The best free WordPress plugins for June 2014
Ladies and Gents, we’re back with yet more plugins for you to try out. As usual, we’ve got a little something for everyone; from improving your writing to improving your community’s code.
Take a look through the list, and see if you don’t find something useful.
Alert Post is Old
Ever been looking for some technical help on the Internet, only to find that all of the relevant advice seems to be a few years out of date? It’s worse when, at first, it looks like you might have finally — finally — found what you need.
If you’re writing a blog, about, say… handy Linux software (just an example… that matters to me) you can save some people a bit of time and frustration by letting them know, up front, that the post they’re reading might be out of date. Activate this plugin, and go. You can optionally set the number of years after which an article will be considered potentially useless, and customize the message that is displayed.
Trust me, people will love you for it.
Codeblocks addresses a problem that, honestly, I didn’t know I had—I just accepted it as the norm. Have you ever had trouble inserting code examples and other pre-formatted text (AKA:
<pre></pre>) into your WordPress posts? I’ve almost always had to mess about with it to make it show up properly in WordPress’ default editor… and what came out on the other end never looked like what was in the editor.
This plugin approaches the problem by simply not putting the code examples in with the rest of the text. Below the editor, you’ll find a section where you can add separate “blocks” of code. These blocks are then placed into the article body by way of shortcodes.
Meanwhile, below the article editor, you get what is almost a proper code editor, complete with syntax highlighting, tab-based indentation, and it’ll even tell you if you forgot to close a tag. This might be my favorite approach to in-blog code examples yet.
Testimonial by Weblizar
This is a simple and straightforward solution for displaying client testimonials on your website. You get a custom post type, some limited customization options, and a shortcode to display your testimonials on any page or post.
Only one testimonial is displayed at a time. After a few seconds, the first one will fade out to reveal the next, and so on.
To be honest, I’m not thrilled about the default styles used, but those can be easily over-written in the CSS. It’s a new plugin, though, sitting at version 0.2. Perhaps its creator will add some more customization options in the future.
Word Count and Limit
There is a word counter already included in the WordPress editor, but it’s slow to update (the counter only changes when you start a new paragraph). This plugin replaces it with a word counter that updates after every word, and includes a character count—if that’s your thing.
You can also set a character limit, though I’m not sure how that’s useful, if I’m honest. I mean, it could be useful for small blocks of content, but for blog posts? I’d also like to see it working in “distraction-free” mode.
Album Cover Finder
The potential use cases for this one are limited. Basically, you’d have to be blogging about music regularly to find it useful. Still, this plugin does its job so well, that I just had to include it.
The Album Cover Finder will display to the right of the WordPress post editor. Just type in an artist and an album name, and click search. If the plugin finds an image (and it usually will), you can add the image as an “attachment” to the post, which makes it easy to add it as the “featured image”. Alternatively, you can put the image straight into the editor.
Admin filter posts by year
This one is for those of you who have been blogging for far too long. Need to browse all the posts you made for an entire year rather than browse them by individual months? Well now you can! Install. Activate. Browse.
My Presentation Light
Okay, My Presentation Light doesn’t actually do “presentations” as such. You know how, on some websites and apps, a succession of tooltip-like boxes will show up and tell you what to do? Well this plugin lets you make as many of those as you like, and assign them to individual posts and pages.
It’s still in beta though, so do expect a bug or two. For example, it shows up every time you reload the page, when you might want it to only show up for a new user once.
If you insist on putting your code examples in the main article body, wp-syntax-highlighter is a pretty simple way to do it. Just put your code inside a shortcode named after the specific language you’re using: e.g.
Supported languages include the usual: HTML, CSS, PHP, and JS, but there are more. There are seventy-one in total, as a matter of fact.
Press provides a custom post type for “News”, if you want to keep that separate from your normal posts. In addition, it provides situationally useful custom fields for things like website URLs, e-mails, SMS numbers and instructions, phone numbers, Twitter hashtags, and social media links.
You can also “activate” any of these custom fields for other post types, including custom post types. You can, in fact, disable the “News” post type, and just keep the custom fields if that’s all you want.
Jetpack Markdown Support
Love Jetpack’s Markdown plugin? Wish it worked with custom post types? Jetpack Markdown Support does just that.
BlankPress WordPress Cleaner
Let’s face it, some stuff in the WordPress user interface is annoying. You can get rid of some of the worst offenders by installing this plugin, but that’s not all it does. It can also clean up the code placed in the header of your website, remove the default height and width attributes applied to images/thumbnails, and more.
If you’re accepting public user registrations, this plugin might help keep some of the spambots away. All it does is add a hidden field to the user registration form. If the spambot is silly enough to fill it out, the registration attempt is denied.
The plugin’s creator is quick to state that this is not a be-all and end-all solution to keeping the robots out of your site, but it is a start. Use at your own discretion.
Turn your work into an RPG! In the post editing screen, you’ll see an avatar to your right, and an admittedly poorly-placed and styled XP bar at the top. You complete quests by writing articles in specific categories—including “Uncategorized”, unfortunately—and gain more experience for every word you write.
As you complete quests and level up, the avatar/sprite will increase in awesomeness. Just like you.
As of now, this plugin doesn’t seem to be particularly advanced or have a lot of options, but I’m curious to see where it will go. I just might use it to motivate myself to blog more often.