription manager that your commenters can use to unsubscribe to certain posts, block all notifications, or even change their notification e-mail address! (redwall-hp663528)
  • Use feeds to write posts in a smart way. WP-o-Matic36 allow you to create posts automatically from feeds. With its simple interface, you just type in the feed url, select in which categories you want to create the posts, and you’re ready to go. (Charlie Park37)
  • Use head meta tags for search engines. Head-Meta Description38 provides an automatic meta description tag for your blog, inserting a dynamic description depending on the query-type (i.e. page you’re on). Some search engines are supposed to love this tag, so I guess we should, too.
  • Use the search functionality. Search Everything39 adds search functionality with little setup. Including options to search pages, attachments, drafts, comments and custom fields (metadata). (Dan Cameron4021)
  • Provide an enhanced RSS-feed.. Feedburner Plugin4122. Forwards all feed traffic to Feedburner while letting through some important User-Agents. (Andreas4223)
  • Create and manage Custom Fields on the fly. Better Feed43 allows you to enhance your feeds with several highly customisable features. (ozh4413)
  • Create archives in a smart and sexy way. Extended Live Archives45 implements a dynamic, AJAXified way of digging into the archives of a blog. (TheBlogJoint.com81757146163)
  • Create data backups on the fly. WordPress Database Backup47 setups your backups to occur at almost any imaginable frequency. (Yehia Nada48115)
  • Create various profiles for your users. Role Manager allows you to define and manage multiple subscriber profiles – called Roles and their Capabilities. Also you can create new Roles and Capabilities. (Saioa49)
  • Define and execute your own functions in your posts. Code Markup makes it easy to include program code samples in your posts. You can even include HTML markup in the code sample; Code Markup magically knows which characters should be displayed as code and which should be rendered as HTML. (Dan50)
  • Execute php-commands in your posts. Exec-PHP51. The Exec-PHP plugin allows <?php ?> tags inside the content or excerpt of your posts and pages to be executed just as in usual PHP files.
  • Generate Google Sitemaps automatically. Google Sitemaps Generator52 generates a XML-Sitemap compliant sitemap of your WordPress blog. This format is supported by Google, YAHOO and MSN Search. XML-Sitemaps can help you to get indexed by the major search engines. (Cory Miller975319)

Displaying Data with WordPress Link

  • You can display popular posts. Popularity contest54 lets you automatically highlight your best posts to your readers. It keeps a count of your post, category and archive views, comments, trackbacks, etc. and uses them to determine which of your posts are most popular. (Staska5755)
  • You can stick a post. Adhesive56 allows you to easily mark certain posts as “Sticky”. Sticky posts appear at the top of the page when WordPress displays several posts. (Staska5755)
  • You can help landing users find what they need. Landing sites 1.358 highlights search queries users were using in search engines to find your site. When visitors is referred to your site from a search engine, they are definitely looking for something specific – often they just roughly check the page they land on and then closes the window if what they are looking for isn’t there. Why not help them by showing them related posts to their search on your blog? (TheBlogJoint.com59)
  • You can use enhanced pagination. WP-PageNavi60. This plugin adds a more advanced paging navigation your WordPress blog. Example: Pages (17): [1] 2 3 4 » … Last ». (Chris7977686461)
  • You can show similar and related posts. Similar Posts62. This plugin displays a list of posts which are related or similar to the current post. Alternative: Related entries63. (Chris7977686461)
  • You can create archives in a smart way. Smart Archives for WordPress65 will allow you to display your archives in a much “cleaner” format. You can see it in action on my archives page. You’ll notice that everything on the page is hyperlinked (years, months, posts) and that all of the respective links are future-proofed. (redwall-hp663528)
  • You can create footnotes in your blog posts automatically. WP Footnotes67 lets you create footnotes in your blog “on the fly”. Also paginated posts are supported. (Chris7977686461)
  • You can create sidenotes automatically. fQuick69 enables the user to add small custom quicklinks to the sidebar. With RSS feed for easy syndication. Tutorial70. lets you create footnotes in your blog “on the fly”. Also paginated posts are supported. (TheBlogJoint.com81757146163)
  • You can have more control over title presentation. Optimal Title72 mirrors the function of wp_title() exactly, but moves the position of the ’separator’ to after the title rather than before. This allows you to have your blog name tacked on to the end of the page title instead of having it appear first.
  • You can enhance WordPress as a CMS. CMS Enabling Plugins73: WordPress contains almost all the features you need to get it going as a CMS out of the box. However, you’ll find that there are a few things missing that make up the final pieces of the puzzle. Here’s an overview of the five most useful plugins I’ve found, and the part they play in making WordPress a butt-kicking CMS. (Jim)
  • You can use sIFR for your headlines. CG-FlashyTitles74 a drop-in Plugin for sIFR 2.0 Flash-based title replacements. (TheBlogJoint.com81757146163)
  • You can show your favourite books automatically. Now Reading76 allows you to maintain a virtual library of books. Display which you’ve read, which you’re currently reading, and which you plan to read; add metadata to describe them; write reviews detailing what you thought of them. (Chris7977686461)
  • You can show your current events automatically. Event Calendar78 lets you manage future events as an online calendar. Display upcoming events in a dynamic calendar, on a listings page, or as a list in the sidebar. (Chris7977686461)
  • You can use gravatars in your comments. Gravatars80 adds an author’s icon functionality in comments. (TheBlogJoint.com81757146163)
  • You can use podcasts in your posts. Podpress82: all-singing, all-dancing podcasting tool for WordPress. (jay mcdonald)

