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Five WordPress Tools for Designers

WordPress is incredibly popular as a CMS, and it’s becoming more and more common that, as a designer, you’ll be asked to either build a new WordPress site or work with an existing one. And while WordPress does make some things easy, it also can provide some challenges while you’re designing.

Here are five tools we’ve found that should be able to help you with your WordPress design, whether you’re building a new theme from scratch, helping a client with a brand new site, or just trying to make an existing site just a little better.

Theme-Check

The banner for the Theme-Check WordPress plugin.

Building your own theme and want to make sure it matches the latest standards for a WordPress theme? Theme-Check will go through the same testing tools that WordPress.org uses, and give you the details you need to make sure your theme has everything it needs.

You do need to define a couple of variables in wp-config.php in order to use Theme-Check, and being an automated system, it isn’t going to catch all the issues a personal review would catch, but it’s a good way to check your themes before you submit them for review.

FakerPress

The banner image for the FakerPress WordPress plugin.

Populating a test site with content is a pain. You can copy/paste Lorem Ipsum everywhere, but that’s still going to take a really long time, especially when you’re on a deadline. And showing off an empty skeleton of a website doesn’t help either.

FakerPress does the work for you, populating your test site with posts, featured images, users, tags, comments, and so much more.  And it’s easy to get rid of the test content after you finish. It’s a great helper when you need to see what a site looks like while you’re still waiting for the client.

Smart Slider 3

The banner for the Smart Slider 3 WordPress plugin.

Clients are going to want sliders. There’s no way around it. So it’s up to you to make sure that your slider is the fastest, smoothest, most responsive, SEO-friendly slider around.

That’s where Smart Slider 3 comes in. It gives you a responsive and easy to use Slider that you can pop in anywhere on your site, giving you an easy way to have dynamic content.  The free version uses only posts on the page to produce sliders, but the pro version lets you use your Woocommerce products, events, or social sources.

SVG Support

The banner for the SVG Support WordPress plugin.

SVGs are an absolute gem when it comes to eye-catching graphics that also load quickly. However, with WordPress, you’re usually limited to embed, object, or img tags and it can be difficult to really put in the styling and animation you want with your SVGs.

This is where SVG Support comes in. By adding class="style-svg" (or a custom class you define), the plugin loads the SVG code inline, giving you a chance to really play around with SVGs on your WordPress site.

What WordPress Theme Is That?

Screenshot of the What WordPress Theme Is That website.

Not a plugin, but a site, What WordPress Theme Is That will let you look under the hood of any WordPress site you’re looking at, showing you the theme they’re using (including parent and child themes) as well as what public-facing plugins are being used.

While it won’t find every theme (if someone’s made enough changes to a theme, it won’t pick it up), it can give you a heads-up on which theme might be best for your client’s site, especially if they point at it and go “I want it to look like that.”

With these tools, you can tackle some of the tougher WordPress problems for designers. Good luck, and happy designing!