The Most Flexible Featured Posts Widget You’ll Need

Flexible Posts Widget WordPress Plugin

Recently I had a client that needed to display a grid of images in a sidebar widget, each one of which would link to a different page. Previously they had hard coded all the images and links as HTML in a text widget but this was understandably a pain for the client to maintain and update.

I previously used Special Recent Posts as my go-to plugin for this type of thing (although I’m not sure it could handle Pages) but the free version is no longer being updated so I needed a new solution. Fortunately I found the Flexible Posts Widget plugin – the best featured posts widget I think you’ll ever need.

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Best Way To Add Blank Lines & Space In WordPress Editor

Add Extra Space In WordPress EditorIf you’ve used WordPress even just a little bit,  you’ve probably come up against the fact that it’s really hard to add extra space into the editor. You can only hit “return” a couple of times before it starts eating those extra line spaces you’re trying to create. So if you want to create extra empty space in your page or post – anything beyond a paragraph break or two, you’ve probably pulled your hair out. There’s several workarounds you can use if you happen to know HTML but that horrifies many non-techie WordPress users. Well the best way I have now found is an awesomely simple and to-the-point plugin called Spacer.

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WordPress Twitter Plugin Stopped Working Recently? Here’s Some That Work

Twitter Plugins For WordPress

You may have noticed your Twitter feed stopped showing up on your WordPress site just recently. This is because Twitter changed their API. An API is something that various web services like Twitter provide in order to allow developers to tap into the service and work with information from it. So a WordPress plugin that pulls information from Twitter needs to utilize their API. When Twitter changes their API as they did recently, that will affect the plugin.

Hopefully the Twitter plugin you have been using has a developer that stays on top of such changes and provides an update to the plugin. With this recent Twitter update however there’s some steps that you as the site owner need to take to make sure the plugin will work. You basically have to create your own Twitter app – but don’t worry,  it’s not as scary as it sounds.

Here are my current favorite Twitter plugins that have been updated to work with the new Twitter API.

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Mobile Plugins For Your WordPress Site

WordPress Mobile Plugins

I recently had to find a mobile solution for a client. Their theme had been custom made a while ago and was not responsive so the easiest route (and the one that fit their budget) was to use one of the many available mobile plugins for WordPress.

If one of your goals is to make the mobile version of your site perform better on PageSpeed Insights and other speed tests, check out this guide to making your mobile WordPress pages faster.

What’s the Difference Between A Responsive Theme and A Mobile Plugin?

A responsive theme adapts to the size of the screen it is being viewed on, so it retains a consistent overall look and feel. The mobile plugins work in various ways – some of them do let you use a responsive theme of your choosing, but oftentimes they install their own mobile theme which could look significantly different than your standard theme, but it may have some handy mobile-specific features. A mobile plugin will detect the actual device being used (rather than just the width of the screen) and show a different display based on that. It’s a quick and easy way to get a mobile solution for your site. Retrofitting an existing theme to make it responsive requires custom coding, so for many people, a plugin is the easier way to go.

Criteria for Comparing Mobile Plugins

As I played around with various plugins, several key distinguishing factors emerged. So before you start looking at plugins you may want to think about these factors and how important they are for your circumstance so you can make an informed decision:

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Swiftype – WordPress Plugin For Enhanced Search

swiftype enhanced wordpress search

Swiftype is a new plugin on the block. It is designed as a replacement for the in-built search feature on your WordPress site. The main thing that’s cool about it is that it has an autocomplete feature which is commonly found on many modern websites such as Amazon, Google etc. That’s where you start typing something and before you’re even finished, you see a list of possibilities that would complete your search. This is how it looks on Amazon.com:

amazon autocomplete

It’s a pretty slick feature that will give your site a more modern feel. I tested it out on my local installation of WordPress and it works pretty nicely. It wasn’t quite as fast as I would have liked initially, but then, sites like Google and Amazon have trained me to expect almost psychic levels of autocomplete. However I will say that it seemed to get faster over time, meaning that if I searched for the same or similar thing multiple times, it produced autocomplete faster after the initial search.

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