There are countless blog posts with lists of plugins for WordPress, including some great lists here on Freelance Folder, but this post focuses on plugins that will make your clients’ experience in WordPress more enjoyable, easier to navigate, rich with important statistics and completely branded to match their website. For freelance web designers or WordPress consultants, taking a small amount of extra time to set up these plugins can boost the professional appearance of WordPress installations you provide for your clients, strengthen their confidence in you and score high marks as you impress them with their own personal WordPress experience.
An easy to use plugin that will create a custom login page, complete with backgrounds, font colors, login box color, and replacing the WordPress logo with your client’s. Right from their first login your client will see their own branding and know that their site is unique.
This plugin gives you the ability to change the WordPress Administration section by adding a branded header and footer. All you do is install the plugin, then replace the header and footer images with your own. It removes the WordPress logo and allows your client’s logo to take its place.
Ozh Admin Drop Down Menu
This handy plugin takes the vertical sidebar navigation on the left and turns it into a much more accessible horizontal menu on top of your dashboard. The drop-down it creates gives your client one-click access to almost everything in the menu, which speeds up the workflow no matter what the task. With the standard admin menu, almost every click initiates a page load, but this menu eliminates that part of the process. Highly configurable, even down to color schemes, this is a huge plus for your clients’ administration.
Admin Menu Editor
With an easy-to-use drag and drop interface, this plugin enables your client to reorganize and edit any existing menu item. They can change the title, access rights, menu icon and so on. Menu items can be hidden and custom menus can be created. Great functionality that allows your client to personalize and customize their WordPress admin menu to fit their specific needs.
Google Analytics Dashboard
Save your clients the extra step of logging into Google Analytics by providing them with a snapshot of their statistics built right into the dashboard. This plugin does not put the tracking code into their pages (I recommend Ultimate Google Analytics for a simple way to do that), but it does link up to their GA account and bring the statistics into an easy to read dashboard element. Another time saver for your clients!
Feed Stats for WordPress
If you are using a plugin to redirect your clients’ WordPress RSS feed to Feedburner (I recommend FD Feedburner Plugin) you can add this plugin to show their Feedburner statistics in the dashboard as well. Easy to install and set up, this will create a Feed Stats menu item under Dashboard that will show subscribers, clicks and views for the RSS feed.
This is another statistics plugin that will show numbers related to posts themselves, such as pageviews, which posts and pages are the most popular, where traffic is coming from, and what people click on when they leave. It will also add a link to the dashboard which shows all stats on a single page. The plugin connects with a WordPress.com account, so your client must have one for this to work, but then all you have to do is add their API key to get it running.
Those Facebook-like footer toolbars are showing up everywhere these days and there are varying opinions on their usage, but if your client likes them then this is a great solution. You have to sign up for a free account and configure it to work with your client’s social media accounts such as Twitter, Facebook and others, then install this plugin and set it up. One of the things I like about this is that it enables visitors to share posts from the toolbar on any page, eliminating the need for additional plugins at the end of each post. It also allows visitors to interact with the client’s Facebook fan page and Twitter without ever leaving the site. For clients that appreciate this functionality, it is a great solution that frees up space on their site and encourages interactive participation.
Technical Support for WordPress
This last plugin is one of my new favorites and will score points for you with your clients. If you’re a freelancer, a web design agency or a WordPress consultant, Technical Support for WordPress is a way to provide quality support to your clients. Installing the plugin will enhance your client’s Dashboard with a new widget for submitting support tickets directly to your e-mail. You can brand it with your logo and company information, customize subjects and email messages and your client will feel as though you are readily available to assist them every time they visit their dashboard. A brilliant addition to any WordPress site you build or install!
There are literally thousands of WordPress plugins available and new ones being developed all the time, so you may know of others that I have missed. Please be sure to share your suggestions in the comments. I hope the plugins I’ve listed will enhance your clients’ experience and help to make you look like a superstar whenever you deliver their WordPress site to them.