While WordPress plugins are an essential part of any WordPress installation, there are simply too many of them out there and it often becomes difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff. Especially when you consider that a plugin is an important part of any WordPress installation and affects your website directly- whether positively or negatively. The last thing you want is to install a buggy plugin that ends up slowing down the whole performance of your site.
That being said there were 4 plugins relseased this year that we consider an absolute must have for anyone who intends to use WordPress as their CMS. Not only are these plugins efficient, they provide functionality that a WordPress installation does not have on it’s own and best of all – these plugins are free.
OnePress Image Elevator
One of the most annoying things about working with WordPress is the way it deals with images. First you have to upload them all and then you have to manually insert them one by one as in your posts and pages. The system is not really efficient and requires way too many clicks than should be needed for such a simple task. Not to mention that fact that if you are composing a post at the same time, it completely interrupts your train of thought.
OnePress Image Elevator plugin makes that process ridiculously simple. For instance, to insert an image in your post, you can copy and paste it from the browser or from a photo editor. If you have the image file on your computer itself, then you can simple drag and drop it in the editor window. You can even select a part of an image (like a screenshot) and automatically insert it in your post. If you do image SEO then you can simply click on an image to change its name to whatever you’d like. This is image management as how it should’ve been out of the box.
Easy Facebook Like box
It’s no secret that social traffic and social media signals are very important to the success of any website. One of the easiest ways to accomplish this is by embedding a ‘like’ or a ‘share’ button within or underneath every post. While there are a lot of plugins that help implement that on a WordPress installation, most of them are complicated to run and can often clash with the design of your website.
Easy Facebook Like Box on the other hand is a very simple plugin that is a breeze to install and customize. Using shortcode, it can be displayed in the sidebar or in the main post body itself. The box in itself displays a like button, your Facebook stream feed and profile pictures of people who follow you. Definitely more effective than a simple like button.
In many situations you need to display a bunch of images together. Perhaps you want to showcase some screenshots or maybe make one of those top 10 image lists. The default gallery mode of WordPress is rather iffy and takes up a lot of time to work through. The NextGen gallery plugin on the other hand makes the job very easy by letting you batch upload images via drag-drop, direct FTP upload or even by uploading a zip file containing all of the images. The plugin auto imports the Meta data associated with the images as well.
The galleries you create are also managed from the same interface that also allows you to quickly modify image order, individual file names, and even quickly add watermarks. When it comes to the presentation, you can choose between gallery and thumbnail style displays, which can easily be divided into their own individual albums.
Speed Booster Pack
If there’s one thing that really improves the performance of your site, it is the page loading speed. Your users expect your site to load within a few seconds- anything more and they will simply close the window and move on. Given the amount of images we post, scripts we run and plugins we install on our WordPress installations, it can often become quite difficult for a site owner to get it running smoothly.