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The Top 10 Underrated WordPress Plug-ins for Designers

Even though the question still rages over which CMS is the best, WordPress has undoubtedly recent times pushed itself to the fore and if popularity is anything to go by, it’s number one.

Consequently, since the arrival of WordPress 3.8 two generations ago, many believe that the CMS has positioned itself as the front runner in technological terms too, surpassing Joomla and other alternatives. Why? Well, the level of functionality that WordPress offers can’t be equated and you can bend any site how you see fit, turning the most average website into something spectacular with a few tweaks and plug-ins.

Again and again, we’ve seen lists of the best WordPress plug-ins, so being a little different; we thought we’d compile a list of the most underrated web design orientated add-ons. Let’s take a look.

Instagram Image Gallery

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This very simple integration of the Instagram service allows you to add a feed from the social media site to your own. You can then give the plug-in permission to import images from specific users or a specific hashtag and it does the rest. Images can be shown in a slideshow or thumbnail and there are even options to customise the background, colour and borders. It’s a great way to add apt images and a little colour to your site.

Manual Image Crop

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Image: Rocketmill.co.uk

Speed up the cropping process for images with this great, useful plug-in. Simply install and you can then just crop an image by clicking it in your media library and choosing the relevant option. The plug in uses a light-box interface to crop and saves time, effort and hassle.

NextGen Gallery

Another image based plug-in that’s often overlooked. NextGen Gallery is filled with features and perfect for creating galleries of images. Users can add watermarks to images, easily create slideshows and use a whole host of themes to display pictures and imagery.

Homepage Excerpts

Sometimes full posts on a blog’s front page look unattractive. This plug-in allows you the chance to show excerpts rather than the whole post and you can even mix and match between full posts and excerpts to make your site look more interesting.

WP Google Fonts

Add fonts from the Google Fonts service directly to your blog without having to jump into the CSS files. We’ve used it at Abacus to hundreds of free fonts without a lot of the costs or issues.

Vimeography

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Video can be a little tricky to display beautifully in WordPress thanks to the need for manual hacks for embedded content. Vimeography works with Vimeo videos and makes it easy to create custom sized, fantastic video content that looks great on a WordPress site. Insertion is as simple as adding a short code into WordPress.

EasyPrice Tables

Tables can be a bit of a task in WordPress if you’re not a coding master and this plug-in is one that solves that. It makes creating customisable templates to display price plans easy and also throws up a number of very attractive options.

WPtouch

Creating a custom version of your site for mobile can take time and this app does that without any code. Install WPtouch and you can simply and quickly set-up a mobile friendly site through your admin panel, allowing mobile visitors the opportunity to see an attractive version of your site when browsing.

WP-Polls

Polling people is a great way to encourage interaction with a site and with this plug-in you can add attractive, customisable templates to your site. It’s a very customisable option thanks to templates and CSS you can make it run just as you want it to.

WP-Print

This plug-in creates a printable version of your site that makes it easy for readers to print an attractive version of your page or blog without adverts or sidebars.

These are just some of the great plug-ins that are seldom mentioned but can make a significant difference to the design and aesthetics of your site. Give them a try.

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