WordPress is a popular Content Management System (CMS). Its popularity is due to its ease of use for non-developers. People can create websites and post online content without needing to code (or knowing how to do it); however, businesses and individuals often need customization for their sites. This is when they hire a WordPress developer to handle the customization.
In a perfect developer scenario, the client will provide access to everything we need to update their website. We would have access to their web host and to their FTP/SFTP. We do not live in an ideal world, though. You will come across a client who does not want to give that level of access. Not having access to important aspects of the website for development can make it more difficult to do our jobs.
The one non-negotiable for developing WordPress sites is that the client needs to set up an administrative user to their WordPress or else we cannot do a single thing for the site. If all we have is administrative user privileges, it will be enough to do what we need to do — especially with these four useful WordPress plugins.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Use the plugins when you need to use them and delete them when you are done. Plugins that you no longer need bog down the website and also present a security risk.
1. WP File Manager
What do you do when you need to add more files to the Child Theme for the website? The Theme Editor doesn't let you upload new folders or files. You may need to add files to the theme because you want to override a plugin theme or the Parent Theme, but it will be difficult to do this without FTP/SFTP access.
The WP File Manager plugin is useful in this situation. Install and activate the plugin on their site. Go to the File Manager that now shows up in the Dashboard and upload the folders and files that you need to customize the theme. Check that the folders/files are uploaded by going to the Theme Editor. Then you can deactivate and delete the plugin until you need it again. Now you're able to update the code for the theme in the Theme Editor!
2. Duplicate Page
Let's say that you customized a page using theme tools or website builder plugins. If you need to have several pages that look that way, duplicating the page would make it easier to do so. No need to repeat your customization for that page!
The Duplicate Page plugin lets you clone a page or post with a click! The option to clone a page will now show below the page/post title in the Dashboard area. Clone the page or post as many times as you need to do so, and update its content as necessary.
3. Pods Framework
I discovered Pods when I needed to make a very specific post type for a data set. The Pods Framework gives you power to create custom content types. It's very versatile, so you can build almost anything using Pods. Start by installing and activating the Pods plugin , then begin building your content types.
The learning curve for Pods may be a little steep, especially if you are new to WordPress development. You can find plenty of tutorials on their website. There is also a Slack group by Pods that you can join for additional help. Your Pods can then be fully customized with CSS.
4. Under Construction
Your client likely doesn't want their website to be visible on the internet before it is ready. If you don't have access to a staging site, then Under Construction can hide your WordPress site from the web. You can add some basic HTML to show on the site instead whenever people visit the domain. When you are logged into WordPress, you will be able to see all of the WordPress content and make your changes and updates.
The Under Construction plugin can be turned on and off. You can show the client your progress on the site by having them log into the site, or by presenting your work while you are logged in. The plugin can be deactivated and deleted once you are done with the customization and the client has approved the site to go live.
Do you use any other plugins when you are developing or customizing a WordPress site for a client?