It’s the mid-week rush, and the plugins have been flowing fast and furious from the WordPress Plugin Repository. We’ve got a number of really good new plugins to talk about today, but first, please remember that every plugin acts differently. It’s important to test and re-test any new plugin that you plan to use regularly, especially if it is on a client site. That being said, let’s get plugged in!
Tagregator is a multi-functional content aggregator that automatically creates new posts based on #hashtags from a compilation of different sources. Though right now it only functions with Twitter, there are future plans to develop with inclusion for Instagram and Flickr. What this would allow you to do is create an “as it happens” set of posts based around an event, a specific cause, or any other ideas that come to mind.
Page Showcaser Boxes finally give the PAGE their proper respect when being shown in context of other pages or posts. Sure, there are a million “related post” plugins out there, but the page gets no love in the plugin world. That may have changed with the induction of Page Showcaser Boxes. This plugin uses shortcodes to display a clean, tidy preview of a specific page or groups of pages. You can use Page Showcaser Boxes to highlight service pages within a blog post of the same subject, or simply use it to highlight the latest job openings at a company. The possibilities are limitless.
Featured Images for Categories by Peter Schilling allows you the ability to add featured images for not only categories, but tags as well. This is a really powerful way to take your content archives to the next level. From creating subject matter images to city images that you may be tagging in the context of your post, this is a plugin that I will be using to experiment with a lot of different types of sites and theme options. When combined with category and tag meta data plugins, this transforms your WordPress install into a contextually relevant graphic presentation which integrates beautifully with the content you write. Though it is limited to tags and categories in the free version, I’d love to see this work with Author archive pages as well. There is a PRO version of this plugin as well that includes a bit more functionality, like custom taxonomies, a new widget to feature specific terms as the conduit for pulling images in a widget area and full support for all registered image sizes that are set up in your WordPress theme. Despite the existence of the pro version, the repository edition is a good plugin out of the box with enough functionality to deliver a very good result.
Unique Cursor gives you the chance to relive the glory days of the internet right on your own WordPress installation. Intrigue your site viewers with popular cursor designs such as the Zelda Sword, Skull and Crossbones, The Starship Enterprise, or any of hundreds of cursors freely available online in .cur file format. Though you already have your option of nearly 50 cursors already contained within this plugin.
Skype Status AJAX refresh helps to let site visitors reach you on Skype with a status message that refreshes itself via Ajax so that a full page refresh is not required to maintain your true online status. While I’m not one to personally advertise my Skype status for anyone to interrupt me at will, I can see the practical purpose for a business or service provider to add Skype as a means of contact on their “contact us” page. The plugin allows you to use your own custom online status images that best match your theme. I would have liked to have seen a shortcode enabled version that allowed for multiple Skype ID statuses to be used in a company directory format that could be added to each person’s contact information on the company directory page. It’s certainly something for custom theme developers to consider as well.
Pricing Table Extended brings several uniquely styled pricing table formats into a compact WordPress plugin. If you have a product, service, or bundle that you want to present in multi-priced tiers, this may be worth investigating. Pricing Table Extended gives you several options when constructing your price tables. From comparisons to X and check mark graphics, I was able to incorporate several different pricing models and plan packages in a short amount of time without touching a speck of code or CSS.
Please leave your comments and questions right here on WPTavern, or give me a shout on Twitter @marcuscouch. I’m curious to see the most inventive use of the plugins I’ve described today. Let me know how you use them!