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    20 Essential WordPress Utilities to Manage Your Site

    4elements | web design The Hague blog • 20 Essential WordPress Utilities to Manage Your Site

    Though WordPress is incredibly flexible and offers loads of features, there is still a lot of room to improve basic and critical functionality, and the best way to do so is with utility plugins.

    With thousands of options available, however, it can be quite difficult sorting the good from the not so good. In addition, you need to be very selective when deciding on what kinds of plugins you want to use because each plugin added to your site can decrease the load speed of your pages. More plugins also increase the likelihood of scripting conflicts.

    With all these issues in mind, I’ve compiled a list of 20 essential WordPress utility plugins available at CodeCanyon to help take your site from good to great.

    1. WPBakery Page Builder for WordPress

    WPBakery Page Builder for WordPress, formerly Visual Composer, is an easy-to-use drag-and-drop page builder that will help you create any layout you desire quickly and easily.

    The page builder comes bundled with two types of editors, a front-end editor and a back-end editor, so that you can use your preferred method of working. That means you can create your WordPress website with the back-end schematic editor or move your page building process to the front end and see your results live.

    WPBakery Page Builder for WordPress

    Other great features include:

    • full control of responsiveness
    • an intuitive drag-and-drop interface
    • video and parallax backgrounds
    • multilingual enabled
    • and much more

    User TenkaraGrasshopper says:

    “I love my WPBakery plugin! Using this plugin makes editing and designing pages amazingly easy and fun. And best of all you don't need to know any additional coding to make your pages look great.”

    2. Yellow Pencil

    Yellow Pencil is a WordPress CSS style editor plugin which allows you to customise any theme quickly and easily by editing it in real time. All you need to do is click on an element you want to modify, start changing its features visually, and Yellow Pencil will create the required CSS style codes in the background for you. The plugin provides over 50 style properties to help you modify your site. 

    Yellow Pencil

    Other great features include:

    • over 500 fonts
    • 300 backgrounds
    • a live colour picker
    • responsive support
    • and much more

    User Rob33 says:

    “Beautiful plugin, opens up the world of CSS for lay people. So easy to use, intuitive, clear and well designed, needs no support. Very safe purchase if you were thinking about it.”

    3. Scrapes

    Ever dreamed of having a robot that could blog for you at any time of the day or night? Well, Scrapes have heard your prayers. The plugin automatically copies content from any area of the web you choose straight to your WordPress website, in effect creating a system of auto-blogging for you.

    You can program the plugin to copy content once or at chosen time intervals from a single webpage or from several pages. It can copy content as varied as weather forecasts, the latest news items, blog and magazine posts, and videos.

    Scrapes

    Other great features include:

    • flexible text and visual formatting options for copied content
    • access your dashboard from any device
    • autoblog content with any language character set
    • and much more

    User DTrance says:

    “A very good and user-friendly scraping plugin for WordPress. The UI was designed for non-techies which makes it easy to set up for anyone.”

    4. Hide My WP

    Hide My WP is a security plugin that hides the fact you’re using WordPress on your site, which allows you to fly under the radar of attackers that target WordPress sites.

    In addition, their Intrusion Detection system automatically monitors the site and finds potentially dangerous requests. It then provides you with all details of the attacker like who they are, where they’re located, how they’re trying to hack your site, etc., and suggests whether they should be blocked or not.

    Hide My WP

    Other great features include:

    • easily replace any words in your HTML output file
    • easily change or hide any URL 
    • notify you when someone is poking around your WordPress site
    • change default WordPress email sender
    • and much more

    HelloMandie says:

    “If you are serious about WordPress development, you need to have an excellent security plugin. Not only is this one of the best out there, but their customer support is fantastic. When I had issues with my setup, they were quick to help and got it resolved in a matter of hours.”

    5. Ajax Search Pro

    If you’re looking for a better search function than the native one WordPress provides, check out Ajax Search Pro. It's a live search engine plugin for WordPress that provides users with customisable front-end settings. 

    For example, by checking different boxes, the user can change the behaviour of the plugin to look for exact matches, include or exclude certain post types, categories, etc.

    Ajax Search Pro

    Other great features include:

    • four built-in layouts
    • image support
    • custom field filters
    • keyword highlighting
    • and much more

    User Gundernak says:

    “This is the best search plugin on the market with the most customizable and multifunctional search features and logics. You can create totally different search boxes in your site structure, each with their own options.”

    6. Blog Designer PRO for WordPress

    If you’ve ever dreamed of designing your own blog but don’t have the necessary coding skills, Blog Designer PRO for WordPress may be the answer. Unlike the average blog template, the plugin comes with 36 templates, all of which you can customise extensively to suit your own design aesthetic.

    Blog Designer PRO for WordPress

    Other great features include:

    • fully responsive blog templates
    • support of custom post type
    • preview of blog layout
    • and much more

    User Cornelsen says:

    “BlogDesigner Pro is an easy-to-use tool that gives the WordPress Blog a modern and beautiful look.”

    7. Interactive World Maps

    Using maps on your website is a great way to integrate content with location, and the Interactive World Maps plugin is an ideal choice for doing so. The plugin allows you to include maps in posts, pages, and even in the sidebar of your site.

