Generating Content in WordPress Top Plugins

Brandon Corbin

September 2010


WordPress Top Plugins

WordPress Top Plugins

Find and install the best plugins for generating and sharing content, building communities and generating revenue

  • Learn WordPress plugin basics for both Macs and PCs
  • Focuses exclusively on 100% free and open plugins
  • Screenshots for each plugin
  • Organized by complexity to install and manage
  • Search Terms for automatic installation of plugins
  • Instructions on configuring and setting up the more complex plugins

Read more about this book

(For more resources on WordPress see here.)

GD Star Rating

By Milan Petrovic (

  • Why it's awesome: Quickly adds ratings and ranking to your blog posts
  • Why it was picked: Super easy to get running, offers lots of customizations

  • Manual Install URL:
  • Automatic Install search term: GD Star Rating
  • Geek level: Newbie
  • Configuration location: Top Navigation | GD Star Rating
  • Used in: Posts, comments, pages

If you want to know what your readers like, then you need to allow them to quickly rate your individual posts and rank other readers' comments; GD Star Rating does exactly this. Don't be fooled by its deceptively simple outer shell. Those rating stars are backed by a massive administrative area that allows you to customize virtually every aspect of how a user rates your blog's content. For example, you can change how the stars look, how many times to allow users to vote, where to display ratings, and much, much more. In addition to being crazily customizable, GD Star Rating also offers awesome analytics on who's rating what, which items are popular, and virtually any other data point you could imagine.

Fixing the default ratings

Out of the box, GD Star Rating will include both a 10 Star Rating bar and a Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down ranking scale. Obviously, a post doesn't need both, and 10 Star Rating will work just fine for all of our blog posts. The Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down will be great for our comments.

To access GD Star Rating's main settings, visit GD Star Rating | Settings.

Turning off Thumbs Up/Thumbs Down on posts

Uncheck the checkbox next to For Individual Posts and For Individual Pages.

Turning off Star Ratings on comments

Uncheck the checkbox next to For Comments for Posts and For Comments for Pages.

Better Tag Cloud

By Nicolas Kuttler (

  • Why it's awesome: It's not really awesome, just wonderfully practical and create a nicely customizable TagCloud
  • Why it was picked: Updated often, flexibility of placement, color customizations

  • Manual Install URL:
  • Automatic Install search term: Better Tag Cloud
  • Geek level: Newbie
  • Configuration location: Settings | Better Tag Cloud
  • Used in: Posts, pages, widgets

The Tag Cloud widget that comes with WordPress is very simple. Luckily, Nicolas Kuttler took the initiative to create a wonderful replacement. Not only does Better Tag Cloud give you a new widget, it also lets you include your tag cloud in posts and pages.

Use the shortcode [nktagcloud] to include Better Tag Cloud in a post or page.

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)

By Michael Yoshitaka Erlewine (

  • Why it's awesome: Search engine optimization and increasing average time on site for you visitors
  • Why it was picked: Accuracy of the relation algorithm
  • Manual Install URL:
  • Automatic Install search term: YARPP
  • Geek level: Newbie
  • Configuration location: Settings | Related Posts (YARPP)
  • Used in: Posts

Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP) helps your readers and the search engine bots to find other posts on your website that are similar to the one they are currently reading.

Once installed and activated, the YARPP plugin is virtually done. Check out one of your blog posts, and see if you like the results. Below the article will be a list of similar posts to the one you're reading. While out of the box YARPP will satisfy 80 percent of the people, you should check out the YARPP settings, as it offers a ton of configuration options.

Read more about this book

(For more resources on WordPress see here.)

My Page Order

By Andrew Charlton (

  • Manual Install URL:
  • Automatic Install search term: My Page Order
  • Geek level: Newbie
  • Configuration location: Pages | My Page Order
  • Used in: Navigation
  • My Page Order, by Andrew Charlton, allows you to reorder your WordPress pages using a super simple drag-and-drop interface.

    Get Recent Comments

    By Krischan Jodies (

    • Why it's awesome: Helps search engine optimization and the visitors know what content is the most talked about
    • Why it was picked: Simplicity and search engine optimization
    • Manual Install URL:
    • Automatic Install search term: Get Recent Comments
    • Geek level: Newbie
    • Configuration location: Settings | Recent Comments
    • Used in: Widgets, templates

    The default Recent Comments widget in WordPress is shockingly incomplete; luckily, Krischan Jodies spent his personal time to build a proper Recent Comments widget. Once activated, you will need to visit Appearance | Widgets. A new Recent Comments widget will be available to drag to your sidebar. Out of the box, the plugin needs no configuration, but Krischan provided a very comprehensive configuration engine that can be accessed through Settings | Recent Comments.

    The plugin, Recent Comments, also comes with a Recent Trackback widget. You might ask "What's a Trackback?"; a Trackback is simply when someone mentions your post or website on their blog or website.

