13 Free Plugins to Transform Your WordPress-Based Site

by Steven Snell

March 17, 2010 in Resources

WordPress is a popular blogging engine and CMS in part because of the active community of users and the vast resources that are available. There are thousands of plugin developers that have worked to extend the possibilities of WordPress, and these plugins can provide plenty of opportunities for you to add new features and functionality to your site.

In this post we’ll look at 13 powerful plugins that allow you to take your WordPress-powered site well beyond just a blog. These plugins will help you to create e-commerce websites, mobile-friendly sites, forums, community-based sites, and more.

Webdesigner DepotThis post is supported by Webdesigner Depot, a popular web design blog covering tutorials, design trends, blogging and inspirational posts. You can visit WDD at webdesignerdepot.com and follow WDD on Twitter @designerdepot.

WordPress Plugins to Transform Your Site:

MobilePress is one of several free plugins that helps you to create a mobile-friendly website. With MobilePress you can create custom themes for different handheld devices. It also integrates with Aduity for serving ads on your mobile site.


WordPress Mobile Pack
WordPress Mobile Pack includes a standard mobile theme, a mobile switcher that automatically selects a version of your site (desktop or mobile) to be presented, a mobile admin panel, mobile analytics, and more.

WordPress Mobile Pack

Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin
The Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin will detect the device being used by your mobile visitors and tailors all aspects of the blog/site accordingly. You can use your existing theme without needing to use a separate, generic theme for mobile visitors.

Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin

WPtouch is a plugin and a mobile theme for your blog or website. Touch mobile device users will experience a faster-loading site that is modeled after Apple’s app store design specs.


Alkivia Open Community
If you’re looking to build a user community on a WordPress-based site, this plugin can do the job. Each user will get a profile page, which can be managed by the administrator. Users can upload images into a gallery, as well as other types of content.

Alkivia Open Community

WordPress Wiki
Instinct, the makers of WP e-Commerce, also offer the free WordPress Wiki plugin. With this plugin you can easily use WordPress to create a simple wiki.

WordPress Wiki

Members is a free plugin from Justin Tadlock that focuses on user, role and content management. It improves upon the standard user role system of WordPress by allowing you fine-grain control over the users and who sees what content. You can edit roles, create new roles, set content permissions and more.


TDO Mini Forms
TDO Mini Forms is a popular and powerful plugin that can allow users and visitors to submit posts. It is commonly used for user-submitted news sections. There are a lot of different features and options that make it possible to do a lot of different things with the plugin. This video shows just one example of what is possible with TDO Mini Forms – a wiki-like site that allows visitors to post and edit their own song lyrics.

TDO Mini Forms

WP e-Commerce
WP e-Commerce is a feature-rick plugin that will allow you to transform a WordPress website or blog into an e-Commerce site. It provides buyers with a one-page checkout and integrates with popular payment gateways. Premium upgrades are also available to extend the functionality.

WP e-Commerce

eShop is another popular, free plugin for building an e-Commerce site with WordPress. It includes a number of features including integration with popular payment gateways, sell downloadable or physical goods, email templates, out-of-stock messages, and more.


Simple:Press is a free plugin to use WordPress for powering a forum. It includes many features like integration with WordPress’ users/logins, ability to create private forums, a private messaging system, a built-in search tool, and more.


Business Directory
WordPress can also be used to create a directory site with the Business Directory plugin. The directory can be inserted into one of your WordPress pages and visitors can submit a form for inclusion in the directory. Submissions can be managed from the WP dashboard.

Business Directory

Event calendars are a critical component for some types of websites (i.e. bands, sports teams, non-profit organizations). With the calendar plugin you can easily add a feature-rich calendar to a WordPress-based site.


What Are Your Favorite Plugins?

Feel free to leave a comment mentioning the plugins that are most important for your sites or blogs.

This post is supported by Web Designer Depot

Webdesigner DepotWebdesigner Depot is one of the most popular web design blogs in the world. It covers tutorials, design trends, blogging as well as inspirational posts. It’s run by Walter Apai, a web designer from Vancouver, Canada. The blog is a great resource for both beginners and advanced designers looking to expand and improve their knowledge. The site is visited by Fortune 500 companies and is used as a reference by many design schools. Visited by almost 2 million readers per month, WDD is a prime resource for both graphic and web designers. Visit WDD at webdesignerdepot.com. Follow on Twitter: twitter.com/designerdepot. Subscribe to RSS feed: webdesignerdepot.com/rss.htm.

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About Steven Snell

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design.Connect with Stephen on google+

  • Xcellence IT

    Mar 18th

    I would like to try forum-simple press, biz directory, and events calender on the project I’m currently working on…..

    thanks for sharing this great list…

  • Oliver Cardiff

    Mar 18th

    Excellent list of free plugins. Haven’t really seen these before but the mobile and ecommerce plugins would be really useful. I will have to download them and experiement with them. Thanks for sharing these.

