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Thursday, September 18, 2014

Wordpress & Artists: My Favorite Plugins and Themes


EDIT:  I've updated this list on 2/17/2017!

A couple of years back, I did a series of posts on Wordpress and its value as a CMS (content management system) for artists wishing to create their own websites.  I am still using Wordpress to manage my site to this day and thought I'd share a few of my favorite plugins and themes!

Plugins


All In One SEO Pack - Lets you add custom tags and meta info to your pages very easily to make it more easily found by search engines.

Duplicator - Lets you copy your site and database so you can move your entire site from one location to another.  Handy if you've been building in a private test folder before moving it onto your main domain.  This plugin can also create a snapshot of your site at any time for backup purposes.

The Events Calendar - Great for adding your upcoming appearances into a calendar on your Sidebar.

Jetpack - This plugin combines a full suite of features for your Wordpress site, which I like to use the features that allow you to link to thumbnails of related posts, show my site stats in my Admin dash, and publicize each blog post to my favorite social networks.  The rest I don't use.

MailChimp by MailChimp and Crowd Favorite - Lets you add a widget with a customizable MailChimp sign up form into your site's Sidebar.

NextGen Gallery by Photocrati - A wonderful gallery management tool that lets you create taggable images with sleek layouts.  The pro version nets you extra layouts and social sharing links bundled in.  If you decide on the pro version, give me al ittle kickback by using my referral link!

WooCommerce - In the few years since I've originally tried this plugin, it's been much improved and stabilized.  Stripe and Paypal integration come right out of the box and it provides a sleek, professional looking shop.  The new shipping classes are much improved and easier to understand than they were a couple of years ago as well!

WP Hide Post - I use this plugin to hide Pages and/or Posts from my site's search and navigation function.  This is handy when you're linking people (ie. Patreon Patrons) to exclusive content.

WP-Spamshield - I get an insane amount of spam on my Wordpress based blog and this plugin helped me keep most of the bots out.  When it had conflicts with another plugin (namely that troublemaker NextGen), the creator of the plugin was friendly and responsive to help me sort out the problems and even helped me to make my site run faster.  The conflicts have since been resolved as of this writing and this plugin continues to be my site's spam blocking warrior.

Themes

All of the themes mentioned here are mobile phone friendly.

Make - What I'm currently using on my latest site.  Make comes with a free version you can use as-is.  I love the integrated social icons bar (I was hard coding them all before into a Sidebar widget) and it's very sleek looking.  The packaged Builder templates for creating Pages on your site allows you to do Pages with columns, image sliders, galleries, etc. very easily without requiring a lot of coding knowledge. It is e-commerce ready with WooCommerce integration in mind.

The Pro version lets you get rid of the template tag on the bottom as well as opens up extra Page layouts and pre-made templates where you can toggle Sidebars on and off and auto-populate Pages based on their intended use for quick Page building.  You also get access to more type kits that let you change the font style of your whole website at once.

The free and pro versions both have a ton of customizable Widget areas such as multiple Footers and Menu locations.  Buying the Pro version also lets me use this theme on all of the sites I own.

Virtue - Has a free and pro version.  The free version lets you create grids using Portfolio items.  I almost went with this one for my site, but I found the Portfolio setup a little confusing.  If you can manage it though, it seems like a pretty versatile theme.  Just like Make, you get tons of customizable Widget areas, such as multiple Footers and Menu locations.  It is also e-commerce ready with WooCommerce integration in mind.

Wave - I never got to test this one out on my own, but the demo site looks good and it's also e-commerce ready.  I'm including it here as an option because it was reviewed highly, is a decent price, and might be an option others might want to try.

So what are some of your favorite plugins and themes?  Share in comments!