15 Essential WordPress Plugins for Portfolio Sites

by Tom Walker

July 1, 2009 in design

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.

NextGEN Gallery

2. FlippingBook

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.

Image Drop Shadow

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.

Thumbnail for Excerpts

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.

Featured Content Gallery

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.

Flickr Gallery

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.

Word Tube

8. cformsII

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.

GD Star Rating

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.

Post Templates

11. PhotoQ

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.

Google (XML) Sitemaps

13. WordBook

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.

Twitter Tools

15. Sociable

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.

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About Tom Walker

  • Nicholas Z. Cardot

    Jul 1st

    Thanks for the list here. I’m fairly new to WordPress so I’m always looking for great plugins!

  • Abu Farhan

    Jul 2nd

    Thanks for sharing, I want to use flippingbook.

  • Raymond Selda

    Jul 2nd

    Lots of very useful plugins here. Thanks for this list.

  • Viidar

    Jul 2nd

    Nice list, but I am missing the timthumb-plugin where you get thumbnails by using Custom fields. The thumbs may be scaled individually around the site. For example big thumb above the posts title, small thumb in the loop of posts etc… :)

  • Michael Toman

    Jul 2nd

    Just getting to grips with WordPress and some of these have come in handy on my new blog. Thanks.

  • wtp

    Jul 2nd

    excellent list, thanks!

  • owain

    Jul 2nd

    A really useful list. Should help me out loads. Great work. : )

  • Stijn

    Jul 2nd

    Thank you so very much for pointing out the ‘Thumbnail for Excerpts’ plugin! I can’t believe I never found it before. It’s just what I’ve been looking for all these past months. It works right out of the box, with stunning result. Thank you, DesignM.ag!

  • Sudhir

    Jul 2nd

    Very helpful list..


  • Phaoloo

    Jul 2nd

    Great plugins :)

  • Taa

    Jul 2nd

    great, useful WordPresslist! Thanks very much for compiling

  • Luciano

    Jul 2nd

    Any good plugin for put an Agenda on the WP site? thanks!

  • Caitlin

    Jul 2nd

    Great list! I use GD Star Ratings on my site’s blog, and it’s such a simple and useful plugin!

  • Jake

    Jul 2nd

    Wow this is awesome! I’ve saved this article to Delicious to check out later when I re-design my portfolio site, definitely a great resource

  • Brady

    Jul 2nd

    Great WP Plug in post. One I would add to the top of the list is ‘Easy Contact’ and ‘WP-DB-Backup’. Easy Contact lets you add a page, simply paste code in, and you have a fully functional Contact Page. WP-DB-Backup allows you to backup your wordpress environment and auto-send to yourself! You also forgot to put in the ‘Notify me of followup comments via e-mail’ plug-in which you are using. ;)

  • James Holmes

    Jul 2nd

    Tom -

    The list of excellent Word Press Plug ins ins endless and I must say you have found a few that I had not previously seen or imagined.

    Thank you for this post of resources!


  • Aneslin

    Jul 4th

    really great plugins, thansk for the intro.

  • Web Design Sussex

    Jul 5th

    All are great especially the drop shadow plugin which could really be useful saving designers having to shadow effects on all there images! Thanks for the list.

  • Gillian

    Jul 5th

    Great list! Thanks for sharing these! :D

  • Shahriat Hossain

    Jul 5th

    Cool plugins :D

  • John Hoff - WpBlogHost

    Jul 5th

    Great list of Portfolio tools for WordPress.

    I gave it a stumble and will use some of these for my personal family site.


  • Dijup

    Jul 6th

    Great list!
    Thanks for sharing these!
    I think perfect set of plugins for personal site.

  • TheShape

    Jul 6th

    Great selection! I was looking for something like this! ;)

  • Gabriele Massari

    Jul 8th

    Great list…thanks a lot!

  • Heather Torres

    Jul 9th

    Great post! Thrilled about the Sociable plug-in! Thanks!

  • Matt Sweeny

    Jul 18th

    I think that you missed a really cool WM 2.8.1 plugin called WordPress Portfolio Plugin which can be found here… http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/wp-portfolio/

    I am currently using WordPress Portfolio as a combination portfolio and testimonials “page here http://www.mattsweeny.com/testimonials-portfolio/

  • Tracey Grady

    Jul 19th

    Thanks. I’m especially interested in Word Tube because I’ve been searching for some time for a plugin to embed streaming video on a WordPress site. I recently found another one, Hana Flv Player WordPress Plugin and I’m using it on my site, but it seems to not work with IE7 or earlier so an alternative option is good news.

