Best WordPress Plugins - Reviews
Any Mobile Theme Switcher
Having the website that is optimized for both desktop and mobile browsing is very important. Google has just released its latest ranking algorithm and websites that are not mobile friendly will take a big hit in Google rankings. While it is possible to still rank high for desktop searches (Google's new algorithm will not affect the position the website scores for desktop search), mobile searches are becoming prevalent in numbers. By latest statistics there are more mobile searches performed than desktop searches, so the importance of the mobile friendly website is therefore more important.
While there are many tools that claim to solve the issue of making the website mobile friendly, we have found one that in our opinion surpasses any others we have reviewed and used so far.
Any Mobile Theme Switcher allows the website owner not only to specify the different theme for mobile browsers but you can select a different theme for different mobile browsers (different them for your IPhone, IPad, Android Phone, Android Tablet, etc.). In addition you can select the different starting page for different mobile browser selection allowing you to cater the customized content to users with different devices. A great plugin that enhances the functionality of any website.
The basic version is free and offers plenty but we strongly recommend upgrading to a Pro version (you can receive the Pro license by donating as little as $10 to the author). With the pro version comes the option to turn phone numbers on your website to a click to call button allowing the visitor on a mobile phone to place a call right from your website. While many new cellphones have that capability built into it already (able to distinguish the phone number within the website's content) this tool is still handy for displaying your website within older cell phones that may be using different or slightly older browsers.
In our website development, we use Artisteer to develop WordPress themes for our websites so implementing the Any Mobile Theme Switcher allows us to seamlessly develop and fall back to a mobile device customized theme for our client's websites. A great plugin.
Comprehensive Google Map Plugin
In having a great looking and effective website, it is important to provide an effective contact information for your clients and prospects to find you. While you can add the address and phone number, why not go a step further and have a full map with turn by turn directions, address, map and even Google Street View, integrated into your contact page.
Comprehensive Google Map Plugin is an effective way to add the map functionality to any WordPress built website. With multiple locations, panning, KML, mashups, and expanded turn by turn directions to any location on your map served right from your website, we have found this plugin to work very well on all our websites.
In addition to great set of features, the plugin is easy to implement. After providing the info inside the plugin editor, you will be given a shortcode to embed to the location where you want to display the map. The shortcode is quite simple and if you need to perform additional adjustments (width, height, zoom, panning etc.) you can do it directly from the shortcode as long as you have a basic understanding of HTML.
The only negative thing we found about the plugin and only recently, is that the author has discontinued future development and support for the plugin and has transferred the ownership of the plugin to the commercial competitor product. However, since that change, we have installed the plugin to numerous websites and at the time of this article writing, it still works with all major and minor revisions and updates of WordPress.
In addition, the WordPress community has taken effort to fork the plugin and continue to support it under different name and the plugin by name Slick Google Map has been born. Slick Google Map has and is continuing to receive updates and support and according to author can take over from where Comprehensive Google Maps plugin has left (including inheriting all existing shortcodes installed on your website). We have not tried migrating to Slick Google Map yet but intend to try it on one of our websites shortly and will update our readers with the progress and our opinion about it, in the near future