At the end of the day, WordPress lives and breathes by the huge variety of free plugins that are available for download from WordPress.org.
Don’t get me wrong — I love premium plugins. But when it comes to starting off with WordPress, it is the free plugins that give you a taste of what is possible.
With the above said, it is no surprise that the Internet is flooded with “top x plugins” posts. Whilst such posts can be extremely useful, you often end up seeing the same plugins pop up from post to post. Back in February 2012, we decided to buck the trend by introducing a post series that highlights lesser-known plugins — “up and comers”.
Our Plugins of the Month series has proven to be extremely popular, and as such it seemed like a no-brainer to cap off 2012 with an inaugural Plugins of the Year feature.
2012’s Plugins of the Year
As with our recent Themes of the Year post, the inclusion criteria is pretty simple. Each plugin must:
- Be freely available on WordPress.org
- Have been created or updated within the last twelve months
- Have less than 100,000 downloads (at the time of its original selection)
- Be highly rated
Each of the plugins you see below has been handpicked from a carefully filtered list. Each and every one is a quality offering, and you’ve probably never heard of the majority.
They’re ranked by a combination of the number of downloads and average ratings. You can also click on the column headers to sort them by the number of downloads or the average rating (individually). Enjoy!
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My Top 10 Plugins of the Year
Throughout the course of 2012 I have checked out a huge number of plugins. The 100 you see above is just the tip of the iceberg — that was taken from a shortlist of 121, which in turn was taken from another shortlist of well over 1,000.
As I cast my eye over the plugins listed above many stand out to me. I feel that a select few deserve special recognition, which is why you will find below my personal top 10 plugins of 2012.
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To each developer of the above plugins I offer my sincere thanks for creating something that makes using WordPress even more enjoyable and rewarding.
Pay it Back
Free plugin developers give us so much in terms of additional functionality for our WordPress sites and get so little in return. If a particular plugin above has caught your eye, why not take a moment to leave a positive review on WordPress.org? It will only take you a minute but will help the plugin developer receive more attention for his or her hard work.
Finally, I’d love to know if you feel that a particularly great plugin has been missed off the list — please share your thoughts in the comments section below!