One of the biggest benefits of using WordPress is the vast ecosystem of plugins users can choose from to modify and customize their websites.
Plugins exist for a wide variety of use cases, including marketing, eCommerce, and security, just to name a few. Today, we’ll take a look at some of the top plugins out there for development and design, which can quickly add dynamic elements to your website.
Child Theme Plugins
Child themes are layers of code that inherit the functionality and design of their parent theme. Many WordPress users leverage child themes as a way to experiment with different features and elements on their site(s) while keeping the ability to revert back to their default code if they decide to do so. While you can create your own child theme from scratch, these plugins can also be helpful.
Child Theme Configurator
Child Theme Configurator lets you quickly set up a child theme. Using this plugin, you can identify the CSS attributes you want to change without having to look for them. From there, the plugin will automatically create your child theme with a single click. Every stylesheet created is indexed so you can go back and look at the log of what you’ve done at any time. In addition to creating a child theme, this plugin will also help you identify potential problems with your theme and help you address them.
Child Theme Wizard
Child Theme Wizard allows you to easily create a child theme without any additional tools. From the WordPress admin, all you have to do is specify which theme you want to clone and then the new theme will appear under Appearance –Themes. It’s that easy!
In the world of web design, a slider is an image slideshow that’s added to a web page. If you’re interested in adding a slider to your site, WordPress makes it incredibly easy. You’ll have options for customizing your image slider to fit your needs and create it quickly. Here are a couple of options that can help you create a beautiful slider on your site.
Slider by 10Web
Slider by 10Web is a great plugin that will help you add fast-loading, responsive, and SEO-friendly sliders to your website pages, posts, and theme headers, to name a few. The plugin supports both images and videos in the slides, which can then be customized with various transition effects.
Slider Revolution is another great option for adding dynamic sliders to your website(s). While it is a premium (paid) WordPress plugin, Slider Revolution will allow you to create great-looking, professional content modules with no coding required. It’s also one of the top ten most-used paid plugins among WP Engine customers.
Forms may not seem like the most exciting element to add to your site, but for many WordPress users, adding professional, highly functional contact and lead forms is an important aspect of overall site design and ultimately, lead capture and conversions. While building these forms from scratch can be challenging, there are tons of form plugins available that make it easy to add this functionality to your site(s). Here are some options to help you sort through the crowd.
WPForms is a powerful, easy-to-use form building plugin that helps you create great-looking contact forms, feedback forms, subscription forms, payment forms, and other types of forms for your WordPress site in minutes, without writing any code.
Contact Form 7
Contact Form 7 is used by more than 5 million WordPress users to create engaging, professional contact forms. It’s among the most popular WordPress form plugins out there and it will allow you to manage multiple contact forms and customize them to fit your needs. Contact Form 7 supports AJAX-powered submitting, CAPTCHA, and Akismet filtering.
Ninja Forms is an easy-to-use plugin for WordPress developers of all skill levels. A user-friendly drag and drop interface makes form creation self-explanatory, and the plugin offers options for built-in hooks, filters, and customizable fields as well. With Ninja Forms, you can also modify and mark existing fields as favorites for later. Users will be redirected to success messages or elsewhere upon completion of a form.
When it comes to plugin-extended media management, lightboxes are one of the oldest and most popular functionalities out there. Whether you’re a freelancer trying to make your brand website more visually appealing, or a restaurant owner trying to entice new customers with mouthwatering pictures of your dishes, here are some lightbox plugins you might consider putting to use.
Responsive Lightbox by dFactory
Responsive Lightbox by dFactory is a popular lightbox plugin for WordPress that allows users to create galleries and view larger versions of images, galleries, and videos in a lightbox (overlay), optimized for mobile devices. The plugin’s various lightbox scripts include SwipeBox, prettyPhoto, FancyBox, Nivo Lightbox, and Image Lightbox, among others. Users can even apply this feature to YouTube and Vimeo links as well.
ARI Fancy Lightbox
ARI Fancy Lightbox offers users a stylish way to display images and videos with the ability to alter things like overlay style, button size, button text, etc. This plugin can display various types of content in its lightbox including photos, Google Maps, PDF files, and more. Similar to Responsive Lightbox above, this plugin is mobile-friendly and can be easily integrated with social media sites like Facebook.
When it comes to designing sites with WordPress, you’re never stuck with the fonts that come with your theme. There are a number of plugins out there that can expand your options—just remember to pick a good font that’s easy to read. Here are a few great typography plugins that make it easy to improve your site with an exciting font.
Easy Google Fonts
Easy Google Fonts lets users choose from Google’s collection of more than 600 fonts—it simply enables the font you choose within your WordPress theme, no coding required. Another benefit of this plugin is that it’s 100 percent compatible with any theme. Easy Google Fonts integrates with your customizer so you can see a real-time preview of each option as you change colors and fonts. It also backs-up its list automatically as new fonts are added to Google’s collection.
WP-Typography is another solid option for improving web typography with attractive fonts. With more than 50 languages supported, the plugin contains intelligent character replacement that provides smart handling of elements including quotation marks, dashes, math symbols, and more. You can also use CSS hooks for styling character aspects such as ampersands, numbers, uppercase words, initial quotes, and guillemets.
Want to find out more about all the available WordPress plugin options out there? Check out our Ultimate Guide to WordPress Plugins, which offers a deep-dive into the options that are available to you in the WordPress plugin repository as well as paid plugins. And visit WP Engine to find out more about our Digital Experience Platform for WordPress and the ways we’re helping customers manage their WordPress plugins.