When I first started experimenting with WordPress, I tried using my coding abilities to see solutions to various issues or features I would like to tackle. Although it worked, it was hardly effective as the complexity with interacting with the WordPress system complicated my efforts. As I continued to learn more about WordPress, I was able to find solutions to problems through the use of WordPress plugins. Mostly free, these plug-ins work within the WordPress system to enhance certain features. Every WordPress professional has their favorite plug-ins and here are some of mine:
1. Broken Link Checker – https://wordpress.org/plugins/broken-link-checker/
This is a great plug-in for automatically finding broken links in your site. When developing a very website that has existing content, this tool can help find the broken links instead of your client finding them. It processes broken links while you use the WordPress console so the final number can take some time, especially if your site is large or if your server is under-powered. I have an article called Lessons Learned from My Biggest Project to Date that focuses on tips for tackling large sites and another called The Right Tool Makes Any Job Easier – Web : Part 1 that speaks on having adequate server performance. I also like how this plugin provides suggestions to archives of websites that have now been removed.
2. Better Search Replace – https://wordpress.org/plugins/better-search-replace/
Oftentimes , changing domains create broken links because the old domain is still being used on the new domain. To rectify this, you will need to change all the links to the new domain while keeping the page name. Better Search Replace is perfect for this as it scours your site’s database where all of the content is ultimately stored. Searching the database rather than the site itself provides fast searching with advanced capabilities. Once the incorrect links or content is found, it is quickly changed throughout the database saving you the need to update the site manually. I used this plug-in to correct over 4,000 images that were linked incorrectly in a few keystrokes.
3. Easy Wysiwyg Style – https://wordpress.org/plugins/easy-wysiwyg-style/
This is a great plugin for adding What You See Is What You Get functionality to your posts and pages. Instead of relying on CSS code to alter your styles, you can edit your pages and posts link Microsoft Word where changes you make to the style via toolbar is automatically reflected allowing you to preview your changes. This plug-in is an absolute must.
4. Media from FTP – https://wordpress.org/plugins/media-from-ftp/
Media from FTP allows for mass uploads of images or other media to be imported into the database without having to go through the WordPress console. Most of the time, the WordPress console is sufficient to upload new media but it does not handle large amount of media well. The most efficient method to upload large amount of media is to do it through your FTP client to the folder wp-content/uploads. This is the default location for your media files within WordPress. Once the files are uploaded, they are immediately available to the website but they do not show in the Media manager. This is where the plug-in comes handy as it will scour these manually-uploaded files and register them in the database, This is important because it will allow these media files to appear in the WordPress media manager where you can more easily insert them into posts or pages.
I hope this list gets you started or helps address some issues when using WordPress. I am always finding new, useful plug-ins so this list is not exhaustive. Try and find some next time you run into an issue in WordPress!