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WordPress is a robust, open source content management system (CMS) and blogging platform. What makes WordPress so powerful is a tight knit community of WordPress developers that continuously work to improve WordPress' core files, and a larger group of external developers that push the boundaries of WordPress by developing plugins that greatly extend WordPress' functions and features.
WordPress Plugin Types:
Basic Plugins: Typically free, these will perform nicely right out of the box. They do have limited features, though, and are often difficult to customize. However, many of the basic plugins have premium upgrades that offer extended features and have a greater ability to customize.
Premium Plugins: These plugins extend WordPress' core features. From advanced registration forms, to password protected membership areas, to database displays, to advanced file management, to enhanced security, and advanced page formatting (responsive columns and tabs). Premium plugins can be a very cost effective solution for adding extended functionality to your website.
Licenses for premium plugins generally cost between $7 to $150 or more, and, although most premium plugins will work right out of the box, in order to unleash their full potential and integrate them seamlessly into your website with professional results, you may need to have some experience with PHP, CSS3, HTML5, etc.
Custom Plugins: Money…money…money! A custom plugin can potentially meet all of your specific needs, but they will come at a big development cost. It is far more cost effective to purchase a premium plugin and modify it. It may only meet 90% of your wish list, but, at a fraction of the development cost of a custom plugin, 90% may be more than enough.
If you don't have the PHP, CSS3, HTML5 background to fully utilize a plugin, you can hire us. Just submit a project request form and will provide you with a free quote.
Recommended Third-party WordPress Plugins
We are not the developers of the following plugins, but we are BIG fans. We've spent many hours reviewing, selecting, modifying and integrating these plugins into many of our projects. At the time of this writing, I can tell you that these plugins are well maintained, compatible, and have good to exceptional tech support. With that said, things do changed, so you must do your own due diligence to determine if these plugins continue to be outstanding performers and that they will meet your needs BEFORE you use them on your website. Plugins that are not maintained, outdated, or poorly coded can pose a huge security risk.
WordPress Plugins for Contact Forms, Registration Forms and Membership Areas
Contact 7—An easy to use plugin to create basic contact forms. It becomes even more useful when pared with the Flamingo plugin that helps organize and collect contact and campaign data online and to manage your contact list within the WordPress admin panel.
Formidable Forms—An easy to use plugin to create advanced contact and registration forms. Unlike Contact 7, this plugin has the ability to organize and collect campaign data online without requiring an additional plugin. It also has the ability to collect referral website IP addresses and URLs and, based on the address, it can redirect visitors to specific landing page or downloadable file. The basic form functions are easy to use, but the custom redirects and collecting IP and web addresses require some basic scripting.
Profile Builder Pro—An advanced WordPress plugin that you can use to add front-end registration, profile and login forms. The advanced functionality of this plugin is incredible, but it can be difficult to take full advantage of all of its features. Some background with PHP, HTML, CSS is very useful. Also, the plugin is expensive, but the plugin and support are exceptional.
WordPress Plugins for Advanced File Management and Database Display
File Away—This plugin allows you to upload, manage, and display files from your server directories or page attachments in stylized lists or sortable data tables. This gives you a lot more control over how you want to organize your files. WordPress' default "Media" library organizes files by date. Great for blogging, but not very helpful when using WordPress for a content management system.
TablePress—a WordPress plugin that enables you to create and manage tables on your site. No HTML knowledge is required, as a comfortable interface allows to easily edit table data. Tables can contain any type of data, even formulas. This is an excellent way to create a database and display the content on a WordPress page. The basic plugin is free, but it does have several premium add-ons that really extend the plugin's features.
WordPress Plugins for Page and Menu Formatting
Tabby Responsive Tabs—It enables you to create responsive tabs inside your pages or custom post types by adding simple shortcodes inside the post editor. It is very easy to use right our of the box. Knowledge of CSS can really help mange the look and feel of the tabs, so that they will better match your website.
WEN's Responsive Column Layout Shortcodes—Another easy to use plugin. You can easily create one, two, three columns or more on any page or post. Like Tabby Tabs, knowledge of CSS can really help mange the look and feel of the columns so they better match your website. The advantage of creating columns with WEN's columns is that they are responsive and depending on the device (phone, table, or desktop) will adjust from multiple columns to just one. This is much more mobile-friendly that inserting a table into a page.Also, they are much more customizable than tables.
UberMenu—With a full grid system built in and individual layout controls for each menu item, it's easier than ever to build beautiful mega menu layouts.
WP Lightbox 2—This plugin adds really cool light box effects on images. Easy to use.
Meta Slider – Pro—Meta Slider has an intuitive interface that will let you create stunning slideshows with ease.
WordPress Plugins for Additional Security Plugins
Sucuri Security—The Sucuri WordPress Security plugin is a security toolset for security integrity monitoring, malware detection and security hardening. It has a basic "free" version and premium version.
Limit Login Attempts—By default, WordPress allows unlimited login attempts either through the login page or by sending special cookies. This allows passwords to be brute-force cracked with relative ease. Limit Login Attempts blocks an Internet address from making further attempts after a specified limit on retries is reached, making a brute-force attack difficult or impossible. Easy to use.
Rename wp-login.php—Rename wp-login.php is a very light plugin that lets you easily and safely change wp-login.php to anything you want. It doesn’t literally rename or change files in the core, nor does it add rewrite rules. It is a virtual name change that hides the login page from hacker bots so they can't land on the page and try to guess your username and password.
That's our list so far. Check back often because we plan to list additional plugins.
If you don't have the PHP, CSS3, HTML5 background to fully utilize a plugin, you can hire us.
Just submit a project request form and will provide you with a free quote.