One of the reasons WordPress is so popular is because of its flexibility. Designers, developers, and bloggers have plenty of options. In this post we’ll look at a combination of tutorials for improving a WordPress-based site, and plugins that can provide added functionality that will bring new possibilities.
UPDATE: We recently launched a gallery site that showcases the best blog designs for your inspiration – Blog Design Heroes.
Magazine themes are becoming increasingly popular. There are plenty of quality premium themes available, and also some decent free magazine themes, but you may want to build or customize your own. This tutorial covers the process of coding the index.php file to set up a magazine-style front page with a featured post section.
Sidebars are often pretty boring. If you’re looking to improve yours, this tutorial goes through the process of using jQuery that expands and reacts to user actions, similar to the Apple sidebar.
This tutorial will show you a different approach to displaying featured content. The technique is fairly simple, and can easily be applied to any blog that wants to give more exposure to certain content. This only requires a few coding changes to get the featured content in the carousel.
This tutorial from Chris Coyier is not exclusively for WordPress, but this could easily the sidebar for many WordPress users. Blogrolls are common sidebar features, but with this tutorial Chris shows how the traditional blogroll can be taken a step further by bringing in feeds from other sites and blogs using SimplePie and jQuery. This technique is especially useful for those who run multiple blogs or a network.
Nick La of Web Designer Wall has a post with a number of WordPress hacks, one of them being the dynamic highlight menu. Nick shows his approach for creating the navigation menu at Best Web Gallery that highlights the current location for visitors.
In this tutorial Darren Hoyt provides the code for creating a WordPress navigation menu that shows both parent pages and the relevant child pages. For sites and blogs that have a lot of content and pages, this trick can help to improve user experience.
WordPress’s custom fields open up endless possibilities for theme developers and bloggers. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to use custom fields to display an image for a post with text laying on top of it.
Jean-Baptiste Jung shows another technique for improving the navigation of a WordPress site. The horizontal dropdown menu uses categories and sub-categories to create a magazine-style nav menu.
Smooth Gallery is a MooTools gallery that can add some sizzle to a website. In this tutorial you’ll learn how to integrate Smooth Gallery with WordPress.
If you’d like to improve your sidebar by adding some tabbed content/navigation areas, this tutorial covers the process of using Yahoo! TabView in your WordPress sidebar.
As Twitter continues to increase in popularity, integrating Twitter and WordPress will likely continue to become more common. This post isn’t really a tutorial, but it does give the code that you need to add a “send this to Twitter” link or button to your WordPress blog.
With the J Post Slider Plugin gives WordPress users an easy way to add an attractive image slide show that can be controlled from the admin panel.
Lightview is similar to Lightbox. However, Lightview also works with videos and iframed web pages in addition to photos.
NextGEN Gallery is a full integrated Image Gallery plugin for WordPress with a Flash slideshow option.
Advanced Category Excluder allows WordPress users to easily have CMS-like control over which content appears on the front page, in RSS feeds, archives and more.
With Events Calendar 3 you can manage future events as an online calendar. Display upcoming events in a dynamic calendar, on a listings page, or as a list in the sidebar.
WP e-Commerce is a highly useful plugin for bloggers or website owners who want to sell products from their site without a lot of work to set up an e-commerce site.
With TDO Mini Forms you can allow users to submit posts by completing a form. The posts are held in moderation until you choose to publish them.
Community news sections are popular among design blogs. This plugin will make it easy to accept and publish user submissions. There are a lot of options and control for the site owner or administrator.
Breadcrumb navigation can be helpful for usability and SEO purposes. This plugin allows you to easily add plugins to your WordPress theme.
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