This article was first published on the 10th of January 2020 by Patrick Carpen.
From the book “Build a Beautiful Website With WordPress” by Patrick Carpen.
Introduction: Some Must-Have Luxury WordPress Plugins
OK, so you’ve just bought a brand-new domain name, installed WordPress and outfitted it with all the essential WordPress Plugins. At this point, we come to a conflict of expressions, because here I’m about to introduce some plugins that tow the line between being essential and non-essential. It’s sort of like an oxymoron!
Let me put it this way: your site can survive without these plugins, but it would be a shame to let it! So let me go right into the meat of the matter and introduce to you “some must-have luxury WordPress plugins.”
Some Must-Have WordPress Plugins
JetPack is a free WordPress plugin that gives you the option of upgrading to premium features. It comes with a wide array of features. Let’s have a look.
Our Widgets Area Before Jetpack
The snapshots below show our available widgets in our widgets area “before” we install the JetPack Plugin.
So here’s a list of widgets we get before installing JetPack.
Archives, Audio, Calendar, Categories, Adspace, Social Search, Social Widget, Custom HTML, Gallery, Image, Meta, Navigation Menu, Pages, Recent Comments, Recent Post, RSS, Search, Tag Cloud, Text, Video.
Now let’s go ahead and install JetPack and see what it adds to our widget area.
OK, so we’ve installed JetPack, Network Activated it and did some minor configurations. And the results are out! Here they are.
Our Widget Area after installing the Jetpack Plugin.
As you can see, we now have a total of 41 Available Widgets in our Widgets Area. That’s a total of 20 new widgets added to our widgets area just by adding ONE plugin: Jetpack.
More JetPack Features
JetPack also comes with a lot more features which I will discuss in another upcoming article entitled “the JetPack Plugin.” So, if you’ve just built a WordPress Website and you have installed the Essential WordPress Plugins, go right ahead and install JetPack, and we’ll take it from there!
Comments – wpDiscuz
When writing WordPress pages and posts, most of the time it’s awesome to give users the ability to “talk back to us” through a comments form. In fact, that was the original purpose of WordPress, the blogging platform. By default, the comments form is set for every post you publish, but for each page you write, you will have to select the option for allowing the comments form or leave it out if you don’t want users to be able to comment on that page. Personally, I allow users to comment on all of my posts and most of my pages.
The WordPress comments feature comes with a WordPress installation, it is very bland by default. Let’s take a look at what the WordPress comments form looks like after you’ve just finished installing WordPress.
Now that’s pretty bland isn’t it! No? If you think it’s not a plain, featureless, and boring comments form, wait till I supplement it with the Comments-wpDiscuz plugin!
You see the thing about WordPress is that it comes with many great features, and what’s even better is that you can improve, extend and build upon those features by using “plugins.” And we’re definitely going to use a plugin for our WordPress Comments Form.
Remember I mentioned earlier that the JetPack Plugin is packed full of awesome features? Well the Jetpack Plugin does have a feature for the comments form, but trust me, you don’t want to use it! Because it doesn’t work well. I’ll tell you more about this later, but for now, let’s just say that when you install Jetpack, don’t enable the “comments form” feature!
Instead, we’ll use the Comments – wpDiscuz Plugin for our comments form. So let’s head over to the WordPress Plugins Repository and install the Comments – wpDiscuz plugin, do some tweaking and take a look how it transforms our comments form.
Note: You will find the Comments – wpDiscuz form by typing in “comments wpdiscuz” into the search bar in the WordPress plugins repository.
OK, so we’ve installed and configured the Comments – wpdiscuz Plugin and…wala!
Now look at that! What an amazing difference! More beautiful and feature rich 🙂
AddtoAny Share Buttons
The web now thrives in social media sites. From Facebook to Linkedin to Twitter and the list goes on. Information gets splattered across the globe by people who click a share button. And needless to say, you need to give readers of your articles and posts the ability to share your content with the click of a button. There are quite a few plugins that implement sharing buttons on your pages, but one of the most powerful and feature rich is called “Add to Any Share Buttons.”
Let’s take a look at what a WordPress Page looks like without share buttons.
OK, let’s go to the WordPress Repository and install the AddtoAny Share Buttons Plugin. We do this by typing in “AddtoAny Share Buttons” and it pops up. Next, we configure the settings and select the share buttons we want to appear and whether we want them to appear at the top or the bottom of the article. I’ll choose top. All done. Let’s take a look.
Now that’s so much sweeter, isn’t it?
So what’s next?
My book “Build a Beautiful Website With WordPress” will be released some time this year. You can get a 50% discount by pre-ordering a copy now. In addition, you will also get to read each page as it is being written! Become a master of WordPress Web Development now! Go here to pre-order if you haven’t done so already.