What are Plugins and Widgets?

Plugins and widgets are tools that enhance the functionality and usability of your site. For example, say you are looking to easily insert a form in your website, there’s a plugin to help you do that. Say you want to have a sidebar module that easily allows visitors to subscribe to your site, there’s a widget for that.

Commonly Used Plugins and Widgets

The following list are plugins used by CI faculty/staff on the CI Keys site for one reason or another.

  • Subscribe2
    • Allows people to subscribe to your posts/updates, will push blog posts out to your subscribers which can work well if you are using your blog posts as class announcements.
  • Black Studio TinyMCE Widget (visual editor)
    • Allows you to customize what you put into widgets (e.g. adding images)
  • Display Widgets
    • Allows you to determine what pages you want widgets to show up on your site (by default, widgets show on all pages)
  • Google Analytics
    • Tracks visitors to your site but you must set up Google Analytics
  • Better Anchor Links
    • Great for making a table of contents on your pages for quick access to content far down the bottom of the page 
  • Comment Images
    • Allows people to upload images on comments when they comment on your posts and pages
  • Ultimate Tables
    • Allows you to create nice looking tables to display information on your pages
  • Google Doc Embedder
    • Allows individuals to embed Google Docs and Presentations into pages
  • WP User Avatar
    • Allows you to personalize your avatar for the site
  • Print Friendly and PDF
    • Places a button on the bottom of each of your pages that allows individuals to create a “printer friendly PDF  of the content on that page.


Want to syndicate other’s blogs on your site?  Not sure what this means?  Let’s say you have a class full of students who are blogging throughout the semester and you want to aggregate their blogs to your home page (like this or this).  There are specific plugins and widgets most useful for syndication.  Check them out on the Using Syndication page.

Using a Plugin We Should Know About?

One of the most challenging aspects of using a plugin or widget is finding one that you like and that works well; you’ll find many options to fit your needs.  Therefore, we invite you to share plugins and widgets that you’d recommend to others, we’ll also keep adding to the list above as we find more.  Leave a comment below and let us know what it is and how your using it.

One thought on “Plugins & Widgets

  1. A great plug-in to password protect entire websites: Password Protected
    I used this to password protect small group blog websites, external to the parent page (educ605blog.tollefson.cikeys.com)

    To figure out how to make those pages open in new windows took some work. In the parent page, you go to Appearance/Menu, then select Screen Options in the upper right corner, select “link target” and then in the dialogue box below in the menu, select Open in New Window.

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