Best Free WordPress Plugins for January 2015

New year is a great time to evaluate your life, and your choices. This year, why don’t you ask yourself if you’re using the right plugins for your WordPress sites? Maybe there are some new plugins you could look at.

Maybe those plugins are right here…

Single Background

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If you ever wanted the ability to specify a different background color or image for any single image or post, then Single Background is what you’ve been looking for. It’s all done with a simple shortcode, and that’s it. I can see it being useful for websites that feature a variety of products or services, each of which might have its own individualized branding.

Portfolio Post

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We all build portfolios. Why then, should we not have a basic plugin that creates a “Portfolio” post type? There are others, but this one stands out for its simplicity. It’s a new post type, with a new category taxonomy. No frills, nothing fancy, just something you can build on. There’s no reason you couldn’t edit the plugin itself to make something perfectly suited to your own project. There’s also no reason you should build this functionality into the theme itself. Best to keep presentation and functionality separate, or has CSS taught us nothing at all?

Idea Factory

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Idea Factory’s creators made it for the same reason that all brilliant plugins are made: the existing plugins didn’t solve their particular problem. Essentially, Idea Factory could transform your WordPress installation into the next “digg.com”.

It allows logged-in users to submit “ideas” (in the form of a custom post type) from the front end of your site. They can be set to await moderation, or be published automatically. Once published, all registered users on your site can vote on each idea. It’s designed to be mobile-friendly, but you can override the basic CSS (and a number of other things) to make the design all yours… or just fit in with whatever theme you’re using.

HTML Entifier

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If you’re like me, you like to have HTML that is as valid as you can practically achieve. Install this plugin, and it will automatically convert symbols typed into your posts (such as smart quotes) into their HTML counterparts. That way, they’ll always be visible no matter what antiquated browser your users might be stuck with.

Watchman

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Watchman is a plugin designed to keep a closer eye on the revisions of your content. It doesn’t replace the revision system already used in WordPress, but extends it to include custom post types, post authors, dates, taxonomies, and comments too. Get your revisions for every conceivable thing here!

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