10 WordPress plugins you might not know about

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Top 10 lists of WordPress Plugins appear all over the web and the one things I invariably find is they tend to include almost the same stock set of the plugins. Sure, I could tell you all how wonderful Akismet is or harp on about Headspace 2 for your SEO needs, but I don’t need to since everyone else brings them into the spotlight. Instead, I’d prefer to tell you about some lesser known plugins that I feel deserve their own top 10 for their awesomeness.  I hope you’ll both agree and find something useful for your own site whilst reading.

Configure SMTP

If you want to have better control of your outgoing mail server connection, or would prefer to route all your outgoing mail through GMail rather than your local server’s mail function, then this plugin will provide you with a simple but really configurable options within your admin control panel.  I grabbed this plugin initially because my mail service for the last place on the net is handled externally of my web provider and I needed a secure login mechanism by which to access it since WordPress, by default, can’t facilitate this.

Wickett Twitter Widget

There are a number of Twitter related widgets available.  I’ve tried a few and to be honest was quite happy aesthetically with the one I had on another blog for some time; however because it wasn’t regularly updated, I started to experience incompatibilities with other plugins.  This Twitter Widget plugin is Automattic’s own offering to the plugin community and since they are the people who also responsible for WordPress itself, you’d expect it to be reliable and updated frequently.

TinyMCE Advanced

This enables the advanced features of the visual editor WordPress uses.  You can install it and just use it straight away, or alternatively customise the editor options so it suits your own personal needs.  I’ve found this invaluable when composing articles and would never return to the standard editor.

Digg Digg

This adds an ‘All-in-One’ social voting button system to your site.  You can choose as many of the following systems as desired whilst being able to quickly customise their placement: Digg, Reddit, dDone, Yahoo Buzz, TweetMeme(twitter), fbshare(facebook), Polladium, StumbleUpon, Delicious, Sphinn, Post comments, Google Buzz, Designbump, Designfloat and Thewebblend.  You can see it in action right at the start of this post.

Ozh’ Admin Drop Down Menu

The default admin panel within WordPress takes up a lot of screen real estate.  Even on large screens it eats into valuable space.  This plugin modifies the admin panel so that all admin links available in a neat horizontal drop down menu.

Post Ideas+

We all get ideas for content and we all record these ideas in different ways.  Post Idea+ allows you to jot down and record these ideas within the WordPress admin panel.  You can prioritise your ideas, add keywords and descriptions and when you are ready to write the article you can convert the idea into a post with a few simple clicks.

Secure WordPress

Our time and efforts are precious.  No one wants to have their WordPress site compromised or affected by another’s malicious actions.  This plugin makes a few simple but effective basic changes to your installation in order to better protect you .

Semisecure Login Reimagined

I’m going to quote the developers description because they summarise this far better than I possible can: “This plugin increases the security of the login process by encrypting the password on the client-side. JavaScript is required to enable encryption. It is most useful for situations where SSL is not available, but the administrator wishes to have some additional security measures in place without sacrificing convenience.

Login Lockdown

This adds an additional layer of security to a WordPress installation by restricting the rate at which failed logins can be re-attempted from a given IP range.

WPtouch iPhone theme

Not every WordPress theme is designed to support those users who visit your site from a mobile device, and lets face it, readers on the move are becoming ever more prevalent. This plugin formats your site with a mobile theme for the Apple iPhone / iPod touch, Google Android, Palm Pre and other touch-based smartphones. When viewing the site normally, you’ll see your regular theme. When on a mobile device, a custom theme will be used. Readers can opt to change to standard mode if they prefer.

Bonus plugin
Disqus comment system

Ok, I said top 10, but I really have to mention Disqus too.  Disqus is a replacement commenting system for your WordPress site.  Not only is it beautiful, it also encourages people to comment on your site by allowing user authentication via Twitter, OpenID, and Facebook.  You can really connect with your community through the various extras it adds to your site.  Rather than replicate their sales pitch, I’d highly recommend checking out the commenting system for yourself by giving us feedback below, and reviewing the system’s many features over on Disqus’ site.

If you’ve other WordPress plugins that you feel I should have included in this list then please feel free to get in touch below and tell me a bit about them.  Who knows, they might make part of a follow up article in the future!

