Our Top 5 WordPress Front End PlugIns

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You may know that our website is 100% powered by WordPress. When we first developed our website in 2004, I’d create a page with Microsoft Word, email it to my brother and he’d write out the HTML code and upload it. Nothing more. It was basic and it worked for our needs to communicate our Peace Corps experience with family and friends. But as web development progressed over the years with Web 2.0, HMTL 4 (and soon HTML 5), our website needed to move to a more progressive platform. WordPress is the answer.

There are a number of reasons why we enjoy using WordPress. I won’t bore you with the details, but I do want to highlight a few of the top ones. First, we enjoy how easy it is to use as a content developer. Writing and posting is a sinch. Just write and hit “Publish”. Done.

Second, organizing web pages is as elementary as selecting a web page as a parent or child page. Simple. If I desire to move a child page under a different parent page, then I chose a different one and done.

Lastly, and my favorite, is the integration and abundance of plugins. There are thousands of plugins available to use on our website. They can be used for photos, postings, statistics, calendars, social networking and much much more. At this time the website actively uses 48 plugins.

Here is our Top 5 WordPress Front End PlugIns. I realize Top lists are silly, but come and play along. These are some great plugins. Also, when I discuss front end I mean the plugin is actively visible and the user can experience it on our website.

Top 5 WordPress Front End PlugIns


Sexy Bookmarks are found on the bottom of each post where it says Sharing Is Caring. It allows the post to be shared on Facebook, StumbleUpon, Twitter, Yahoo Buzz, and many more.


The Contact page is built from Contact Form 7. It easily integrates into the website and allows you to email us with no hickups. There a variety of features to customize the look of the form.


NextGEN Gallery is a great photo organizing and displaying tool. Anywhere we have an image posted, it uses NextGEN. The plugin allows single photos or entire albums to be displayed easily. I can move whole albums around the website and display a single image in multiple spots with ease.


jQuery Lightbox plugin integrates with NextGEN Gallery very nicely. You’ll notice the plugin when you click on any of our photos and it pops out to enlarge the image. I enjoy how it displays an image and makes it easy to scroll through an entire album.


Recent Posts plugin is as simple as it gets. On the right column of the Writings page you’ll see a listing of our 15 most recent posts. It allows a quick glance of our recent posts for you to read. That’s it.

There are a variety of other plugins that we use to improve the functionality of our website: RSS feed button, video display and image gallery slide show on the front page, archives list on the bottom of each page, and more. In a future post I’ll provide my Top 5 Favorite WordPress Back End PlugIns. These are the ones that you as a user don’t see but they help keep the website running smoothly and efficiently.

Do you have a favorite WordPress PlugIn?