A primer for WordPress themes, plug-ins and tips
- WordPress plugins - Their own official plug-in directory WordPress recently launched. It offers a growing list of plug-ins, as well as ratings and a comment thread for each plug-in so you can weigh the wisdom of the community before trying one out.
- WordPress Plugin Database - The previous reigning king of WordPress plug-in directories, it's at the tail end of a very AJAXy redesign and will probably beat out the official directory for some time in terms of the sheer amount of listed plug-ins. No comment thread or rating system here; just a brief description for each plug-in and a link to the main pages for the author and plug-in (if one exists).
- Theme Viewer - As its name suggests, this is probably the largest directory for free WordPress themes bar none. It also offers a very customizable search engine, allowing you to specify features you're looking for such as number of columns, a predominant color, widget-readyness (and with the recent WordPress 2.2 update building the widget plug-in right in, widget-ness should become far more standard in themes from here on out), fixed/fluid width and even where your sidebar is placed. A new batch of themes typically appears almost daily, so you're almost guaranteed to find something here that you like or could hack and edit easily enough into your vision. If you're looking to get a theme customized, some authors who upload themes here will be more than willing to help you, often at very agreeable prices.
- Template Monster WordPress Themes - If you're really looking to get serious with your site's theme, Template Monster offers a category of commercial templates dedicated to WordPress which feature a level of quality design not found in the free directories. As icing on the cake, you typically get all the Photoshop files used to build the theme with your purchase, making it really easy to apply any changes, edits and new imagery. However, themes from Template Monster don't come cheap: it looks like their lowest price for a WordPress theme is $51, and if you want to buy exclusive rights to the theme (so they can't sell it to anyone else - ever), you have to pony up about $750. Hey, we didn't say they were cheap - just that they were an option if you're looking for quality that typically can't be had for free.
- Blogging Pro covers a wealth of topics related to blogging and its tools, but they have a few WordPress-specific categories near the bottom of their category list.
- ProBlogger is a great site run by Darren Rowse that covers topics such as how the blogosphere works, improving your writing, how to engage your audience and much, much more. It certainly isn't WordPress specific, but even if your blog has the coolest theme and plug-ins the web has ever seen, it will still only be as good as the words written on its digital pages. ProBlogger is a great place to learn how to make those words as good as they can be, so it made our list.