Resources and Tools
WordPress Resources and Tools I Love
Are you feeling lost and overwhelmed by all the choices you have for building your WordPress website? I’ve spent a lot of time researching and testing the best themes, plugins and hosting services so you don’t have to. I use each and every one of the resources I list on this page. I hope this list is a useful resource for you and saves you time and frustration.
Very lightweight, fast and flexible theme that does not dictate design while giving you the tools to create your own design. This theme integrates perfectly with Elementor and even includes demo sites you can import to start your site. The free version is very robust, and the Premium Extensions are powerful too for more design options. I build the majority of my sites using OceanWP, including this site.
One of the lightest weight, fastest and best coded themes available. Although the Customizer is a little more intuitive than OceanWP’s, I think this theme is better suited for designers who know a little coding. It comes with fewer options, and the free version is pretty limited. GeneratePress Premium is a great value and adds a lot of built-in customization tools. You can’t go wrong with this theme.
Genesis Framework and Its Child Themes
The Genesis Framework deserves its rock solid reputation. In fact, many WordPress developers design their own themes using this framework. The child themes are a type of companion secondary theme that need the framework to function. These child themes act like a traditional theme in that they provide a pretty detailed design framework for your site. However, additional design customization is limited without writing a lot of your own code or purchasing additional plugins. I recommend these themes if one of the designs is close to what you want, or if you want a plug and play theme to get you started. These themes also work well for specific niche sites.
Elementor Page Builder
Of course I have to put my favorite drag and drop page builder at the top of my list! Even the free version of Elementor gives you the freedom to design your website without coding or even a graphic design application. It is by far the best page builder I have used, and I use Elementor and Elementor Pro to design all my sites. It is worth every penny.
One of the best plugins to help you optimize your site for SEO. My favorite feature is the page optimization toolset to boost page-level SEO. You can also optimize your site for social media, build site indices, link to Google Analytics, and much more.
Site security to protect your site from hacks and other security risks. If your host does not provide this type of security, you must have a security plugin. I use this plugin when my client’s host does not provide this type of security by default.
A free backup plugin, with some very useful premium options. It is easy to use and reliable. You can automatically schedule your backups. It is absolutely crucial to backup your site regularly to a location that is not the same as the server that hosts your website. UpdraftPlus lets you save your backups to remote storage locations, such as Google Drive and Drop Box, and also to its own backup server, UpdraftVault.
A great little plugin to add in snippets of CSS for your site. I like this better than adding the snippets to the customizer because those snippets will remain if you decide to change themes. Also, those snippets will remain through all your theme updates.
Similar to Simple CSS, this is a simple little plugin to add snippets of code to your site without editing the functions.php file.
This plugin connects you to the Tiny PNG service that compresses your images for faster site loading times. You will need to register for an account, but for most people the free account will suffice.
Website Hosting Services
Flywheel hosting is my favorite managed WordPress hosting solution. In fact, this site is hosted with them! Because Flywheel only hosts WordPress sites, it provides some extra services and features I think you’ll love, including:
- Free Off-Site Backups
- Website Security
- Easy-to-Use Interface
- Automatic WordPress Updates
- Free SSL Certificates
- Fast Loading Times
- Virtual Private Server
- Free Site Migration
In my opinion, it’s well worth the extra monthly price.
Please note the above link is an affiliate link. I get a small commission when you signup from this URL, but you still pay the same price.
WebHosting Hub is a sister company to InMotion hosting. They provide top-notch shared hosting services for all types of websites. The service is fast, secure and feature rich. They offer free SSL certificates, an easy way to install WordPress, email hosting and domain name registration. They are very affordable and provide some of the best support and service I’ve ever encountered. I host several sites with them.