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5 Great Plugins to Expand the Usability and Functionality of Your WordPress Site

resources | web design by Shannon Noack on January 25, 2012 | 2 Comments

We’ve setup quite a few WordPress websites at Snoack Studios and have used many different plugins. Plugins help extend the capability of WordPress and make things easier for you to maintain your site. While WordPress used to be just a blogging platform, it’s now capable of controlling a whole website and with the use of plugins, it’s easier than ever for our clients to edit their text, add images to sliders, and complete even more complicated functions all on their own. Our list of favorite plugins is long, but we’ve narrowed it down to our top 5 favorites that are invaluable on many of our projects. Here are our top picks.

Contact Form 7

This is the most widely used contact form plugin for WordPress and it really works great. You can setup multiple forms on the same site, and have them complete different tasks as well. It’s easy for admins to edit and easy for users on your site to utilize too! See the documentation to read more information on it.

The picture on the right is of a form where users can give more information on their event to get a quote, so the form can be utilized for anything!

Easing Slider

There are tons of plugins that control sliders and slideshows on WordPress, but this one is a favorite because it’s really easy for users to use. Once it’s all setup, you just need to upload your images and add them to the Easing Slider, in the order you want them to appear. Super simple! See an example of this slideshow here and the documentation about it here.

MCE Table Buttons

We actually don’t use this very often, but it’s so handy when we need it! If you have to display any tabular data this is helpful for editing that table later on. Tables are considered a bit outdated in web design, but they are sometimes the best option and really helpful for displaying data, so this plugin helps our clients edit tables that we’ve created for them. This adds a great row of buttons in the admin panel that allows administrators that are editing pages or posts to add cells and rows and edit the table in the same way you would a spreadsheet in Excel. See the documentation for it here.

Rich Widget

Widgets are typically used for sidebar items, but they can really be used for anything you need access to edit. Like footer items and other global items on your site that are repeated across pages. The Rich Widget plugin gives your widget greater functionality because it adds WYSIWYG features, allowing you to easily add a link, upload pictures, bold text, etc. These things aren’t available with a normal Text widget so the Rich Widget plugin is very helpful when an administrator needs to do more with their widget space. See the documentation for it.

jQuery Lightbox for Native Galleries

One of our favorite ways to add a bunch of photos to a site is through this photo gallery plugin. It’s really simple to use, and can be used on any post or page, so it’s handy for admins. It’s also nice for users on your site because they can see thumbnails of multiple photos and then enlarge the ones they want by clicking on them. Pairing easy setup and easy use for users is a win-win! See the documentation.

WordPress is an excellent solution when you want easy access to edit and maintain your site, and these plugins really help to maximize your time so you can have full access to do what you need and then move on to other important tasks.

What other plugins do you use on your site that you couldn’t do without?


  1. Aksam Zarook
    January 9, 2013 @ 12:43 am

    I’m using contact form 7. I’ve found it to be the easiest contact form to manage and configure.

    Others plugins here are also good. Specially the table editing plugin would have save me a lot of time in some old projects if I had known about it. I need to keep reading about new plugins. who knows when I’ll come across a useful plugin like this.

  2. Shannon
    January 9, 2013 @ 9:15 am

    @Aksam – We LOVE Contact Form 7 as well! It works wonders for so many different sites. And yes, there are tons of plugins out there that make life easier in WordPress. Glad you enjoyed the post!

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