WordPress has had quite the year, ringing in three new releases and going from strength to strength. More than 60 million websites use the powerhouse CMS, making WordPress officially the world’s most popular content management system.
So, we thought we’d celebrate the end of a fantastic year by showcasing a few of the top WordPress plugins, themes and trends of the 2014.
- Akismet (26,129,793 downloads)
The overlord of the plugin world, Akismet eats spam for breakfast and continues to dominate this list. If you want to keep your comments spam-free, Akismet is your best friend.
2. Contact Form 7 (22,226,552 downloads)
Described as ‘just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.’ It might not blow you away with excitement but it’ll get the job done.
3. WordPress SEO by Yoast (14,637,117 downloads)
4. Google Analytics by Yoast (7,125,722 downloads)
Yoast’s second appearance on the list, the Google Analytics plugin allows you to track your stats and monitor who is visiting your website, from where, and for what reason. A very handy tool if you’re looking to grow your site’s popularity.
Biggest Themes (on ThemeForest)
ThemeForest’s biggest selling theme of all time, Avada features unlimited design options and is a great starting point for those without coding experience.
2. X: The Theme
One of the biggest benefits of using X is the huge bundle of great features that come with it. These include Mailchimp, Disqus Comments and Google Analytics, so you don’t need to worry about downloading extra plugins after installing your theme.
Designed so users can create a beautiful website within minutes, Enfold comes with numerous demos so there’s a little bit of something for everyone. The responsive layout means your site will adapt to any device, playing in perfectly with one of 2015’s biggest predicted trends.
One of Salient’s best features it the user-friendly page builder. It’s beautifully designed and makes creating your dream website a doddle, with drag and drop elements making it suitable for even the greenest beginner.
Biggest Design Trends
Of course, responsive design was the main design trend of 2014. With mobile browsing exploding in recent years, this trend looks set to continue long into 2015 and beyond.
Minimalism has overthrown clunky, cluttered design and 2014 has seen a lot of clean, crisp layouts with plenty of white space.
What colour we have seen in design has been bright, energising and attention-grabbing. PANTONE’s Colour of 2014 (Radiant Orchid) was pushed aside in favour of electric blues and deep oranges.
Helping to make corporate sites appear more friendly and accessible, handwritten fonts have been featured all over the place this year, even finding a home on some of the biggest sites in the world.
We saw three WordPress releases in 2014, versions 3.9 (Jimmy Smith) in April, version 4.0 (Benny Goodman) in September and version 4.1 due for release in the second half of December. The new versions have brought with them well-received new features such as drag and drop images, a media gallery redesign and embeddable content previews.