My WordPress ToolKit
The Product and Services I Use and Rely On
How do you know what companies back their products with the support and updates you will need to rely on with all the noise online? That's a difficult proposition even for me. But, 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 to grow 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 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…
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.
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 build your site by dragging and dropping elements visually. Unlike other builders, it allows in-line editing and, in my experience, leaves behind the cleanest code.
Divi Theme and Builder All in One
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. Divi is constantly adding new “theme packs” for every possible business type too. As of August 18, 2021, they've made some incredible performance improvements that are worth checking out. More on Divi and considerations.
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.
WPMU hosts this website. 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:
WPEngine eCommerce Hosting
I can also recommend WPEngine as a Premium WordPress Webhost.
Get 4 months free on a WP Engine annual shared eCommerce hosting plan for your WordPress store today. Use coupon code eComm20
The special deal runs 8/16-12/31/21.
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.
I like FixMySite because they will fix your site or a 100% money-back guarantee. They will also install WordFence, my favorite security plugin, and provide a report when the job is done.
I can't say enough good things about Advanced Database Cleaner Pro. Easy, efficient, and the best database optimization plugin I've run into to date. I consider this a must-have for every WordPress website.
I cannot speak highly enough about CleanTalk for Spam Protection against form spam for a couple of my sites, including this one.
SEO doesn't just “happen.” Nothing happens by osmosis online. You work 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!
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.
I talk about keyphrases a lot. You have to know what phrases your market uses 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.
You create a marketing email that then links to your website. But are you just linking to any page or a page that will convert to that particular campaign's specific focus? ConvertKit makes creating powerful converting landing pages easy.
There are other carts and eCom plugins available. But if you want to have a full-fledged eCommerce operation made to work with WordPress and tons of extensions and add-ons, Woo it is.
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.
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 a great way to add a service hub for your established customers.
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 a legal text that you should have on your site. Just enter your business details & click save to generate 25+ policy pages required for any website—examples such as Privacy, Cookies, T&C, GDPR, CCPA, affiliate statements, and more.
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 only to highly rated plugins tested up to the latest version of WordPress.
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.
You may know I am not a fan of builders. However, now that WordPress has the new Gutenberg editor and going to full site editing (FSE) in WordPress 5.8 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 many sites using this plugin, and the difference from other builders is that it uses blocks, like Gutenberg, in place of locking you into other “builders” where your entire website is built on that builder's proprietary shortcodes. That said, you can still get “locked” into Elementor-specific blocks.
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 (aff) companies around. It also offers customizable sign-up forms, email automation, and landing pages to help bring in more email subscribers.
Have a stunning coming soon landing page design and even collect email addresses before launching your new site. Or, you can use this plugin to redesign in the background while letting site visitors know your status.
If you have a blog, you need to write engaging, quality, grammatically correct content. Working on your writing skills (aff) 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 hone your writing skills continually.
I use Grammarly every single day to improve my content and skills. Love it!
Understand how users behave on your site, what they need, and how they feel fast. The slow, manual days of collating data and feedback are over. Instead, Hotjar is an intuitive, visual way to discover, consolidate, and communicate user needs.
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, I am confident in referring to these products, services, and plugins.