Donna Fontenot


4 Totally Kickass Free WordPress Plugins You Aren’t Using

4 Totally Kickass Free WordPress Plugins You Aren’t Using

Seriously, I bet none of my peeps are using these fabulous WordPress plugins. If you’re connected to me via Twitter already, and you’re already using one of them, let me know, and I’ll send a little gift your way. So these little gems of plugins will rock your WordPress world. Ok, maybe not everyone will find a need for all of these, but most of you will fall in love with at least one or two of them.

End The Frustration Of Spacing Problems in WordPress Editor

Raise your hand if you’ve ever tried to put an extra line break somewhere and WordPress mucked it all up! Or maybe you tried to align an image next to some text, and your blood boiled over because the next image didn’t line up nicely afterwards, but got slammed up into the text of the first image! Sound familiar?

Here is a plugin that can take this kind of frustration away, quickly and easily. The Simple Breaks plugin is a favorite of mine. It adds a few icons to the Visual Editor toolbar (and you can use the associated shortcodes if you use the Text Editor instead) that lets you easily add the following to your posts and pages:


  • [br] – A line break
  • [clearleft] – An empty div tag with clear:left attribute
  • [clearright] – An empty div tag with clear:right attribute
  • [clearboth] – An empty div tag with clear:both attribute
  • [hr] – A horizontal rule tag (hr)
  • [space] – An empty div which has a height set based on it’s size attribute (in pixels) so size=10 translates as height=10px

Control Size and Color of Icons Via CSS Just Like Text!

So you’ve got a nice little block of text that you want to place an icon next to, in the hopes of making it stand out nicely, right? This is often used for Feature Blocks on a home page. The problem is that you first have to find good icons to use to represent the text’s concept, and then you have to muck around with it to make it the right color and size. Font Awesome More Icons to the rescue!

The first problem of finding good icons to use is solved because this little plugin hands you over 400 icons to choose from. The second problem is solved because you can style these icons via CSS just like you would style text! Want to use a Checkmark icon, but need it to be large and green? Ok, no problem.

You could use the icon-check icon, which looks like this normally.


To make it larger and green, you don’t have to edit the image itself. Nope! All you have to do is simply place the shortcode <i class=”icon-check icon50 greencolor”></i> into your post, where icon50 will represent a class you create that sets the font size to 50px, and greencolor is merely a class in your stylesheet that sets the color to green.

You see, these icons really are JUST A FONT! So anything that you can do in CSS to a font, you can do to these icons. In addition to doing virtually anything you want with them via standard CSS, there are lots of easy, specific attributes you can use as well, such as the ability to place a border around icons, rotate and flip icons, use in buttons and dropdowns, and much more. You can see usage examples here.

So what icons can you choose from? You can choose all the icons shown here and here.

Fix The Unruly Sidebar Mess

If your theme only has one or two sidebars, then you probably haven’t dealt with this particular frustration. But if a theme uses lots of sidebars to widgetize many parts of the layout, you’ll quickly be pulling your hair out as you scroll up and down and up and down and up down, to drag and drop widgets onto various sidebars. I see some of you nodding your heads vigorously! Sane Widget Sidebar Management brings relief to the insanity of dealing with lots of sidebars. Instead of seeing all your sidebars vertically, and having to scroll down to the one you want to add a widget to, simply deal with ONE AT A TIME.



This plugin adds a simple dropdown to the top of the screen. Choose the sidebar you want to work with, and it’s right there at the top. No scrolling. No hassle. Hello, WordPress? This should be built in!!

Drag and Drop Layout

You’ve seen all the premium themes out there that tout the newest craze, Drag and Drop Layouts, right? Ok, maybe you haven’t, but trust me, it’s a big thing right now, and for good reason. It’s refreshing, even for a code geek like me, to not always have to code everything. Sometimes, I want to create a killer layout without having to spend a lot of time with HTML and CSS to make it happen. Want one of those really cool home pages, with a slider on top, a few feature blocks underneath, some buttons and text in various sized columns under that? All of these types of awesome layouts can easily be made with themes that have drag and drop features. But the cool thing is that you don’t have to go buy a premium theme to get that ability. You can use YOUR theme, and just by installing the PageBuilder plugin, you can create those really cool layouts on your site too! And not just on the home page. Oh no, you can design amazing layouts on any page or post on your site. Now, the one thing to remember is that for each individual page, it’s an either-or kind of deal. Either you’ll use the standard WordPress editor to create the page, or you’ll use the PageBuilder blocks. You can’t do both on any single page. But you can definitely have some pages that use the PageBuilder and some that use the regular editor. It’s super flexible and frankly, just a dream come true for me. Sound cheesy? Yeah, well, it really made me that happy when I found it, so that’s just the way it is. :)

So let’s get more into the nitty-gritty of the PageBuilder plugin. The first thing to notice is that not only can you drag and drop text boxes, image modules, slider modules, video modules, button modules, and more (full list below), you can also drop in a widget! This is important because there are times when you really need to use a 3rd part widget within your post, and you’d really like it to be at a specific place in the post. Not only is it often difficult just to use a widget in a post, but to position it right where you want it is another challenge. So, yay for this feature! Now let’s take a look at all the things you can use in your drag and drop layout. (Keep in mind that by using a text module or widget module, you can do almost anything, even if it’s something not included in the available modules).

Below the standard WordPress page or post edit screen, you’ll find the PageBuilder section. If you choose to use it instead of the normal editor, you’ll see something like this.


If you select the Add A Module tab, you’ll get all these options.


If you click the Add A Column tab, you’ll get a choice of column sizes.


And you can even choose a Sample Layout to get you started on your creativity.


Each module has a settings icon in the upper right corner.


Once you go into the settings, you’ll be able to edit the module’s content there. Here are some screenshots of a typical text block module and button module so you can get an idea of what I mean.



As you can see, the Text Block Module Settings consists of a standard editor, as well as an Additional CSS section for styling the text of this particular module.

The Button Settings lets you specify button color, size, link, etc.

Each module has its own settings which are pertinent to that type of module.

I hope you try this plugin out. It’s completely free and totally amazing. It might change your WordPress mindset forever.

What Do You Think Of These Plugins?

Have you used any of these yet? If not, do you plan to? Which ones interest you the most? As I mentioned in the beginning, if you’ve been using one or more of these already, and you’re already connected to me on Twitter, let me know, and I’ll send you a little surprise gift. :)

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