Over the years, WordPress has grown incredibly in popularity among those who want a free, user-friendly content management system, or CMS, for their website.
If you use WordPress on a regular basis as a web developer or webmaster, there are certain features that you wish WordPress offered right out of the box. Features that would make it a more complete CMS, and allow for more fluid workflows.
Luckily, WordPress has support for plugins. Plugins come in many forms and levels of quality and ability to conflict with themes or current versions of WordPress. Worries aside, once you learn to be discerning about which plugins you install, you’ll learn to love them and won’t be able to imagine using WordPress without a few installed.
Most posts that start like this are going to throw 25, 30, or even 50 different plugins at you that they claim will enhance WordPress’ CMS capabilities. This is not one of those posts. I’d like to showcase 3 plugins that, when added to WordPress, will make your life as the developer or webmaster of a site easier.
Now, on to the plugins…
As the name implies, the Bulk Page Creator plugin allows you to create WordPress pages in bulk.
Use case: A client or project manager gives you a sitemap and asks you to create all of these pages by 3pm so a content creator can log into the site and add the content to them.
Rather than tediously creating 30+ pages with the “New Page” button in WordPress, you can simply use Bulk Page Creator to add them in minutes.
Paired with Bulk Page Creator, CMS Page Order allows for at-a-glance viewing of your site’s page structure, as well as easy page management and reorganization.
CMS Page Order offers a tree-style view of the pages on your site, with collapsible sections, drag-and-drop page reordering, as well as controls to delete, edit, or view a page. It’s currently my default view for viewing and accessing pages when in the WordPress dashboard.
Use case: After you’ve created all those empty pages with the help of Bulk Page Creator, your client needs to reorganize a number of the sections. No problem! Just open CMS Page Order, and drag-and-drop til everything is reorganized.
If you’ve used a CMS in the past few years, chances are you’ve interacted with TinyMCE. It’s the WYSIWIG editor of choice for most of the major players these days, and if you’ve worked with it across different platforms, you’ll know that it can be very powerful when the right tools are available.
TinyMCE Advanced for WordPress allows you to customize what other admins and editors on your site see as available tools when editing posts or pages, including:
- Support for creating and editing tables.
- More options when inserting lists.
- Search and Replace in the editor.
- Editing in-line css styles.
- Advanced image dialog that offer a lot of options.
- Adding and removing HTML tag attributes.
Use case: A client’s site has a page that needs to show mostly tabular data. They need to be able to easily edit this page on a weekly basis without the aid of a developer.
The default controls offered by the WordPress version of TinyMCE do not allow for the easy editing of tables. I get it. Tables are yucky and remind most of us about a less-than-ideal time on the web, where everything was tables. All the way down.
But, there are times where tables are appropriate, semantic, and totally fine to use. When that time comes, TinyMCE Advanced will allow you to offer your clients easy control over their tables, amongst myriad other options.
There you have it. 3 plugins that I’ve been using for quite a while, and would recommend to anyone who’s using WordPress to build CMS websites for their clients or even their own projects.