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It was only six months ago that I was testing, and seriously enjoying the newly released Barley, and its intuitive take on website management. Featuring tag-based installation, editing that is almost entirely inline, and a beautiful admin area, it has been a hit with web designers looking for a client-friendly option.

Now, however, Barley wants to encroach on the territory of another CMS. But not just any CMS – it wants to take on WordPress, via a plugin.

Few in the web industry would describe WordPress as the leanest editing machine, nor as the friendliest environment for the hapless, technophobic business owner. But can a plugin really outdo the system it is plugged into?


Since 2003, WordPress has helped build and run over 72 million sites worldwide with their simple yet incredibly powerful platform. You can create a blog in minutes and fill it with the content you want, or you could spend hours finding the perfect theme and plugins to make your site work exactly the way you want. WordPress powers everything from  minimist blogs that focus on writing and photography to advanced sites that use it as full-featured CMS, and everything in-between.

With thousands of free and paid plugins available for WordPress, there’s likely dozens that you might like to use on your site but have never heard of. Our reader Ash Beardmore rounded up 10 of his favorite WordPress plugins that you might not have ever heard of. Whether you want to send email newsletters straight from WordPress, monitor file downloads from your site, or more, keep reading to see if these plugins are what your WordPress site is needing.