Now wordpress currently has over 50,000 plugins and add-ons available and this can be incredibly overwhelming for new users so here are my top seven must-have picks for the end of 2021. be sure to let me know your favorites so i can check those out for myself okay so let’s kick things off now with my first choice. now if you want to build in more complex websites using wordpress and elementor
Dynamic content for ( elementor )
is one plugin and i use the term plugin here quite lightly that you should have on your short list but first why do i say i use the term plugin lightly well mainly because it is more like a suite of tools to a simple plugin or add-on for elementor you have an absolute truckload of features and can easily replace several plugins with this one it has a comprehensive form builder with conditional logic payment options that work with paypal and stripe.
you can save form data to your database. you have got a signature field and way way more so even if you’re just looking for a powerful form builder it’s worth considering just for that feature alone but it doesn’t stop there no if you like working with dynamic data and i have been known to dabble a little bit with this from time to time you have so many features and tools available it can be totally overwhelming knowing exactly where to start but once you do start you’ll quickly realize that you open up a whole world of exciting possibilities.
many of which i’ve covered in this playlist so check those out once you watch this video now the beauty of dynamic content for elementor though is that you can use it to expand and complement the tools you have in elementor pro or you can use it to power up the free version of elementor that’s right you don’t realistically need to drop any extra money on an elementor pro license as dc for e or dynamic content for elementor includes pretty much everything.
you need from a full complement of dynamic options including advanced tools to work with the likes of acf pro repeater regions and flexible content fields right the way through well to lots and lots of other really super useful features now on top of that you also have a powerful templating system for building your websites quick disclaimer here though it is a little bit more complex to get used to than the native elementor pro version but it is there should you want to use it now even mentioning everything.
i have already it really doesn’t cover the scope and breadth the dc4e provides it’s a true powerhouse of a tool and i’d strongly recommend taking a look at the previously mentioned playlist of videos if you’re considering jumping into dc for e as it will provide you with a lot of invaluable information on some of the key tools that the plugin offers you now for me dynamic content for elementor is up there as one of the best plugins for expanding elementor and working with the complexities of more dynamic wordpress websites.
WordPress powerhouse ( CrocoBlock )
now following on in the same vein as dynamic content for elementor we have the croco block suite of plugins now i’m going to lump the croco block suite into one as i think it’s easier than just simply breaking things down into the component pieces but i’m mainly going to focus on some specific plugins that are part of the bundle and ignore some of the others but they are they and i would recommend you explore exactly.
what these offer as part of a part of a crocker block bundle so let’s kick things off with jet engine now if you’re unfamiliar with jet engine it’s croco blocks dynamic powerhouse that makes the complexities of working with dynamic data a much much more visual affair the one area that makes jet engine even more appealing is the fact that it now works with both elementor free and pro as well as gutenberg this is a key feature for me as removing the reliance on a single platform makes it more future proof and more attractive to more users jet engine not only makes the creation of custom post types custom meta fields custom taxonomies option pages and database relationships far easier.
it also keeps everything inside the one plugin now once you build your custom post types or added custom meta fields to your normal wordpress posts you can handle the design aspect with ease using the listing features this enables you to easily and more importantly visually craft the look feel and included information you want in your designs and then build beautiful looking wordpress loops all while managing custom queries to output only the information your meticulous design requires when it’s time to let your user search or filter the information presented in your custom listings.
you have the power of jet search and jet smart filters at your disposal these plugins make building all manner of searching and filtering a relative breeze even if you’re not using jet engine you can create visually appealing filtering options for woocommerce and then when you’re ready to craft your own unique look and feel for your store you can use jet rule builder to do exactly that now these are just a handful of the tools.
that are included in the croco block suite of tools for wordpress and if you want to learn more about getting started and getting the most out of working with the croco block tools there are loads and loads of useful videos on the wp touch channel just waiting for you i’ll drop some links in the description for when you’re ready to take a look at those and check those out in a little bit more detail and start learning more.
Stackable for ( Gutenberg )
the Best WordPress Plugins. now moving away from elemental and dynamic content let’s focus on some great tools for gutenberg top of my list right now is stackable a collection of global options and blocks for the wordpress builder that makes it far more usable as a proposition for anyone looking to build something a little bit more eye-catching now stackable comes in two flavors the free version and the premium version now while i personally generally use the premium version in my workflow the free version of stackable contains an amazing amount of features that means it should seriously be considered for your next Goldenberg based project from the inclusion of global options for colors typography.
to the great looking collection of pre-designed starting blocks you have pretty much everything you need to get started building great looking sites with gutenberg not something that i thought i’d be saying anytime soon now the premium version opens up some additional options and loads more designs to pick from if you do opt for the premium version it not only offers more great designs to choose from but also adds in dynamic content integration with core wordpress features as well as working seamlessly with the likes of advanced custom fields.
currently the dynamic features are fairly minimal but version 3 promises to expand upon this further this is great news if you want to get a little bit more creative now stackable also works incredibly well with my current favorite wordpress theme bloxy if you want to learn more about using this great combo check out this video it’s got tons of useful info to help you get started with those.
