The best free WordPress plugins, March 2015

Hey WordPress lovers. Every month dozens of incredible free WordPress plugins are released by the community, and we’re here to bring them to you.

This seems to be a month of small but useful utilities that only do one or two things, with a few exceptions. So go on. March on down to the list, and get to it! (I’m only a little bit ashamed of that pun.)

WP NoteUp

Notes! Alongside your posts and pages! Use them to remind yourself, or other authors, about things you’d put in a note. That’s really all there is to WP NoteUp, but why would you need more?

PMR | Add Image Dimensions Columns

A great option for working with lots of images, this plugin, adds one small thing you may have been missing: measurements. Yup, it adds columns to your Media Library’s list view that display a given image’s size in pixels.

MarkdownBar

Love Markdown? Love it so much you that write every post in the text editor? Thinking about turning the WYSIWYG editor off altogether? Consider installing MarkdownBar.

It puts a couple of the more common formatting options (bold, italics, headings, tables, and code blocks) in a bar at the top of the text editing field. This is great for when you’re introducing new users to Markdown, or you’ve had a brain fart, and can’t remember the ALT code for that accent symbol.

Note: It does not turn Markdown into HTML. You’ll need a separate plugin, like Jetpack’s Markdown module, to do that.

EasyTree

I’d recommend EasyTree for the truly massive sites, especially if you’re not comfortable coding the menu yourself. It provides an easy tree-style navigation menu that can be integrated via a widget, a shortcode in any page or post, or a shortcode embedded in the template.

It will display all pages, categories, and tags by default. You can also include a WordPress Menu, if you set it up right. It could also boost your SEO, by making it easier for the search engine bots to crawl your website.

WP Issues CRM

Get yourself a Customer Relations Management system right in your WordPress install. CRMs, for the uninitiated, are systems for keeping track of customers and clients, their contact info, and stuff like that.

You can also keep notes on their birthdays, personalities, preferences, any issues they’ve had to date, and the people in charge of dealing with them directly. They’re pretty useful systems for larger organizations, or any business that depends on maintaining long-term relationships with large numbers of clients.

Note: As far as I can tell, all of this plugin’s functionality is designed for the back end only, and there’ll be a bit of a learning curve if you’ve never used a CRM system before.

Expire tags

A dead simple plugin, and admittedly not a very refined one, that gives you the ability to put an expiration date on tags. Any tag. On the date specified, the tag will not be deleted, but it will be removed from all posts.

You could use it for featured posts, one-time events, temporary product deals, that sort of thing.

Diasposter

Here’s one for the open source advocates in the crowd: WordPress finally gets solid interaction with Diaspora via a plugin. For everyone who doesn’t know what that means, Diaspora is an open source social networking platform that you can download and install on your own server. It seamlessly connects with all of the other servers (called “pods”), creating a decentralized network that spans the globe. You own all of your data. You can contribute to the software’s development.

It’s pretty cool.

Diasposter can cross-post your WordPress entries on your Diaspora account. It can also import Diaspora comments back to your original WordPress posts, so it’s more than just a cross-poster. It can, in fact, be used as a running backup of all content that you ever post to Diaspora.

Role Includer

On sites where you have several users, you might want to give one particular user some extra site-editing capabilities. Well, you could create an entirely new user role for them, or promote them. Alternatively, you can use the Role Includer plugin to give the same user multiple roles, and thus, more access.

Make your menus more specific without picking and choosing each linkmenu item individually. With this plugin installed, you can set WordPress Menus to only display pages from lower levels in the hierarchy, or only display the child pages of a specific page. Mind you, this is more for developers, so you’ll have to be comfortable with editing your theme files to use these options.

Also, this plugin could be used alongside the Inner Page Menu plugin, listed below.

Inner Page Menu

Inner Page Menu allows you to define a region (such as a sidebar) where you can place a menu. But instead of showing the same menu on every page, you can pick and choose which menu is shown, if any. This would make it easier to create navigation for subpages in one section of a site, for example, and use a different menu entirely for the next section.

Ezequiel Bruni is a web/UX designer, blogger, and aspiring photographer living in Mexico. When he's not up to his finely-chiselled ears in wire-frames and front-end code, or ranting about the same, he indulges in beer, pizza, fantasy novels, and stand-up comedy. More articles by Ezequiel Bruni
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