With WordPress, the functionality is all about WordPress Plugins. See my post “Must Have Plugins for WordPress Sites” for those I consider “must haves”. But in addition to the must have plugins, there are many other WordPress Plugins that I use and highly recommend, which I’ve listed below.
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Before I start with the WordPress Plugins, I’d like to note that I highly recommend Astra Theme. This Free Theme was built specifically with page builders in mind. It is stylish, lightning fast and easily customizable and is one of the themes highly recommended by Elementor. The free version may be perfect for many on a budget and provides a great base theme for Elementor (more on Elementor next). The Astra Theme customizer is powerful and provides the ability to easily add and customize logo, layout for container, header, blog, sidebar, footer, etc., colors and background, typography (fonts), buttons, menus, widgets, meta settings, etc. They also provide several starter sites that will give you a head start.
I use the Astra Pro version as it has many added features that I use regularly for building sites for my clients. It is very reasonably priced at $59/yr with a 20% renewal discount. For Web Designers, they also have an Agency bundle for $249/year and includes additional plugins.
Below is the list of my favorite WordPress Plugins.
Elementor Page Builder
Elementor is a FREE really solid page builder that allows you to design on the frontend with instant, real time results. It’s easy to use drag and drop functionality. You can reach high-end designs, without coding. The resulting page code is compact & optimized for every device and screen. You can choose from dozens of widgets to create any content you need. Buttons, headlines, forms, etc. Because it’s so feature rich, it will eliminate the need for many other plugins. It comes with a template library, inline editing, mobile editing and multilingual support.
Although fairly new to the market has become the #1 WordPress Page Builder with 900,000+ users. And did I mention it’s FREE?
Elementor Pro Theme Builder
Yes, there is a Pro version (fee-based) of Elementor, which is what I use. It comes with their Theme Builder functions, including custom Header and Footers, Sticky header, ability to design archive pages, single post pages and 404 page. By using dynamic widgets, building dynamic pages is just as easy as building static ones. It also includes the ability to customize your search results page and improve the experience your users get while searching your site.
Annual Pricing for Elementor Pro is based on the number of websites. $49.00 for 1 site, $99.00 for 3 sites and $199.00 for unlimited sites, with a 25% discount for renewals.
One of the advantages of Elementor is that if you stop using it, you do not lose any of your content. You will lose your design, but not your content (which can be an issue with some other page builders).
The Elementor Text widget is a TinyMCE WYSIWYG editor. The TinyMCE Advanced plugin will let you add, remove and arrange the buttons that are shown on the Visual Text Editor toolbar. For Elementor users, it will enhance the options in the Elementor Text Widget, which uses the TinyMCE editor) once installed.
To enable or disable the buttons in the toolbar, in the WordPress dashboard, click on settings > TinyMCE Advanced and you can drag and drop onto and off of the toolbar the functions you want to add or remove.
Granular Controls For Elementor
This free plugin gives you the options to set the Accordion’s first tab to closed on page load, select a custom editor skin, set a specific section/column to appear after a certain time (delayed content), Parallax and Particles options and turn off Elementor dashboard widget.
Pods allows you to create and edit custom post types, taxonomy, fields and extend existing WordPress objects like users, media, posts and pages. Easily display your custom content, whether you want to use shortcodes, widgets, the code-free content template approach, or use standard PHP in WordPress Theme templates and functions.