Filter & Display With ( Gridbuilder wp )
if you create more comprehensive wordpress websites with lots of information whether that’s in the form of posts or you have a complex listing website for real estate or job listings you’re going to need the right tools for displaying and filtering that information so this is where grid builder wp steps in it’s pretty much an all-in-one solution that easily allows you to create your individual card design your grid design and then add in some super powerful and comprehensive searching and filtering options.
now even if you’re simply creating visually stunning woocommerce stores you can still leverage the power and flexibility on offer with grid builder wp with its extensive built-in tools that allow you to query and display content from your wordpress websites post types taxonomies users products and much more you have everything you need to do it with absolute style you can get started quickly by using one of the many pre-designed cards or design your own from scratch or you can use any combination of the two with the powerful card builder.
that’s included as part of the package once you’ve designed your cards you can then apply the same design to everything or you can create individual designs for all your different post types for a truly unique look and feel you can then move on to designing and styling the grid layouts to display all your posts using the popular masonry justified metro or carousel layouts for a touch of class.
when you’re ready to move on to filtering sorting or searching your posts and data grid builder wp has you covered in spades you can offer simple check boxes and radio buttons all the way up to color swatches logo designs ratings and sliders you can easily stack these to work in conjunction with each other or to work independently opening up tons of combinations and options the beauty of using a plugin like grid builder wp is that you can use it as a standalone product that integrates directly into gutenberg or simply through short codes.
but if you like using page builders like oxygen or elementor you can download the relevant add-on to get it working directly inside your page builder of choice it also fully supports multilingual options through another add-on as well as a dedicated cache to speed up your filters facets and searches oh and there’s also a pretty cool map facet you can use to create even more unique filters for your listing type websites again i have a selection of tutorials on using grid builder wp with oxygen and elementor and you can find those in the description and also in the corner right now check those out when you’re ready.
Power Up your Dashboard ( Admin Columns )
in the past i’ve talked about the wordpress dashboard being a little bit of an afterthought in favor of gutenberg and full site editing well with this plug-in you can make it a lot more of a useful place for sure good news while there is a free and premium version of this plugin you can do a whole heck of a lot with just the free version what does admin columns do as its name would suggest.
it allows you to do stuff to the columns of your posts pages media or custom posts inside the wordpress dashboard i know that doesn’t sound particularly exciting but in reality though it really does make the whole wordpress dashboard a much more functional place and if you use custom posts it makes them even easier and more fully featured to work with it is most basic admin columns allows you to enable and disable.
the default columns of any of your wordpress post lists be it posts pages custom posts or woocommerce products but on top of that you can do a lot more you can enable and disable all manner of additional columns that are not normally on display in wordpress so this lets you supercharge your custom post types by adding in things like the featured image custom taxonomies and a lot more now on top of that you can filter your information in all manner of different ways.
this is amazingly powerful on more comprehensive sites with hundreds or thousands of actual posts if you then add to that the ability to inline edit as well as bulk editing you can start to see why this is a little gem and so useful i love using it in combination with tools like cpt ui for creating custom post types and advanced custom fields for managing all my mental fields check out many of my master class videos and you’ll regularly find admin columns as a key component inside the toolkit that i use now.
if you have a need to export your content admin columns can help you there too it gives you the tools to export your data to csv format as well as exporting custom filtered and sorted content super useful when you want to output your data now some other key areas that admin columns helps with is the ability to add in horizontal scrolling great for more complex layouts of data you can quickly add in new entries using the quick add feature save filters for faster ways to access your most important information you’ve got user conditions multi-site support and much much more you can see this opens up a lot of missing functionality in your wordpress dashboard.
Better Media Management ( Happy Files )
another area that wordpress has pretty much ignored over the years is media management step into the frame happy files a great little add-on for wordpress that offers up a lot of useful features to help organize your website uploads and media there is a free and a premium version available and the free version one limited to only 10 folders well it may well be enough for many smaller sites that don’t need a huge amount of organization for their media now i’ve personally been using happy files for several years on both.
my own and on several client sites and it does make managing media files just much easier it’s totally non-destructive meaning that if you decide to remove the plugin the folder structure you’ve created is just inside the media panel of wordpress and not being saved to the server this is great if you decide to test and then remove happy files you’ve got no issues with messed up media folders and broken links throughout your entire site but apart from being able to create folders what else does the plugin actually do while not as feature-rich as some of the other media management tools.
that are out there right now it provides the key things that most of us actually need in day-to-day use you can easily move your files and folders around batch move rename and organize all of your files it also includes svg uploading and sanitization and the ability to preview svg files this is incredibly useful if you’re downloading svg files from unknown websites also the interface is fully drag and drop which makes it feel very similar to working on a typical mac or pc so you’ll feel right at home pretty much immediately now another nifty little feature is the ability to create galleries from a folder of images.
directly inside happy files itself and then place that anywhere inside your gutenberg designs finally if you’ve been using other media managers like filebird or enhanced media library you can import your existing folder structure directly into happy files which i think is pretty cool.
Woocommerce customisation ( Shop Engine)
a shop engine is a fairly new addition to the elementor on woocommerce arena but it comes from the same developers as elements kit a well-known elementor plugin that has over 70 modules included in it and what shop engine offers for free is pretty impressive if you’re looking for a relatively easy and full-featured way creating more unique designs for your woocommerce stores this is worth looking at it allows you to easily create all the template files.
you need customize the look and feel and then integrate them directly into your site design not only that but it also gives you a solid selection of widgets to build out each of your pages or templates using the familiar free version of elementor’s interface yes you did hear me right you don’t even need to have elementor pro installed now on top of those already impressive features shop engine allows you to remove several other plugins you may already be using for the likes of wish lists additional product options comparisons filters and much more now if you’re in the market for a great way to customize almost every aspect of your online shop.
you could do a lot worse than check out the free shop engine plugin now the time recording this video there’s a premium version of this plugin that is in development but i have no idea when that’s due for release and what features it will actually include but you can rest assured that i’ll be taking a look at that when it does actually come out if you want to learn more about shop engine you can take a look at the videos that i released recently there’s links in the description to all of those those are seven of my favorite plugins for wordpress in 2021 but what are yours let me know in the comments section.
so i can check them out for myself as always all the applicable links are in the description below if you’ve got values in this video or why not hit that thumbs up button my name is paul c this is wp texan until next time take care.