It’s been a bit since the last time I posted about turning WordPress into a CMS. I’ve learned a bit more about WordPress, and some really great plugins have come to my attention. WordPress has evolved a bit, and so have the types of sites I work on here in Benin.
The following plugins have a lot in common. For the most part they are:
- Activate and forget. We configure everything, and the client never even needs to know the plugin’s there.
- Simple to use. In many cases, we’ve sacrificed extensive features for ease of use. Clients don’t need a million different things to worry about—they just want their websites to work.
- Internationalized. Seriously, folks, it’s not that hard. Not all the plugins listed provide translations, but they are all translatable.
Useful, internationalized plugins for turning WordPress into a CMS
Akismet. Remarkably effective anti-comment spam measures. How did I forget this the last time? We set-up a wp.com account for our clients in order to get the API key, install, and then good-bye spam.
Get-the-image is a plugin by Justin Tadlock that automatically creates thumbnails. It’s an alternative to the popular thumbs.php, and has to be called from your template files. It’s proved invaluable when designing newspaper and magazine style sites for clients. There’s no longer any excuse for having to deal with custom fields to create article thumbnails. We add tags to the theme, and as if by magic, thumbnails appear where they’re supposed to.
Viper’s Video Quicktags is not the most powerful video plugin in the WordPress universe, but it is the most usable. It handles input from a few dozen different video hosts, and also does a great job with self-hosted content and MP3s.
Ad-Minister. My clients will never see another complicated ad plugin. Ad-minister isn’t feature heavy, but it is incredibly simple to use. Putting new ads on your site is now as simple as creating new posts, and uses the same familiar interface. This is crucial for clients who don’t want to mess with inserting HTML code into widgets, etc. and who don’t want to learn how to send files via FTP.
qTranslate has some limitations as a translation plugin, but it’s the absolute simplest to use. Each language has its own tabs in the post and page interface.
The search for easier continues
I’m always looking for easier ways for my clients to run their sites. It’s why we use WordPress. However, too often, ease of use comes at the expense of features. What are your favorite WordPress plugins? How do you balance usability with functionality?