Ten Plugins For Adding Multimedia Content To Your Blog

WordPress is used not only as a vehicle for transferring many words but also as the delivery system for all kinds of other content. Blogging no longer operates within the confines of a text-based medium and many people are hard at work trying to make the inclusion of other mediums as simple as possible. Even if you’ve primarily thought of your WordPress blog as text oriented the ease and ability of some of the plugins highlighted here may make you reconsider that. We’ll look at a handful that do wonderful things with images, video, and other types of content. These are great for taking your blog in an entirely new direction or just for experimenting with new ideas.

1. Imagemanager is a plugin that aids in uploading and doing basic manipulation of images. You can crop, resize, and rotate images all within the WordPress interface. This is a much more flexible solution than the image upload built into WP.

2. Lightbox2.0 is a visually stunning way to display photographs and other images and make expanding from a thumbnail to full size a dramatic Web2.0 affair. You simply activate the plugin, add tags to the images you would like to add this functionality to, and you’ll have an impressive display of Javascript enhanced beauty to make your image the center of attention instead of a visual element buried among other visual elements.

3. SimpleFlickr allows you include Flickr galleries inline with the elegant simple viewer Flash interface within the framework of your own site which is hopefully a lot easier on the eyes than the Flickr color scheme. This looks really, really nice and a live demo of it in action is available at the author’s site linked above.

4. Yet Another Photoblog will allow you to convert WordPress into a dedicated photoblog. It works on top of WordPress to convert your blog into something that is focused on displaying a single image, descriptive text, and other selected data per page and and nothing else. Instead of being a forked version of WordPress like other photoblog applications it is a framework that coexists with your WordPress install and keeps you up to date with security releases while affording you all the new features that each new release of WordPress adds.

5. Easy Inline SWF allows you to include Flash movies in posts without the messy system of tags that most other Flash embedding solutions require. This one is especially cool because it not only handles files you’ve uploaded to your own server but any file that you have the URL for. It’s very simple and works through the Write page like any other of the rich editing text controls. Simple and elegant.

6. EasyTube allows you to embed YouTube or Google Video with a very basic set of tags that also handle sizing and other attributes. You can also toggle Autoplay to drive your readers crazy with startling video at absurd volume if you’re the cruel sort. The one flaw with the dependence in tags is that you will have to remember to add these in the ‘Code’ portion of the Write window as they aren’t automatically converted by the editor.

7. WordPress XSPF Player is an audio player plugin that will play an MP3 file from any URL. The interface is innovative in the amount of control it offers the user and works in any Flash capable browser. Since most browsers are Flash capable these days the only downside is that the player depends on Flash which some people find objectionable due to its habit of making the browser consume inordinately high amounts of CPU usage. The counter argument is that it works on nearly any operating system you can throw at it and does not rely on the user to download codecs or additional software in order to play songs from your playlist.

8. PodPress may be the only podcasting plugin that anyone ever needs at least to work with them in WordPress. It gives you a ridiculous amount of functionality for a plugin including the upload, tagging, inclusion into your RSS or Atom feeds, assisting with inclusion in the iTunes store as well as a preview of what that inclusion would look like, and a startling number of tracking options for monitoring where, when, and how your podcast is going out to take the world by storm. This is one of the single most impressive plugins that I’ve ever seen in terms of ease of use and features that border on super powers.

9. Sensitive Tag Cloud allows you to create a Flash tag cloud based on the tags you use on your own blog. The cloud sizes tags in accordance to the frequency of their use and is configurable through a panels in Options.

10. Twitter plugin lets you include your recent tweets from Twitter directly into your blog. While this isn’t strictly a multimedia plugin it does allow for outside (and slightly weird) content to be included in your main blog. As Twitter evolves within its tight set of constraints so will the additional content piped into your WP blog.

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