8 great plugins to add fun to WordPress websites
As we head into 2022, WordPress remains the most popular content management system on the internet. At last count, it powered 43.1% of all websites online today. By comparison, its next closest rival — Shopify — only accounts for 4.4% of current websites.
Part of the reason for WordPress’s dominance is that it’s simple to use and almost infinitely extensible. At the time of this writing, WordPress had nearly 60,000 plugins available for creators to use to adapt it for almost every conceivable purpose. That flexibility means WordPress works as well as the base for a travel blog as it does for an eCommerce website and everything in between.
When creators go looking for WordPress plugins, though, a great majority of what they’ll find are plugins designed to add useful features to their website or to make their job as site administrators easier. But those aren’t the only type of plugins available. Some are designed just to add a little bit of fun to the mix, instead of being “useful”. And those types of plugins don’t get nearly enough attention. To remedy that, here are eight of the best fun WordPress plugins available today.
1. Fun Facts
One of the best things about the internet is its capacity to teach people things they didn’t know. It’s one of the greatest learning tools yet invented, after all. It has allowed people from underserved areas to attend school for the first time, allowed busy professionals to attain advanced degrees without stepping foot in a classroom, and even kept schools operational during a once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.
And WordPress site owners can do their part to spread knowledge, too. All they need is the Fun Facts plugin, courtesy of Joe’s Web Tools. It adds a front-end sidebar widget that presents interesting, strange, and little-known facts to WordPress site visitors. It’s filled with all kinds of trivia, and side owners can even input their own custom facts if they wish. And best of all, it’s free, so there’s no reason not to use it to spread a little bit of fun knowledge wherever possible.
Over the past few years, the effects of gamification on user engagement have started to become clear. In short, it’s now apparent that adding game-like elements to almost any user interface keeps people interested in what they’re doing. And WordPress websites are no different in this regard. But alas, there’s no built-in way to add gamification to a WordPress website.
Enter the GamiPress plugin. It makes adding gamification elements to any WordPress site a breeze. After installing it, site owners can define specific user actions that allow visitors to earn points as they interact with the site. Those points then power a system of achievements and ranks that reward visitors for engaging meaningfully with the site. It’s simple, fun, and keeps visitors engaged with whatever a website has to offer.
3. Quiz Cat
As anyone can tell you, internet quizzes are one of the most addictive and sharable forms of content online. They’re so addictive that sites like BuzzFeed have turned them into the revenue engine that powers much of the rest of their business. But they don’t have the market cornered on internet quizzes — far from it.
WordPress site owners can get in on the act by turning to the plugin Quiz Cat, by Fatcat Apps. It makes developing and adding viral quiz content to a WordPress site simple. And that means they can capitalize on the enduring popularity of quizzes to drive site traffic, increase qualified leads, and create revenue to support their site. And, it’s an awful lot of fun, to boot.
4. Captcha Garb
One of the biggest problems that most WordPress sites face is that they are often targeted by hackers who try and create accounts to use for spamming comment sections. For that reason, you’ll rarely see a WordPress site with an account creation process that doesn’t feature some kind of captcha system to defend against those automated attacks.
Unfortunately, most users despise captchas. The traditional ones are difficult, tedious, and sometimes enough to drive site visitors away before they succeed in registering. But that’s not true of captchas generated by the Captcha Garb plugin by Webgarb. It creates captchas that work more like interactive jigsaw puzzles, where you have to solve a basic challenge, than ordinary captcha solutions. And, the plugin lets site owners upload custom photos to use in the puzzle challenges. That means it fits right into any site’s design, all without making users frustrated enough to flee.
5. Crossword Compiler Puzzles
On the internet, things don’t always have to be innovative to be fun. And there’s no better example of that than the fact that crossword puzzles continue to be a top draw for users looking for idle entertainment. They’ve been a staple of newspapers since at least 1913, and are still going strong online today.
But as anyone who’s ever tried it can tell you, creating crossword puzzles is hard. But WordPress site owners don’t have to go through all that hassle to add them to their website. Instead, they can use the Crossword Compiler Puzzles plugin by WordWeb software. It can embed crossword puzzles from a public collection right onto a WordPress website. And with over 46,000 to choose from at the time of this writing, there are enough to last for many years to come. Or, they can download crossword creation software and do it themselves — if they have the patience to get the job done.
6. Dinosaur Game
There aren’t many things more frustrating than opening a web browser and finding out that your internet connection isn’t working. And Google knew that users of its Chrome web browser wouldn’t be pleased staring at a no connection error page whenever the unhappy event happened. So, they built a game that appears on that page to keep web users entertained until their connection works once more.
That game involves a Tyrannosaurus Rex running through a desert, hopping over cacti as he goes. And now, WordPress site owners can add that game to their site using the Dinosaur Game plugin by Chris David Miles. All they have to do is install it, and embed a custom shortcode wherever they want the game to appear on their site. And their site visitors will do the rest.
7. Stephino RPG
The plugins we’ve covered so far add little splashes of fun to WordPress websites. But what about site owners that want to go further than that? For them, there’s no better option than the Stephino RPG plugin by Mark Jivko. It gives site visitors the chance to play a fully-realized 3D strategy role-playing game right in their web browser.
Players can compete against robots or other users, to expand their territory and discover the origins of their in-game character’s species. To do so, they can build cities, attack other players’ territory, or spy on them instead. And that’s just the beginning. Players can also build custom mini-games to share with the community, or play games built by others. It’s a creative and fun way to build a WordPress community and one that’s quite unique at the same time.
8. Retro Game Emulator
In recent years, video games from a bygone era have experienced a revival of sorts. Gaming companies have started selling retro versions of their old consoles, which arrive pre-loaded with games from yesteryear. And gamers can’t seem to get enough of them. Retro consoles almost all sell out within minutes of their release and are hard to find on store shelves.
But WordPress site owners can give their visitors a new option to scratch their retro gaming itch by turning to the Retro Game Emulator plugin by Grimmdude. It creates an embeddable retro game console that site owners can stock with a variety of retro games for their visitors to play. It works just as well as the consoles themselves and requires no special hardware to play — only a standard web browser.
All in good fun
As the preceding eight fun WordPress plugins make clear, there’s much more to the world’s most used CMS than meets the eye. With these plugins, site owners can give their visitors plenty of fun to go along with whatever content their WordPress site is now hosting. And in doing so, they can increase their site traffic and attract and retain a much larger audience.
But we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention that WordPress site owners should take their time in creating the perfect user experience for their visitors. There are plenty of great and fun options to choose from, but it’s never a good idea to add too many plugins if they’re not essential. So, the best approach is to use the above options sparingly. That way, a little bit of added fun won’t end up compromising site security, which is always a key concern for WordPress administrators. And, if those same administrators want to have a little fun themselves, they can always use this plugin to rickroll their fellow admins — it’s always good for a laugh or two.