*Last updated July 2013* – This post has been several years in the making, because since 2007, as fast as I’ve written things down in the notes, new WordPress plugins keep getting built and I’d have to scratch them out.
Sometimes we build plugins we need ourselves, as was the case with my desire to have a WordPress plugin that sets everything up with one click, but usually someone has built a solution to our needs.
There are always new ideas though, so rather than keep this ever-evolving document on my hard drive, I’ve decided to post it here in the hopes that either someone will develop plugins that do these things, or someone will comment and steer me in the direction of one that already exists.
In no particular order below, here are a few issues I’d like to see turned into WordPress plugins. If you know of any “answers” for these, (either free or paid), please leave a comment! Likewise, if you have plugin ideas too, please feel free.
As solutions are found, I’ll mark these things solved and move them to the bottom, beginning with the first one for which I finally found a plugin this spring – Very cool.
This page will change over time, and as things are solved, I’ll move them to the bottom with a link.
1. Post by email to a specific category
E-mailing a post to a dedicated e-mail address that you set up for WordPress works on most servers, but there is no way to specify a category when you’re submitting.
How hard could it be to make a plugin that causes e-mailed posts to go with specific category or multiple categories. Right now, the subject line becomes the title though, so it might be sketchy.
For now, the only option is to log in later and manually categorize a post. As long as WordPress’s 301 function is working correctly, you shouldn’t have any problems .
I wonder how hard it would be to be able to put the article title in the post of the subject line, followed by a bracket or other character signifying the category?
2. Scheduler for Automatic WordPress updates
WordPress updates are anything but automatic. Sure they’re automatic once you start pressing buttons and as you continue to make choices, and that FAR cry from how they used to be, but how much harder would it be to have admin page that lets you make your upgrade choices then by puts them on a scheduled Cron job? Why should someone have to work several hours once a month to update a couple hundred sites?
Remove the date snippet from the Google Description. By default, when it displays search results Google will (often) place the post date in front of the description tag, which in many cases can signify an outdated page affecting your click through rate.
Manually removing the date from your snippet isn’t hard, and there are several tutorials showing how it’s done, so why can’t someone just build this into a plugin?
Note – When we tried to make this an option in our Core Tweaks plugin, I was told that it was going to be “theme specific” and would likely cause us more support problems than it was worth. Can someone solve this issue With “hooks”? I’m not a programmer, but this sure doesn’t sound like an insurmountable obstacle to me.
3. Disable Pingback Notification
If you have a list of your pingbacks (essentially, “known backlinks”) then you can ensure that they not only get indexed, but that they stay that way.
This should be a simple hack. We need the list of pingback URL’s to accumulate, but do NOT want to send a email notification to the site admin of the fact that the pingback has occurred, and WP doesn’t offer the option.
You can’t just turn off comments, because they can’t miss a “real” comment, so the only option in WordPress is to completely disallow trackbacks.
Without going into the aspect of what someone would DO with a list of URLs that links back, then his one seems easy.
4. “My Reviews” Plugin
A WP plugin that can automatically retrieve reviews based on your business name and address, then & parses that into an RSS feed you can configure as a widget.
The widget could be highly configurable, offering readers a feed OF your reviews at different places like Yelp or Google Places, and could also have optional links for readers to LEAVE your reviews there at the site.
Most review sites don’t offer your businesses review feeds, so this might mean some sort of scraper action, I’m not sure. Naturally an admin panel would be needed too, that allows you to select which ones you’ll display.
The links could be configured to open in new windows or nofollow, and presumably this plugin would someday incorporate whatever the equivalent rel=”me” tag will be for businesses will be. Just brainstorming here… Maybe somethign is already in the works by Get Listed ?
4. Small Business Perfection
A pretty good WP plugin for gathering and displaying testimonials came out this year, and so did a couple of others for adding reviews, and there are still others for adding microdata to the reviews (like showing stars and review counts in the SERPS) and still others (like our own Core Tweaks) that add a new contact page or drop in a Google Map.
I’m not listing any of them here, because although it’s possible to patch together an all encompassing solution with three or four different plugins, but it’s really a pain in the ass. Not all are free, and the various support needs are tedious.
We need a thorough single plugin with an admin page for all business info and testimonial collection, with clearly defined short codes for everything. Trust me, there are a ton of products out there, but none of them offer all of these things in one well supported plugin at any price.
Someone WILL do this, and I’ll buy it when they do…
5. Leave Us A Review
Right now, if I want to leave a review for a business somewhere, I first have to look up the business wherever I have an account. It’s not that difficult, but most people simply do not take the time to do it.
As a site owner, I can create a nice page saying “Please leave us a review at Google” or “Yelp” or wherever I like, but that takes a little bit of time, and getting the logos and formatting to look right can be a hassle.
An easy WordPress plugin would solve this – I’d like to see an admin interface that lets me put the URL of all my profiles wherever they may be, from Google+ to Yelp, or wherever, and then through the use of a either shortcode or WYSWYG button will display the logo, the name and links to those profile pages nicely, allowing my visitors to review the business wherever they like .
Jeez, how hard can this be?
Issues listed below here have been “solved” and my explanation follows:
The items listed below here have been “solved” as far as I’m concerned, and I look forward to watching this page grow and change.
*Disclaimer – In some cases there may be more than one solution, some free, some paid, and if there’s a paid option with an affiliate program, I’d be an idiot not to use it.
Manage & Delete page revisions
When working on a new website, not to mention frequently updating an existing site, the number of page revisions that WordPress saves is simply astounding.
These constant revisions are nice in theory, but can bloat your installation badly, slow up your website, and affect your SEO, not to mention the speed and functionality of some other plugins or backup processes.
How hard can it be to allow for the easy deletion of these revisions? Since they can be manually culled from the database, some sort of plugin should be possible.
We would simply need individual checkboxes on each page or post edit screen, along with a check all box, and a default settings page allowing you to save a maximum of X revisions.
WP Optimize is an awesome free plugin hosted at the WP repository, and it was was well worthy of our donation dollars.
Offsite Automatic WordPress Backup & Restore
There’s something unnerving about knowing that your web host likely only keep seven days of backup. While the WordPress database backup plugin is great, it does absolutely nothing for your themes, images, uploads folder, and so on.
The perfect plugin that would solve this problem would be something that runs on a schedule, and once a day (or week or month etc.) it will not only make a copy of your database, but of your theme files and everything else that’s important, and either send it to you by e-mail, or upload to another Web server. This really shouldn’t be so difficult…
There is no better product I’ve found than the Volcanic WordPress Backup plugin. It’s completely free, and instead of e-mailing it to you, it will integrate with your Amazon S3 simple storage. Completely amazing, and nicely done. We back up over 150 WordPress sites weekly, then each month it automatically deletes three of the four keeping a year of backups. It’s all on autopilot, all free (aside from Amazon Storage) and easy to restore, too!
Force Commenter Name Links to Open in a New Window
I’m not sure why this isn’t the default behavior of WordPress, but it’s stupid. How hard can this be?
*(This was originally posted in September 2011, and I revise the date each time an issue is solved, or I whenever think of something else)