My Favorite WordPress Plugins


WordPress has to be one of the worlds best open source projects.  It’s incredibly powerful and it makes the delivery of content onto the web as easy as possible.

Extending WordPress with Plugins makes it dramatically more powerful.  Here are some of my favorites…

Blackbird Pie

Blackbird Pie is a plugin for @ that turns tweets into beautifully formatted HTML markup: http://kmz.me/blackbirdpie
@HKoren
Henry Koren

This was produced by inserting this markup using the URL copied from the “x minutes/hours/days ago” link below each tweet:

[­blackbirdpie url="http://twitter.com/#!/HKoren/status/73454064297455616"­]

The best thing about Blackbird pie is that it archives the contents of tweets.  If Twitter is offline or the person deletes their tweets, they’ll remain on your site.

WordPress Video Plugin

This automatically turns Youtube video URLs  (the complete ones, not the youtu.be short urls) into embedded videos.  So if I’m going to share a Youtube video, rather than share it directly I’ll just paste it’s URL into a post and send people to watch it on my site.  It supports a ton of other video sites too, not just Youtube.

Video Thumbnails

This pulls an image from the video you’ve posted and adds it as a featured image.  I’m not using these thumbnails in my actual site’s theme currently, they’re set to “display:none” in my CSS.  But this is great for using an RSS reader that includes images like like Pulse News or Facebook’s RSS Graffiti app to syndicate your content to a facebook page or profile along with a video thumbnail.

Caveat: Without this little tweak the thumbnails will not make it into your RSS feed, which is kind of the whole idea.

Disqus Comment System

This is the most popular and best way of having comments on your blog.  Does not get spammed like the default WordPress comment system does.

Contact Form 7

a really simple contact form plugin that just works.  Along with the really simple captcha plugin, it’s a great way to add a contact form to your site.

Twitter Widget Pro

For displaying a stream of your tweets in the sidebar of your site

Widget Logic

What if you don’t want the same widgets on every single page?  This is the way to add boolean logic to determine weather your widget will be displayed or not.   Expressions are in PHP and can use any wordpress codex functions (mostly the ones starting with is_) .  I use it like this…

Logic statement for hiding my RSS feed widgets from the post pages:  is_single()

Conversely, the logic statement I use for hiding my recent posts widget from the home page (which shows recent posts already):  !is_single()

Efficient Related Posts

Based on tags, this adds links to related posts at the bottom of each post.

NextGEN Gallery

This is a great way to add an image gallery with expanding lightbox that lets your user zoom into the images as they are clicked.  There are also a host of related plugins for having a smooth Javascript-based slideshows.  Example:

Caveat: You’ll still need to pre-process images to make them suitable for web, otherwise you’ll end up having people zoom into images that are many megabytes in size.

Meta Keywords & Descriptions

Without this plugin, the site excerpt shown in search results for your site may look rather weird.  This makes it show exactly what you want to show.  Example in action.

PJW Mime Config

This simple plugin lets you attach media types beyond the default ones.  I use it so that I’m allowed to upload files like KMZ files without them getting rejected by the wordpress media uploader.

YOURLS WordPress to Twitter

This is the best way I’ve found to send out tweets for my posts.  I’ve set mine up to use my own URL shortener which uses YOURLS.  If you don’t have your own url shorterner, you can also use services like bit.ly and is.gd.

Share Post

This is the best social media sharing component I could find.  I’ve tried some others like SexyBookmarks by Sharaholic, but I don’t like how it requires people to authenticate with OAuth just to send out a tweet.

Caveats: For twitter this bypasses the YOURLS short links, and instead use the t.co shortener, and for reddit, somehow it doesn’t automatically transfer the title of your post on your first share.

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