WordPress community is quick to produce a lot of handy plugins that very often can go unnoticed for different reasons. We can slightly change the situation making some researches and highlighting the best free plugins of the latest releases that can solve real needs of the WordPress users.
This collection of fresh plugins is devoted to the universal ones (to enhance the overall WordPress experience) and to the ones for more specific niches. Mostly all of the plugins presented below fall under freemium pricing strategy, namely, you are able to download a free version of the plugin on WordPress.org, and if you wish to get the ‘all-inclusive’, you may consider purchasing the Pro version.
So, if you have a bucket list of features that should still be added to your WordPress website, this post can come in handy! Let’s cover each plugin in greater detail.
The Tree Sitemap plugin for WordPress will help you easily create a trendy hierarchical tree of the website posts and pages. It’s a very creative way to improve the navigation experience for the site users. There is nearly a thousand installs on WordPress.org at the moment and only 5’s in the rating statistics. The support team reply quite fast. One of the interested users was already promised an implementation of the requested feature during the future updates.
The shortcode nature of the plugin will do the biggest part of the work generating the Sitemap tree automatically. What you need to do is to only adjust the shortcode accordingly to your needs. Moreover, the admin tools were improved with drag-and-drop functionality for updating the website elements. Using the plugin you are able to create 2 types of a Sitemap tree: vertical and horizontal ones.
A vertical Sitemap tree will display all of your pages, posts, categories, taxonomies, and custom post types (‘events’, ‘books’). Managing the shortcode you’ll be also able to include/exclude any page, post or category and show/hide the thumbnails of posts and categories:
A horizontal Sitemap tree comes with a multiple choice of a tree views, an ability to show/hide a needed tree branch in a single click, and an option to draw lines between nodes. Additional options include ability to add multiple fields to a node and Ajax-based functionality for adding, editing and deleting your content. It’s also supplied with a couple of great animation effects. The plugin is well-documented, so you have all the needed guides at hand.
Restaurant Menu by MotoPress offers scarily many options within free version. Usually, the plugins with such a vast range of options significantly limit free possibilities, but this one doesn’t. Restaurant, cafe and bar owners are free to use it for creating versatile online menus.
The menu design is fully customizable: adjusting the shortcode, you can build both a simple clean-looking list menu of the foods and a stylish bright menu with food images, tags, descriptions and all the needed extra information. The plugin got only positive user reviews and is the process of constant improvements. Moreover, recently the plugin creators implemented eCommerce software to help you sell food and drinks online.
It comes with a full range of necessary features: handy admin tools, test payment for website administrators, PayPal and COD payment methods, shopping cart and easy checkout, payments made by registered and unregistered users, order statuses (cooking, shipping, shipped) and confirmation/notification email templates. Pretty cool for a free plugin, isn’t it?
Using this plugin, you can set up your menu in 3 main steps: add unlimited menu categories (e.g. breakfast, lunch) and menu items (e.g. pasta, tomato soup), select the layout of the menu: grid or list (from single up to six-column layouts for both) and choose whether it should be ‘category’ or ‘menu item’ viewing.
The plugin ensures full freedom of featuring each menu item: it can be supplied with a title and description, price, Nutrition information, Attributes (size, bulk, weight), tags and Ingredients list. Furthermore, the menu administrator will get the ability to set a featured image and add an image gallery (with lightbox preview) of the individual menu item, will be able to change the order of the menu items and display the same items under different categories.
The admin tools are supplied with a range of icons to set for categories and options to upload your custom icons. More and more users tend to buy food online, so if your restaurant/cafe is providing this option, you’ll be satisfied with the advanced functionality for online sales, which is a great bonus for increasing a number of your local shoppers.
If you wish to significantly improve the customization speed and plugin usability, the plugin creators integrated it with their main Content Editor plugin to build your menu fully visually online without shortcode. This significant help will cost you $29. Otherwise, you still can build the menu on your own with shortcode and step-by-step documentation (the admins tools are actually very handy even without it). You may also check out the demo version and see whether this is something to your taste.
It’s a bit strange to see that still a lot of restaurant owners don’t have the menu available online (which is now a critical resource for consumers), especially if there are so great free resources like the plugin in question that can help boost the overall business.
This plugin can come in handy for WordPress users who have to manage with various pop-ups and calls-to-action on their website. Boxzilla is a lightweight accessor of Scroll Triggered Boxes plugin and has already won the trust because of great functionality and well-documention. The plugin slogan claims that this solution is ‘conversion boosting boxes’ and is ‘better alternative to dumb pop-ups’. You may judge whether it’s really so by checking their demo with a couple of examples.
The main features of the plugin are as follows: different box triggers, scroll percentage, customizable time of displaying on the page, customizable box appearance/position on the screen, animation effects, full control over hiding the needed boxes, and much more.
Advanced functionality of the plugin is available via extra addons, which can highly extend plugin possibilities.
The Boxzilla users notice that the boxes work really unobtrusively, which has a positive effect on the website users behavior.
I remember the case when my colleague had to create (via custom admin panel) the rotating list of partner logos for the client from some recycling company. It did not seem like a complicated task, but for some reason it took about several weeks to appropriately customize it.
In result, the colleague managed to construct the feature similar to the one that Logo Carousel plugin for WordPress now offers, making the process much less time-consuming. Using the plugin, you can build a cathy clean-looking rotating list of logos of your partners, clients, or affiliates and place it anywhere on the site (page, post, custom template). It’s based on the easily manageable shortcode and has flexible functionality. The plugin allows to supply your logo with title, short description and website URL.
The clean minimalist look of the carousel will suit mostly all website designs. It‘s fully responsive, cross-browser compatible and also supports swipe navigation. The plugin is well-documented and provides the demo version with the carousel examples in different positions. It seems that the Pro version of the plugin, which costs only $15 has much more to offer: RTL support, unique settings for each logo slider, priority support, just to name a few.
Citing the plugin users (by the way, only 5’s come along with all submitted reviews), Admin Page Spider is a real ‘timesaver’ of the editing process. It provides quicker access to editing and viewing your website pages and enhances the overall backend navigation experience.
The plugin helps to crawl all over your pages from any point, so you can start editing your pages directly anytime from anywhere. Technically, the plugin supplies your WordPress dashboard with quick-access menu links: to view or edit any of the pages directly, so it eliminates all unnecessary click-and-wait operations. A kind of ‘sitemap’ menu appears onto your admin bar with the links to the pages after you install the plugin.
This lets you preview and edit your site from any location without a need to go to the frontend or the home page before clicking on a link.
BBPress plugin users notice that Page Spider adds enough efficiency for managing forums on multiple sites. If you consider the Pro version of the plugin, you’ll be provided with numerous great features: support for posts, Beaver Builder support, CSS Hero plugin support and more ‘tasties’. The plugin also awaits new great improvements like filtering by category/user feature, etc.
Is there are any other fresh and free plugin deserving attention?