If you’re looking to modify or customize your WordPress website, it’s important to choose the right plugins. With more than 50,000 plugins to choose from, the WordPress plugin directory can be overwhelming. That’s why we have put together this list of the top development and design plugins to make your website stand out.
The development and design plugins included in this list are the best of the best. These are the plugins we use regularly when we’re working with publishing clients at Web Publisher PRO. In this article, we’ll also talk about how taking advantage of the best development and design plugins can help you optimize the performance of your website.
The plugins on this list can be used for everything from developing and design, all the way to photo editing, advertising, and form building. However you’re trying to customize your website, there’s a WordPress plugin in this list that can help.
Let’s get going!
Top Development and Design Plugins
If you’re looking for a way to deploy plugins and themes from GitHub, Bitbucket, or GitLab without copying files over FTP, then WP Pusher is what you need. In addition to its core functionality, WP Pusher can also be setup to automatically deploy changes to your WordPress website any time you push a new change to your Git repository. WP Pusher is able to do this without needing access to your servers, which enhances the security. It requires zero setup, since it’s built on top of existing WordPress functionality. WP Pusher really does take the pain out of WordPress development, whether you’re working with a web developer or taking a do-it-yourself approach.
Gravity Forms calls itself the best WordPress form plugin, and for good reason. This standout development plugin makes it easy to build and publish advanced forms on any WordPress-powered website. Gravity Forms offers more than 30 ready-to-use form fields, as well as conditional logic capabilities that enable you to configure your forms to show or hide fields, sections, or pages based on user selections. Forms integrate with tons of popular web apps and services, including MailChimp, PayPal, Zapier, and Slack. With an Elite license, you can access even more features, like priority support, survey and quiz builders, and Stripe integrations. You’ll also be able to build forms for an unlimited number of WordPress websites.
OptinMonster is a popular WordPress plugin for anyone who needs a little extra help managing existing campaigns. More than 1 million websites already use OptinMonster to generate leads through conversion optimization. Use the drag-and-drop builder to create professional-quality opt-in forms, and then choose from popular campaign types, like lightbox pop-ups, slide-in scroll boxes, and floating bars. The plugin places the code for the campaigns you design right on your website. The OptinMonster WordPress plugin is available for free, however you will need an active paid subscription to take advantage of all the plugin’s features.
Ninja Forms is the drag-and-drop WordPress forms builder that everyone’s been talking about. With more than 20 million downloads, it’s clear Ninja Forms has taken off in the past few years. The reason? Ninja Forms is beginner-friendly. Almost anyone with a WordPress website can design their own forms using Ninja Forms, even if they don’t have any coding skills whatsoever. Ninja Forms supports all different types of forms, too, including conditional forms and multi-page forms. Advanced features give you a way to accept PDF files through your forms and even accept payments or donations.
When it comes to photo gallery options, it’s hard to top Envira’s Photo Gallery plugin. Using drag-and-drop tools, Envira gives web publishers an easy way to quickly build their own photo galleries. Not just that, but these galleries are highly-optimized for speed and SEO. Setting up a new gallery only takes minutes. Once your gallery is setup, you can quickly upload photos and rearrange them to your liking. Envira’s Photo Gallery plugin is the lite version of its Envira Pro plugin, which comes with additional features for developing more robust galleries, including tags, social media integrations, pagination, deep-linking, ecommerce, and image proofing.
Sending push notifications from your website doesn’t have to be a hassle. With the One Signal plugin, developers can quickly setup mobile push, web push, email, and in-app messages for WordPress-powered websites. The plugin adds a script tag to each of your website’s pages, and loads One Signal’s Web Push SDK with the selected options. Special features make it possible to automatically push messages whenever new articles go live. A customizable “Notify Bell” gives readers a way to opt-in to receiving these notifications. Keep in mind that developers can use PHP to control what the plugin hooks into and to modify the notification that gets sent out to your users.
Broadstreet had developed an easy-to-use WordPress plugin for publishers who run display advertising on their websites. With the Broadstreet WordPress plugin, you can create zones or “ad units” and place ads on your website. Add advertisers and pick which advertisement types you’d like to create from a format gallery. You can setup “quick campaigns” or run more detailed, custom campaigns using the features in this plugin. One of the tradeoffs for this plugin’s simplicity is that it might not include all the features that are necessary to manage a full-scale advertising program. Local publishers who want those additional features will need to sign up for Broadstreet’s full-service platform.
The Debug Bar plugin is an incredibly useful development tool. With this plugin, you can add a debug menu to your admin bar in WordPress. From that debug menu, you’ll be able to find query, cache, and other helpful debugging information. When WP_DEBUG is enabled, you’ll also be able to track PHP Warnings and Notices. When SAVEQUERIES is enabled, the mysql queries are tracked and displayed. (You can add a PHP/MySQL console with the Debug Bar Console plugin.)
Query Monitor is a developer tools panel that has been designed specifically for WordPress. This plugin enables the debugging of database queries, as well as PHP errors, hooks and actions, enqueued scripts and stylesheets, and HTTP API calls. It also includes advanced features that developers will appreciate, like the debugging of Ajax calls, REST API calls, and user capability checks. Query Monitor adds an admin toolbar menu, which shows an overview of the current page, along with complete debugging information that appears in panels. Developers can use the Query Monitor plugin to quickly pinpoint any poorly-performing plugins, themes, or functions that might be slowing down their websites.
MAMP is a local server environment that can be installed under macOS and Windows. With both free and pro versions, MAMP offers all the tools publishers need to run WordPress for testing or development purposes. MAMP is comprised of MySQL, Apache, Nginx, PHP, and caches, as well as the MAMP Cloud, which syncs host data through Dropbox. MAMP comes free of charge.
Cyberduck is a libre server and cloud storage browser for Mac and Windows. It comes with support for FTP, SFTP, WebDAV, Amazon S3, OpenStack Swift, Backblaze B2, Microsoft Azure & OneDrive, Google Drive, and Dropbox. Users have the option to edit files with their preferred editor, thanks to Cyberduck’s integration with external editor applications. They can also easily connect to servers, enterprise file sharing, and cloud storage platforms.