WordPress powers 31% of the internet’s websites and offers website owners the power to create any kind of site they want.
Adding to that, developers in the WordPress community have dedicated their time to creating plugins that people can use on their WordPress websites to extend the design, structure, and functionality, without having to touch a line of code.
The thing is, sometimes WordPress’ ease of use, simplicity, and setup of pre-designed plugins and themes makes creating a one of a kind website difficult to do. After all, if everyone is using the same popular plugins to design their sites, chances are high your site will look like everyone else’s.
So, how do you go about creating a standout website, without having to learn a new programming language every time you want to add a custom look or feature to your WordPress website?
The WordPress Toolbox
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Today we’re going to look at some of the very best WordPress plugins on the market to date that make it easy for web designers to customize their WordPress websites without touching PHP.
But to start, let’s take a look at Toolset.
Creating a sophisticated website that extends beyond a blog or simple eCommerce site with a few products can be tough for those with limited coding knowledge. In fact, in order to build listing sites, directories, membership sites, and more, you’d have to invest in many individual plugins and a multipurpose theme to get the job done.
That’s where Toolset comes in and makes your life easier. Toolset gives you complete control over the look and feel of your site, beyond anything that a plugin or two can accomplish. Not to mention, it gives designers an easy way to import a custom design with a few simple clicks, without sacrificing power or functionality.
Here are some real-life examples of the kinds of sites you can build using Toolset (without touching any PHP code):
- Build a site like Airbnb’s, complete with advanced search filters and a map so people can easily find what they’re looking for once they are on your site.
- Create a Craigslist-like site that lets people submit their listings on the frontend of your website.
- Start a complex eCommerce shop like Amazon with search filters, custom content, and navigation.
Lastly, let’s say you’re a gym owner and you want to let people search for a trainer on your site. To start, you’ll need to build trainer profiles, complete with personal information such as their name, specialties, going rates, and more.
Without Toolset, this would be very difficult to do since there are so many moving parts that need to come together to make it work. But with Toolset, you could add this custom content and your own design to your website following these simple steps:
- Use Photoshop to design an advanced search with custom filters for finding a personal trainer with Toolset.
- Convert your design from PSD to HTML and CSS.
- Implement your design into the search form. Use Toolset to build the search form (don’t worry, Toolset will generate the PHP code for you). Add your own HTML and CSS into this custom search.
And that’s it!
If you don’t want to convert your .psd to HTML or CSS, as seen in step 2, utilize the power of design tools such as Elementor and Divi, both of which work seamlessly with Toolset.
And from there, keep reading to learn about other helpful tools that will let you design the site of your dreams without using code.
Elementor is a drag & drop page builder for WordPress that will let you create high-end web designs without needing to use any code. Not to mention, it boasts being the first full free & open source frontend page builder. Create any webpage or custom post type with this extensive page building tool, and gain inspiration using one of the many pre-designed templates.
Use the built-in web elements to create things like buttons, forms, and navigation menus. And even add WooCommerce products to your website as a way to make money online. Elementor provides web designers pixel perfect design, hundreds of Google Fonts, unlimited color options and so much more, all with a simple click of a button here and there.
Divi is another visual drag & drop page builder that helps web designers new and experienced create fully customized websites with functionality that extend beyond traditional WordPress websites. Use any of the pre-built elements that come with the page builder so you never have to touch a line of code. In addition, choose from an unlimited number of page layouts, build custom landing pages, and know that no matter which theme you use, Divi will work.
Vectr is a unique WordPress plugin that will let you create and edit annotated images, watermarks, banners, infographics, and other vector images right in the dashboard of your website. You can embed any image you create directly into your posts or pages, scale designs without sacrificing quality, and even download your creations to your desktop for later use.
Envira Gallery is a photo gallery plugin that makes adding stunning images to your website easy and fast – no coding required. There’s a drag & drop builder for uploading, rearranging, and publishing your gallery within minutes. In addition, it comes SEO optimized, with pre-built templates, and even allows for sharing across social media platforms to expose your site to a broader audience base.
