Our mission-critical WordPress plugins

It's no secret that I bet the farm when I built the Offbeat Empire on WordPress. My developer, Jennifer M. Dodd, suggested way back in 2006 that we tap into WordPress's open source platform and a big part of that was the active plugin development community around WordPress.

In the years since, we've tested out hundreds of plugins. Some of them have become mission critical — to the point where I literally couldn't do business without them. Others of them, unfortunately, have been so poorly coded that Jennifer has scolded me for installing them on our server. (ACK! That's the risk with open source code…)

In the interest of spreading the awesomeness around, here are the plugins that the Empire literally could not function without:

The return of THIS! (now with unTHIS! action)

Earlier than expected, the THIS! function is back — and it's better than ever! Here are the improvements:
* Now it's a sexy little button instead of just a text link
* When you click it, you'll see the THIS! count immediately updated to reflect your vote
* You can cancel your THIS! by clicking unTHIS!

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What it sounds like when you're passionate about web development

Lately, my Chief Technology Officer/web developer J.M. Dodd has been doing more and more custom WordPress plugin development. I'll ping her with a request ("Can we make it so that we can easily see a list of Offbeat Bride vendor listings that are expiring in a given month?") and she'll spend some time whipping up a custom plugin that does exactly what I need to to.

Part of why the two of us work so well together is so we're both so passionate about using web development to solve the problems of doing business. I get a genuine buzz out of identifying a problem ("It's really hard for my sales rep to see which listings are expiring…"), pitching a solution ("J.M. Dodd, what if we had a drop down menu on WordPress's main Edit Posts page that showed Expiration by month?"), and then seeing J.M. Dodd work her magic to make it happen. After the magic occurs, there's some serious nerding out and gloating that generally happens: