The first plug-in we’re looking at is Filebird, available in both free and paid versions; the free option still provides a very useful way to organise any media uploaded to your website. With the plugin activated you are able to create a full folder structure similar to a Windows PC which allows you to much more easily find files when you need them. This structure is easily altered with a simple drag and drop setup for moving your media around within it.
If you are using Builder plugins such as Elementor, Beaver Builder or Divi Builder, you will require the Pro Version of the plugin to enable Filebirds functionality within them. This pro version is very reasonable at only $39. The free version still works for the Gutenberg builder that comes standard in WordPress currently.
Advanced Custom Fields
Advanced Custom Fields gives you much larger control over the edit screen of your pages and posts. You can add custom fields to any of the WordPress Edit screens with a few simple clicks, be it posts, users or custom options pages it’s usable in all of them.
Some of the most useful field types you’ll be able to add are: Galleries, Date Pickers, Google Maps (requires an API key) and a whole lot more. The What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) field is fantastic as it lets you see text and multimedia and style them within this single area. You can switch between a simple text only view or enable Visual to see any media in the field as you edit.
As with many of these plugins, a PRO version is available adding yet further features such as Repeater fields that let you create a subset of fields to be repeated. Pricing is pretty reasonable at $149 for 10 websites a year however there are many other options when it comes to adding custom fields and widgets so I’d suggest shopping around first.
All-in-one WP Migration
Not the catchiest of names but it does what it says on the tin, All in One WordPress Migration allows you to simply move all the content from one website to another. This includes posts, post types, categories, plugins and almost everything else included on your original site. We’ve used this for multiple clients with extensive stores and categories setup and aside from having to rename some media files the entire site was moved across successfully.
By using the plugin it allows you to skip most upload limits setup by providers due to the way the date is split up into chunks. It’s super simple to set up with no extra PHP extensions required as well as being supported on sites running any version of wordpress back to version 3.3 which was released in 2012. It’s compatible with a huge variety of hosts including, InMotion, GoDaddy and WP Engine letting you migrate no matter who your host is.
As with the other options there is a PRO paid for version that supports multiple sites and gives the ability to migrate wordpress files directly to cloud services such as Google Drive, Dropbox and others. These extensions for various services all have differing costs so depending on your provider you may find other options that give you better value for money.
Nitropack has been mentioned in these blogs before with a fantastic suite of features to speed up your website and increase it’s google page speed score. The free option is only for a single website with less than 5k views per month; if you’re just starting out having this available to speed up that first site could be a great early boost! The paid options are all scaling to different amounts of sites and page views so depending on your use case you can alter the cost.
One of the main features of Nitropack is the amazing caching that uses features to change your caching depending on the device, browser and session. There’s also automatic cache warmup that also helps speed up your site’s load time on the various devices we browse on nowadays.
Another fantastic feature is the image optimization. Nitropack includes the ability for WebP conversion on supported browsers. WebP files are tiny versions of image files, being up to 34% smaller than lossy jpegs, this further helps speed up your loading times.
Nitropack also includes a global CDN, cloud delivery network, which I’ve explained the uses of in a past video. Again it is a faster way of delivering your site to a potential user and helps with those all important algorithms controlling the search results.
Like I mentioned earlier, some plugins include massive overhauls to the default wordpress experience and Elementor is sure one of them. Including a drag and drop live editor that gives direct feedback as to how your changes will affect the website when put live. Again the pro version of the Elementor plugin has a huge wealth of extra features but when starting out the 40 widgets and 30 templates included with the free edition will be enough to introduce you to this new way of building your sites.
There really is nothing like having a live design tool where instead of opening a separate preview after every little change you can view it live as you go. It makes the whole process of creating a site much smoother and can take away a lot of the complexity involved with wordpresses backend.
Some of the widgets included in the free edition include; a WYSIWYG editor, similar to the original wordpress one but usable in a live editing environment, Social Icons to allow for simple placement of your social media links and an Image Carousel that constantly rotates through a list of chosen images.
Elementor has a huge range of extra plugins that can be installed to work alongside it alot of these are paid for and may require the Pro version of elementor. However, as some of these can add a whole host of shop functionality which we’ve used frequently for our clients it expands the benefits of Elementor even further.
This brings us to an end of 5 of our favourite free plugins for WordPress, now I know most of these had paid options but the free versions are perfectly functional for a singular smaller site for an aspiring new developer. What are some of your favourite plugins? let us know over on Instagram (@laingmedialtd) or in the Youtube comments.