    You can choose to use a map of the entire world, a continent, a country, a region, or a city. You can also add active colour regions to the map and display them in two different ways, as regions and as markers.

    Interactive World Maps

    Other great features include:

    • ability to add interactivity
    • change background colour
    • change the width and height of the map
    • and much more

    User AdamNewton says:

    “Really great, powerful plugin. I'm using it for a very complex project and it's done everything that I wanted and more. Support is great with quick and detailed responses from plugin author​ and also lots of documentation.”

    8. Advanced Google Maps Plugin for WordPress

    If the Interactive World Maps above isn’t quite what you were looking for, then Advanced Google Maps Plugin for WordPress offers another viable option. This is a great plugin for displaying multiple posts, pages or custom posts on a single Google map. You can assign a location to your post easily using the meta box or your own custom fields.

    Advanced Google Maps Plugin

    Other great features include:

    • display posts information like title, content, featured image, categories, etc.
    • display post listing below the map and show post information in the listing 
    • possible to customise HTML easily to integrate your own design
    • display posts or locations below the map in grid or list format
    • visitors can switch format on the front end
    • and much more

    User Fuelcom says:

    “Excellent customer support. Team resolved all my problems, in a few minutes, during the installation and the set up of this plugin.”

    9. Maintenance PRO

    Maintenance PRO is the big brother of the popular and free Maintenance WordPress plugin. The pro version does everything the basic version does but takes its functions to a whole new level.

    This is a handy plugin to use when developing a new site as it provides you with a customisable maintenance mode splash page so that you can give visitors a taste of what they can be looking forward to when your site is up and running. 

    Maintenance Pro is also great for when you’re making significant changes to your existing site and need to take it offline for a period of time. One of the plugin's standout features is that it allows you to add email subscription fields so you can start collecting email subscriptions even before your site is completed.

    Maintenance Pro

    Other great features include:

    • full-screen HD background gallery
    • customisable text and branding
    • unique scheduler countdown
    • social media icons
    • and much more

    User Jkaayy says:

    “After working with the basic Maintenance plugin for a while, I decided it was time to take the next step with Maintenance PRO which is absolutely great if you're looking to reach an entirely different magnitude of customization that comes with it. If you're in the market for an easy customization of your "503 Error" page, the Maintenance (and Maintenance PRO) plugin is set to be your perfect match.”

    10. Super Store Finder for WordPress

    Super Store Finder for WordPress is a great plugin for businesses who want to help their website visitors and potential customers find their stores easily and quickly. The plugin is integrated with Google Maps API v3 and has a fully responsive design for smartphones, tablets, and touch-screen devices.

    Super Store Finder for WordPress

    Other great features include:

    • multiple store locator layouts to choose from
    • manages unlimited store locations
    • full-screen street view feature
    • extensive map settings to show all stores, specific location, or geo location
    • and much more

    User MastroMicio says:

    “We've used Super Store Finder on a couple occasions now and we're very happy with it. The support is also excellent. This is very robust locator plugin that also has extensions to add-on. We couldn't be happier and will continue buying the plugin for all new customers that need it.”

    11. Ajax Translator Revolution WordPress Plugin

    Ajax Translator Revolution WordPress Plugin is quite simply an automatic WordPress translation plugin that allows your visitors to view your website in their preferred language in a matter of seconds.

    The translation bar sits at the top of the website by default, but you can use the custom positioning settings to place it wherever you want. The plugin can translate as many as 91 languages and remembers a visitor’s selected language.

    Ajax Translator Revolution WordPress Plugin

    Other great features include:

    • over 80 settings for customisation available
    • display languages, flags with names, just names, or just flags
    • translate everything or selected sections of a web page
    • can exclude entire pages, posts, and categories
    • and much more

    User StrictlyKash says:

    “Fantastic plugin, works straight out of the box. Very easy to setup and customize to my liking. Overall I'm very satisfied with my purchase, if you need a translation plugin, then look no further!”

    12. Cornerstone

    Cornerstone is a front-end WordPress page builder that allows you to see the changes you make to your site in real time as you build it. One of the great features of this plugin is Skeleton Mode, which allows you to see the underlying structure of your entire page without leaving the front-end interface.

    Cornerstone

    Other great features include:

    • huge library of ready-made and customisable elements
    • text editing on the fly
    • compatible with any WordPress theme
    • and much more

    User Webulosity says:

    “Cornerstone is our professional choice over and above all other WP page building solutions. It works for us in designing and allows us to transition clients to self managing their content.”

    13. Awesome Header

    Use the Awesome Header plugin to create sticky navigation and/or replace your WordPress header entirely. This highly customisable plugin enables you to have up to three layers of navigation and unlimited colour choices, and it's very easy to configure and use.

    Awesome Header

    Other great features include:

    • touch-screen friendly
    • ability to add background image or pattern
    • easy to extend and modify using filter and action hooks
    • and much more

    User BroadviewSolutions says:

    “Great Plugin. Works as described. First rate support!”

