Premium WordPress Plugins of the Month: September 2016admin
Are you looking for new functionality for your WordPress website? Every month, we scour the best new plugins on CodeCanyon, hoping to uncover some hidden gems.
Today’s list features five of the 100+ plugins released in September. Each plugin features completely different functionality to anything else on the list and comes in at under $30. This means there should be something for everyone in there.
Let’s get started…
Herd Effect is a plugin that harnesses the power of social proof. It displays pop-up notifications to encourage users to take a specific action.
For example, if you see a notification announcing that three different customers have purchased in the short time you’ve been on a website, you’re more likely to make a purchase yourself – the website looks incredibly popular, right? These notifications could also announce a social share, new subscriber, or a blog comment, all with the same effect of nudging visitors towards the desired action.
This is where things get a little bit murky, and possibly unethical, depending on your stance. These notifications can be pre-configured – in other words, they’re not real.
That might be enough to rule this plugin out for some of you, but because these notifications are pre-configured, you can use these notifications for more legitimate purposes – for example, announcing a discount code or new blog content.
It’s up to you how you use this plugin, but there’s no doubt that the notification pop-ups look stunning. They can be fully customized, too, with your choice of text, icon (custom or one of the hundreds of Font Awesome icons), and color. You can further style them by selecting the border design and transparency levels.
Herd Effect also lets you display the notifications anywhere on the screen, and you can display how often they appear and for how long. If you want to use the notifications for the dark arts, you can also set the plugin to display notifications at random intervals to replicate the unpredictable nature of real audience actions.
If you like the sound of all this, Herd Effect is available from CodeCanyon for just $21.
RealSearch WordPress Search Plugin
The out-the-box WordPress core is equipped with built-in search functionality. Unfortunately, the general consensus is that it isn’t very good.
If you want to upgrade the default search function, why not check out the new RealSearch WordPress Search plugin, available for $20.
First of all, the plugin supports keyword stemming. That means, if you search for, say, “plugin,” RealSearch will return content containing the word “plugins,” too. The plugin also contains a powerful algorithm for sorting by relevancy, facilitating more useful search results.
The RealSearch search function is lightning quick, too, because it pre-caches 500 pages to allow quicker results. If none of these cached pages are relevant, the plugin will then perform an AJAX search request.
The plugin also ships with a useful search statistics page, letting you monitor the keywords your visitors are searching for.
WordPress Pretty HTML Emails
Do you want your emails to pack more of a visual punch? Then look no further than the WordPress Pretty HTML Emails plugin – pick it up for $28.
As the name implies, the plugin lets you create beautifully styled emails, ready to send out. You can add a custom color scheme to your emails, display your logo, and even use stunning, full-screen background images. You can also customize the email content – from the sender name right the way through to the footer disclaimers.
Perhaps my favorite feature, though, is the ability to configure different email templates for different plugins. For example, emails sent to WooCommerce customers might be flashy and eye-catching to command attention and drive sales. However, this style is overkill if sent in reply to questions trickling in via your contact form. For this scenario, you can configure a more appropriate template – one that’s clean and professional.
WP AMP Ninja
This plugin is extremely relevant given that, on the 20th September 2016, Google announced the roll out of Accelerated Mobile Pages – or “AMP,” for short.
This is a new feature designed to improve load times for mobile users. AMPs will typically load in under a second – yup, that fast. This is an attempt to wrestle mobile users away from apps and back to the mobile web, where engagement is notoriously low.
If you want to make life better for your mobile visitors, check out the WP AMP Ninja plugin, available for $19. Just plug in and play – the plugin integrates AMP and makes it Google AMP-compliant instantly.
The plugin is compatible with most media types and also all page types (including custom posts). It also supports schema markup and lets you track visitor behavior with Google Analytics integration.
WP AMP Ninja even ships with a related/recent post widget, social sharing buttons, and AdSense integration. You can customize your mobile site’s design with custom colors, logos, favicons, and container width.
If you want more mobile visitors – and, better still, more mobile conversions – this plugin is an excellent starting point.
Backup and Restore
As a webmaster, backing up your website is one of the most important things you can do – so important that WPExplorer has written about it here, here, and here. Even so, far too many site owners ignore the advice and take a big gamble with their websites.
If you want to join the group of smart webmasters, check out the Backup and Restore plugin. You can buy it for just $22.
The plugin lets you schedule your website backups to take place automatically, giving you have one less task to worry about. Backups can take place daily, weekly, or monthly. (If you update your website at least semi-regularly, I recommend the daily option.)
You can also choose to backup whenever something significant happens, like when a new plugin is installed (which could cause compatibility problems).
Backup and Restore then stores an unlimited number of these backups externally – you can choose between Dropbox, Google Drive, and Amazon S3. By keeping them off-site, the backups are protected if something serious happens to your server, giving you an extra layer of protection.
Each backup is stored as a “restore point.” This means that, if something terrible happens to your website, you can pick the last point in time that you know it was working, then restore it to that point. Restores happen in just a few clicks and take no more than a couple of minutes to implement.
That concludes September’s edition of WPExplorer’s Premium Plugin of the Month series. I hope you found today’s selection useful, with five versatile plugins you can pick up for under $30 each.
With hundreds of new plugins released each month, it would be impossible to cover each one. Feel free to use the comments section to share your favorite plugins released this month. And as always, we’ll be back next month with five more premium plugins!