My WordPress Tookit
The Product and Services I Use and Rely On
With all the noise online, how do you know what companies back their products with the support and updates you will need to rely on? That's a difficult proposition even for me. After 26 years I know how to identify credible companies and reliable products and I do that by using their products for my own sites.
Below are needed plugins, services and providers you can rely on as you grown your site or Blog. Plus a few I've helped clients integrate. I can vouch for these products and their support so you know you are in good hands!
If a product or service is not good enough for my websites or those of my clients, they are not good enough for you and therefore will not earn a mention on this page.
When I am made aware of any deals or special packages, I'll list those as well.
WordPress Products and Services
I Can Vouch for…
Premium WordPress Themes
Start with a Premium WordPress Theme
Your theme is the most important choice you will make! Using a premium theme with a solid framework that offers child themes for every look and application is a must have. Click here to review the themes I trust for my own sites.
Site Builders for Do-it-Yourselfers:
I've written about WordPress and builders here. If I were to use a builder it would be on a new site (without any other previous builder code) and it would be Elementor. Elementor allows you to visually build your site by dragging and dropping elements. Unlike other builders, it allows in-line editing and, in my experience, leaves behind the cleanest code.
But if you have no idea about code and totally want to give a DIY approach a go, Divi is the theme and builder for you. As of January 2021 they've made some incredible performance improvements! More on Divi and considerations.
WordPress Premium Hosting
When it comes to WordPress — hosting is one of the most important and critical decisions you have to make. This is because WordPress is database-driven and has unique resource needs.
Only a Managed WordPress (aff) platform can cater to that. This makes sure security and performance issues are specifically and directly managed properly.
This website is hosted by WPMU. I've been a WPMU member for years for their great plugins (see below) and now am using their newly released hosting as well.
My other sites are hosted on SiteGround:
I can also recommend WPEngine as a Premium WordPress Webhost.
WPMU DEV: Plugins & More…
I have been a WPMU DEV member for over a decade. Now I host with them as well. Home of the indispensable Smush and Hummingbird Pro plugins and so much more.
“Your All-In-One WordPress Platform: Super-powered hosting, support, site management, and plugins!”
If you are going to invest in a premium WordPress product membership — this one should be at the top of your list.
For Stopping Spam
For a couple of my sites that do have comments enabled or get a ridiculous amount of spam sign-ups, I cannot speak highly enough about CleanTalk for Spam Protection.
Easily Create eBooks from your Website Content
SEO, Site Health, Social Media Tools
SEO doesn't just “happen”. Actually nothing happens by osmosis online. So you work at it but how do you know if your efforts are paying off if you aren't tracking the results (or lack thereof). SEMRush offers all the tools you need in one dashboard. Including a Social Media Toolkit, which enables automated posting, tracking, promotion, and analytics across the major social channels. Test, track and react!
For Social Media, Blog and Branding Graphics
I use Canva for everything. Social media images — they have the right sizes and templates for you to embellish and customize. Blog images too — with the Pro plan you have galleries of images and photos to use at no additional charge. You can have all your branding collateral, your palette of colors and fonts, on hand to use with a just click. Branding made easy.
For Keyphrase Tracking
I talk about keyphrases a lot. You have to know what phrases your market is using to find what you have to offer. You then integrate those terms into your pages and posts. That's how you get rankings. Discover what your potential customers are using and put that data to work.
For Landing Pages
You create an marketing email that then links to your website. But are y ou just linking to any page or a page that will convert for the specific focus of that particular campaign? ConvertKit makes creating powerful converting landing pages easy.
There are other cart and eCom plugins available. But if you want to have a full-fledged eCommerce operation, made to work with WordPress and tons of extension and add-ons, Woo it is.
For Contact Forms
I've always been a fan of Ninja. I've tried all the others and found that Ninja was just more user-friendly. And for most needs, even complex forms, Ninja does the trick right out of the box. Need a bit of special functionality or integration with other services? You can purchase add-ons as needed.
For Membership Sites
Membership sites are a great way to monetize a community and offer different levels of service offerings to your target market. Adding a membership area to your site is also a great way to add a service hub for your established customers too.
Visual Block Page Builder
You may know I am not a fan of builders. Now that WordPress has the new Gutenberg editor, why add another plugin and unnecessarily use more resources? With that said, if I were to use a builder, it would be Elementor. I have worked on a bunch of sites using this add-on and the difference from other builders is that it uses blocks, like Gutenberg in lieu of locking you in to other “builders” where your entire website is built on that builder's shortcodes . That said, you can still get “locked” into Elementor-specific blocks.
To Create Website Legal Pages
I've used this plugin on and off for quite a while. Depending on what your website is about, what you are offering, and to whom you are offering it, there is legal text that you should have on your site. Just enter your business details & click save to generate 25+ policy pages required for any type of website. Examples such as Privacy, Cookies, T&C, GDPR, CCPA, affiliate statements and more.
For Professional Photos
This is a visual medium and images matter more that most realize. Quality images when consistently integrated into your website will contribute to building a positive impression of your brand.
For Unique Premium Plugins (aff):
I have found quite a few unique, feature-rich and inexpensive WordPress plugins on Envato. When I can't find what I need, I go to this site and see what's available. Gravitate to the plugins that are highly rated and tested up to the latest version of WordPress.
Sale extends to their Premium WordPress Themes as well!
Use Your Domain for Affiliate and Off-site Links
With this plugin you can create links using your domain to post on social media or any marketing venue. This is great to cover those ugly long links, including affiliate links. Plus you can then track the click-thrus too!
For PodCast Hosting
What's cool about Blubrry is they have their own plugin that makes managing your podcast easy directly from your WordPress site and offers hosting with stats, social and monetization options. Plus you can easily submit to Apple and Google podcasts.
For Email Marketing
ConvertKit is a full-featured email service provider. Thanks to its ease of use, automation and other features, it's one of the fastest-growing email marketing companies around. It also offers customizable sign-up forms, email automation and landing pages to help bring in more email subscribers.
For Your Coming Soon Page
Have a stunning coming soon landing page design and even collect email addresses before you launch your new site. Or, you can use this plugin to redesign in the background while letting site visitors know your status.
To Become a Better Writer
If you have a blog, you need to learn how to write engaging quality grammatically correct content. Working on your writing skills is something that is a work in progress. With a continual learning curve. Something I work at with every article I create. Grammarly will help you to continually hone your writing skills.
Unlike others, I do not recommend a product or service simply for commissions alone. Unless I have personally used the product or service successfully, they do not get a slot on this page. If they meet my high expectations, then I am confident in referring these products, services and plugins to you.