WordPress Tutorials Link

  • Separate users’ comments and admin’s comments.
    Comment Styling in WordPress83 and How-to style WordPress author comments84. In the default of most themes, all comments look the same. There have been ways of changing the appearance before using plugins and hacks – and this is more of the same. Hopefully though it’ll give you some extra flexibility.
  • Paginate your articles.
    Styling Page-Links85. Did you know you could split a single post up into different web pages? Using the Next-Page Quicktag from the Write Post Panel, you can break a single post up into different web pages.
  • Use time stamps.
    How to Take Full Advantage of Your Post Timestamp86. In WordPress you can set the date for something into the future—think of it as a dorky sort of time travel—so that you can write (if you wanted to) weeks worth of posts in an afternoon. WordPress will “update” your blog by posting your content at the time you specify each day. Here’s how to do it. (Ryan Imel87)
  • Use comment highlighting.
    Author Comment Highlighting88 and Author Highlighting Through Theme Options89 provide information about styling author’s comments.

Resources, articles Link

WordPress Ideas Link

  • “Change the Permalinks Structure – I use this format … /%category%/%postname%/ … I use the category slug so I can optimize my post titles with keywords that I won’t or don’t include in post titles. My friend Brian Gardner puts a .htm also at the end, which I’m experimenting with as well. My theory is that in search results some people might see the .htm and think there’s actual content in that link. Jury’s still out on that one.” (Cory Miller975319)

Footnotes Link

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Vitaly Friedman loves beautiful content and doesn’t like to give in easily. Vitaly is writer, speaker, author and editor-in-chief of Smashing Magazine. He runs responsive Web design workshops, online workshops and loves solving complex UX, front-end and performance problems in large companies. Get in touch.

  1. 1
  2. 2

    How to write a wordpress plugin – A series of articles, 12 in total, with full steps for creating your first WordPress plugin.

    WP AJAX Edit Comments Released by the Reader Appreciation Project, WP AJAX Edit Comments requires no code editing, but allows admins and users the ability to edit their comments for a set amount of time.

  3. 3

    I have no tutorials so here is some advice for wordpress users, dont use wordpress!

  4. 4
  5. 5

    Persistent Styles
    Google Sitemaps Generator
    Similar Posts
    Edit Comments
    Custom Admin Menu
    Subscribe To Comments
    Comment Email Responder
    My Link Order
    My Page Order
    Now Reading
    Event Calendar

  6. 6

    Four Blank WordPress Themes – A collection of four blank WordPress themes which only have their basic layout complete. These are a perfect resource for WordPress theme makers as they save a lot of time when creating your theme.

  7. 7

    This is a fairly new plugin, but since it uses HTML Purifier, it’s awesome in its own right. :-)

    HTML Purified – Replaces kses with HTML Purifier, enhancing XSS protection and ensuring standards compliance

  8. 8

    Plugin: All-in-one SEO Pack.

    WordPress already provides good SEO out-of-the-box, but this plugin pushes that achievement even further. Can be used to write excerpts, tweak titles, defining meta keywords, and more.

