In this post, we round up the latest cool and useful (oh, and free!) WordPress plugins now available on the WordPress Plugin Directory. This month’s WordPress Plugin Roundup includes everything from a way to add stylized bullet points to “top ten” lists on your blog.

Trouble Finding These Plugins to Add? With the redesign of the WordPress Plugin Directory came a change in the search algorithm. The goal was prioritizing better, more reliable plugins, but this also made finding newer plugins more difficult. Hint: Copy the plugin name and byline from the plugin page and paste that into the plugin search. Works (almost) every time!

New Custom HTML Widget in WP 4.8.1

Given the reaction to the new WYSIWIG text widget released in WordPress 4.8, the core team released a custom HTML widget with 4.8.1 last week.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Using a core widget for this functionality is probably your best bet, rather than one of the third-party plugins we talked about last month.
  • Of course, you’ll need to move convert HTML content over to the new HTML widget (which will be a bit of a pain).

1. Widget Visibility Time Scheduler

The Widget Visibility Time Scheduler plugin enables you to set the period and weekdays of the visibility of each widget easily.

Nathan’s Notes:

    • Very handy for making widgets appear and disappear based on a pre-set time schedule.
    • Works with Widget Logic and Jetpack’s Widget Visibility module.
    • Additional scheduling features like specific times on specific days and repetition patterns available in the Pro version.

2. Top Ten Lists

The Top Ten Lists plugin makes it easy to create “Top 10” style posts on your WordPress powered site.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Nice UI for managing list-based content, especially for clients.
  • Each list item can contain an image and text.
  • Creates the list on one page, not making the user click next for each section.
  • Adds a wrapping div to each portion of content which makes styling easy.
  • You don’t have to have 10 items, of course, so this is a handy way to manage any kind of list-based content.
  • Plugin automatically adds the list content after the post content. Use shortcode [toptenlist] to control placement of the list in the post.

3. wpDataTables Lite

The wpDataTables Lite plugin is a basic version of a well-known premium table creator plugin. While some of the premium features are cut, wpDataTables is still quite a handy tool which would allow you to quickly create interactive tables from a number of sources.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Perhaps the most powerful table manager available for WordPress.
  • Pull in live data from Google Sheets, Excel, CSV, XML, JSON or PHP array.
  • Beautiful UI with live filters and sorts.
  • Create dynamic charts on the fly.
  • Full version available for $44: https://wpdatatables.com/

4. Gravity Form Locator

Currently there is no way to know which page or post a particular form is on. The Gravity Form Locator plugin solves that problem by adding a “Form Locations” page within the Gravity Forms menu so that all forms that have been added to pages or posts are visible on one screen.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • A terrific solution to a problem experienced by many Gravity Forms users.
  • The list interface allows you to edit and view the pages where Gravity Forms shortcodes appear.

5. WP YouTube Video Optimizer

The WP YouTube Video Optimizer plugin gives you the ability to optimize the YouTube videos on your website. By default, if you use the direct embed code, then it downloads the YouTube player on every occurrence of a YouTube video. This plugin shows a video thumbnail to your viewer and loads the YouTube video only when the user clicks the play icon.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Could dramatically increase page load speed on pages containing videos.
  • Lots of shortcode parameters available and well explained on the plugin page.

6. Custom Bulleted Lists

With the Custom Bulleted Lists plugin, you will get custom bullet styles in your post editor to use in your content. The plugin is easy to use and requires no coding, so you can use the custom bullet styles from your post editor in the same way as you use the default bullet lists.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Very simple to use with a drop-down selector in the WordPress Visual Editor
  • Several simple but good bullets to choose from.

7. Auto Image Attributes From Filename With Bulk Updater

With the Auto Image Attributes From Filename With Bulk Updater plugin, you can automatically add Image attributes such as Image Title, Image Caption, Description And Alt Text from Image Filename. The plugin can update image attributes for both new images and existing images in the media library.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • This plugin could save you a lot of work in optimizing your image captions and alt tags for SEO.
  • Your original image will need to be named appropriately to maximize the helpfulness of this plugin.
  • Use the bulk updater with care… and of course, make a backup before you bulk update anything in WordPress.

8. WP Deadlines

The WP Deadlines plugin will display a highly customizable countdown timer to your e-commerce page, side-wide flyout banner and countdown timers for your email.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Add the shortcode to any page to display the countdown timer.
  • The countdown can be for a specific day and time or evergreen based on the user.
  • A little bug is currently preventing the shortcode from being copyable.
  • Also creates an animated GIF timer for embedding into emails, etc.

9. Snippy

Use the Snippy plugin to quickly create your own custom shortcodes. A Snippy shortcode is built by combining bits. A bit can be a file, like a Stylesheet or a Script, or a piece of code, like HTML, CSS or JavaScript. The “code” bits can contain placeholders, which are automatically made accessible as shortcode attributes.

Nathan’s Notes:

  • Super helpful plugin to set up shortcodes without having to get into PHP.
  • Create buttons, reusable calls to action and more simply.
  • A powerful way to customize a site for a client.

Watch the Webinar: WordPress Plugin Roundup
– August 2017

This post is based on the August 2017 Plugin Roundup webinar by Nathan Ingram. In this webinar, Nathan demonstrates how to use each of these plugins so you can get a better idea of how they work. Check out the entire series of monthly WordPress Plugin Roundup posts here & register for the next Plugin Roundup webinar here.

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