Top 10 Free WordPress Plug-ins for Your CMS

Posted on 11/8/2010 by GraFX Tampa

WordPressCommonly used for blogs, WordPress has a robust set of tools to make creating a CMS through the platform, well… simple. The PHP and MySQL back-end opens up limitless opportunities for tweaks and customizations, enabling you to use the WordPress platform as a quite intriguing Content Management System (CMS).

WordPress is by far my favorite CMS to use. There are many reasons for this, template customization being high on the list. The top of the list has got to be the amount of Plug-Ins available for WordPress, allowing you to skip certain back-end customizations, and make it easier on yourself.

Here is a list of my top ten Plug-Ins that I cannot live without in my WordPress CMS sites. Keep in mind that some items in this list are intended for development and may not be for the feint of heart. Also, this is just a personal list of my favorites. If you have one that you feel you would like to add to the conversation, please leave a comment with the name, link, and why it is important to you.

Here we go!

1. Contact Form 7

One major issue with building a CMS is usability. If your clients can’t use it then what’s the point? Here’s where this baby comes in. This makes it easy for users to create multiple forms and place them anywhere in the site that they wish.

2. Shortcode Exec PHP

This Plug-In is strictly for people who understand a little PHP. It allows you to quickly create shortcodes for your site, which in turn allow you to add include-like functionality anywhere you want. I have found this extremely helpful.

3. TinyMCE Advanced

Absolutely necessary to increase the usability of the admin section of the CMS site. TinyMCE gives developers the ability to add more options in the WYSIWYG interface.

4. Single Post Template

Adding new Page templates are easy, but not so for Posts. Give this one a try if you want to have a choice of templates for each Post in your site.

5. Google Analytics for WordPress

Most of your clients are going to want to keep track of who, what, and where. This helps you accomplish that.

6. Google XML Sitemaps

An essential part of any site, adding a Google XML sitemap and registering it with Google is a must to improve your Search Engine ranking. This Plug-In simply makes it easier to do that. Any updates to the site’s pages are automatically added to the sitemap.

7. All in One SEO Pack

More SEO improvements to your site. This Plug-In allows you to add Meta Tag information to every page and post on your site, on a case-by-case basis.

8. Admin Post Navigation

In Movable Type, being able to go to the next or previous Post directly from the Post you are editing is a default feature. In WordPress it is not. This is one of WordPress’ very rare shortcomings. But where there’s a Plug-In, there’s a way!

9. AWS Easy Page Link

An essential feature to any CMS is the ability to easily choose a page within your site to link to in a hyperlink. While it only lists Pages, this Plug-In is still extremely useful.

10. Custom Post Type UI

This Plug-In provides an easy to use interface to create and administer custom post types, and taxonomies in WordPress.

Honorable Mentions

Okay, so there are some that I thought I’d throw in here that didn’t make the top ten, but are still very useful.

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4 Responses to Top 10 Free WordPress Plug-ins for Your CMS

  1. Jon Pearkins says:

    I know nothing about Contact Form 7, but am curious to hear any comparisons with cforms ii which I selected nearly 2 years ago because it seemed a general Form building tool with almost limitless possibilities. Admittedly, I’m a programmer.

  2. GraFX Tampa Rob Stainback says:

    Jon, I actually looked at cforms and found that the Contact 7 user interface was easier for a normal user to understand. This is important to me since my clients need to be able to use their CMS without having to ask me questions everyday. Cforms is a viable option though. I think it just needs some polish.

  3. Jon Pearkins says:

    Thanks for the response, Rob. A great and very useful list!

  4. Brett Rush says:

    I already used half of those, but now I have some more to try! I’ve used Contact Form 7 and Simple Captcha for awhile on all of my sites and it works great.

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