  9. 9

    WordPress tutorials & tips

    WordPress Tiger Admin – doesn’t work in IE but is still a beautiful restyling.

    Code Markup Plugin – allows code to be used inside tags.

  10. 10
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    How to Take Full Advantage of Your Post Timestamp – Covers how to use the built in timestamp editing of WordPress to post for days (or weeks!) in advance.

    Getting the Most Out of Your WordPress Template Tags: Listing Pages – Various useful tips to try out when modifying your template tags, specifically your list_pages template tag.

    How to Install Google Analytics on Your WordPress Blog – Fairly self explanatory; use an industry-leading analytics software on your WordPress blog. Step-by-step format.

    Customizing Your 404 Page – All about creating a better user experience by customizing one of the most important pages on your site. With examples and suggestions.

    The First Changes to Make to Your WordPress Install – You have just installed your first WordPress site, and now you want to get started improving it. Where to start? This tutorial helps you get going.

  12. 12

    why do you link to

    you can’t use plugins there.

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    wp-cache is probably my number 1 plugin.

  14. 14

    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    June 29, 2007 10:26 pm

    Updated until 9:00 pm. Please spread the word.

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    + Everyone already knows that custom fields are the bomb. But couple it with Custom Field GUI, and your life got so much easier!

    + Similar Posts and Random Posts make it easy for you to allow your visitors to browse other stories

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    Why Transitional Doctypes are Better for WordPress Blogs – An interesting look into why it may be better to build WordPress themes with a Transitional DOCTYPE rather than a Strict one.

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    Sorry for the self promotion but this is a plugin I can’t live without when I freelance out wordpress sites.
    Search Everything
    Adds search functionality with little setup. Including options to search pages, attachments, drafts, comments and custom fields (metadata).

    I do have some other suggestions:
    Google Ajax Search
    CSS AJAX Switcher

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    Lightbox 2.0 for WordPress Overlay images on the current page for WordPress. You can turn it on and all images are now working with it. This version of lightbox – Lightbox version 2.0 uses Prototype JavaScript Framework and Scriptaculous Effects Library.

    WordPress Database Backup Because backups are very important, this plugin can setup your backups to occur at almost any imaginable frequency.

    Audio Player WordPress plugin Makes it very easy to play mp3 files within your posts.

    I have personally installed those and find them very useful.

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    WP-Suicide ! Deletes all your posts, comments, etc.
    Search-Regex ! Search and Replace whatever, everywhere !

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    WP-o-Matic – a brilliant aggregator for different feeds, importing them into your blog’s database. It’s fantastic.

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    Role Manager
    Plugin to manage the users views of the administrator.

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    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    June 30, 2007 12:29 am

    Updated until 10:00 pm. Thank you.

  24. 24

    A friend of mine wrote a couple of tutorials on styling author comments:

    Author Comment Highlighting


    Author Comment Highlighting Through Theme Options

    The second one follows on from the last but makes it easier to update the e-mail in use using The WordPress Theme Toolkit, another handy download for theme developers.

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    For Captcha you can use recapcha‘s wordpress plugin : “reCAPTCHA improves the process of digitizing books by sending words that cannot be read by computers to the Web in the form of CAPTCHAs for humans to decipher.”

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    I blogged this week “In Praise of Template Tags”, listing five examples for how Template Tags can extend WordPress’s functionality as both news database and flexible CMS.

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    June 30, 2007 1:13 am

    You should also check out a list that I created of some the Most Popular WordPress Plugins, and also another list with some of the Best SEO Plugins for WordPress

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    Vitaly Friedman & Sven Lennartz

    June 30, 2007 1:56 am

    Updated until 11:00 pm.

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    WordPress tutorials :

    Things you should know when displaying pages in WordPress : quick guide on things WordPress users should be knowing with listing Pages.

    Things you should know when using post excerpt : Detailed tutorial on how-to use excerpt and where to use them.

    How-to turn visitors into returning visitors : various requisite WordPress
    plugins to make visitors feel at ease.

    The proper way to write code in your blog posts : how to write code in posts so that the blog doesn’t break when displaying them

    Quick shooting stats of your WordPress blog : displaying the number of posts,comments and categories one has on his WordPress blog

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    How to exclude a post from feed/first page/archives:
    Ultimate Category Excluder


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