The best free WordPress plugins for May 2014

It’s that time again! Open up your local WordPress install (the one that you use for testing plugins)—everyone has one of those, right? It’s not just me?—and get ready for another month’s worth of WordPress community goodness.

This month we’ve got a variety of plugins, useful for everything from managing accounts to adding extra content. Let’s jump in…

 

Secondary Title

As with most of these plugins, the name tells you most of what you need to know. Secondary Title gives you the option of including some extra text around the title area. Why would you want to do that? A great example is the current Digg site where sub-headings are used to add snarky observations.

You can configure the sub-heading text to be shown before or after the title; or call it separately in your site’s theme.

 

Style Buddy

There are many different approaches to adding extra CSS or JavaScript to your site without touching the theme files themselves. If you find yourself wanting to use a lot of different custom code on specific posts or pages, this plugin is what you want.

An extra input box for CSS, and one for JavaScript, is appended the edit screen for pages and posts, and that’s it. You’re good to go. I’d like to see some syntax highlighting and proper handling of indentation, though. That’d be cool.

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Post Feedback

Post Feedback is a dead simple plugin for getting an idea of what your readers think. It places a drop-down list of 2-5 configurable options for users to choose from at the end of each blog post.

The form appears only once for each viewer. The responses are shown in mini-graph form beside each post on the edit page, giving you an instant overview of public opinion on your posts.

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Better Email Validation

If you have a large community, and you want to make sure they’re all more or less human, this one’s for you. Better Email Validation is best described in the words of its own author:

[It] Provides better email validations to protect your blog from spam comments and bots creating accounts. It does deep validation to make sure the email account exists on the server. It requires fsockopen to be available and ability to connect to port 25.

 

Project Manager by TPC

Have you ever wanted a full project manager right in your WordPress install? Well, now you can have it. Project Manager allows you can create projects, task lists, assign tasks to specific users, the works.

I just hope that the plugin’s creator decides to include some sort of timeline/time tracking feature later. I’d love to see that.

 

Admin Bar Button

Want access to the admin bar while you browse your WordPress blog, but don’t want it in the way? I usually take it out completely, but for those who’d rather have it there just in case, this plugin is a great option.

Your admin bar gets turned into a button. Hover over it (sorry, Finger-tappers), and the rest of the bar will show up. Leave the bar alone for five seconds, and it goes away again.

 

Article Directory Redux

This plugin isn’t so much a new plugin as it is an updated version of the original, which seems as though it has been abandoned by its creator.

Simply put, you install the plugin, call a function in your theme, and you have a category-based directory of all your posts. But more than that, you can make it a community affair with front-end post submission. So if you want to make a user-generated directory of… well, anything… this plugin does the job.

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Audio/Video Bonus Pack

If you work with a lot of audio/video files, and you have ffmpeg on your server, this plugin will save you a bit of hassle. It’s feature-sparse at the moment, but that will change, and in the mean time, what it does is awesome: it converts all audio/video uploads to HTML5-friendly formats. Besides that, it can also generate HTML5 fallback code for your embeds.

If one of our more daring readers would like to give this plugin a more thorough testing than I was able to manage, please let us know in the comments, I want to see just how much can be done with it.

 

Disable User

If you’re running a community site, you may want to place a temporary ban on someone until a given situation is resolved. Disable User is a very simple way of implementing this unpleasant but sometimes necessary task.

Just pick a user, select “Disable”, and save. The affected user won’t be able to log in, and will be presented with a popup telling them as much.

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Muut

Muut is a fantastic service that provides free (with paid upgrade options) forum and commenting solutions. Check out a few Muut-based forums, they are awesome!

The Muut plugin allows you to embed your forum on your WordPress site. If you want a discussion board on your site, but don’t want to turn the whole site into a discussion board, this is a winner.

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TDP – Frontend User Manager

This plugin can facilitate user registration and logins by allowing you to place login, sign-up, and password recovery forms on any post or page with a couple of shortcodes. That’s it!

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  • http://www.miraclegroup.com/ Jasonsmith21

    Good stuff! Out of all the plugins you have mentioned above I would surely use Post Feedback on my blog and will see the reaction to my posts through that.

  • Paul

    For May?

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/ Walter Apai

      Thanks for pointing that out. It will be fixed.

    • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/ Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

      This actually is for May. We include the new plugins we think will be big over the next month, so the article we release at the end of April is for May, next month’s will be June’s selection and so on.

      Normally we’d wait a few more days to release this article, but when we’ve got a lead on some great resources we like to try and get them out there as quickly as we can.

  • http://www.webdecorindia.in/ Webdecor India

    How to do that flip , that’s happening in some of your words u highlighted here…..

  • http://www.webdesignerdepot.com/ Benjie — WebdesignerDepot

    A variety of factors, but essentially Ezequiel has tried them out and given us his opinion. Naturally opinions differ, and other reviewers may feel differently.

    But you don’t have to take our word for it, try them out for yourself!

  • Alessandro Tesoro

    I’m the author of that plugin, have you actually read the review left by user who rated it 1 star? The review has nothing to do with issues within the plugin itself. It doesn’t make much of a sense since the description clearly states what the plugin does.

    It just highlights one of the main issues of the WordPress.org flawed reviews system.

  • Alessandro Tesoro

    Thank you for featuring my plugin, hope that the no-sense 1 star review doesn’t scare anyone in trying the plugin ;)

  • Ashen

    Great post, thanks for sharing.

  • http://muut.com Paul Hughes

    Thanks for putting Muut on this list!

    I’m Muut’s primary WordPress developer. Just wanted to add that Muut can also be used instead of WordPress commenting. It can actually turn the community experience on a website into one cohesive, real-time experience, between both commenting and the forums.

    Also we’re excited to mention that we just released a new version of the plugin (3.0) which makes it even easier to embed Muut in your website—among other things, we added a Muut panel to the page and post editor, which means you can embed Muut with no short codes required. Feel free to check out our blog post at https://muut.com/blog/release/v3.0-wordpress.html

    Thanks again for dropping us on your list! :-)