Most WordPress users, when asked about their favourite plugins, will name the usual favourites like Yoast SEO and Akismet. Although I use and like them too, I’d rather name plugins that I think most people don’t know about. This is partly to introduce people to new plugins and to give the plugins some attention, but it’s mostly because I don’t like giving the same answer as everyone else.
Below are 5 of my favourite plugins for WordPress that are not one of the top 20 most used plugins.
Search and Replace
This plugin adds a page to your Tools menu, where you can either search your entire database for a particular search term or perform a find and replace across your entire database. I use both functions – the search only is useful at various times when I want to check for something in places beyond those covered by the standard site search, and the find and replace is useful when I change a permalink and want to update all the links to it across the site.
I have tried other plugins that do the same thing but I prefer this one.
I really don’t know why this one is not more widely used or why it has no similar alternatives. It’s an easy way to add custom code to your site, just as you might do within a theme or a plugin, but fully within the admin area. You get a Snippets menu where you can add a new Snippet just like you add a Post or Page. When you save the Snippet, it gets stored in the database but also executed on the site like theme or plugin code.
Everyone tells you not to edit your theme because you’ll lose the changes upon updating. With Genesis it’s OK because all updates are applied to the parent theme, but that means you have the hassle of moving all your code over to your new theme should you switch. Creating a plugin and adding your custom code to it is a possible solution, but I prefer it to be stored in the database because you can back it up along with your content. Plus, the plugin enables you to deactivate and reactivate each snippet and manage them like content.
Publish to Schedule
I think this one is really cool. You set it up by telling it when you want posts published (e.g. every Monday or every weekday). Then, when you add a new post, the Publish button is replaced with a Publish to Schedule button and the plugin takes care of scheduling the post to the next available slot. It saves a lot of time.
Archived Post Status
This plugin registers a new post status, Archived, where the post remains in the database but is fully removed from the website until you revert the post status back to Published. Despite the name, posts with the Archived status do not show in post archives. Although the built-in post statuses Draft, Pending and Trash have the same effect, they are not intended for this particular purpose like Archived is.
I use this plugin a lot when I remove pages from my site because I prefer to keep them for reference purposes instead of deleting them from the database altogether.
Black Studio TinyMCE Widget
This is a simple but genius idea, which is a widget that includes a title field and a TinyMCE editor just like in a Post or Page. The plugin only just misses out on the top 20, so it’s fairly well-known. Still, it’s a whole lot better than writing raw HTML into a text widget. You wouldn’t do it for Posts so why widgets?
My Own Plugins
A week ago, I was the author of three plugins. Last week, I increased that to NINE:
- Archive Diversity
- Better Scheduled Posts
- Block Internet Archive
- Foreign Language Font
- Genesis Advanced Edits
- Genesis Auto Widgets
- Noindex Means Noindex
- RSS Feed Shortcode
- WP Smart Link
All my own plugins were created out of needs I saw that either weren’t being addressed at all or weren’t being addressed well enough by other plugins.
I encourage you to click the links and see what they’re all about. I’ve already written a tutorial on how to use Foreign Language Font and I plan to write similar tutorials for the other 8 plugins in the coming weeks. Or, if you have any immediate questions, ask away.