    14. Filetrip

    The Filetrip plugin makes it easy to distribute files directly from your WordPress site as it allows your website visitors and clients to easily download any digital file from your website to Dropbox, Google Drive, or another cloud service.

    You can also program the plugin to automatically send copies of files uploaded by users to multiple destinations.

    Filetrip

    Other great features include:

    • automatic email notification for uploads and backups
    • ability to schedule full backup for your website
    • convert media files into transferable files
    • and much more

    User Tuxton33 says:

    “Initially it was pretty confusing to set up because I had no previous experience setting a Google App and so on but the developer himself walked the whole process with me and we got it working correctly... it was a BIG surprise for me and I'm glad I purchased the plugin, it's exactly what I need for my business”

    15. White Label Branding for WordPress

    White Label Branding for WordPress allows developers more latitude in customising WordPress menus. The plugin allows you to customise the WordPress admin and the login screen and add a Role and Capability Manager, which allows you to create new user roles and assign capabilities and decide who has access to what features of the site.

    White Label Branding for WordPress

    Other great features include:

    • ability to add your own favicon easily
    • hide certain screen options
    • add a private dashboard metabox for editors or administrators eyes only
    • and much more

    User Migstf  says:

    “I've been using this plugin for some time, and realised I've never left a review. It might be true that there are other plugins that have the same feature list, but none do it as well or as easily as WLB. The developer is also really responsive with issues (although there aren't many!).”

    16. Ultimate Author Box

    The Ultimate Author Box plugin is a great way to celebrate the authors who write for your blog. The plugin allows you to add an author box to each post to identify the author and provide additional information about them.

    You can add extra tabs to highlight the author’s other posts, social feeds, or other custom content like a contact form. The plugin comes with over 19 predesigned author box templates.

     Ultimate Author Box

    Other great features include:

    • ability to set role restrictions for author boxes
    • over 20 social media profiles
    • author summary in pop-up display
    • unlimited custom colour scheme customisation options
    • and much more

    User PedroVivo says:

    “This is a really good plugin if you want to add an author box to your blog. You can customise it and customer service is excellent in case you have a problem or have any query about the product.”

    17. WP Contacts 

    Use WP Contacts to manage, log, track and share your contacts on any page of your site you choose. The plugin facilitates front-end login, and the contact database is highly customisable.

    WP Contacts

    Other great features include:

    • drag and drop function
    • responsive and ready for all of your devices
    • ability to multi-select and delete entries
    • and much more

    User Cavtec says:

    “This really is the database you are looking for! It is so versatile and flexible that it can fit almost any situation. The support of the plugin is also worth a mention. Prompt, detailed and not condescending.”

    18. Custom Page Templates

    Custom Page Templates allows you to override your theme design and create a unique page template for your WordPress website. The plugin has an enormous amount of flexibility and gives you complete freedom to control precisely where and when your changes will be applied.

    Custom Page Templates

    Other great features include:

    • over 30 shortcodes
    • ability to work with any plugin
    • support for popular plugins like Visual Composer, WooCommerce, etc.
    • and much more

    User Fearless_Mode says:

    “This plugin is extremely well thought out. Definitely one of my favorite purchases of all-time. The options available from the "Dynamic Values" is like candy to a developer or someone who just really wants to override the theme's templates in the most fun, transferrable way. Support was superb and direct.”

    19. Out-of-the-Box

    Want to share photos, videos, or other files with your customers, clients, friends, and fans directly from your website without eating up your bandwidth? Say hello to Out-of-the-Box, a Dropbox integration plugin for WordPress that allows you to display your Dropbox files on your website. This responsive plugin is also multilingual ready.

    Out-of-the-Box

    Other great features include:

    • audio and video players
    • smart loading to save time and bandwidth
    • ability to search files by name or contents
    • and much more

    User JRichardson47 says:

    “This is a great plugin. The design looks good, it has many useful features and it's easy to implement. But where they really won me was with their excellent support.”

    20. Reviewer WordPress Plugin

    Reviewer WordPress Plugin offers you a great way for visitors, customers and clients to leave reviews on your site. What’s more, the plugin also allows you to add comparison tables inside your WordPress blog posts, pages, and custom posts.

    Reviewer WordPress plugin offers a good range of customisable themes so that you can adapt your reviews and comparison tables to fit your site, and each theme has a responsive layout to adapt to any devices.

    Reviewer WordPress Plugin

    Other great features include:

    • review box and user review widgets
    • three different rating modes
    • ability to collect visitor name and email
    • Google ReCaptcha for preventing spamming
    • and much more

    User TheoMill says:

    “Reviewer plugin is a nice tool to add customer reviews to your WordPress website. It's easy to set up and has good review management options. A special word for the customer support: I ran into a plugin compatibility issue and the author was available within a short time to help and fix it."

    Conclusion

    These 20 plugins just scratch the surface of page layout plugins available at Envato Market. So if none of them catch your fancy, there are plenty of other great options there to hold your interest.

    And if you want to improve your skills building WordPress sites, check out the ever so useful free WordPress tutorials we have on offer.

    martijn broeders

    founder/ strategic creative at 4elements web design & consultancy
    e-mail: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
    phone: 06 38 55 28 54

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