WordPress Website Development
- Genesis Framework – Genesis is the most trusted and popular framework for WordPress. We use it on our site, on all custom development projects for clients, and all of our stock themes are child themes for Genesis. We were early adopters of the framework and cannot image life without the awesome functionality offered by this tool.
- Genesis Simple Sidebars – This is a free plugin that easily allows you to add in endless sidebar instances and associate these to individual pages within WordPress. Effortless for the end user and perfect for creating highly targeted sidebar information for website visitors.
- Beaver Builder – This is the newest item added to our favorite website resources list and we’re a bit ashamed for being so late to the Beaver Builder party. It allows end users to easily modify page structures and create visually pleasing layouts. There is a free version and then a paid version that offers even deeper functionality.
- Gravity Forms – This is our one and only source for WordPress forms. We love what Carl and his team produce and we are confident in the rock solid coding and stability this plugin offers. It also includes lots of add-on’s for taking a great plugin and expanding it even further. We own a developer license and feel is the well worth the money we pay for the annual subscription.
- Gravity Forms MailChimp Add-On – This handy add-on connects Gravity Forms to MailChimp. We use this on our website and virtually all client websites.
- Referrer info for Gravity Forms – This is a hidden gem that most people are unaware of, which is sad, because it is awesome. It simply tells you what URL the website visitor was at prior to submitting an inquiry form. Simple but very powerful.
- Hotjar – This is a tool I recently discovered based on a referral from another WordPress developer. It’s like people watching at the mall, but on your very own website. If you want to know what people do when they open your website, this tool is amazing. It even offers a free trial. This tool will save you time in user surveys and in design.
- Soliloquy – We purchased a developer license as soon as it was available – like the first week. We use this on every custom build and include it with every stock theme we sell. It produces sliders for videos and images and offers a host of great add-on’s.
- WooCommerce – This is the most robust and functionally rich e-commerce plugin for WordPress. It offers lots of options for small to large online shops. We use it ourselves to sell Genesis child themes, hourly SEO coaching, and our online SEO courses. It can be a bit much for some websites and for those who need more lightweight e-commerce, we recommend iThemes Exchange.
- WooCommerce Follow Up Emails – This plugin provides the backbone for great onboarding. If you’ve bought one of our themes, courses, or coaching sessions then you’ve received a nice email immediately following purchase as well as one days or even months later. These are all automated and this plugin helps make it all happen.
- AutomateWoo – This plugin allows you to set up follow up email communication via workflows. We use it to notify theme buyers of subscription renewals and manage the process without having a human involved.
- WooCommerce MailChimp Subscribe – Just as it sounds, this plugin connects WooCommerce and MailChimp. Once we started using this to suggest newsletter subscriptions, our mailing list grew exponentially.
- WooCommerce PDF Invoices – This handy plugin creates downloadable invoices for WooCommerce orders. It is a must have for any WooCommerce website.
- WooCommerce Subscriptions – This is an extension for WooCommerce that allows you to set up recurring payments for products. We use this with our theme store.
- LearnDash LMS – This is my favorite resource for learning management systems – aka online courses. We use it for our DIYSEOcourses.com website and love it. It just has great functionality and very solid coding from a developer who knows online education.
- TablePress – We load this on every client website because it offers an easy to use method for building tables inside WordPress. No HTML coded needed, just fill in the boxes or import an Excel file.
- Simple Page Ordering – For larger websites, this is a great resource. It allows you to quickly drag and drop pages to reorder them. Important for ongoing management and for users who visit HTML based sitemaps.
- Restrict Content Pro – We love this plugin for protecting content. We use it on our website and have used it many times with clients. Lightweight, but powerful.
- BigStockPhoto – We use this source for populating the demos for our stock Genesis themes. This is because the images are very inexpensive and out theme buyers can grab the same great images, while still staying in budget.
- MyFonts.com – If you want to step away from Google fonts and have a more custom look for your website, this font site is a great resource. It includes both paid and free fonts for download and usage online.
Website Hosting and Management
- WP Engine – This is a great host for managed WordPress websites. The staging area allows for testing of changes and upgrades, which is a huge benefit to many WordPress users. We have a dedicated server at WP Engine.
- Liquid Web – You could literally eat off the floors at this hosting company. We visited their data center in Michigan and the space was beyond organized and clean. This hosting company also offers live, phone in technical support with a guaranteed response time of less than one minute. These are just a few reasons why Liquid Web made our list of favorite website resources.
