15 Essential WordPress Plugins for Portfolio Sites
With the right plugins and a bit of know-how, WordPress can be used to create almost any type of website imaginable. It’s the perfect platform to use for creating an online portfolio: it looks great, it can be managed remotely from any computer, it requires very little knowledge of HTML and, most importantly, it’s completely free.
Artists, photographers, graphic and web designers can use WordPress to create an online portfolio that perfectly suits their work. Plugins can be used to convert a plain, standard WordPress blog into an interesting and unique portfolio that end-users will be keen to explore.
With the plugins outlined below, you will be able to present your portfolio and the images therein in new and exciting ways, as well as increase levels of all-important traffic to your site.
1. NextGEN Gallery
This extremely popular Image Gallery plugin, which comes with a Flash slideshow option, displays images in a simple, but professional manner. Its comprehensive admin pages and straightforward back-end make managing your portfolio easy.
Tired of boring image galleries? FlippingBook organizes images into individual interactive albums, which can be flicked through just like a book. The effect can be far superior to having hundreds of thumbnails in your portfolio.
3. Image Drop Shadow
This plugin automatically creates a drop-shadow effect for all your images. Simple as that.
4. Thumbnail for Excerpts
Add a thumbnail to accompany any excerpts you might have anywhere on your site, such as in the archive or feed. Adding thumbnails not only improves your portfolio’s looks, it also makes it easier to navigate.
5. Featured Content Gallery
This plugin embeds a customizable rotating gallery of your images anywhere in your theme. You can provide text, like the first few lines of a post for example, to accompany each image.
6. Flickr Gallery
Flickr Gallery makes it easy to create portfolio galleries from you Flickr photos, which is great if you’ve already spent hours uploading images. You can also embed Flickr’s flash movie player into your theme.
7. Word Tube
This plugin lets you embed music, videos and images into your posts and pages. It supports .flv and .swf video files, MP3 sound files, and JPG, GIF and PNG graphic files. You can even run pre-role, overlay mid-roll, and post-roll adverts.
Add multiple contact forms to your portfolio with cformsII. The contact forms all ask for a name, email address and message, but can be heavily modified to suit your requirements.
9. GD Star Rating
Add a star rating system to the comments section of your portfolio with GD Star Rating, which also provides a system for aggregating reviews. Using GD Star Rating implies a certain level of confidence in your work, but remember, it could all backfire if ratings are negative.
10. Post Templates
This time-saving plugin lets you create templates for the types of posts you publish most frequently, like ‘image of the week’ for example. You can use it to create a standard entry to accompany all of your images, giving details of materials used if you’re an artist, or location and date if you’re a photographer.
PhotoQ instantly converts your WordPress blog into a photoblog. If there’s a theme you desperately want to use, even though it doesn’t make for a great portfolio, then this is the ideal tool for you. Its batch image upload facility lets you upload several images simultaneously. Uploaded images are placed in a queue for use at your discretion. Photos at the top of the queue can even be uploaded automatically.
12. Google (XML) Sitemaps
This plugin generates an XML sitemap of your WordPress portfolio, making it easier for search engines to find and list your site. The generator is supported by Yahoo, MSN Search, Ask.com and, most importantly, Google.
WordBook drives traffic to your portfolio by adding all your blog posts to your Facebook wall. The Facebook ‘Boxes’ tab helps you keep track of recent posts.
14. Twitter Tools
Twitter Tools fully integrates Twitter into your WordPress blog. Not only can you add tweets to your blog as posts, you can create new tweets on your posts from inside WordPress.
Sociable automatically adds links from the best social bookmarking sites onto your posts. Choose from 99 different sites including Digg, Delicious and Google Bookmarks.
About the Author:
Tom Walker is passionate about technology and design who blogs for a leading supplier of cheap printer cartridges for homes and businesses recommended by Friends of the Earth. You can also follow him on Twitter.
For inspirational portfolios, please visit Folio Focus.