10 Obscure but Useful WordPress Plugins.

Looking for some unique add-ons for your WP powered site?

Many argue that WordPress is the best CMS out there for blogs and basic websites. The biggest knock against it is that it’s not as robust as some of the other offerings. Thankfully, there’s a huge assembly of useful and (non-useful) plugins available that can really boost the capabilities of the WordPress platform.  The trick is finding the ones worth using.

Below are some obscure but useful plugins. Start with a basic theme framework such as Thematic or Hybrid and build your design from there.  (By the way, without hundreds of volunteers and WP junkies, none of these awesome plugins would be available – so in spirit of the holidays it’s a great time of year to say thank you for their hard work by showering them with praise and donations.)

1.) YOURLS: Short URL Widget


sample short URL

With the impact of Twitter and 140 character limitations, shortened URLs have become a necessary evil. Shortened URLs, however, are a mystery box — they don’t tell the user anything about the site they are linking to. With this plugin, you can define what you want the short URL to be. The short URL can be based on your site’s address or a shorter version which is much smarter from a brand-awareness perspective. This plugin also supports a few public URL shortener services: tr.im, is.gd, tinyURL and bit.ly.

* In order to use this plugin, you also need the YOURLS: WordPress to Twitter Plugin.

2.) IP Allowed List

default coming soon page that you can customize

default coming soon page that you can customize

This plugin comes in handy when you’re working on a site, but aren’t ready for the public to see it. Only people on the allowed IP list can see your site. Everyone else will see a customizable “Coming Soon” page of your choosing. Once your site is ready  for the world to see, simply disable this plugin.

3.) Explanatory Dictionary


sample tooltip

This plugin makes it easy for you to add explanations of specific words or sentences you need via tooltips.

If you write a lot of posts that use acronyms or big words, how handy would this be?!  It allows you to keep posts shorter and to the point. That way your jargon-educated readers can keep going and the ones whom need a little more info can get it via tooltip. Easy peasy!

4.) WordPress Toolbar

you can choose shich social services to include

You can choose which social services to include

WordPress Toolbar automatically creates a toolbar for all outgoing links from your blog post.   The toolbar floats on the top of pages linked from your blog post. This allows the user to “keep-a-thumb-in-the-page” and easily return  to your blog. The toolbar also makes it easy to comment on your post or  bookmark your post  in a number of well-known social bookmarking sites. Users can easily close the tool bar with the click of a button.

5.) WP-Invoice


The backend looks intuitive

Hey Freelancers, this one is for you. This plugin allows you to send itemized invoices to your clients. Perfect for web developers, designers, programmers, or any individual  with a WordPress site and clients to bill.  It ties into the WordPress users database and saves your clients’ information. You can send invoice notifications to customers with a secured link back to the web-invoice.

6.) Comment Info Tip

tooltip shows on hover

Tooltip shows on hover

When you mouse-over a commenter’s name you will see a tip appear displaying some information about that given commenter. The tip will display the number of comments the user has posted in the past and display links to the post they commented on.  The tip will also highlight pingbacks and trackbacks.

7.) Big Cartel WordPress Plugin

The default product detail page looks nice and clean

The default product detail page looks nice and clean

WordPress is great for blogs and simple content management but generally its not very good at ecommerce. If you only sell a few products that don’t require a lot of options then you may not need a full ecommerce system.  This is a very early version of a plugin allowing you to pull info from your Big Cartel account into pages through WordPress . For those unfamiliar with the platform, Big Cartel is a simple shopping cart for artists.  Though it’s not perfect yet, the ability to manage your products separately from your blog is quite useful.

8.) Job Manager

its easy to organize your jobs

its easy to organize your jobs

If you use WordPress to power your company site and you’re hiring… you might want to give Job Manager a whirl. This is a plugin for managing job lists and job applications on your WordPress site. It supports all the features you need to manage your organization’s jobs; from job categories to allowing users to apply for a position right from your site.

9.) Upside-down Text

looks good upside down

looking good upside-down

Perhaps you like to stand on your head when you read or you just want to play a joke on your readers – if so,  this plugin is for you. Upside down text does just that. It turns your text upside down. All you do is use the short code – [upsidedown] to set the text you want to appear upside down.  It is Visual editor safe and treated as regular text so can safely be used in both HTML and Visual views.

10.) Mingle

Sample profile page

Sample profile page

Mingle is a powerful plugin that turns your WordPress site into a social network. Yep, you read that right. This software is brand new and hasn’t been tested with every theme or browser in existence so it could have some bugs. But it features all kinds of nifty things like:  user profile pages, friending, custom avatars, profile posting and commenting, friend activity pages and lots more.

Do you have a favorite plugin that is not on this list? Leave a comment and let us know!