  • Mahmudur Rahman

    Mar 18th

    Great collection of plugins. Website need to mobile friendly and i am sure that these plugins are huge resources for any wordpress fan. Thanks for sharing this awesome post. :)

  • Dumitru

    Mar 18th

    For a mobile version, I would go for MobilePress! Great plugin in a great list :D

  • JC

    Mar 18th

    Nice list of plugins…there really seems to be no end to the things you can do to customize your wp blog. THX!

  • Beth McLain | Web Designer

    Mar 18th

    All of them are truly essential plugins every blogger should install for a better blogging experience.

    Wapple Architect Mobile Plugin. ! I’m going to have to give this a go.

  • Tanya

    Mar 18th

    Excellent post. I never thought that we can use our wordpress blog in so many ways.

  • Hunter

    Mar 18th

    Great list of plugins. Shows how much you can do with wordpress.

  • Stylish Web Designer

    Mar 18th

    Amazing tools for wordpress. I just know about the mobilepress before reading this article

  • Tyler Reed

    Mar 18th

    Really great post, a lot of useful plugins for WordPress! Thanks for the MobilePress mention! :D

    @Dumitru – Thank you for the recommendation! :)

  • curdaneta

    Mar 19th

    Great article you made my day with two plugins for my current project! :D

  • Andrew-S

    Mar 23rd

    Nice list! Using this as a starting point for reviewing various plug-ins suitable for an e-commerce site built on WP. Another (hopefully) useful shopping cart plugin is http://www.phpurchase.com. It looks to be on-par with WP e-commerce link you listed above but possibly a little more feature-rich..

  • Jaime

    Apr 18th

    What an awesome article..Don’t mind if I pass it on to my Twitter friends…Great Resources.

  • inspirationfeed

    May 3rd

    Nice collection, i really like th WPtouch.

  • Martin Lucas

    Jun 24th

    Nice list, especially the mobile versions – this is something I want to have a look into for future sites.

  • Nabeel Ahmed

    Jun 26th

    Is there any plugin to turn website into a marketplace where users are able to sell their products.

  • Used Mobile

    Jun 28th

    Hi Great post! Check out additional suggestions around selling used mobile phones.

  • DailyCreative

    Jul 4th

    @inspirationfeed, Yap! WPtouch very nice :)

  • RO2 zeny

    Jul 21st

    I will go and try to see the effect.

  • Marc

    Jul 25th

    Great list, I’m going to be utilizing a number of these plug-ins on the sites I’m working on. Thanks for the round up.

  • vuitton

    Aug 8th

    good job

  • Logo Design Services

    Aug 18th

    Excellent post ! You make some brilliant points very nice realization. keep it up

  • Architects in Bangalore

    Aug 25th

    Great post . . ! i will book mark your site

  • Al Khafji

    Aug 27th

    Great list dont stop please
    we like mor
    سوق الخفجي المبوبة

  • Namira

    Oct 27th

    Excellent post !i will book mark your site

  • Brett Widmann

    Oct 27th

    Very useful collection of plugins. Thanks for sharing!

  • Hamstring support

    Oct 31st

    Great list, this gives me some new ideas.

  • Pest Repeller

    Nov 17th

    mobile phones that have built in cameras are my favorite because they can capture those special moments and events ;:;

  • kavi

    Jan 5th

    Nice, thanks for sharing!

  • Kayaks for sale

    Jan 19th

    Great list, I’m going to be utilizing a number of these plug-ins on the sites I’m working on. Thanks for the round up.

  • Classifieds Review Malaysia

    Jan 31st

    You have listed great collection. Thanks.

  • Graphics and Web Design Firm

    Apr 16th

    Great post. Really nice plug-ins list. I love to see this. I think it will be very helpful for wordpress developer. Thanks for share

  • Derek Land

    Jun 4th

    I used s2Member (free) on a website and it’s incredibly feature-rich (and documentation rich also) for establishing a members-only site using WordPress using subscriptions or payments for certain content.

    Great list. I grabbed a couple to try out. Thanks!

  • inspirationfeed

    Jun 13th

    This is extremely useful for my next project!

  • michael

    Jul 16th

    Oh hello,

    I am looking for a WP plugin that allows users to create their own listing page AND allows them to upload their own menu of items that includes prices. The example I want to emulate is http://www.weedmaps.com. The various listings there are all user generated and templated so that there is uniformity in terms of menu structure and layout. Any help appreciated!!!

  • The Epic Coder

    Jul 17th

    I might just go ahead and use WP Touch because I need my blog to go mobile.

  • Shop Designer Brisbane

    Jul 19th

    There’s always a lot of different challenges everyday. You’ll just have to figure your way out. thanks for sharing.

  • Free Press Release Distribution

    Aug 3rd

    Each user will get a profile page, which can be managed by the administrator. Users can upload images into a gallery, as well as other types of content.

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