Best WordPress Plugins (Free) 2021

Well, I am cheating a bit here as it is still 2020, but it’s December 22nd so please forgive me.

I don’t have any plugins on this site, but I do on my ecommerce site – NiceMMA.com

I’ve also been asked to look into plugins and basically update myself with WordPress ready for 2021 and a slightly new job role, so a thought a blog post might make a good place to record my findings.

Rank Math SEO – WordPress Plugin

This is similar to Yoast but you get more in the free version. I’m not sure I’ll be using it in my day job though, as it asks for permission to analytics and search console.

You can update URLs, redirects and a bunch of other great things with the free version and it also gives a quick SEO audit, which is nice.

Rank Math SEO allows you to look at ‘focus keywords’ and makes it easy to update the meta details.


Duplicate Page – WordPress Plugin

If you make a specific blog layout or a contact page or anything and you don’t want to remake it from scratch, this plugin with duplicate the page or post for you and keep it as a draft so you can go in and edit it before publishing.


Manage WP – WordPress Plugin

Good for web developers, you can update all the plugins all in one go and do other stuff really easy


Empty Spam Bee

If you have a contact form or email address on your site – this should keep out most of the spam.


iThemes Security

Great security plugin. Turn off some of the notifications in the notifications center or you will get loads of emails. Check – secure the site and activate Network Group Brute Force Protection


Elementor Custom Skin

great for creating custom designs if you build WordPress sites using Elementor

This plugin works great with Custom Post Type UI

To Learn more about Elementor, subscribe to this guy’s Youtube channel –

Live Chat for WordPress

If you are looking for an ai chatbot for free, look at this plugin

For managed live chat, check out these guys and for managed live chat for WordPress, this article is worth a read

Live chat can be an important tool for customer service. It can provide 24 hour instant customer support. Email and telephone contact details are great on a website, but a user is typically in a hurry and wants instant answers, and doesn’t want to wait 24 hours for a reply via email.

Making a Shield icon in Inkscape

Making the shield

  • Select the rectangle tool
  • Drag a rectangle
  • Go to Path>Object to Path
  • Select the Edit Paths by Nodes Tool
  • Select the bottom part of the rectangle
  • Click on the top toolbar (left hand side) – Insert New Nodes into selected segments
  • Press CTRL and drag down the new node to make a shield shape
  • Duplicate the shield and flip in vertically
  • arrange the bottom shield so that the tip overlaps the top shield
inkscape shield logo
  • Now Select the top shield again and CTRL + D to duplicate it
  • Hold shift and select the bottom shield (in addition to the top 2)
  • Then go to Path>Intersection:
inkscape shield logo

Making the Shield Logo

  • Add the wings! Use the rectangle tool to create a square with the same size stroke
  • Go to Path>Object to Path
  • Select the Edit Paths by Nodes Tool
  • Select the left part of the rectangle
  • Click on the top toolbar (left hand side) – Insert New Nodes into selected segments
  • Press CTRL and drag the new node on the left, to the right


  • Add the accent lines by using the Basier Pen
  • Click near the side-square – slightly to the left of it hold CTRL and click to the right of the side-square – press enter to create a line
  • Drag it near the top of the side-square
  • Path>Stroke to Path
  • Duplicate the line – hold CTRL and drag it down to near the bottom
  • Hold shift and select both lines – path>Union
  • Select the side-box and the 2 lines and put lines on horizonal alignment of side-box
  • Duplictae the side-box only
  • Hold shift – select the lines as well
  • Then go to Path>Intersection
inkscape shield logo tutorial

Inkscape – Creating a Tear-Drop Shape

  • Select the oval tool – create an oval
  • Path Menu (near top left) – Object to Path…
  • Select the Node Tool (left sidebar)
  • Select the two ‘width’ nodes
  • Drag the width nodes down
  • Select the bottom node
  • Click “Make selected nodes auto-smooth” from the node menu near top of window (this is the right-most option)
  • Select top node
  • Select – “Make selected nodes corner” from the node menu – leftmost option with dot and 2 lines

https://drive.google.com/file/d/17K8PLTM1siZArZuHT_V2iOEWrTuapILR/view?usp=sharing

Illustrator: Adding Reflections to Images with Masks

How to Add Reflections to images with masks in Adobe Illustrator

  • Insert a photo go to File>Place and select a photo from your computer
  • Place it by left clicking on the artboard
  • Scale it down
  • Edit>Copy
  • Edit>Paste in Place
  • Object>Transform>Reflect (horizontal axis for pasting below or above rather then left or right)
  • Drag the reflection / refelected image down, until it snaps in place
reflect Adobe Illustrator
  • Select Rectangle Tool – create a black rectangle
  • Press CMD (or CTRL) and Y to see outlines
  • Line up the rectangle to cover the bottom photo
  • Select the black rectangle and the bottom photo which is underneath
  • Select the Transparency Pallet
Adobe Transparency
  • Click “Make Mask”
  • Untick “Clip”
  • Click to select the black rectangle in the panel:
  • Next Click on Gradient
  • Adjust the gradient – anything that is black blocks part of the image, white keeps the image:
adobe illustrator gradient
change to -90 degrees to fade bottom more

In the color panel, change the RGB to all zeros to completely cover part of the photo

mask gradient adobe illustrator

Illustrator – Creating an ‘Infinite Symbol’

How to create the Infinite Symbol in Adobe Illustrator

  • Select the Type Tool
  • Go to Type menu – Type>Glyphs>choose the infinite symbol:
Adobe illustrator - infinite symbol
  • double click to add the infinite symbol
  • Use the Scale Tool* to enlarge it (*on the right below)
illustrator toolbar


Turn the Text Icon into a Shape

  • Select the infinite symbol, go to Type>Create Outlines
  • Use the direct select tool to move bits of the symbol about and reshape it

Illustrator – Drawing a Volume Speaker Icon

How to draw a volume icon in Adobe Illustrator

Making the Speaker

  • Select the rectangle tool
  • Create a black ‘vertical rectangle’
  • Copy & Paste the rectangle and drag to the right – Edit>Copy, Edit>Paste in Place. Then hold down shift and drag to the right
  • Colour the right rectangle red (Just to distinguish the two)
  • Use the Direct Selection tool and select the two corners of the red rectangle that are furthest to the right:
  • Use the Scale Tool (See toolbar above – the scale tool is on the right, near the top, usually) – drag the two corners up and down:
  • Select the two right-hand-side corners again
  • This time drag them to the right slightly, to make the red shape thicker
  • Colour both rectangles black when you are happy with the shape:
illustrator speaker

Drawing the SoundWaves

  • Using the elipse tool (found under the rectangle tool) and holding shift – drag out a circle
  • Using the Direct Selection tool – drag out a ‘selection field’ to select a point on the left:
illustrator circle
  • Hit delete to remove the left hand side of the circle
  • Select the new, semi circle
  • Switch the stroke and fill so the stroke is black
  • Increase the thickness of the stroke until it looks like this:
illustrator circle
  • Change the stroke cap to be circular
  • Copy and paste in place the semi circle and tap the left arrow key to move to the left of it

  • Unite the 2 parts of the icon with the Pathfinder – Unite tool
pathfinder

Lesson taken from this free course on Udemy – https://www.udemy.com/course/useful-tricks-and-tips-in-adobe-illustrator/learn/lecture/2988468#overview