  • Joe Hoyle

    Jul 21st

    I have recently released a dedicated WordPress Portfolio plugin called JH Portfolio, it ranges from easy theme integration through use of widgets, are also comes with plently on template functions for creating your own custom portfolio layouts.

    Best place to start with it is on WP Extend here:


    or view the plugin’s homepage here:


  • Faizan

    Jul 28th

    Thanks for the post. I have started my own blog/portfolio. DO visit!

  • Harpreet Khera

    Aug 25th


    But what i am looking is not here….

  • Steven Snell

    Aug 25th

    What are you looking for?

  • Mahmudur Rahman

    Oct 4th

    excellent wordpress plugin links . thanks for shearing.

  • OneMoreGadget

    Oct 12th

    Hey there, Thanks for the list.

    Is there such a plugin that lets you create a visual archive? That’s just a gallery of images for all your posts rather than day, month, year – copy heavy kind of stuff?

  • Jack

    Oct 19th

    Excellent List !! Thanks for sharing :)

  • web hosting

    Oct 28th

    Some great wordpress plugins, thank you.

  • Okan

    Nov 7th

    Sitting here researching wp portfolio plugins… Very nicely done. I use some of these but some I never knew existed. Just when you think you know it all… Thank you very much for this. There are a couple I am going to try right now. Enjoy your days.

  • מפרשים

    Feb 11th

    does anyone know good plug in for photo gallery?

  • Deepak

    Feb 15th

    Great list of plugins here..am new to word press..so always searching for better stuff to upgrade my knowledge as well as updating my blog..thanks a lot..more such posts which helps newbies like me would be apreciated

  • Ink Cartridge People

    May 18th

    Great list of time saving plugins. I’ve been looking for one that will let me embed videos into my posts – thanks!

  • Canvas Prints

    May 20th

    These should really save a lot of time.

    I have the same problem with videos so this should really help.

    Thanks a lot :)

  • Beds

    Jun 16th

    Do you think I can use something like this for my bed site?

  • Ready Layouts : Brochure Design Templates

    Jun 22nd

    Wow! thx for all the info. Just what I was searching for

  • Beds

    Jun 23rd

    Great post.

    Thanks very much for this

  • Srinivas

    Jul 23rd

    Port folio plufin is awesome i ‘ve made use of it @ http://www.medicalsquid.com/services/

  • vuitton

    Aug 14th

    thanks it’s awsome!

  • Career Outlook

    Aug 14th

    Very nice collection though I have no intention to start a portfolio site now but I am bookmarking this post for future reference :)

  • Alex Patton

    Aug 16th

    Perfect! Thanks. I would add All in one SEO!

  • MBO

    Aug 18th

    thanks for sharing this one.. a lot of informative thing..:)

  • Jodi Allen

    Aug 26th

    Wondering…is WordPress.com even worth doing? Is there a way to get around the limitations? It seems like a lot things can not be changed. Would I be better off doing WordPress.org? Thanks :-)

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    Sep 4th

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  • Resume Samples

    Sep 14th

    Thanks for sharing with us such useful information.

  • uk jobs

    Oct 6th

    A really useful list. Should help me out loads. Great work. : )

  • Melatonin Side Effects ·

    Nov 3rd

    when looking for music videos, i always check out music videos with funny and sentimental content .

  • Steven Britton

    Nov 19th

    Great post, Tom! I will be adding a hand-full of these plugins today!


  • Philippine Love Poems

    Dec 2nd

    music videos are nice because you have music and sort of a small movie describing the music ,”,

  • Alberto Dieago

    Mar 7th

    The list of excellent Word Press Plug ins ins endless and I must say you have found a few that I had not previously seen or imagined.

    Thank you for this post of resources!

  • ink2go

    Apr 8th

    thanks a lot i found this very use a good site packed with information i just about to install a word press site so it was very informative and handy for me cheers

  • Marc Buurke

    Apr 11th

    Excellent and usefull list, thanks!

  • Barney Durst

    Apr 30th

    When I see a great blog post I go ahead and do one of three thing:1.Forward it to my relevant contacts.2.Bookmark it in all of the favorite social sharing sites.3.Make sure to visit the website where I came accross the article.After reading this post I’m seriously thinking of doing all 3!

  • zourbuth

    May 4th

    Flickr Gallery is the nice one.

  • Sevgi Büyüsü

    May 6th

    Flickr Gallery is the nice one.

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  • Website Design London

    Jun 21st

    Nice post, thank you for sharing. You have really imparted useful knowledge on WordPress Plugins. Great stuff on related subject. This is a big help for all of us.

  • Web Hosting

    Jul 22nd

    Thank you for sharing the list.
    Great set of plugins. I quite like the Sociable ones.

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