For the past few weeks I’ve been drowning in WordPress. Through all this love, I’ve found six plugins to hack and control any theme.
I’m not talking about changing around a theme’s settings, that’s too limiting. I’m talking about adding almost any feature, regardless of the theme. This includes:
- Easily add extra content to show up wherever you want in a post.
- Add columns, accordions, and slideshows in a few seconds.
- Make some content only appear on certain parts of the site.
- Have unique content for areas like glossaries, store offers, or whatever else.
I’ve found roughly six plugins that make it easy to do all these things and more. Combine theme with a little understanding of coding and the Wordpress backend, and it’s amazing what’s possible. They helped me see how limitless WordPress is for making any site.
So without further ado, here’s six plugins to help you hack WordPress!
Shortcodes Ultimate is basically a giant library of styles and functions to use at any time. This may seem cheap, but this one makes it too easy to add unique elements to WordPress posts. They can range from buttons, accordions, grids, or even recent posts. Plus this plugin allows custom styles, so the results can look even more unique to a site’s brand.
While Types can do a lot, I’ve mainly used it for custom post types. These make it easy to add site content that’s more than just blog posts. They can be posts that create a giant site glossary, staff pages, website offers, or whatever else that can’t be held in a simple page. This plugin needs coding skills to use however, since developers need to code new templates for them. But the results can add the best value to a site.
Advanced Custom Fields
This is my personal favorite, as custom fields are simple yet very versatile. Adding them is quick and easy with this plugin, so it’s child’s play to add more info and customization to each post. An extra spot to show your current mood or book you’re reading? A list of options to decide how each post is styled? Any other info that changes from post to post? It’s easy to add them into the site with this plugin.
One Click Child Theme
This plugin is more for developers who want to change existing themes into something different. For example, my old site’s theme is actually a child theme for Fictive, which means I took that site and added some new styling. This plugin makes creating a child theme as simple as pushing a button,3 and you can jump right into adding changes.
WPide doesn’t exactly hack WordPress, but makes doing so a lot easier. In rare cases when you need to edit a theme’s code or add new files on the dashboard, WPide gives developers a smooth, fast environment to do so. I still use Sublime Text whenever possible, but if I’m stuck editing locally, this is the next-best option.
This plugin is as simple as it is brilliant: developers can make widgets only appear on certain site pages. So widgets showing related posts will only show up on post pages, or the “Contact Us” widget won’t show up when someone’s on the contact page. This one’s also very easy to use, since everything is controlled right on the dashboard’s Widgets section.
I’ll definitely keep using these plugins as my WordPress adventures continue, but chances are I’ll have plenty more to add through the years. If there’s any WordPress plugins you often use to customize or develop themes, please share them in the comments!
~ Cheers, Max A