The best free WordPress plugins for December 2014

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December 01, 2014
The best free WordPress plugins for December 2014.
If this is the season of giving, then we’re in luck. The WordPress community has been giving us free plugins aplenty. Why wait for the end of December when you can have your presents now?

Quote Tweet

Provide your users with an easy way to tweet any part of your article with Quote Tweet. All you do is install and go. Now, when any user selects text on the front end of your site, a Twitter icon will appear above their selection. Clicking that icon sets up the tweet for them, including the source. Note: Depending on how your theme’s CSS is set up, the icon may or may not be fully visible when text is selected at the top of your article. This is an issue with the default Twenty Fourteen theme, for example. 001

Better Click to Tweet

You know how sometimes block-quotes have those little "Click to Tweet" links? This plugin makes those for you. The quotes are inserted by means of a shortcode, so it’s all just plug and play. You can, however, add your Twitter handle to the settings page for an automatic mention in every tweet. Better Click to Tweet is based on another plugin, though. The differences seem to be mostly technical. In the creator's own words:
This is a complete retool of the "Click To Tweet" plugin by Todaymade. It now uses the WordPress shortcode API, making it more secure, and I've cleaned up the CSS from the old plugin. Perhaps most significantly, I removed the “powered by Coschedule” link.
Customizing the CSS for the quote on the front end has to be done manually, either by editing the plugin itself, or over-writing the CSS in your theme. 002

Vine

Yup. Vine. Just Vine. This is, in fact, the official WordPress plugin for the popular video sharing app. I don't use the app much myself, but those who do can now embed Vine videos in their WordPress posts and pages easily. You can use the shortcode provided, or just paste the URL onto its own line. The plugin will automatically use the latest version of the Vine API to pull in the video. 003

Geo Targeted Posts

Want to show any given post only to visitors from one country, or a specific set of countries? Well you can. Install Geo Targeted Posts, and you’ll be able to select specific countries for each post in the “Publish” widget of your post editing screen. Now, before using this plugin, I strongly suggest asking yourself if you should. Most people won’t need it; but it could be useful for selling region-specific services or products. Keep in mind, though, that anyone with a proxy can probably get around this.

Table Sorter

Sometimes you just need to use tables. Not for layout obviously, but for presenting data in a simple, clear, and well organized fashion. But what if you want the user to be able to sort that data alphabetically, or by numerical values? Install Table Sorter and go. Table Sorter will trigger on any table, in the content or theme markup, that is formatted correctly. That means including and tags. Oh, and you have to include the .tablesorter class in the tag. For more instructions and a demo, see the documentation.

Nginx Cache

Here’s one for developers and/or system administrators. The intent is apparently to flush the cached version of a WordPress install on Nginx servers every time the content changes. You can also do this manually from the WordPress admin. I can’t test it myself, because my server is based on Apache, not Nginx. Someone else will need to verify this. If it works as advertised, this could be a useful tool.

Easy Thumbnail Sizes

The name says it all. Once you install Easy Thumbnail Sizes, you can go to the theme Customizer and add new thumbnail sizes. What’s more, these custom thumbnail sizes are remembered on a per-theme basis, so you can switch themes without fear. What this plugin will not do is go back and re-size old images. For that, you’ll need to look at one of several plugins made for that purpose. 007

WP Post Revisions

We can’t avoid it. Sometimes we make mistakes and we have to go back and edit a post that’s already been published. WP Post Revisions adds a simple mechanism for adding a section to the bottom of such a post, detailing the revisions that were made, and when. It’s not version control. It won’t show every change made. It’s up to you to summarize that. Still, it’s nice to have these tools in place, because we inevitably need them. 008

Reading Time WP

A lot of blogs and publishing platforms such as Medium are including an “estimated reading time” on articles. This is presumably meant to entice those who don’t have a lot of time, and want to be reassured that clicking on that headline won’t lead to wasted time. Well, now you can entice those people too. The plugin will automatically include the estimated number of minutes required to read your article at the top. The exact working can be edited in the settings page. Or, you can turn that off, and insert the figure manually with a shortcode. Mind you, you could also presumably use the shortcode in the post template with the do_shortcode function. 009

For the gamers: WordPress Steam Achievement Plugin

The name is slightly misleading, as this plugin does not display all of your steam achievements, only those earned in Team Fortress 2. Still, if you play TF2 a lot, and feel like showing off your skills on your website; this is the plugin for you. 010

Ezequiel Bruni

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.

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