The best free WordPress plugins for February 2014

Welcome, friends, to WebdesignerDepot’s first monthly WordPress plugin roundup of 2014.

If there’s one word that I would use to describe the WordPress community, it’s this: huge. It should come as no surprise, then, that there are plugins being released and updated every single day. Some of them bring features that we all wish WordPress had by default. Some of them might only be useful to any given website creator once in their lifetime.

Either way, there’s a lot to explore, and every month, I’ll be writing about the freshest plugins making their way out of beta.

Now, without further ado, here’s this month’s batch of eye-catching plugins:

 

Custom Resources

If you use third-party themes for your WordPress site, this plugin might be for you. Simply put, it allows you to define CSS and JS files to be included in your site, no matter what theme you’re using (it also helps out if your theme is updated frequently).

Additionally, there are fields for including styles and JS code right “in the page” itself, if you want to do that kind of thing.

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GuiForm

GuiForm is one of the more interesting form solutions that I’ve found. You can embed the plugin just about anywhere on your site, or on other sites, through a WordPress shortcode, JavaScript, an iframe (the shortcode generates an iframe, by the way), or by copying and pasting the raw HTML. With that last option, you can customize the form to look however you like.

Form submissions can be sent to your e-mail, and you have a fair amount of control over how the information is presented in said e-mail. You can also view form submissions as entries in the admin panel. By the look of things, I imagine that you could also display said entries on your site’s front end, if that’s what you want. That would require some custom queries though.

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Zurb Foundation 5 Clearing Gallery

If you’re using a theme that includes Foundation as its base, this plugin will automatically apply Foundation’s “Clearing” plugin to WordPress’ default gallery function. Nifty. Requires Foundation 4/5.

003

 

Google Publisher Plugin (beta)

Ah, Google. Can they do anything wrong? I mean, okay, there was Buzz, Wave, and a few others, but this one’s good, I promise. In the beta release of this official plugin by Google, we are given easy access to two tools: Adsense, and Webmaster Tools.

Just install the plugin, verify that the site is yours, and you’re automatically connected to both of these services. From there, you can quite easily insert ads into your site, and access all of the goodies provided by Webmaster Tools.

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WP-DraftsForFriends

The concept is right in the name: want to show someone a draft of your latest WordPress post, on your site, without making a user account for them? Wp-DraftsForFriends creates a temporary link (you can define a time period of seconds, minutes, hours, or days) which will allow non-users to see your draft.

005

 

PhotoPress – Masonry Gallery

As you can probably tell by now, I’m kind of a fan of extending WordPress’ default functions over replacing them with new code. Hence, another-related plugin.

This one relies on another plugin, PhotoPress – Gallery, which allows you to create galleries based on taxonomies, and can creates galleries out of post types as opposed to attached images. PhotoPress – Masonry Gallery adds to this functionality by implementing a “masonry” layout that is, incidentally, responsive.

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Featured Image Zoom

Featured Image Zoom seems like it might be useful for anyone making a simple product catalog, or, well… any other use case where you need zoomable images. You can call it in your template, or with a shortcode.

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JSJ Code Highlight

Post a lot of code on your site? Want to give it some line numbers and syntax highlighting? This plugin handles, well… almost everything. To make it work, you have to go into text mode when editing your post and make sure it has the necessary markup for the syntax highlighting to trigger. But then, you’re already posting code, so why not?

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WP Post Series

Ever wanted a simple way to organize and present series of posts on your WordPress blog? Here ya go. A separate admin screen is added to the “Posts” section where you can define new series. Then, it’s just matter of selecting said series in the editing screen of each post in question.

 

WP Backup Lite

A simple solution for backing up your site. The “Lite” (free) version of this plugin only allows for manual backups to whatever computer you’re using, to the server you’re using, and/or a remote server via FTP. The pro version includes options for backing up your site to Dropbox and Amazon’s S3 service.

 

Eventissimo

Eventissimo is a detailed tool with everything you’d expect from an event-management plugin, with one bonus: you can hook it up to Facebook. Any event created in WordPress will automatically be posted as a facebook event as well. If you do events, and Facebook is a big part of your strategy, look into this one.

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GZip Ninja Speed Compression

This plugin only works if you’re on an Apache server. Other than that, though, it’s all install-and-go. The plugin is supported by ads on its (seemingly redundant) admin screen. That aside, it’s a simple tool that saves you bandwidth. Hard to argue with that.

Did I miss any awesome plugins from the past four weeks? Have you tried out any of these? Let us know in the comments.

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  • Ryan Camacho

    Thank you for this great collection of the month, Bruni. What are the criteria for you to come up with these plugins and put them in a list?

  • EzequielBruni

    Did you remember to apply the “code” tag with the correct class? That’s the only advice I can give. it worked for me. You can find some of the classes on the plugin’s own page.

  • http://JMarieDirect.com/ JMarieDirect

    The markers for Google Plugin landed in most random spots on my site. Thanks for list, checking some out.

  • http://www.benchmarkemail.com Dorothy Le

    Benchmark Email Lite is a great plugin for those who wish to utilize the traffic-gaining benefits of email marketing within the convenience of your existing WordPress account. You can create and upload a sign-up form box onto any page you want (which will self-adjusts its colors to match your page’s color scheme), send out email-friendly versions of your blog as an email campaign, and even check analytics to see when and where your traffic is coming from :)

  • Osama

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  • Kevin

    Great list! I always try to keep the plugins I use to a minimum but the ones you´ve mentioned here are really indispensable. I´ve noticed that I´m using different plugins for the same functions (e.g. wp-db-backup, instant upgrade). I´ll check out your proposals as they seem more flexible.

    http://www.howsimpler.com/wordpress/best-wordpress-plugins-for-beginners/

  • http://www.dailynewscompany.com/ Mehreen Ali Syed

    Dear Bruni im using Yoast SEO Plugin on my site http://www.dailynewscompany.com but someone said that install Easy WP SEO Plugin for better results on same site, now my question is that can i use both on my site ?