Maintenance Mode – If you need just a simple maintenance mode function, this is the good plug-in. Provides the standard WordPress visual editor for creating a maintenance announcement page. Check box turns maintenance mode on or off. That’s it.
WP Maintenance Mode – At the other end of the scale is the feature rich WP Maintenance Mode plug-in. It features a splash page with many options such as user notification sign up, count down, social media icons, forms, exclusions, redirects and robot meta tag options.
Get Off Those Maliciously Loaded Scripts! – This rather lengthy named plugin (GOTMLS for short) is a free download that will perform on-demand malware scans. Donating $14 or more will open additional functionality including: Automatic definition updates, brute force attackes and blocking XMLRPC. A good economical solution that has over 100,000 downloads. For more feature rich anti-malware consider Word Fence or Sucuri.
Simple Custom CSS – Indeed, the simplest plugin for creating a separate CSS file. File is created in it’s own directory outside of the theme, preventing overwrights. File can be edited using the WordPress source file editor.
WP Add Custom CSS – The unique feature about this plug-in is the ability to add CSS to the head section of an individual page and post. Also features an edit panel for creating a custom css for the entire site.
Jetpack Custom CSS – If you are using Jetpack, you may wish to the Custom CSS feature. Works similar to Simple Custom CSS, but with a few other features that include preview, version history and options for mobile.
Photo Gallery by Web-Dorado – Photo Gallery is a fully responsive WordPress photo gallery plugin with advanced functionality.
NextGen Photo Gallery – One of the most popular photo gallery plugins with over 1 million downloads. fully responsive design, a dozen gallery styles, a stunning full screen lightbox, commenting and social sharing for images. NextGen has it’s own media library providing expanded features for adding metadata, categories and content based searches.
Envira Gallery – From the same company that created the Soliloquy Slider, is a gallery feature that has similar administrative screens and functionality for adding and organizing images. Uses the concept of add-ons for expanding functionality.
Image Optimization – Free
WP Smush – Upon upload, Smush will optimize all sizes that are checked in the configuration screen. Processing a large number of images may take some time, as the optimization is done on an external server. The free version will not optimize the original, so it is advisable that it not be too large.
Imsanity – Is simpler to use than Smush, but has less configuration options. It does have an ability to scan the existing media library and optimze selected images as a batch process.
List Category Posts – List Category Posts allows you to list posts by category in a post/page using the [catlist] shortcode. This shortcode accepts a category name or id
Display Posts Shortcode – Easily display listings of posts on a page using a short code. Shortcode takes arguments to query based on tag, category, post type, and many other possibilities. Simple to install, configure and easy to use.
Popup Maker – A versatile popup plugin featuring email subscriber lists, forms, Facebook likes, create login modals, and content restriction. Free version has core functionality. Special extensions available for purchase.
Search and Replace
Search & Replace – Preferred choice. Very simple to use. Enter the string to search, string to replace. Offers the valuable option to select specific tables to avoid unintended changes. Dry run option (set as default) allows admin to run, then view the table changes before running live. Running live choices include actually performing the change or just output the SQL to run later.
Better Search Replace – A very good second choice. However, the free version has no option for output to a SQL file and will only give a change count. Pro version has many more extensive features including more detailed change comparison, backup and import, and migration utility.
Genesis Visual Hook Guide – Used during development to graphically display the location of the Genesis hooks on a page
Genesis Simple Sidebar – Allows the admin to create a widget area that only appears on specific pages
Genesis Portfolio Pro – Creates the custom post type “portfolio”. This creates a grid page showing the featured images from each portfolio post. The images will link to a basic page that has text, images, or galleries.
Post Type Conversion
Post Type Switcher – Simple to use and install. Straight forward usage. Especially useful to converting page to post or post to page. Can be used in batch mode on the post or page list.
Redirection – Yes, redirection is the actual name of this plugin. At 500,000 downloads it is the most common WP redirect plugin used. Operates from a central admin page. Has a nice feature allow user defined groups for redirects. Handy if you have a lot. Will also accept an file import.
Quick Page Post Redirect – This plugin provides the ability to either entire a list of redirects on a central admin page or enter the redirect on the edit page screen.
Social Media Plug-Ins
The Instagram Feed – by Smashing Balloon – This company is known for making feature rich social media plugins. The Instagram feed has both short code for inserting on a page and widget for sidebars or footers. A paid pro version open a variety of useful options.
Shortcode Ultimate – An exhaustive list of shortcodes that seems to cover just about everything from tabs, accordion and buttons to various media features for video, galleries and lightboxes. It is widely used, with over 600,ooo downloads. Paid pro version extends the features.
Symple Shortcodes – If you need just a good set of basic features, Symple is a good option. This free plug-in delivers lists, accordion, tabs and post excerpt options.
WordPress Shortcodes – A more basic user interface for inserting shortcode right on the visual editor screen. Particularly good at utilizing the existing theme CSS, eliminating styling time. Perfect for the most commonly used features, without the confusion of too many options.
WP Shortcode by MyThemeShop – Similar to WordPress Shortcodes, but a bit more popular in terms of number of downloads.
Tabby Responsive Tabs – This is a particularly well formatted tab shortcode, that converts to accordion on small screen formats.
Gravity Forms – One of the most popular WordPress forms that has been around almost as long as WordPress itself. Easy to use, low overhead and very reliable. No free version
Formidable Forms – If gravity forms was newly redesigned, it would look like Formidable. Large collection of field types plus customization with code and CSS. Free version available. Paid version is on their web site Formidable Pro.
Delete All Comments Easily – After being assigned to do maintenance on a web site with 800+ pending comments, this handy plugin provides a bulk delete approach. Allow deletion by status: pending, spam, unapproved, trash and ALL. Also options to delete by category and page/post. Note, comments are permanently deleted.
Ajax Search Lite – Use this plugin as a replacement for the default WordPress search with a better looking, more efficient search engine. User experience can be fine-tuned with a large selection of configuration options. Supports custom post types and custom fields and more.
BackUpWordPress – Simple to configure but has all the basic functions for a backup. Schedule files and/or database daily or weekly. Save any number of backups. Easy download in zip format.