It’s that time again!
Another month has passed us by, and as always, WordPress developers the world over have been busy creating and updating plugins for our favorite content management system.
Last month brought us a great selection of new plugins to check out, and thankfully June offers more of the same. What we have in store for you this month is a wide variety of different plugins – I am confident that there is something for everyone here.
This plugin won’t be taking home any awards for being creatively named, but what it does, it does well. Whilst at ManageWP we give our readers the choice as to whether or not they want links to be opened in new windows, we do recognize that many bloggers want external links opening in new windows by default.
I probably don’t need to explain the functionality of Open External Links in a New Window to you, but I should tell you that it produces XHTML Strict compliant code (unlike many comparable plugins).
9. Post Ratings
Reader engagement comes in many different forms, but the ideal scenario is when feedback you receive helps you to improve your blog in the long term. Allowing people to rate your posts is one way in which you can do this, and that is where Post Ratings comes in:
This a nicely put together plugin which allows you a good level of control over what is produced, and how. It also comes packaged with a customizable widget, which allows you to display the highest rated posts.
Spam will never go away, so our priority should be dealing with it as best as possible. Stop Spammer Registrations can help you do this by checking all registration attempts against StopForumSpam.com, Project Honeypot, BotScout, DNSBL lists such as Spamhaus.org, known spammer hosts such as Ubiquity Servers, disposable email addresses, very long email address and names, and HTTP_ACCEPT header.
Basically, this plugin employs a variety of different methods to detect whether or not a user attempting to register is a known (or suspected) spammer. If a positive result is returned, a customizable error message is returned, and the would-be spammer is prevented from doing any damage.
You may have used plugins before that essentially create bunch of custom post types, taxonomies, and fields in order to convert WordPress into an industry-specific content management system. They are popular in niches such as real estate and eCommerce.
If you want to create your own system, Types could be right up your street. It allows you to easily create custom post types, taxonomies and fields in an intuitive environment:
These custom items can be appended to your post screen, so that you can add all of the relevant information and display it as you would like:
Most bloggers are familiar with the concept of social proof. The better you can demonstrate that you are respected by others, the more likely you are to attract further interest. This can be done in many different ways – one of which is testimonials.
And that is where the Testimonials Widget plugin comes in. Creating testimonials is easy enough:
Once you have done that, you can display them either via the built-in widget, or with a shortcode:
As you might expect, Widget Builder lets you build your own custom widgets. Creating widgets is very much like publishing new posts:
Once you have created a widget, it will appear in the expected place and you can drag and drop it into the widgetized areas of your themes as you see fit:
Perhaps surprisingly, WordPress does not by default easily allow you to embed MP3 files within blog posts. Given the popularity of podcasts these days, this comes as something of a surprise.
Fortunately, Google MP3 Player fills the functionality gap. All you need to do is upload your MP3 file, then generate a shortcode:
Once you have inserted the shortcode into your post, an embedded MP3 player will display, for your readers to use:
The Flexible Posts Widget plugin seeks to improve upon the rather limited functionality of the standard WordPress text widget by allowing you to display posts depending upon certain criteria:
As you can see, the plugin is rather comprehensive in the customization and filtering options it offers, and you have a great deal of power in choosing what to show, and how. Here’s an example of what it can display:
Security – not the most glamorous of topics, but no less important for that fact. And that is in part why 6Scan Security features so high on this month’s list – it is an excellent option for anyone looking to boost the protection of their WordPress sites. For those who are technically minded, 6Scan Security protects against the following (and more):
- SQL Injection
- Cross-Site Scripting (XSS)
- Directory traversal
- Remote file inclusion
- Several DoS conditions
Whilst I am no security expert, it is clear that 6Scan take the effectiveness of their plugin very seriously. The fact that such a relatively new plugin has already received 39 ratings (with a near perfect score, no less) demonstrates that people like what they see.
This was a late entry to the list, but could not be ignored. When Facebook and Automattic get together to produce an official plugin, you should probably sit up and take note.
There’s a lot to explore here, but the most popular features are bound to be automatic posting to pages and timelines, the ability to mention friends, and full Open Graph Protocol integration.
As you would expect from an official plugin, everything is well-designed and easy to use. If you’re a blogger, this could be considered a must-have.