Independently from what type of website I build, I have some favorite plugins that I use on most WordPress sites. All of them are free.
Here is a list of some of them that I find useful on this support site as well (in alphabetical order).
Aquila Admin Theme
There is a lot of backend work going on when using Awesome Support. Not only content editors and admins use it, also all agents will. That’s why I considered a better WordPress backend theme important to make it more beautiful and usable. I found the Aquila Admin Theme and liked it right away even though it could offer more settings. But see below how nice it looks:Details…
Documentation like user manuals must be content oriented and easy to navigate. But visual objects to attract attention or emphasize on information is important as well. I developed the Bootstrap Visuals for WordPress plugin for that purpose. Goal was to make it independent and not interfering with themes and other plugins. Via shortcuts it provides the most useful Bootstrap elements to use on any page or post, e.g. this progress bar:
[bsv-progress width="300px" progress="75" striped="yes" animated="yes"]
This one is a perfect example of a user community making a software provider realize that a new feature it introduced was quite a disaster and react to it accordingly. I am talking about the block editor “Gutenberg” in WordPress. Also in my opinion it is the most useless feature change in WordPress and I still don’t see its purpose. At least it should not have been a replacement of the classic editor but a selectable additional option for those that find it useful. The WordPress team reacted and created a plugin to replace Gutenberg back with the Classic Editor. I like two things about that. For one, it shows that the user community has value to the provider. For two, the provider takes according action.
I cannot help myself to refer to Atlassian in this regard that has lost that connection to their users. They dictate a similar change onto their Confluence users right now.
Anyway, this plugin brought my WordPress world back in order and makes editing pages and posts a joy again. Over 5 million downloaders feel the same obviously.Details…
Login Logout Register Menu
This plugin allows you to add login, logout, register and profile links in the navigation menu. Such feature is very useful to provide these menu items to the support website users that want to report tickets ot view the ones that have already submitted.
There are several plugins of this kind. I liked this one best for its customization options, e.g. redirecting the login and logout actions to custom pages.Details…
LoginPress – Customizing the WordPress Login
I found it desirable to change the look of the WordPress login screen since all users and agents will be using it on a support website. It should look much nicer and should also allow some company branding. LoginPress was one of the most popular ones and it turned out to be able to create what I had in mind in no time.
This plugin allows to redirect a page or post to another link. It is usually used to manage 301 redirects and monitor 404 errors. I needed it for a different purpose. The Awesome Support Login/Register page does not support the reCaptcha plugin I use. I simply created an empty page “Support Login” and redirected its link to the regular WP login. In Awesome Support I specified to use my page instead of theirs.
Responsive Lightbox & Gallery
Images are part of any good software related documentation. This plugin offers great features for popping up original images from thumbnails. Click on the LoginPress image above and you see what it does.
As simple as what this plugin provides, as useful it is in any WordPress environment. It simply adds a div element with a specific height. Yes, that’s it. But you have no idea how important that is to make content look good and more readable.
Last but not least, this plugin is the one to go for (imho) if you need to show source code in your documentation. It is based on the classic Syntax Highlighter by Alex Gorbatchev that has been used by so many for so long. Here is an example:
<html> <head> <title>Under Construction</title> </head> <body> <p>This website has been disabled by the administrator.</p> <p>Please contact:</p> <p>John Doe<br /> <a href="mailto:email@example.com">firstname.lastname@example.org</a></p> </body> </html>