I have much love for some of the WordPress plugins that save me precious time. This list is as much for my own reference, as it is to share these great resources with all of you! I’ve been updating this list on my Facebook “Notes” page as I find superior plugins. Make sure to click that little button up top that says “Become a Fan” to receive updates directly to your Facebook wall. Hey, leave a comment too, it’ll make my day!
Search and Replace
A simple search for find strings in your database and replace the string. This one saved me literally hours of work when an affiliate plugin changed my affiliate ID to the plugin author’s ID! With one click of a button, my links were MINE again. (I had absolutely zero issues with this one, but recommend that you back up your database before use anyway.)
Shrink, track and share any URL on the Internet from your WordPress website. You can now shorten links using your own domain name (as opposed to using tinyurl.com, bit.ly, or any other link shrinking service)! In addition to creating clean links, Pretty Link tracks each hit on your URL and provides a full, detailed report of where the hit came from, the browser, os and host. Pretty Link is a killer plugin for people who want to mask their affiliate links, track clicks from emails, their links on Twitter to come from their own domain, or generally increase the reach of their website by spreading these links on forums or comments on other blogs.
GD Star Rating
I’ve run a game review blog and forum for almost four years now… and I just this week took the time to research, and install a ratings plugin for the WordPress blog. Actually, I installed two, the first one didn’t work at ALL. When I found GD Star Rating, I had my doubts due to the way none of the other ratings plugins were being maintained by the developers… but I was pleasantly surprised when I took the time to really read their documentation (of which there’s tons, another nice suprise).
I’m not going to pretend that it was as easy as “one click install” sounds… far from it. This plug in offers so much in terms of ratings and reviews for practically every aspect of a blog (comments, posts, pages…) you just have to take your time setting it up. Here’s how I’m using it for my game reviews. Trust me, if you have ANY need for a ratings or review system on your WordPress site, you are going to want to bookmark this one.
GD Star Rating plugin allows you to set up rating and review system for posts, pages and comments in your blog. You can set many options for displaying the rating stars, and add widgets into the sidebars for displaying top ratings and other statistics generated by the plugin. Plugin includes advanced settings panels that will allow you to control many aspects of rating. Plugin also supports multi ratings along with thumbs based ratings. Plugin supports use of cache plugins and dynamic loading of data using ajax.
Official WP page: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/gd-star-rating/
Support Site: http://www.gdstarrating.com/
Not only does this plugin allow me to integrate complex forms into my sites (like my site evaluation form), but it enables me to have the form data post to the blog. On one site, I have game reviewers submit their reviews with a form, and their input hits my moderation panel as a post waiting to be approved. Also useful for job posting sites, tutorial sites, guest article submissions… the possibilities are endless. Data collected is downloadable in cvs format, which is great for surveys… I simply can’t say enough about this plugin. My design clients get this included with their sites that I design for them as a “perk”.