- SiteGround – This is a very solid company that is the best option for lower end hosting. Economical, solid hosting with a wonderful team behind it. SiteGround is very active in the WordPress community and I look forward to visiting with them at events.
- CloudAccess.net – This Michigan based hosting company offers a free hosted version of WordPress so you can get your feet wet and see if WordPress is the right solution for you. Upgrades are economical and a great option for small businesses and new webmasters.
- Akismet – If you have comments on your website or blog, this is a must use plugin. It is free for blogs and a paid service for larger accounts.
- iThemes Security – Security monitoring is a must and the folks at iThemes have this mastered. Solid plugin from a great company. Your website is an important asset. iThemes Security helps you protect it and your money.
- iThemes Sync – Sync allows you to manage updates for multiple websites at one time. If you are a webmaster with multiple WordPress websites, it is a great time saver.
- ManageWP – This service is similar to Sync, but meant more for agencies. Very solid and highly functional.
- Backup Buddy – Backups are a must and not all hosting companies have this mastered. Control your own destiny by backing up your website to an offsite location like Amazon, Dropbox, etc.
Search Engine Optimization
- All in One SEO – We love the team behind this plugin and know they create a great SEO plugin. They were the first on many WordPress SEO features and should be a serious contender for any website.
- Yoast – This is another solid SEO plugin for WordPress. This plugin scores SEO at a page and post level, which is great. The downside is that it can give false hope to users. The best SEO tool is knowledge, so educate yourself and use a plugin to aid in your efforts.
- Yoast WooCommerce SEO – This plugin provides a little more SEO bang for your WooCommerce store. It sends schema data to search engines which will help in click through rates and ranking.
- KW Finder – This is a great tool for finding keyword options, seeing who is ranking for a given keyword, and for figuring out why the players on page one of search are listed. I use this tool daily.
- SpyFu – This is one of the only SEO tools we pay for each month. Well worth our money because it provides great data on your website and that of your competitors.
- SEMrush – I cannot live without this tool. It is my must use (like every day) software for SEO. View details on your website or that of your competitors and export as many reports as you’d like.
- Google Analytics – Want free reporting on your website visitors and content? Then this is the software for you. Each website property should use this free and awesome tool.
- Google Search Console – Formally known as Google Webmaster Tools, this is a must have account for any website owner. It provides data on your website in Google and it helps you see what Google thinks for your data. Critical for solid SEO.
- DynoMapper – This is another tool we pay for, which shows you it has valid. It allows you to scan websites (your website or others) and list out all the content pieces in a nice easy to use site map.
Want more suggestions for SEO? View more SEO tools.
Social Media Management
- Facebook – Great for B2C marketing and SEO.
- Twitter – Great for B2B marketing and reaching industry influencers.
- LinkedIn – Great for B2B marketing and recruiting efforts.
- Google+ – Applies to both B2B and B2C marketing efforts, although it is not nearly as active as it once was. Still use for SEO purposes.
- dlvr.it – Automates the posting of content to multiple social media channels. Connect your social media networks, then add your RSS feeds and the software will do the rest for you.
- HootSuite – Need to share social media access with others or schedule posts in advance? Then this website resource is for you.
- MailChimp – MailChimp is a fabulous tool for email list building, list management, and newsletter creation. The SaaS based tool allows you to start out for free and pay only once you’ve reached a certain level of usage.
- OptinMonster – This is plugin is the most popular popup software for WordPress. The developers continue to expand the functionality with each new release.
- Simple URLs – If you are an affiliate marketer and you need to manage many affiliate links for a website or blog, this is a great website resource. It makes swapping and updating links super easy and it tracks clicks so you can see what affiliate links have the most activity.
- ShareaSale – We are both an affiliate and merchant at ShareaSale. While we’re not overly thrilled with the interface, the functionality and tracking is superb.
- Basecamp -We’ve been using Basecamp for years and use it on each custom website development project. It is a must have tool for tracking deliverables and staying on-time and on-budget with projects. We use the classic version and don’t really care for the newest versions.
- Freshbooks – We use this tool for invoicing. It offers one-time billing as well as recurring billing options. You can also track expenses and estimates. It integrates with PayPal as well as other popular payment gateways.
- Freshdesk – We use this for post-live support ticket tracking. It is a nice tool because you can track incoming client requests from receipt through resolution and also grab metrics on support team members.