Finding convenient plugins isn’t always easy. Most of us want plugins that look good, are easy to use and – most important – just work, but we often end up trawling through piles of bad plugins before finding the good ones.
These ten plugins are really easy to use, require minimal setup and look super good.
Featured content lets you create a grid of highlighted content under an icon. It’s free, easy to set up and also easy to navigate. You create each content block like a post with the possibility of adding a Font Awesome icon in the botton. By creating a common category for all the content blocks, you can combine them into one grid (just remember to choose grid in the designs) and subsequently copy-paste the shortcode for given category into your post or page. The blocks are displayed according to date, so the latest published content shows first. That can seem counter intuitive, but can be quickly fixed by changing the date of the content posts.
The About Me Page plugin works like a dream. It looks good right from the start and can be pasted into blogs and pages with a shortcode. If you want to create a quick About Me Page with a picture, description, services and skills, this is the plugin for you. It doesn’t do much more than that, but if that’s all you need, it won’t get any easier.
I found Post Grid when I was working on a theme that didn’t display the posts the way I wanted to. I was looking for a way to create my own posts display using a shortcode, and Post Grid did the job just wonderfully. I tried many other plugins, but I like this one the best. It was simple to use and looked good right away. It didn’t have those annoying bullet points that so many other ‘display posts’ shortcodes often come with. It had everything a decent post display should have, including excerpt, date, author and a thumbnail the size of which was easy to customise.
Note: If you want to put the shortcode into your php file, like I did, you will have to type the echo do shortcode commands yourself, as it’s spelled wrong in the plugin.
When first I started looking for a slider I struggled to find one that had the features I needed. I couldn’t really find a free plugin that would allow me to create buttons as well as decide slider size and design.
Smart Slider 3 worked for me, because I could easily add pictures without a fuss and create layers in an interactive drag and drop interface. If you don’t like the many customisations available for button colour and hover colour, then you can always add your custom CSS.
Social Media Follow Buttons Bar can be set up in a matter of minutes and added anywhere using a shortcode. It offers tons of different social media icons so you’ll be sure to find what you are looking for. You can easily change the size and alignment of the social media bar, and set where you want it to appear (for example after every post). If you don’t find your needed icon, the author offers to add it for you. The only thing I don’t like much is the design of the buttons themselves, but I know it’s a popular look, so I can live with that when everything else works so well.
With more than a million installs, Contact Form 7 is probably the most popular contact form plugin ever. It’s literally the first plugin that pops up when searching for contact forms in the plugin store.
It doesn’t look like much at first. The style isn’t very sexy, and it looks like you need special coding skills to set it up, but that’s not the case at all. Contact Form 7 doesn’t require any special knowledge and is really easy to set up. You can add fields by clicking the form-tags in the top bar under “Form”. It also supports Captcha – for some reason many other popular contact forms don’t have this feature.
And you don’t have to do anything at all to make it look great – the default design is cool as it is.
Easy Media Download does what it’s supposed to do. I used it for PDFs without problems, but you should be able to use it for any other file type as well. It allows you to create customised buttons for your download and insert them into posts and pages with a shortcode.
Feature A Page Widget lets you show a page in any widget area. It displays the page in a visually appealing way, and really requires minimal effort. It doesn’t have any of the design flaws such as unwanted bullet points or wonky thumbnails that many other similar widgets suffer from, and is easy to use.
Page Builder by SiteOrigin is a no fuss page builder with a simple interface. You can choose to use the site builder on the top right corner of your page tool bar and drag and drop widgets into rows and columns. No fancy interfaces or overload of features. The more cool widgets you have to choose from, the better it works. It’s the site builder I think works the best of the ones I have tried.
Accordion works great for creating FAQs or to display large chunks of text in a more manageable way. I used it to create a list of benefits of a particular product, so the user could expand the accordion if they wanted to read more about a given benefit. Accordion was easy to set up and works similarly to Featured Content.
It’s always great to have a handful of good, convenient plugins at hand when designing and improving a WordPress site. These plugins are all very easy to use and can greatly improve the look of posts and pages. I like trying new plugins all the time, but I still know I will come back for these again.
If you are interested in WordPress, then stick around or browse through the blog. New posts are coming up soon.