Plugins that work for me

I have recently been working on a magazine styled website for http://www.teachers-alliance.org

My choice of software was of course WordPress with the Arras theme (perfect for that magazine look) and a gaggle of plugins. It was difficult for me to find just the right plugin, one that looked great and did what it needed to do. Eventually I finished with these 14 plugins. If you’re looking to set up a similar website maybe this list will help you to get started.

Autolink URI http://www.semiologic.com/software/autolink-uri/

Automagically turns written links into clickable links. Like the one just above. Invaluable for the lazy webmaster.

Avatars http://www.sterling-adventures.co.uk/blog/2008/03/01/avatars-plugin/

Well integrated and appealing for authors and visitors alike, after all, we all like to see who we’re talking to – right?

Drop Caps http://instantsolve.net/blog/plugins/

Nothing says “magazine” like an article, page or post that begins with a big giant letter. People notice the little touches.

flickrRSS http://eightface.com/wordpress/flickrrss/

If you have photos in flickr this widget is probably one of the best for sharing your images on your site. You can choose random, user, user set, or a group. It’s nice to use if you want to encourage a reader to look “beneath the fold”.

Newsletter http://www.satollo.net/plugins/newsletter

It does what it says on the tin. You can send a newsletter to subscribers about your site. There is a paid version that has an automatic scheduler for roughly $20. This is the only paid plugin I have, and I think it’s worth it if you are looking for a way of keeping subscribers informed about what your latest articles are and so forth. Having waded through the dreck of other newsletter plugins I can honestly tell you that this one is a little gem.

SI CAPTCHA Anti-Spam http://www.642weather.com/weather/scripts-wordpress-captcha.php

CAPTCHA based anti-spam plugin. Easy and almost totally painless.

Sidebar Login http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/sidebar-login/

The fact that WordPress doesn’t automaticly do what this plugin does befuddles me some-what. The fact that this plugin exists pleases me greatly. It’s a widget that lets you logon, and then once logged on has a link to your logoff, profile, and dashboard. If you have avatars installed it will even show that. Magnifique!

Simple:Press Forum http://simplepressforum.com/

If you want a fully fledged and integrated forum on your WordPress blog then there is only realy one choice, and that is Simple:Press.

SlideShare http://yoast.com/wordpress/slideshare/

If you want to embed a slide show from http://www.slideshare.net this plugin makes it a two-second job. WordPress freaks out slightly if you drop a huge wad of <embed> object tags into an article. This plugin solves that problem.

Socialize This http://www.fullondesign.co.uk/socialize-this

A series of little buttons allowing people to share your article on sites such as facebook, twitter, and reddit etcetera. I popped mine at the end of the article.

Social Links Sidebar http://www.commareus.com/

It took me a long, long time to find this plugin. All I wanted was an icon based plugin that allowed people to be taken to my facebook fan page or my twitter account so that they could follow me. This is the only plugin that could do that and wasn’t so hideously ugly that I wanted to gouge my eyes out. Even though it says “sidebar” you can place it in the footer with the Arras theme. Genius!

Status Updater http://www.francesco-castaldo.com/plugins-and-widgets/fb-status-updater/

Another plugin that eluded me for far too long! This plugin pushes updates to facebook, twitter, myspace etcetera announcing that a new article has been posted. It’s a good way of dragging eyeballs back to your site.

W3 Total Cache http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/stats/

The only cache that didn’t break my site. Also reduced the entire load time of my page from 15 seconds down to 9 seconds. Impressive!

WP-DBManager http://lesterchan.net/portfolio/programming/php/

It optimizes your database automatically at regular intervals. Another god send for a lazy webmaster such as myself.

I hope this little article helps someone, I know it would have helped me if I had found something like it before I had to test any number of god forsaken plugins myself. If it does help you, please leave a little note telling me so, I’d like to see what you’ve created!

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