During my 10 years of developing with WordPress I have tried out and used many plugins.
Many have been discontinued, have not been kept up, were difficult to use or even crashed my site. But I have discovered a few plugins ( Most of them free and available for download at WordPress.org) that have stood the test of time and helped me make my sites better, extend its functionality and save me time in developing.
Here are five that I really like and use over and over again:
This plugin pops up images over a customizable background when the image is linked to the media file. If you have a gallery of images, it creates a slideshow. What I love about this plugin is that is seems compatible with most themes, it is relatively lightweight and is adaptable to different screen sizes by defining the percentage of space the image will use in the browser window. Try it out by clicking on the thumbnail of swimmers jumping into the Bay!
Post Type Switcher
This is a useful plugin for developers who create custom post types for a theme and need to change posts or pages from one post type to a new one. I have used this successfully when creating a new portfolio theme for example, with lots of posts that have to be converted to a custom portfolio post type.
This is a plugin I have use many times when developing or making adjustments to themes I am trying out. It simply does what the name implies: create new thumbnails for the images in your media library. This might be useful when you switch a theme or simply change the look of a site. You might have used a square thumbnail and decide it would be better to use a different aspect, or you might want to change the size of the small, medium and large thumbnail, or a custom image size in your theme. Simply select the image in your media library and click “Regenerate Thumbnail” and in seconds the task is accomplished.
Simple Social Icons
A plugin developed by the fine people at Studio Press, it creates a simple and light weight set of icons for the following services: Bloglovin, Dribbble, Email, Facebook, Flickr, Github, Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, RSS, StumbleUpon, Tumblr, Twitter, Vimeo and YouTube.
What I really love about this plugin is that you can customize the color and size of the icon, its background and its size easily to match the design of your site. See it in action here at AimLogic, a site I developed a few months ago. It’s very easy to install and use. You typically use it as a widget in the sidebar or footer.
It works like a charm. See it in action here