Plugins are an essential part of creating ease-of-use through the WordPress dashboard. There are thousands of plugins available with more created every day. While we could create plugins ourselves (and have!), we like to show our appreciation for other developers by using the plugins they have already created. Here are a couple of the core plugins that we like to use on almost all of our sites that we build.

Types

The Types plugin is great for clients who need content to be styled and displayed a certain way, but also need to be able to add, edit, and delete that content easily. We are able to create a custom post type which is displayed as a menu item in the dashboard. Let’s say, for example, that the client is a realtor who has several properties for sale. They need to be able to add/edit/delete properties easily, however, they don’t want to just add all of the information for the property in a text block. They want it to be styled in a certain way that is not practical through the standard WordPress WYSIWYG editor. We are able to give them field inputs using the custom post type and then call that information into the code and manipulate it to display however we want it to.

types-dash-2

Here is an example of how you input the content in the dashboard.

types-sc

This is how the content is output on the website. This would be nearly impossible to do through the standard WSIWYG editor in WordPress

Options Framework

Options Framework is another plugin that we use to simplify process of adding and editing of content to a website. With the Options Framework, you can edit much more specific content than the Types plugin allows. For instance, we have used it to allow clients to easily edit the footer information on their website. After installing the plugin, we have to go into the options.php file and create the field, then we add a snippet of code to the footer.php file:

of_get_option('footer-text');

This provides the client with a simple text input in the dashboard where they can add copyright information, a link to their privacy policy, or anything they want to appear in the footer. The uses for this plugin are practically limitless.

options-fw

The Options Framework allows you to edit your Theme Options in the dashboard. Here you can add specific content without having to go into the .php files.

With thousands of plugins available, there is a good chance that you can find the one you need for your feature or function. Whether it is integrating Google Analytics or adding a slideshow, we use plugins not only to make our jobs easier, but to make it easier for the client to manage their website.