If you’ve ever wondered why WordPress is so popular, it can be summed up in just one word: flexibility. A free, open source platform, that allows for a virtually infinite amount of possible configurations. That in itself is a powerful feature.
Part of that flexibility is the fact that users are given fine-grain control over any aspect of content creation, management and presentation they like. What’s more, you don’t necessarily have to be a seasoned developer to take advantage of this; there are plenty of available plugins that enable you to do what you want in a more user-friendly way.
Today, we’ll take a look at five different ways you can take more control over your WordPress website. To help make it happen, we’ll use a collection of premium plugins that are available with your yearly subscription to Envato Elements or via CodeCanyon. Let’s get started!
1. Wrangle Your Widgets
WordPress widgets offer a handy way to add various types of content and functionality to your site. You can use them to display things like a list of your latest blog posts, shopping cart contents or a social media feed. But they aren’t always easy to manage–especially if you want to mix and match them in specific situations. For example, you might only want to show a shopping cart widget on product pages or an account management piece when a user is logged in.
Widget Ninja provides an easy way to manage widgets so that they appear only when certain conditions are met. There are over 25 different conditional tags that can be used, such as the ability to show widgets based on page, category, login status or even a user’s role. It’s all managed through a simple drag-and-drop interface within each widget.
2. Display Content Your Way
By default, WordPress will show a listing of posts sorted by date (newest first) in whatever fashion your theme allows. However, there are times when you may want to display content differently. While this can be accomplished through code, it can be a bit time-consuming and frustrating to get right.
The Blog Manager plugin enables you to put together lists of blog posts arranged and displayed to your exact specifications. List items can be sorted in any number of ways and limited by number, category or other available criteria. You can then display your list using one of the 20+ included templates.
Lists can be easily added to any page or post within your website and you can choose from three types of pagination (regular, “load more” button, or infinite scroll).
3. Take a Step Towards Better Security
Security should always be at the forefront of your mind when adding features to your website. After all, every new feature you introduce could open up another avenue for a hacker or automated script (bot) to try and exploit. If an attacker were to gain access to your administration area, things could get very ugly.
One way you can take control and lessen the risk is by requiring two-factor authentication for user accounts. This can be done rather easily with 5sec Google Authenticator.
In addition to using a standard password, the plugin forces users to enter a temporary code generated by the free Google Authenticator mobile app. This renders typical brute-force attacks powerless and provides you with extra peace of mind.
4. Make Posts Stand Out
Creating a new layout that also adds useful features to your blog posts can be daunting - particularly if your WordPress theme doesn’t include a drag-and-drop interface. That can leave you with an outdated look and without some top features such as social sharing and related post listings.
Post Custom Templates is a tool that makes creating new templates a piece of cake. Drag-and-drop your way to a custom layout using one of the 18 included templates. Then, add features like breadcrumbs, Facebook comments, tabbed content, author biographies, ads, and more. You can create as many different custom templates as you like and assign them to all or just select posts.
5. Enable a User-Friendly Dashboard
When working with a fresh installation of WordPress, its dashboard can be a thing of simple beauty. However, as you add a theme and various plugins into the mix, that once-clean UI can become a cluttered nightmare to navigate. This really hurts users who aren’t familiar with the dashboard, as they may not know how to get to the areas they need to access.
That’s where WP OS Desktop Backend can really simplify things. It literally makes the dashboard look like an operating system, complete with neatly-arranged menus and smooth animations. Each item opens up in its own self-contained “window” that can be moved around, minimized and maximized. This brings a familiar style that is perfect for users who don’t want to learn yet another interface.
Increase Your Powers
The plugins above are proof that, if you want to take better control of a specific aspect of your website, there are tools out there to make it happen. And since each of us use WordPress in a slightly different way, it’s good to know that we can customize things to suit our needs.
So, the next time you find yourself wishing that you had the power to do things your way, realize that you’re just a plugin away from achieving your goal.
- Preview image from 8 cool superman illustrations on Envato Elements.