5 WordPress Plugins for Increased User Functionality

5 WordPress Plugins for Increased User Functionality
Plugins are a great way to ease in the design of a WordPress website, and they also increase a site’s functionality. Some plugins can help our clients when our job is done. While we designers should not render ourselves obsolete, I do feel like it is our responsibility to give clients increased functionality, and the confidence to harness it themselves. The five following plugins do just that.

5 WordPress Plugins for Increased User Functionality

Black Studio TinyMCE Widget

5 WordPress Plugins for Increased User Functionality

I’ve written about this plugin before, because it’s just that good. The Black Studio TinyMCE Widget adds text-editing functionality to text widgets. The flexibility this offers is incredible. You can now more easily add HTML, upload images, use shortcodes, add columns, and more.

To use this widget, go to your widget panel and click and drag a visual editor widget into the desired sidebar or widget area. There you have a visual editor that looks just like a page or post editor!

Black Studio TinyMCE Visual Editor Widget Panel

Shortcodes Ultimate

Shortcodes Ultimate Elaine Griffin - Copy
The Shortcodes Ultimate plugin provides 50+ shortcodes ranging from carousels to tabs to accordions—and everything in between. This fully responsive CSS3 plugin is a great tool for designers to use when creating a website, and to leave behind for the client to use in the future.

Shortcodes can be used on posts or pages, or in widgets that utilize the text-editing capabilities of the BlackStudio Tiny MCE plugin. Simply choose the “Insert Shortcodes” button, choose or search for your shortcode in the pop-up window, and follow the detailed directions.

Insert Shortcode Elaine GriffinInsert Shortcode Popup Elaine Griffin

WP Easy Columns

WP Easy Columns Elaine Griffin Designs
WP Easy Columns allows designers to add grids and columns to posts, pages, and widgets. To use it on widgets, you will need the Black Studio Tiny MCE Widget.

To create columns or grids, click the “easy columns” icon, choose your layout, and insert your text or images between the shortcode. You can also insert a single column and custom divs!

In my opinion, one of the best features of this plugin is the “insert clear div” option, which helps to keep images and text aligned as they should be.

Insert Easy Column Elaine GriffinInsert Clear Div Elaine Griffin


WordPress Customizer Elaine Griffin Designs - Copy
The WordPress Customizer enhances the built-in customizer options, which allows designers to make basic design changes such as color, background image, header, navigation areas, widgets, and more. You can preview all the changes in real time. The Customizer adds an “Add Control” panel. The control panel can be used to add default sections to customize theme and plugin options.

To use this plugin, click on Appearance and then Themes. Click on the “customize” button on your active theme, and the customize widow will pop up on the left, with a preview of your site on the right.

WordPress Customizer Add Section Elaine Griffin - Copy

WP Google Fonts

Easy Google Fonts Elaine Griffin
In my opinion, unless a client is purchasing a font with a license, the only acceptable free fonts to use are Google Fonts. We should be coding the Google Fonts we use into our functions and CSS files, but sometimes clients want the option to change fonts out themselves. This is where the WP Google Fonts plugin comes in handy: Clients can easily choose fonts right from the Google Fonts Directory.

To work with Google fonts, click on Settings and then Google Fonts.

There, you can choose up to six Google Fonts to work with, and also choose the font weight, and what elements to attach the font to. Simply choose a font from the dropdown menu and the advanced screen will pop up.

WP Google Fonts Elaine GriffinWP Google Fonts Advanced Screen Elaine Griffin

What do you think of this list? Is there anything you would add?

7 Questions to Ask a Prospective Design Client

Prospective Client Questionnaire

When I am approached about logo and/or web design services, one of the first things I do is send the prospective design client a questionnaire, whether or not I've been hired yet. These seven questions help me get to know prospective clients better—which makes my job easier, and allows me to give each client the best design possible. My questionnaire is a mix of design and marketing questions that will encourage potential clients to think not only about what kind of design they want, but also  {… Continue Reading …}

#WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer June 25

Wordless Wednesday Endless Summer Bucket List 2014

Today is the last day of school, and the last day for the June #WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer giveaway! Looks like we can cross "catching toads" off of our summer bucket list! What do you have planned for the summer? Now link up and enter to win a FREE mini WordPress blog design package, valued at $600! The rules, if you are playing to win: 1. Post your #WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer post on your blog. 2. Come back here and share your link. Grab the button below and post it in the  {… Continue Reading …}

#WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer June 18th

Wordless Wednesday Endless Summer June 18 Elaine Griffin Designs

Hey hey! It's the second #WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer post! This picture was actually taken late last summer. I just love those toothy grins. Only 3 more full school days and 3 half school days until this is our daily reality! Now link up and enter to win a FREE mini WordPress blog design package, valued at $600! The rules, if you are playing to win: 1. Post your #WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer post on your blog. 2. Come back here and share your link. Grab the button below and post  {… Continue Reading …}

#WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer June 11th


Welcome to the first #WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer post! I took this pic of my kids on Sunday. Sunday, when they played together, dare I say mostly happily and quietly ALL DAY! I love how Genevieve is touching Ben's shoulder. They sure do love each other. Hopefully this is a sign of a wonderful summer to come! Now link up and enter to win a FREE mini WordPress blog design package, valued at $600! The rules, if you are playing to win: 1. Post your #WordlessWednesday #EndlessSummer post  {… Continue Reading …}

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