I started playing with WordPress a little over a year ago. I admittedly went a little bit nuts (some would say overboard), and I’ve been thoroughly obsessed with WordPress ever since.
I’ve spent hours, upon hours, upon hours on the web looking for the best WordPress themes, plugins, and resources, and I definitely think I’ve reached the fringe of what’s out there. For this reason I think I’ll put some of the more impressive themes, plugins, and tools I’ve found into this comprehensive list to try and save others some time. Soooo HERE IT IS!
Themes – Your Website’s Clothes
Themes are like clothes for you website. Without a theme your website is clothed in the standard issue WordPress uniform, the Twenty-Eleven theme. This is a great theme, but most users desire a more personalized theme that caters to their needs. Some of the most innovative, stylish, and cutting edge WordPress themes can be found at the following sites:
These sites all provide you with an extremely user friendly panel to control every functional / stylistic component of your website without delving into the code. They have great customer support, provide fairly regular updates, and deliver fantastic value for what they charge. For a fairly comprehensive review of these providers visit Smashing Magazine.
With a custom theme (and plugins) you can customize you website to be almost anything you want it to be; anything from an e-commerce site, to a recipe blog, or even a social network.
Plugins – Your Website’s Gadgets
While themes are like clothes, plugins are more akin to gadgets and accessories. Plugins extend the core capabilities of your website, and let you do ANYTHING you want to with your website. If you can think of a way to extend your website, there is most likely a plugin for it. Here are some resources for some plugins (some free and some commercial) that are truly exceptional, and can bring your website to an entirely new level without requiring you to understand technology.
- Gravity Forms
- All Plugins from RightHere LLC
- Yoast’s WP SEO
- Disqus or Intense Debate
- WP Touch
- Sharebar or Digg Digg
- Get The Image
- Lightbox Evolution
- Uber Menu
- Backup Buddy or VaultPress
- Page Links To
- Search Everything
- Wp Super Cache or W3 Total Cache
- Linkwithin, Outbrain, or Nrelate
You’re going to need a lot of help once you start your website. Not because WordPress is difficult to use, but because you’re going to want to travel further down the rabbit hole. WordPress is addictive, and the second you realize how much access you have to the entire internet-viewing-world the more you are going to want to blog.
The first place you can always go for help is the WordPress Codex. Should you be unable to find a solution there, you can easily go to one of the following resources to find a solution. Some of these websites are WordPress support communities, some are personal blogs, and others are just websites dedicated to WordPress.
- WordPress Codex
- WPMU. ORG
- WPMU DEV
- WP Beginner
- WP TUTS / Envato Network
- Justin Tadlock
- Smashing Magazine
- WP Candy
- Pro Blogger
- WP Vibe
- Buddy Dev
- WP Engineer
- Weblog Tools Collection
- WP Snipp
- Alltop WordPress
- WP Plugins
- WP Code Snippets
You’re going to need to amass a small collection of tools for managing and maintaining your website. Once you get more comfortable with all the scary tech aspects that go into running a website, here are a couple that are free and easy to use tools that will assist you on a daily basis: