Today I’m going to take a look at 5 plugins that, as a web designer, I recommend using when building customized content-managed websites in WordPress (all plugins are compatible with version 3.1.3). For more information on using plugins with WordPress, check out the Codex.
1. Custom Post Types UI
There are a few plugins available that allow you to create custom post types in WordPress, but I recommend Custom Post Types UI from WebDevStudios. It’s more of a preference than anything else, as they all essentially do the same thing.
Justin Tadlock explains what custom post types are and how to use them in his blog post.
The Custom Post Type UI offers Advanced Options when creating your custom post types, such as slug rewrites and defining taxonomies. They also work a treat with the next plugin on my list.
2. Verve Meta Boxes
Verve Meta Boxes allow you to add custom fields to your posts and pages. You can then call these custom values out using the function get_post_cutom_values and manipulate the data as you wish.
Perhaps not the most intuitive UI, but they’re pretty straightforward to setup. You can choose from a variety of field types including text, select and checkbox, and easily edit which custom post types you wish to use your meta boxes too.
3. Custom Field Template
I find the Custom Field Template plugin particularly useful when I want to use one page template but customize it specifically for a number of pages. For example, I have 5 pages that all use template-1.php but I want to have a unique banner at the top of each page. So, not only a great plugin form a UX point of view; it also makes life easier for me and reduces the number of template files I’ll need to build my site.
Once the plugin is installed and you’ve set up your custom template, all you need to do is add a small amount of code to your page templates to call it out. Kevin Leary has written a great tutorial on how to use this plugin.
4. Breadcrumbs NavXT
This is a great little plugin for adding dynamic, easily customizable page breadcrumbs to your WordPress site. The settings page allows you to edit the”Home” link and change things like the character between each link.
Breadcrumbs NavXT not only looks really smart but is also very user friendly, particularly if your site contains several subpage levels that the user can drill down into. Highly recommended.
WordGento is a recently released plugin developed by James Kemp, which allows you to quickly and easily integrate Magento blocks into your WordPress site. Like me, you may have spent several hours in the past trying to get your Magento categories and shopping cart to show up in your WordPress headerâ€¦ with WordGento, you simply install and echo out your blocks in your theme with a single line of code.
James is looking to develop the plugin further in coming versions, by allowing integration of custom Magento blocks (as the plugin currently only works with default blocks).
I hope you’ve enjoyed reading this post and if you’re looking to create an engaging web design be sure to check out the plugins for your future WordPress developments.