Everyone loves lists; everyone loves plugins! So I’ve decided to start a regular Free Plugins of the Month listicle. Without further ado, here’s this month’s crop of three free WordPress plugins I’m loving at the moment.
Need an image for your blog post? Of course you do. Want one that’s free to use, and simple to insert? Yup. Meet Image-Inject, a plugin that gives you one-click searching of creative commons images (from Pixabay and Flickr). Another click to choose the image/size you want, and voilà! Image is inserted into your post, or set as a featured image (if you theme supports them.) I also made a very short video showing how to use Image-Inject. You’ll find the plugin here (under its previous name WP-Inject).
2) W3 Total Cache
The reason WordPress is such a versatile platform is because it is based on a database. Unfortunately this advantage comes at a price. Every page load involves your server going back to that database to pull out the data it needs to build a page in a browser for your visitor. Caching is technique to speed up your user’s site experience by temporarily saving pages as plain old HTML and delivering those to your visitors without having to hit the database as often.
There are a handful of top tier caching plugins for WordPress, but my favorite is W3 Total Cache. It can be a bit intimidating, and I am still learning new ways to tweak it. But in most cases it will work out-of-the-box without much tweaking at all. Someday I’ll make a video about my favorite W3 Total Cache settings and features, but it’s all a bit technical, and I’m still trying to find out what YOU want from me in terms of video tutorials. So if this is the sort of thing you want, please let me know in the comments below. You’ll find W3 Total Cache here.
3) Future Posts Calendar
This plugin is a lightweight way to display an editorial calendar of scheduled posts in your post editor. At a glance you can see what days have posts scheduled, and color coding let’s you know how many posts are schedule for that day. It also provides a quick way to schedule posts, as all you need to do is click on the calendar on the day you want, and it pre-fills the date in the WordPress schedule field. Much faster than manually typing in the date. This is NOT a full-featured editorial calendar, but it is an easy way to manage schedule future posts. Here’s the plugin in the WordPress plugin directory.