5 of the Best Drupal Modules and 5 Wordpress Plugins You Can't Live Without Or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the CMS

by: maestrojed

Wordpress:

One of the most widely used blogging CMS (Content Management Systems) software, Wordpress has always been focused on making a blogger's life easier with an intuitive administrative backend, a multitude of theme options, and most notably, a vast library of extensions (plugins). Lately, Wordpress has been taking it a step further and embracing the use of its CMS as a site-wide CMS, though it is still a blogging software at heart. Some of the most useful plugins for this popular CMS are:

1. All in One SEO Pack - One of the most popular Wordpress plugins, for good reason, this simple-to-install module instantly optimizes your site for search engines, even without touching the multitude of options. For the more adventurous, you can customize just about any part of this plugin to suit your needs. Some highlights are canonical URL's, automatically generated META tags, and avoiding duplicate content due to categories and archives. http://wordpress.org/plugins/all-in-one-seo-pack/

2. Sociable - Automatically add your site's content, specifically blogs, to 99 different social bookmarking sites such as Digg, Reddit, or Delicious. A must have for anyone who runs a blog and wants to make it easy for users to share your amazing content (You do have amazing content right?). http://wordpress.org/plugins/sociable/

3. WP e-Commerce - A fully featured shopping cart plugin for Wordpress that is both powerful and secure. Designed with the Web 2.0 market in mind, it can be configured to have a drag-and-drop shopping cart and has a focus on usability, aesthetics, and presentation. Perfect for small bands and record labels, clothing companies, crafters and artists, and book, DVD and MP3 stores. http://wordpress.org/plugins/wp-e-commerce/

4. Yet Another Related Posts Plugin - As the title would suggest, there are several modules to do this task, but this is one of the best. Geared to give you a list of posts that are related to the post currently being viewed by a user, it uses a very advanced algorithm and can be controlled by using templating. Other features include caching, related posts in RSS, and related pages. http://wordpress.org/plugins/yet-another-related-posts-plugin/

5. Featured Content Gallery - Allows you to create beautiful rotating image galleries geared towards showing off your 'top stories.' Easy to setup and use, this plugin is a great way to visually capture your audience with what is currently hot on your blog. http://wordpress.org/plugins/featured-content-gallery/

Drupal:

Fully featured, massive, active community, and one hell of a learning curve. Drupal is one of the most complete and vast fully fledged CMS software out there. The fact that it is free and open source is just icing on the cake. However, access to that comprehensive system and its large array of modules comes at a price, as Drupal is notorious for being difficult to pick up and learn, with an administrative backend that can be daunting at first. But for those who hang in there, you are rewarded with a system who's core, in conjunction with the many modules, can get you 80% there for most projects you will ever set out to do, if not more. Here are some great modules to help you build the next Facebook.

1. Administration Menu - Honestly, this should be part of the core Drupal install, as this pull-down menu is virtually indispensable. This should be one of the first modules, if not the first module you install on your new Drupal site. Period. It gives you deep access to the large body of menus and settings for your Drupal site, including 3rd party modules. This one is a no brainer. https://drupal.org/project/admin_menu

2. Views - One of the most popular modules for Drupal and for good reason, Views gives you a slick GUI to create a "view" of any data (referred to as a node in Drupal) that exists on your site. Want to make a page that shows your blog posts? Use a view. Want to make a block that lists your top selling products? Use a view. Want to.... well, you get the idea. Unless you're just making a vanilla blog or "brochure" site, you're going to need Views. https://drupal.org/project/views

3. Content Construction Kit (CCK) - Another very popular module that gives users the ability to add custom fields to nodes. For example, if you want to have a field that holds an image for a blog post, you could use CCK. What's more, users have submitted hundreds of predefined CCK Fields for a wide variety of data such as dates, images, addresses, phone numbers, etc. Rather then defining an address, city, state, and zip code field, simply use the Address CCK and it's already done for you. Many of these CCK Fields have built in validation as well, which is incredibly useful. https://drupal.org/project/cck

4. ImageCache - A fantastic module that allows you to setup presets for image processing. For example, you could setup a product thumbnail preset, making any image you gave it 150 x 150 px. There are a multitude of options and filters that can be applied as well. Have a wide variety of image size ratios? Not a problem, ImageCache can scale and crop in a way to ensure that images end up the same size, but without distortion or stretching. https://drupal.org/project/imagecache

5. Organic Groups - Ever wanted to start the next Facebook or MySpace? With Organic Groups, you'll be well on your way. This module gives your users the ability to create groups that have their own unique page, message boards, and other content. The group creator has full control over who can join their group, and the customization options are incredible. If you want to have any sort of community features, Organic Groups is a must. Furthermore, this module is very well supported by other major modules, further extending its usefulness. https://drupal.org/project/og

There you have it, an introduction to some valuable extensions to two of the most popular CMS software packages on the planet. Think I left something out? Of course I did! There are thousands of these things, but lets hear your top extensions in the comments.

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