Spring is just around the corner — the birds are singing and the flowers will soon be blossoming. At least, that’s how it should be — here in the UK it is currently snowing. Go figure.
But weather doesn’t affect hardy plugin developer types — with a roof over their heads and a reliable Internet connection they can get on with their work no matter the conditions outside. And that brings me to yet another stellar selection of plugins this month — with one in particular that I have been a long time fan of (and yet only has around 1,000 downloads at the time of writing). Enjoy!
Who doesn’t like a bit of clever CSS to spice up their site? It is truly amazing what you can do with CSS these days and the Drop Shadow Boxes plugin is a demonstration of the possibilities:
Wrapping your content is a piece of cake with this plugin and you have complete control over the effect. Although the possible applications of Drop Shadow Boxes are numerous, one great idea would be to use the drop shadow effect to highlight Calls to Action.
This plugin does as you would expect — it enables you to overlay your images with a digital watermark to protect them from theft. You can actually see exactly how Signature Watermark operates by watching the following video:
As you can see, the plugin is feature-packed and gives you a great deal of control over the appearance of the watermark.
To quote directly from this plugin’s WordPress.org page:
Ditty News Ticker is a multi-functional data display plugin.
That’s a pretty unsexy way to promote the functionality of a plugin so I’ll give it a go myself. Ditty News Ticker performs as you would expect it to: it enables you to create dynamic scrolling and rotating blocks of text that you can embed within your WordPress site.
A still screenshot doesn’t really do this plugin justice so check out a demo here if you like the look of it.
There are plenty of related posts plugins out there but I like to keep abreast of the latest developments and this is actually a pretty good effort. Zemanta claims that related posts are produced using its “world-class semantic service.” Now I don’t know about that but I do know that the plugin looks pretty good:
You can actually include related posts from other sites (although I’m not sure why you would want to do that) and you get analytics data. It’s certainly an interesting alternative to the likes of Yet Another Related Posts Plugin.
As with related posts plugins, Twitter feed plugins are a dime a dozen. However, WD Twitter Feed sets itself apart with a pretty funky AJAXified display:
This means that the tweets are loaded in the background without interrupting the load time of the rest of the page. This is great news considering that many social media plugins are a real drain on the resources and can significantly increase the load time of your site.
If you’re into SEO then you’ll know that optimizing how your site is displayed in the search engine results can make a big difference to click through rates. By making your site seem more attractive when compared to other results you can actually increase search engine traffic to your site without increasing your rankings.
RDFa Breadcrumb can help with this by inserting navigational “breadcrumbs” into your site that also show up in Google search results pages:
Most bloggers have a preferred social sharing plugin but every now and then something comes along that potential disturbs what is a well-established group of popular plugins. Flare could be just that.
This plugin has a slick interface and a bunch of different options including the placement of social sharing buttons as well as the display:
If you’re on the fence as to which social sharing plugin is right for you, Flare may well be worth a look.
Author Boxes are underrated; even on single author blogs. Having a little reminder of the face and personality behind the words is always a good thing. Engagement more often than not comes from a reader feeling like they know the author.
That’s where Fancier Author Box comes in — a plugin that offers a lot in terms of increasing reader engagement. It enables you to place a box at the bottom of posts that can contain everything from a photo, to a bio, to social media links, to your latest posts:
Brought to you by the fine folks over at ThematoSoup, Fancier Author Box is definitely worth a look.
Social media is seemingly becoming more important with each passing day which means that we should study our sites’ social performance in the same way that we pay so much attention to search engine traffic. WP Social Stats lets you do just that by giving you a simple display of how many times each of your posts has been shared across a number of social networks:
With this plugin you can figure out which of your posts performed the best in terms of social sharing and by extension figure out how to replicate that success.
Finally we have a plugin that has been on my radar for a long time. I’m delighted to feature it here today. What The File is a very simple yet very helpful plugin — it adds an extra field to your WordPress toolbar that informs you what PHP file is being used to display the current page:
For anyone who has been left frustrated and confused by what PHP file is serving up what page on your site, this is an instant remedy. It’s been a lifesaver for me on more than one occasion and I refer to it often.