In this post, we round up 10 cool and useful (oh, and free!) WordPress plugins available on the WordPress Plugin Directory. This month’s WordPress Plugin Roundup includes everything from a way to add a reading progress bar to a page to tools for customizing the WordPress admin dashboard.
1. When Last Login
The When Last Login plugin is a lightweight plugin that allows you to see active users according to their last login time. No need to configure, simply activate When Last and you’re ready to go! Adds a custom column to your Users list of “Last Login” and a timestamp linked to that user. When Last also integrates with other plugins.
- Excellent little plugin for sites supporting many users.
- Last login timestamp in the users list is sortable.
- Has helpful dashboard widget for admins showing top users and their activity
- A couple of nice free add-ons:
- Export User Records – exports all user login records to CSV or JSON
- Welcome Email – send your users a welcome email when they log in for the first time
- A couple of nice paid add-ons:
- Slack Notifications – records logins by users of a certain role in a Slack channel ($9.95)
- User Statistics – generates detailed reports that can be viewed as PDF and automatically emailed at set intervals ($39.95)
- The iThemes Security plugin provides similar functionality with the WordPress user security check.
2. Worth the Read
The Worth the Read plugin adds a light-weight reading progress bar indicator showing the user how far scrolled through the current post or page they are. There is also a reading time commitment feature that you can separately enable.
- Originally featured in September 2016 Plugin Roundup, now with a nice update
- Nice touch for content-heavy sites
- Reading bar is highly customizable without much fiddling
- Reading time uses the standard 200wpm measure for average time
3. Salt Shaker
The Salt Shaker plugin changes your WordPress security keys and salts automatically.
- Simple plugin that could enhance your website’s security, especially if you have multiple users logging in.
- One button click to change WordPress Salts and Keys
- Schedule salts and keys to be changed automatically daily, weekly and monthly.
- WordPress salts & keys can also be changed with the iThemes Security plugin.
The WP-Notification plugin shows custom notifications in the WordPress dashboard.
- Provides visual editor for adding notifications for back-end users
- Notifications can be styled by type and can be set to be dismissible.
- Notifications can be set per role or even per user and can be shown only on specific pages or throughout the dashboard.
- Hides its interface under the “Appearance” menu
5. Extra Featured Image
The Extra Featured Image plugin is a tool if you need an extra featured image for posts, pages and/or custom post types.
- Provides a second featured image box on all post types.
- Use shortcode [my5tech_extra_image] to display the extra featured image in content.
- Could be very useful for post types where a second image is needed
- Unfortunately, no settings page to control which post types can have the extra featured image, so this could be confusing to some users.
- You could use a plugin like Advanced Access Manager to hide the Extra Featured Image metabox on post types to which it does not apply.
6. Admin Menu
The Admin Menu plugin allows you to show/hide specific WordPress menu items, change title, reorder the menus for users. You can have a clean and mistake-free menu for your clients, to other WordPress users and even entire roles.
- Really nice drag and drop interface allows you to reorder, and even drag the top level menu item some plugins create into a submenu.
- Create your own menu items and link to defined pages.
- Customize menus for user roles and even capabilities
- Also allows you to change the admin color scheme, nice for corporate branding
- Similar functionality can be found in iThemes Sync’s Client Dashboard
7. WP Custom Admin Interface
With the WP Custom Admin Interface plugin, you can easily customize the WordPress admin menu and customize the admin and login interfaces. You can also create a coming soon/maintenance page and create a custom dashboard widget.
- This plugin offers just most of the customizations you’d likely want to make to the WordPress admin area in a totally free plugin with no pro version.
- This is one of the most full-featured free plugins I’ve ever seen! Kudos to the dev!.
8. WP Link Preview
The WP Link Preview plugin adds a button to your post/page editor which can be used to generate a link preview for the given URL. The link preview consists of a title, description and image which will result in a similar look as sharing a link on Facebook.
- Adds new icon on the visual editor toolbar to insert a link.
- Uses OpenGraph info from the site that is linked and pulls in a nice link box into the content.
- Link box is wrapped with sufficient CSS classes to style the box just about however you’d want it to look.
9. World Domination This Month’s “Pat Matt on the Back Plugin”
The World Domination plugin adds a summary of the current WordPress market coverage to your dashboard.
- Appends the percentage of the Internet using WordPress to the bottom of the “At a Glance” dashboard widget.
10. Rock & Metal Lyrics This Month’s “Bang Your Head” Plugin
The Rock & Metal Lyrics plugin is all you need to rock your account even more! Displays Metal & Rock lyrics in your WordPress Dashboard. This is a very simple plugin, just install, activate and it will do all the magic by itself.
- A more hardcore version of the famous “Hello Dolly”
- Hello Ozzy …
This post is based on the June 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.
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