WordPress is one of the most popular content management systems in use today, and for many good reasons. It’s as easy to use as Microsoft Word, it offers a ton of functionality, and it’s ideal for small- to medium-sized business owners and organizations who want the advanced functionality of a content management system, even if they don’t need everything that comes with it.
One of the problems I have with WordPress, though, is that there is certain functionality that all content management systems should have, but that with WordPress you need plugins in order to incorporate.
And while the number of plugins on a WordPress website doesn’t necessarily have any impact on how fast the site loads, (despite the popular misconception), having lots of plugins does open the door for potential conflicts between them and for security risks.
So without further ado, here is my list of plugins that I don’t think you should need a plugin for, and that WordPress should already have the functionality for.
- Exclude Pages – Adds a checkbox, “include this page in menus”, which is checked by default. If you uncheck it, the page will not appear in any listings of pages (which includes, and is usually limited to, your page navigation menus). Useful for any website.
- Hierarchical Page Template Redirect – Applies parent page templates to child pages. Useful for large websites that have lots of child pages and lots of page templates.
- Advanced Code Editor – By default the WordPress theme editor looks like you’re editing the file in Notepad. This plugin makes that interface much more robust and more like a regular HTML editor. Useful for those site administrators who only have access to the theme files through their web browser.
- Password Protect Child Pages – Does one thing: if a page that is password protected has child (or grandchild pages), all of those pages will be protected with the same password as the original ancestor page. Useful for anyone who needs to create a section of password-protected content on their website.
- Logout Password Protected Posts – By default, when someone enters the password on a password-protected page, WordPress doesn’t log them out of that page when they’re done. This solves that problem by adding a link that does that when clicked on. Useful for anyone who has protected content on their website.
- List Category Posts – There’s no easy way to display posts in a particular post or page, but this plugin solves that problem. It lets you use the [catlist] shortcode when publishing within the WordPress dashboard. Useful for anyone who needs to easily cross-reference content on their website.
- List Pages Shortcode – Much as with the plugin above, there’s no easy way to automatically generate a list of pages on another page. This gives you shortcodes to display pages in a variety of combinations, using the same parameters as the wp_list_pages template tag.
- wpSUBpages Redirect – Adds a box to the page edit screen that lets you select a page, sub-page, or external URL that the current page should redirect to. This is easier to use than other plugins that require the page ID in order to set up the redirect. My one complain about this plugin is that it doesn’t have an option for redirecting to a file (such as a PDF), and that it doesn’t let you select whether the external URL should open in a new window. Useful nonetheless though.
But wait, there’s one more!
Most veteran WordPress users know that the page/post edit screen only offers a limited selection of buttons to manipulate your content with. Wouldn’t it be nice if there were more buttons available, for things such as tables, subscripts, superscripts, anchor links, etc?
The Ultimate TinyMCE plugin lets you add all sorts of extra functionality for your content administrators to use when adding or editing pages within the WordPress dashboard. I use this just for the table controls, which is one of the most common questions I had until I discovered this plugin, although it’s of course useful for so much more.
What functionality do you wish that WordPress would incorporate that you currently need a plugin for? Do you have any other plugins that should be added to this list? Share your thoughts with everyone by leaving a comment below!
About Hirsch Fishman
Hirsch has been working professionally with websites since 2001, working exclusively in, and focusing on, the Jewish community. Hirsch offers a wide range of website knowledge to his synagogue web design clients from his years of experience working in the Jewish community. He lives in Raleigh, North Carolina.