WordPress Plugins to Extend the Functionality of Your Website or Blog

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The WordPress platform is as good as it gets for blogging. The library of plugins extend functionality even further. Last year I wrote about the 12 WordPress Plugins to Supercharge Your Blog. I’m forever tinkering and testing out new ways to improve my blogging productivity and with thousands of plugins, new discoveries are always on the horizon. Here are a few more that I’ve found useful:

Revision Control

Every time you save a post as a draft, WordPress saves a version of it. Revisions can quickly add up, straining database capacity and possibly affecting performance. I use Evernote to create drafts and then transfer them to WordPress for final edits, but even versions of these multiple edits can take up database space. The Revision Control plugin gives you more control over the number of revisions that you wish to save. I set the default for all revisions at 2. You can also change the setting on a per-page or per-post basis.

Last Updated: 2011-8-19 Downloads: 101,697

cbnet Ping Optimizer

Do you know your WordPress blog pings unnecessarily every time you edit a post? Think how many times you click on “Save and Continue Editing” or “Save” button. Your blog will ping unnecessarily that many times you click on those buttons. Save your wordpress blog from getting tagged as ping spammer with this plugin. I’m not a search engine expert, and they’re forever changing criteria, but it’s good to know I’m protected from being negatively affected. Again, compose your post in Evernote or another note taking application and transfer only when you’re ready to publish.

Last Updated: 2010-3-13 Downloads: 172,216

Velvet Blues Update URLs

If you move your WordPress blog to a new domain name, internal links to pages and references to images are not updated. This plugin fixes that problem by helping you change old urls and links in your website. Last time I checked, search engines consider domain.com and www.domain.com as two different pages. I used this plugin recently to cleanup internal links, moving all to www. It took less than five minutes.

Last Updated: 2011-9-25 Downloads: 44,066

Related Posts Thumbnails

On most news sites and blogs you will see links to related articles at the end of the piece. You can easily do the same on your WordPress blog. The last time we covered Efficient Related Posts plugin which automates the process. You can take it up a notch with Related Posts Thumbnails. Thumbnails are arranged in columns under the post with related posts title and excerpt under each thumbnail. Colors of background, border, text, title and excerpt length can be customized.

Last Updated: 2011-7-27 Downloads: 99,007

WordPress Backup to Dropbox

Many of us have Dropbox accounts to back up our data to the cloud and across devices. Jordan commented in my last post on plugins about his use of the WordPress Backup to Dropbox plugin:

Dropbox backs up the whole site AND creates a database dump – all straight into your Dropbox account.

After you activate the plugin, choose a day, time and how often you wish the backup to be performed and your files and database dump will be dropped in your Dropbox! You can set where you want your backup stored within Dropbox and choose what files or directories, if any, you wish to exclude from the backup. The plugin uses OAuth so your Dropbox account details are not stored for the plugin to gain access.

Last Updated: 2012-2-29 Downloads: 79,918

These are just a few of the thousands of plugins out there. I included the last updated and number of downloads statistics as these are among the things I look for when choosing a plugin. It shows that they’re compatible with the current version of WordPress, and a large number of downloads indicates that the plugin has been vetted and adopted widely. Plugins in the WordPress directory are also rated, with the best receiving five stars. I look for plugins with four or more stars.

I’ll close this post with a question for the WordPress blogging community — has anyone tried a grammar checking plugin? I installed After the Deadline on one of my blogs but haven’t given it a solid road test yet. Feedback appreciated, and happy blogging!

(photo: http://www.flickr.com/photos/ivanwalsh/3657331200/)

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  • This is all good information, but make sure you use only the plugins you actually need. The more plugins you have, the more resources your blog will use, and the slower it will load.

    Optimally, I would try to keep the number of plugins below 10. Lawyerist has 23, at the moment. That’s too much, as far as I am concerned, but there aren’t any more I can easily get rid of.

    • Agree, Sam, too many plugins can slow down a blog, but this blog’s 23 plugins point to the difficulty in deciding which to prune. If you’re willing to add one more plugin, check out http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/p3-profiler/. It creates a performance report detailing which plugins are slowing down your site.

      • Hm. The only thing P3 identified as a problem was itself.

  • Jessie Lundberg

    Spooky – you read my mind! The very first two items have been really annoying me lately and I figured there was a way to fix them, but was dreading the time it would take for me to figure out. Thanks for just saving me at least two hours of tinkering, and no more annoying pingbacks or piles and piles of drafts!

    • Jessie, I can relate to annoyance factor of drafts piling up. Glad you found it useful.

  • Cool Tim, a couple on here that I haven’t tried. I’m with Sam on plugin economy. In my experience, most do more to burden a site than to benefit. In fact, some (even those approved for inclusion in the wordpress plugin ecosystem) are downright harmful.

    I suggest that most lawyers who are just getting involved with blogging on wordpress make the basic tweaks (permalinks, privacy, etc) and stick with highly-reliable plugins.

    And since we’re talking wordpress plugins, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Yoast.