Whether you’re a designer, a developer (or both), chances are you don’t have a lot of spare time. With that in mind, here are some of my favorite WordPress plugins that can help you get things done and move on to the next project.
This one’s installed on each WordPress site I create. It creates a simple, easy to understand menu of some common tasks. This is especially handy for helping your clients understand how to update their own website. I advise them to focus on what the CMS Dashboard plugin displays, and forget about the sometimes overwhelming menu on the left side of the WordPress Dashboard.
Ever need to display widgets only on specific pages of a site? This is a quick and easy way to do it. The plugin simply adds a dialog to the bottom of any widget you add to a sidebar that lets you pick and choose what pages, posts and categories you want to display it on. Ideal for smaller sites.
List Category Posts
While you can create a page template in your WordPress theme to list posts from a specific category, List Category Posts will do the same thing using either a handy shortcode or widget. The nice thing about this plugin is that it will also allow you to create your own custom templates. So, how you display category listings on one page can be completely different on another.
Raw HTML Snippets
SB Child List
Use a simple shortcode to display a list of child pages in an unordered list of links. There is also another shortcode included that allows you to display the parent within a child page. I often like to use this at the bottom of a post as a handy means of navigating through a set of content.
Search and Replace
Often times, when working on a new project, I need to use a temporary URL before the site launches. Once the domain name is pointed to the new WordPress installation, there may be a few outdated links still pointing to the temporary URL. While WordPress takes care of some of these issues automatically, there are some links it doesn’t update (especially in certain widgets). Search and Replace makes it easy to search for any references to the temporary URL and replace it with the new one. Of course, you could also use this to search and replace other items in your database, so be careful!
Smart WYSIWYG Blocks Of Content
If your widgets will require things like images, formatted text, custom links and the ability to process shortcodes, Smart WYSIWYG Blocks of Content can be a real timesaver. This plugin creates a custom post type called "Smart Blocks". Add a new post, and, using the full WordPress WYSIWYG editor, add it as a widget on your sidebar. A simple way to add some unique widgets.
It’s the very definition of "set it and forget it". Install WP DBManager, customize your settings, and get a backup copy of your database emailed to you (and saved on the server) at whatever interval you’d like. Peace of mind made easy.
Need to quickly embed a YouTube video on your blog? This plugin creates a shortcode: [youtube_sc url=any_youtube_video_url]. All you need to do is past the URL of the video you want to embed.
While all of the functionality of all of these plugins can be duplicated by writing your own code, plugins do provide a very quick method of getting things done. And, in a hectic environment, saving time (and the occasional headache) is a very good thing.
So, what are your favorite time-saving plugins? Feel free to share them below.