Social Media Share Buttons not only makes it easy for site visitors to share their favorite content with those they know and love or follow you on your social media accounts, but it also makes social media icons look good on your website too. Choose from 16 different icon styles to fit your site’s brand, assign animations to your icons for added visual appeal, and even add counts as social proof that people are reading your content and love what they see. Lastly, decide where to display your social share buttons and media icons to get the most exposure and benefit.
Insert Headers and Footers is the perfect WordPress plugin if you want to customize the header and footer sections of your website without touching your theme files. You can insert code (such as Google Analytics code), custom CSS, Facebook Pixel, and more into the plugin and let it do the rest for you. Don’t risk ruining your entire website by messing with complicated code and theme files, use this plugin instead on any WordPress theme of your choice and worry about more important things like making money or building a bigger following.
Pretty Links lets you shorten links, such as affiliate links, email campaign links, and links on Twitter without using third-party tools such as tinyurl.com. And in addition to having professional looking, customized links on your website for site visitors to see, you’ll also receive detailed reports about where each link hit comes from, the browser, the OS, and even the host.
The Events Calendar lets you do one of two things. To start, you can create a fully functional calendar, filled with events related to your company, organization, cause, or even audience base so site visitors can see upcoming events and join the fun. Secondly, when combined with a compatible contact form plugin, such as the previously mentioned WPForms, you can create a custom post type called Events, create an open calendar, and combine both with your online form that lets users submit their events in the hope they’ll appear on the frontend of your site. Add Google Maps, display different views, and even save venues and organizers to make event planning a whole lot easier.
All In One Schema Rich Snippets makes it easy for you to customize the look of your website’s posts and pages even in search engines. Add additional information, such as star ratings, images, number of reviews, video, and more to highlight your website and encourage people to click. All you have to do is enter the data you want appearing in results and let the plugin do the rest. And you don’t have to know any code to get it to work.
Easy Google Fonts provides a simple way for you to add custom fonts to your WordPress website without having to mess with fancy codes, uploading fonts into your database, or dealing with just the fonts your theme has available. Instead, take your pick from over 600 beautiful fonts and personalize your site to match your brand and your personality. Automatically enqueue all stylesheets, update your theme without losing your customizations, and never touch theme files again.
YARPP hasn’t been updated in some time, but there is no need because it is still going strong. Not only can you recommend additional reading or products to site visitors, but you also maintain complete control over how recommendations look on your site too. With this plugin, you can also display thumbnail images and use it across a multisite network.
Disable Comments lets you globally disable all comments across your WordPress website. If you don’t like sifting through spam comments, don’t run a site that needs that sort of interaction, or just don’t like the way the commenting system looks on your website, this is the solution for you. All comment links will be hidden in your WordPress dashboard, the X-Pingback HTTP header will be removed from all pages (with outgoing pingbacks disabled), and even the comment-related widgets your theme may have will be disabled.
TablePress is a great WordPress plugin if you want to create and display beautiful and fully functioning tables on your website. Embed your creations into posts, pages, and text widgets using a simple shortcode. All tables can be edited in a spreadsheet-like interface so there will never be a need for coding. And you can even import and export tables as needed from/to Excel, CSV, HTML and JSON files.
Widget Options gives you control over all the widgets on your website. Assign different content to appear in sidebars and footer sections of your website, change the visibility and appearance of individual widgets across all devices, and even align your widgets so they look seamless on your website at all times. And the best part? You can see your changes in the live preview before saving to make sure everything on the frontend of your site looks just the way you want it to.
Customizing Your WordPress Website
WordPress is as popular as it is for a reason. It’s flexible, can be completely customized, and comes with plenty of free and premium plugins for extending its design, structure, and functionality.
But best of all, WordPress (though highly advanced developers can create amazing things with it) comes easy enough to use for even the most novice of website owners so they can create a standout website that matches their brand and achieves their goals, without ever having to touch a single line of PHP code.