  • bbrian017

    Hi James, I think that's your name anyways… Like I said on your blog engage submissions I love posts like this and I'm always open to learning about new plugins. I’m always adding to many and downgrading every week but when I see something I like I will always add it.

    Let me ask how do you like the comment system you’re suing here. I have been debating adding it to my blog but I’m just not sure if I want to. Do you ever experience load issues or anything using this system?

  • Rob

    Hi Brian, Yes, my name is James – but for the last 17 years I've been referred to by my nickname, Rob, which comes from my surname. If I have to put my full name down then I do on forms, but most of the time I just use Rob.

    Thanks for the kind words. I too am a bit of an addict when it comes to reading posts like this, which is why I thought I'd try and write my own with a different spin. I still read the ones like I mention in the article, since the one or two that aren't always mentioned tend to be worth investigating.

    I love the comment system Disqus provides me. I tried IntenseDebate by Automattic for a while but it just didn't work as well as I wanted it to. Disqus hasn't been without it's problems; however the team behind it are good at supporting it. It uses javascript to operate and before the version this site is running it conflicted with the Yet Another Related Post Plugin (YARPP). No errors were shown, the YARPP stuff just didn't display. I therefore had to run a beta version (sent to me by support to get over it). There's an update since then, but I don't currently run it, because it shows an error in my featured posts ticker (front of site) when the 5th images has finished being displayed. The lead support guy is on Twitter, @gianni and has asked me to send details in so they can fix the issue.

    Don't get me wrong, I had a couple of issues, but most users are fine. A tweep I regularly communicate with @Sheamus runs a site all about Twitter called Twittercism ( I believe I convinced him to move his commenting system over to it after he was also initially apprehensive. He has a lot of comments that needed importing, but Gianni helped make sure they all got imported properly. Since then, Sheamus has seen a massive increase in the number of commenter's on his blog. I'd certainly recommend you give it a go.

    Load issues haven't really been an issue – once or twice there were some slow downs, but they were widely reported and fixed fast.

    Thanks again!

  • Hi Rob, I found your blog from Blog Engage and a post from DragonBlogger. I wanted to add my 2 cents about Disqus here. The company I work for is stuck with using IE8 since we are running the Oracle system for our order processing. 🙁 It's ok to feel sorry for me now.

    Anyway there is a major problem with Disqus and IE8 and the bottom line is they simply don't communicate with one another and I get a blank screen (after typing in a simply superb, carefully worded comment). So when I'm at work (on my lunch hour of course) I can't even comment on blogs that use Disqus.

    Of course at home I have Chrome and it's smooth sailing here.

    I would love to give #9 a try. Any cool Twitter widget is worth a try. Thanks for the list!

  • Rob

    That's terrible that IE8 and Disqus aren't working with one another for you. I had no idea and to be honest, I am really surprised that more of this kind of issue hasn't been said about this on other sites. I was so surprised when you said that I fired up IE8 on my Windows 7 laptop, logged into this site and made a test comment – it worked.

    've even had a quick Google search to see if there are any other reported issues like you've experienced and turned up no results. I can therefore only assume that the issue you are experiencing is only with certain version of Internet Explorer 8. Perhaps your employer hasn't patched / updated the Internet Explorer component of your desktops and there's one needed to fix what you are seeing.

    Are you able to run Microsoft Update on your work PC, or is it locked down?

  • Rob,

    Thanks for the investigating this. I will be back to work next week, so I'll check it out and see if I can do the update. I think you might be right about my employer using a patch.

  • Hmm just came back for a re-read and decided to nic your plugin “backtype” too which you use and looks great but didn't mention in your post 😉

  • Rob

    It's built into Disqus directly which is why I haven't mentioned it. I didn't realise you could get it as a standalone plugin!

  • Hi Rob
    Nice description of such a great tool.I completely agree you.All the PlugIns are important if you want your site fantastic and attractive.I think it would really work for the beginners.
    Great job Rob !!

  • Secure WordPress which i like most due to security reasons, nice plugins

  • Rob

    Thanks. I found the security ones by following wpbeginner on Twitter

  • I think #1 is going to become even more important over the next year. If you look at your analytics, you may be surprised by the number of mobile visitors you are already getting.

  • Rob

    Indeed – we get a lot at the moment, particularly since a lot of our content is about mobile devices.

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