    Viper's Video Quicktags

    By Alex—also known as Viper007Bond (

    • Why it's awesome: Add and embed a video from the most popuplar online source
    • Why it was picked: Simplicity and number of video services support
    • Manual Install URL:
    • Automatic Install search term: Vipers Video Quicktags
    • Geek level: Newbie
    • Configuration location: Settings | Video Quicktags
    • Used in: Posts

    Embedding videos has never been easier, thanks to Vipers Video Quicktags. This plugin removes the need to copy and paste "embed" code from the different video sharing sites into your posts' body. Instead, you click the icon for a specific video site, for example, YouTube. Then all you need to provide is the URL to the video. Viper's Video Quicktag goes to the URL and extracts the embed code automatically.

    WP Greet Box

    By Thaya Kareeson (

    • Why it's awesome: It just works, and it offers the user a direct call to action
    • Why it was picked: Simplicity and customizability
    • Manual Install URL:
    • Automatic Install search term: WP Greet Box
    • Geek level: Newbie
    • Configuration location: Settings | WP Greet Box
    • Used in: Posts, pages

    WP Greet Box allows you to display custom messages to visitors, depending on where they originated from. For example, if a reader comes to your blog from Google Reader, the default message will welcome them as a "Google Reader" and give them the ability to subscribe to your blog's RSS feed. Similarly, when a visitor comes from Twitter, you can welcome the Twitter user with the option of following you on Twitter.

    NextGen Gallery

    By Alex Rabe (

    • Why it's awesome: Produces beautiful slideshows quickly
    • Why it was picked: Continually updated by the developer and ease of install and use
    • Manual Install URL:
    • Automatic Install search term: NextGen Gallery
    • Geek level: Webmaster
    • Configuration location: Top Navigation | Gallery
    • Used in: Posts, pages, widgets

    Alex Rabe's NextGen Gallery is hands down the most popular plugin(by means of total downloads) available for WordPress. NextGen Gallery supports multiple photo galleries, multiple ways to display your photos, and other developers are even creating sub plugins for it! Once installed, you will be able to include your photo albums on both Pages and Posts, as a slideshow (see the following note), image list, or image gallery.

    Note: To take advantage of the Flash Slideshow display, you will need to download JW Image Rotator from Once downloaded, you will need to put the SWF file in your wp-content/uploads directory. JW Image Rotator is released under the Creative Commons license.

    Read more about this book

    (For more resources on WordPress see here.)

    Setting up your first gallery

    Start off by clicking Add Gallery | Image in the Gallery navigation. The screen will display a tabbed interface, allowing you to add a new gallery, upload a ZIP file of multiple images, import an image folder (located on your server), or manually upload an image one at a time.

    • Give a name to your gallery. For this demonstration, I named mine Your-Gallery-Name. Then click Add Gallery
    • Click the Upload Images tab
      • Click browse and select your first photo
      • Select which Gallery you would like to put this photo in
      • NOTE: you will always need to select this for each photo you upload
      • Click Upload Image
      • Rinse and repeat as needed

    Congratulations, you just created your first photo gallery. Now that we have a gallery with photos, let's insert it into a post. The process for adding a gallery to a post is exactly the same as adding it to a page.

    Adding your gallery to a post or a page

    Once you visit your Add Post or Add Page area of WordPress, you should notice a new icon available—this is your NextGen Gallery button.

    On clicking the newly created button, a new pop-up window will give you the option to select which gallery to include and which method the gallery should be displayed in. Also available from this pop-up window is the option to include an individual photo or an album that contains multiple photo galleries.


    By Thaya Kareeson (

    • Why it's awesome: Zemanta makes it a snap to have posts with relevant imagery and links
    • Why it was picked: Auto linking content, creative common images, and related posts from all over the net
    • Manual Install URL:
    • Automatic Install search term: Zemanta
    • Geek level: Webmaster
    • Configuration location: Plugins | Zemanta Configuration
    • Used in: Posts

    Zemanta is an awesome plugin that helps you automatically find helpful links, photos, and other online sources that relate directly to the post you're writing. Once installed, you will see a new side-panel when you create or edit a post or page. Once you start typing in the body of your post, Zemanta will automatically scour the web looking for photos and other blog posts that cover similar items.

    To use Zemanta, simply start writing a new blog post. Beneath the post, you will find a panel called "IN-TEXT LINKS". As you write, specific keywords will be listed in this panel. These keywords are links to websites that Zemanta found online. Clicking one of these keywords will automatically create a link to the website.

    In the side-bar panel, Zemanta includes a panel of related images and a panel of related posts online that relate directly to the content you are producing. Clicking on one of the images Zemanta found will insert the image at the current cursor position.


    In the above article we have covered:

    • GD Star Rating
    • Better Tag Cloud
    • Yet Another Related Posts Plugin (YARPP)
    • My Page Order
    • Get Recent Comments
    • Viper's Video Quicktags
    • WP Greet Box
    • NextGen Gallery
    • Zemanta

    Further resources on this subject:

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