WordPress Development Tools
You have finally settled on WordPress to create your website or you are a developer who has been using WordPress for a while now but are looking to step up your game a bit. Well here are some ways you can build a great site or step up your developing for you clients.
WordPress one of the best CMS platforms out there has a few things that you might want to remove or change when doing developments. Items such as customizing the admin area to keep your users out of things or to limit what your clients can change or access on the site.
It can be useful to allow your clients admin access but keep them from making certain changes to tolls they would not need to use, Good to add a quick link for them to contact you when there are problems or issues.
You may also want to keep your development hidden from the world until it is ready to launch, or you may want to make change to a live site but not risk the live site and may not know how to create a dev site. . Well the following tools will help you on your way to making a great site.
Start with a basic install of WordPress if you do not know how to do that try a Google search for WordPress 5 min install this will make that job easy. Now you need to fins a theme other than the one that comes with WordPress while the base themes are great and can be customized quite well you may want to start with a different one. I recommend genesis themes for starting your website. Then you will need some basic plugins this list will help.
- AG Custom Admin
- Antispam Bee
- Collapsing Categories
- Count Per Day
- DB Cache Reloaded Fix
- Genesis Simple Edits
- Genesis Simple Hooks
- Genesis Tabs
- Gravity Forms
- iRobots.txt SEO
- Missing Content
- SEO Smart Links
- Shareaholic | share buttons, analytics, related content
- Social Media Widget
- WordPress for My Clients
- Wordfence Security
- WordPress SEO
- WP Maintenance Mode
For your simplicity sake you can download all these plugins in this zip file[purchase_link id=”234″ style=”text link” color=”” text=”Download the zip file”] once installed they may need updating depending on how long it has been since I created this article. Simply unzip and the FTP all the files into your plugins folder or if you have time search and install each one from WordPress.org.
Ok once installed you need to turn them on as needed and start your customizations. I recommend starting with the following and following this this order for plugin activation and configuration.
Activate AntiSpamBee and configure it up pretty straightforward on this one.
Activate WP Maintenance Mode
Activate WP Maintenance Mode and configure it to block all access except admins who login, this will also block search engines. This plugin should hang around for a while because of its use also when you need to work on your site and temporally hide it from users. You can set a countdown for when you will be back. Use something like this as the text:
Thank You for Visiting Us.<br />
We are currently in the process of updating our website to better serve you!<br />
<strong>We will be back in %1$s</strong><br />
Thank you for your understanding.</p>
Turn on the Responsible plugin
Next turn on the Responsible plugin as this will make insuring you have a mobile ready site easy. With only a few clicks you can check how your site look on a tablet to an iPhone. And everything in between. You even get an opportunity to enter any screen size you can imagine to see how it will look for say a 13in monitor.
Now to discuss a couple plugins apart from the list.
This plugin allows you as a developer to manage several websites from one main one. This is a great tool to have in your stable I am sure you like many developers manage more than one site for your clients doing updates and regular backups. This plugin when used correctly will allow you to manage all those sites in one place saving you tons of time.
The next one is Missing Content this plugin will allow you to create temp content in places you may need something such as an image or quick using any of the following short codes anywhere a short code will work.
[missing-content]3 paragraphs from http://loripsum.net/ updated every 3 hours.
[missing-content cache_duration="always"]Never updates the content.
[missing-content cache_duration="never"]3 paragraphs from http://loripsum.net/ updated every page refresh. NOTE: do not use this if using a tool like LiveReload.
[missing-content paragraph_count="1" cache_duration="86400"]Displays one paragraph updated every day (24 * 60 * 60).
[missing-content content_type="bacon" paragraph_count="5"]5 paragraphs from http://baconipsum.com/api/ updated every 3 hours.
[missing-content content_type="hipster"]3 paragraphs from http://hipsterjesus.com/ updated every 3 hours.
[missing-content content_type="blokk"]3 paragraphs of Blokk font using http://blokkfont.com/ updated every 3 hours.
[missing-content content_type="image" width="500" height="500"]500px x 500px image from http://placehold.it NOTE: no cache control.
This plugin can help you finish a section when the content is not quite ready yet.
Disable Updates Manager
The next plugin is Disable Updates Manager which you may want to add for various reason such as if you have customized a plugin you may not want it to get any notifications of updates. Another use is to prevent your users from doing any updates. As many who have worked on WordPress for any length of time will tell you the biggest thing that causes breaking is just doing the updates blindly without doing any backups or checking the impact a new update will bring.
So you will want to place something like this in place if you manage the site and want to keep your client from the temptation of that big yellow button asking you to update.
A couple other things you can do if you’re looking to customize the site fully on your own. You can use a plugin such as http://csshero.org to do some serious customization on a theme and it works out of the box with many themes.
An additional plugin you may find useful is one called Sandbox this allow you to do some practice on your site without impacting your live site. What it does is to create a duplicate of your site right next to your live site. This will allow you to do some experimentation with your site without impacting the live site. Only you can see it no one else can see it at all. Not real useful if you’re doing something for a client and need them to have a look.
Here is another developer tool you may want to use Developer plugin It help you by checking and recommended some additional developer plugins and tools when you might be developing a theme or plugins from scratch this is a great tool for the heavy developer.
And an additional developer plugin Developer Toolbar adds a Toolbar to the front end which you can see many of the important things such as Queries, the variables used what crons are stacked up and even a file trace and cache. It also provides you a checklist to insure you have completed some tasks and some nice customizations to files you might want. Including some great tweaks to your .htaccess file. And several other great tweaks such as some filters to add to your functions file to customize the email sent by the site.
Once you have everything all set the way you want to be you will want to turn on some security for your website for this I recommend Wordfence Security