Basic Design Plugins for WordPress

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Being a novice, one may wonder that plugins are used not only to enhance features of a website, but also to improve its design. These small applications sometimes greatly transform the design of a site, making positive miracles. If you’re related to the web design like DesignContest do, you have to know at least the basic design plugins for WordPress – those that we consider in this article. Let’s start.
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WordPress is still a leading blogging platform, but it‘s good not only for blogs – there are many other ways to use the engine: portfolio websites, galleries, online stores, personal pages, corporate websites, web hosting providers, social media, online directories, startups, music sites, etc…Actually, there’re are myriad of ways you can use this CMS. But what makes WordPress so multipurpose?

Any WordPress website gains additional functionality from special plugins, most of which are specialized and used to perform quite specific tasks. Without use of plugins you can hardly reach the heights in administration. So what is plugin?

Design Plugins

It’s a small program that serves as an auxiliary tool for enhanced functionality and improved features of the main program. It becomes clear that the main program itself is the CMS, which is supplied with the number of plugins necessary for a specific task or project.

Multifunction plugins is a rarity, while their narrow focus is rather advantage than disadvantage (multifunctional applications is mostly unused due to the fact that most users need just one or several functions, not the whole set).

Being a novice, one may wonder that plugins are used not only to enhance features of a website, but also to improve its design. These small applications sometimes greatly transform the design of a site, making positive miracles. If you’re related to the web design like DesignContest do, you have to know at least the basic design plugins for WordPress – those that we consider in this article. Let’s start.

BuddyPress: a Plugin to Communicate

BuddyPress is a platform for social media. This plugin allows you to register and create friends lists, communicate with other users, create groups of interests and post forums of your own.

BuddyPress Plugin

BuddyPress supports extensions that can further enhance its functionality with support for document download, integration with social media, creating one’s own website, and so on. That’s a solution that can help you to implement a managed by users project-oriented system that promotes cooperation and interaction between visitors.

WP eCommerce: Set Your Payments

Your website got transformed into a fully functional online store with a built-in support of many large payment service providers.

WP e-Commerce plugin

The system allows you to load the goods to different categories, offering the possibility of forming the basket for ordering. WP eCommerce provides processing of delivery cost calculation, tracking of payment, and all e-mail confirmation related to selling/buying via Internet.

The plugin is available for free. Sure, you can buy additional updates, since the plugin is an open-sourced one. With WP eCommerce one can expand functions of the basket to fit his needs.

Vimeography: Useful, but for Vimeo Users Only

If you’re regularly engaged in video processing, you know how hard it is to present the movie contents without manual revision. Vimeo users can use WordPress Vimeography to create and display the fantastic video galleries.

Vimeography plugin

Vimeography allows you to create several content galleries and insert them into records or pages, using standard shortcodes system. Perhaps it’s the best WP plugin for video…unfortunately it supports content from Vimeo only.

NextGen Gallery

NextGen Gallery is a plugin to create image galleries.

NextGen Gallery Plugin

It provides great flexibility in creating a content gallery, including the ability to overlay watermarks, create slide shows, organize content, and use of different themes to output images. You can choose either a free or a professional version of the plugin.

WPTouch to Become Mobile Friendly

If you’re looking for a mobile-friendly design solution, it’s a must! WPTouch allows you to provide a different theme for mobile users both of IOS and Android, providing a convenient and optimized for a small screen version of your content, instead of offering mobile users to view the version of the site that is focused on PC.

WPTouch Plugin

The plugin can be configured to match the style of your website. This is an excellent solution for fast tuning, if you‘re unable to develop your own mobile themes.

SlideDeck 3

It creates custom slideshows that are displayed in a content slider on your WordPress website. Each slide can be filled with images, videos, text, inserts from social media, or combined content.

SlideDeck 2 Plugin

SlideDeck 3 supports reposts from YouTube, Flickr, Pinterest, Twitter. Slides output is set via the system of templates that are associated with SlideDeck as a kind of “lenses”.

Nivo Slider

It’s one of the most popular jQuery plugins for the WordPress slider and galleries. This plugin has 16 templates, responsive design, easy and flexible installation and configuring. It’s  available in three paid packages: $19 for 1 website, $49 for 3 websites, $99 extended version for web developers.

Nivo Slider Plugin


It’s a paid plugin to organize gallery images. RoyalSlider is used for mobile devices, and allows you to create fully customizable slideshows and CSS3 banners rotators with images, videos or HTML content in slides. One can also fill the data dynamically from Flickr, 500px, as well as to enable horizontal/vertical thumbnails for the photo gallery. Vimeo and YouTube videos also supported, so you can create video galleries.


What Plugins to Install?

It’s simple as ABC: carefully correlate your design needs, possibility of plugins available, and budget. Based on this, select the ones that you really need.

Brian Jens

Blogging and design are two major Brian’s passions. He always keeps abreast of the latest trends and tendencies, no matter it’s the latest marketing news, technical inventions, or something else.

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5 Responses

  1. Hi Brian,

    Wonderful collection of wordpress plugins, much useful for my websites.

  2. Hi Brian,

    Its my first time visit here and I would say that you’ve done a nice job in gathering some nice WP plugins.

    WordPress is an amazing CMS platform where plugins do magic here! But as you know, overuse of plugins may ruin the health of the blog/site.

    I know only Buddypress plugin, but other tools are new to me. Thanks for introducing them, I’ll have a look at the details.

    Keep doing your good work, have a good day today!

  3. @silvesidesfishing Does ‘WP Image Borders’ allow you to use custom CSS and images to implement your own borders? I think it’s lacking a few features.

    Excellent article and list of plugins by the way, Brian. I recommend at-least two of them to all of my “beginner” clients who are new to the world of WordPress and limited on knowledge to kickstart their journey.

    I noticed some of the plugins have premium options (Nivo Slider for example), if it’s of any help to you folks who are on a budget or low on cash but looking for a premium solution, I’d bookmark , they send out plenty of discounts for themes and plugins to WordPress users and developers.

  4. Hello 🙂 … If you work with a lot of post types (post, pages, products …) Adminyo is great and fast navigational tool.

  5. Hey there!
    I’m looking for a plugin that can add custom frames to images. Something more than plain jane borders. Actual frames like wood or stone.

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