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Wonderful WordPress Plugins

By on November 29th In Development
Wordpress plugins

We’re often asked to work on WordPress-based websites, and getting these websites up and working has required the use of plugins to achieve the results we want. After using several plugins we’ve found one or two that have really helped us get each page looking and working how we want. In this blog post I will explain what these plugins are and how they work so that you may benefit from them too.

Widget Logic

The first plugin I want to talk about is Widget Logic. Widget Logic is a free to use plugin and works directly with the widgets you use in the sidebar, header and footer of the website. Widget Logic allows you to decide what widgets will show up on an individual page or post by the use of WordPress’s conditional tags. These are directly entered into the widget options shown here –

Widget Logic

In case you’re not familiar with conditional tags in WordPress below is the code you need to use to display a widget on a page and not display a widget –

is_page(26) – Will display on the webpage with an id of 26

!is_page(26) – Will display on every page apart from the one with an id of 26

You can find the ID of a WordPress page by hovering over the ‘Edit’ option in the publish section of any page. This will then show the full url of the page in the bottom left/right hand corner of your browser –

Page ID

If you want to modify a widget to work with a certain blog post rather than the whole page you need to change is_page to is_post. This will display the widget on that particular post rather than on all posts and pages.

More options for customising how the Widget Logic plugin works can be found at the bottom of the widgets page. This includes the option to enable a ‘widget-content’ filter –

Widget Logic options

We’ve found this plugin to be very useful, as our clients have regularly asked us to display certain information such as recent news and galleries on certain pages. We encourage you to give this plugin a try.

Recent Posts with Thumbnails

The next plugin I want to talk about relates to the widgets area again and focuses this time on the Recent Posts widget. The Recent Posts widget is a standard WordPress widget and enables the website to show a snippet of recent posts in the sidebar, footer or header. However the widget is fairly basic and we feel misses a key component, the ability to display a thumbnail with the post. Using the Recent Posts with Thumbnails plugin however can solve this problem.

The plugin is free to use and does exactly what you want. The plugin displays a widget that works in exactly the same way as the standard Recent Posts widget but includes a section for adding and editing the display of thumbnails to each post. It also has a couple of extra features should you want more control over how the posts display –

Post thumbnails

As you can see, the plugin also supports the ‘Widget Logic’ plugin we discussed for additional customising options.

The final point to note about this plugin is that it uses it’s own CSS selectors. This gives you the option to dramatically change the look of the posts if the current look isn’t in keep with the theme of the website. More information on this can be found on the webpage for the plugin –

https://wordpress.org/plugins/recent-posts-widget-with-thumbnails/other_notes/

The plugin, although not game changing, gives some much needed love to a well used if basic widget.

Featured Video

The last plugin we want to talk about is more of an optional extra than a vital plugin for a WordPress website. We however have had some nice results with it and want to share it with you. This plugin is called Featured Video and can replace your featured image on a page or post with a video instead.

Example feautred video

The Featured video option appears at the top of the edit screen for pages and posts and will replace the featured image you’ve selected for the corresponding page or post.

Featured video URL

The plugin supports the use of external videos from website such as Youtube and Vimeo as well as the use of local videos. Local videos can be added by clicking on the media button located on the right side of the URL textbox. It’s important to note that any video format you use that isn’t supported by WordPress will not display. We also suggest keeping a featured image on your page or post selected as the image will act as a fall back if for some reason the video doesn’t work with WordPress or it doesn’t load on the page.

We found this plugin really shone when it came to creating posts or page focused on video content. If your website’s content is equally focused on video (film, music, etc.) then this is a great plugin to use.

Conclusion

In this blog post we have shown you three plugins that have helped us out greatly with building WordPress websites. This however is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the sheer amount of plugins that are available to use on WordPress. We found that there are plugins for everything someone could want on a website so go ahead and try as many as possible. We guarantee you’ll be better off with plugins in your life.

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