13 Free Plugins to Transform Your WordPress-Based Site

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.

Stephen Snell is the owner and editor of Vandelay Design, a popular design blog.
  1. March 18, 2010

    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…

  2. March 18, 2010

    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.

  3. March 18, 2010

    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. 🙂

  4. Dumitru
    March 18, 2010

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

  5. March 18, 2010

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

  6. 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.

  7. March 18, 2010

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

  8. March 18, 2010

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

  9. March 18, 2010

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

  10. March 18, 2010

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

    @Dumitru – Thank you for the recommendation! 🙂

  11. March 19, 2010

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

  12. Andrew-S
    March 23, 2010

    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..

  13. April 18, 2010

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

  14. May 3, 2010

    Nice collection, i really like th WPtouch.

  15. June 24, 2010

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

  16. June 26, 2010

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

  17. June 28, 2010

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

  18. July 4, 2010

    @inspirationfeed, Yap! WPtouch very nice 🙂

  19. July 21, 2010

    I will go and try to see the effect.

  20. July 25, 2010

    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.

  21. August 8, 2010

    good job

  22. August 18, 2010

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

  23. August 25, 2010

    Great post . . ! i will book mark your site

  24. August 27, 2010

    Great list dont stop please
    we like mor
    سوق الخفجي المبوبة

  25. Namira
    October 27, 2010

    Excellent post !i will book mark your site

  26. October 27, 2010

    Very useful collection of plugins. Thanks for sharing!

  27. October 31, 2010

    Great list, this gives me some new ideas.

  28. November 17, 2010

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

  29. January 5, 2011

    Nice, thanks for sharing!

  30. January 19, 2011

    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.

  31. January 31, 2011

    You have listed great collection. Thanks.

  32. 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

  33. June 4, 2011

    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!

  34. June 13, 2011

    This is extremely useful for my next project!

  35. July 16, 2011

    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!!!

  36. July 17, 2011

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

  37. July 19, 2011

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

  38. 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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