Moving Beyond the Basic WordPress Plugin

I’ve been lucky to work with a wide range of amazing, passionate business owners.  We’ve worked closely to design and build their website in a way that represents and shows off their business in unique ways.  And during these phases of design and growth, I’ve come across some really cool WordPress plugins.

WordPress, on its own, is a great platform for blogging and designing a website.  But what makes WordPress a truly amazing piece of software is its plugin system.  The WordPress plugin directory currently lists 24,023 plugins. That means if you want to do something with your WordPress website, it’s pretty likely there’s a plugin for your need.  What is a WordPress plugin?  It’s a software component that gives you added functionality or features to an already existing WordPress site.  Typically, WordPress plugins are easy to install and implement with little or no programming experience needed.

Among those 24,023 plugins are typical WordPress plugins that most websites and blogs should make use of, like an SEO plugin, an anti-spam plugin, an analytics plugin, and a backup plugin. But there are some really cool plugins out there that can make blogging and connecting with clients easier and more unique.

These plugins can help make your blog look more polished and unique with just a few clicks:

  1. Bottom of Every Post (free) – Want a call-to-action on the bottom of every blog post you write?  Instead of manually adding it, you can use this plugin to add the same content to every single post automatically.
  2. Flexi Quote Rotator (free) – Testimonials are a great way to build trust with potential customers.   But why limit the awesome feedback your business has received to just one testimonials page?  This plugin allows you to put your testimonials in the sidebar of your website so that clients are reminded of your outstanding products or services no matter which page or post they visit!  Check out this plugin on Redirecting Children’s Behavior of the Lehigh Valley’s website.
  3. Enforce Strong Password (free) – This is a security related plugin, but I feel it’s worth mentioning, even though this doesn’t really affect those reading the front end of your website.  WordPress websites get hacked.  All the time.  It’s important to choose a secure password for your website.  If you have multiple users that login or write blog posts for your business, this plugin forces those users to choose a “strong” password, and thus, increases the security of your website.  Install it and rest a bit easier knowing no one on your website uses “password” or “123456” as their password.
  4. NextGEN Gallery (free) – Photos are a great way to show off your business’ products or services and NextGEN is a very user-friendly plugin.  This gallery plugin is a great base plugin and there are a ton of extensions that you can add onto NextGEN to extend your gallery to sell items, display video (instead of images) and more.  HomeAID For Africa uses this plugin to show off photos and video on their website.
  5. Share My Gallery (premium) – This plugin requires the NextGEN Gallery plugin.  Social sharing is a huge thing these days.  Installing this plugin with NextGEN allows users to hover over your gallery images and easily share them on on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or Pinterest.

So what plugins do you use on your website? Is there a plugin that’s made your business more efficient or allowed you to connect more easily with clients?

Image by oskay (CC BY 2.0) via flickr

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