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…
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
Ezequiel Bruni is a web/UX designer, blogger, and aspiring photographer living in Mexico. When he\‘s not up to his finely-chiselled ears in wire-frames and front-end code, or ranting about the same, he indulges in beer, pizza, fantasy novels, and stand-up comedy.