One of the great things about building a site on WordPress is the thousands of plugins you can use to improve your site. While most people are aware of popular plugins like Akismet and Yoast SEO, there are some other useful plugins that are a bit harder to find.
As someone who’s used WordPress since 2005, I’ve found three lesser-known plugins to be very useful.
WordPress is great for entering text but you can’t get much fancier than bullet points. If you have a lot of data to display, or if you’re copying and pasting data from an Excel sheet, odds are it won’t be easy to read.
That’s where TablePress comes in. The TablePress plugin lets you create tables for your data and display them in an easy-to-use format.
Some of the cool features are:
- Create tables from scratch or import .csv and Excel files
- Add table pagination so that long tables don’t make your post too long
- Allow readers to sort columns
- Enable readers to filter or search the table
- Highlight rows when people move their cursor over them
- Make the background colors of consecutive rows different to make it easier to read
The end result is beautiful tables that make it easy to show data.
Free and paid versions
AdRotate is a great plugin if you sell advertising on your WordPress site, especially if you sell ads directly rather than use a service like Google Adsense. There are lots of ad insertion and rotating technologies out there but they can be very complicated. AdRotate is simple to implement.
With AdRotate, you set up ad groups for each spot where you want to rotate ads on your site and insert shortcode in your template where the ads should appear. Then you create ads for each of the spots and set the parameters with which they will rotate.
I’ve used this plugin to rotate two different advertisers in the same ad spot and to rotate multiple graphic ads for the same advertiser.
The plugin also generates all of the stats you need to manage ads.
Search Regex is an extremely powerful tool but should be used with caution.
Think of this plugin as “search and replace” for your site. It allows you to find certain words and characters in your posts, titles, and comments, and replace these with other content.
Here are some cases in which Search Regex can come in handy:
- Cleaning up bad words in comments on your blog. For example, you can replace every instance of a four-letter word with —-.
- You change a product brand name and need to change it in all previous posts you’ve written.
- After years of blogging, you realize you were spelling a word wrong. Quickly find and replace all instances of it.
- You change the file structure for your images and need to fix each image tag.
Search Regex makes changes directly in your database, and the publisher recommends you backup your database before making changes.
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