Tools

The post

Tools

first appeared on VJ Design.

My Web Design Toolkit
My Web Design Toolkit

A list of WordPress themes, plugins and tools that I use and recommend.

*Note: Some of these are tools are affiliate links – they won’t cost you any more than their usual cost; in some cases, you may get a discount.

Domains

Open for business!

Start your online presence by securing a great domain name. A domain name is a short, easy to remember address that you type into your browser to load a website. For example, you can easily type ‘vjdesign.com.au’ into your web browser to bring up your website. Learn how to find and register your domain name (and what to avoid during registration process).
Cost: ~$20 per year

  1. SiteGround is my preferred option for both domain name and web hosting. Read more…
  2. Google Domains is a domain registration service that offers transparent pricing, privacy protection and great email features at an affordable price.
  3. BlueHost is my alternative option for web hosting. They offer free domain names for the first year. Learn more about BlueHost.
  4. Crazy Domains is OK for Australian domain names (don’t get their hosting).
  5. GoDaddy, Namecheap, Domain.com, others – Use them only if they come really cheap. Don’t get hosting from them. Do realise that they usually offer cheaper rates for the first year only.
Webhosting - Find the right host to store your website files
Find the right host to store your website files

Web Hosting

Web hosting is a place to store the website files (including images).  Some hosts offer tools that make managing WordPress sites easy including managed updates, staging and backups. Look for ones that offer very fast support that is available 24/7, speed technologies that make WordPress load faster and proactively protect the WordPress sites from hacks.

  1. SiteGround is my preferred web hosting. I recommend SiteGround for business and online shops that require guaranteed uptime, automatic daily backups. Further, they have data centres across the world – USA, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Singapore and Australia. Read more…
  2. BlueHost is a cheaper alternative; read my review
  3. Cloudways is getting a lot of press nowadays
  4. Zuver – If you are looking for Australian hosting
  5. GoDaddy, Namecheap, Domain.com, others – Never use them for web hosting. Their servers are really bad. They offer cheaper rates for the first year only. Read the fine print.
GeneratePress is an awesome theme by Tom Usborne
GeneratePress – My go to theme

WordPress Theme

  1. GeneratePress is my go-to theme for all of my own and client WordPress projects. Using GeneratePress, I am able to develop a custom design to fit your needs rather than fit your content to a template. Stable coding standards, use of valid HTML, structured data and being lightweight allows your sites to rank higher in search engines (SEO). It is also accessibility-ready (WCAG 2.0 standards). Learn more about My WordPress Workflow using the GeneratePress theme.
  2. Astra is an alternative that is popular.
WordPress Plugins help extend the functionality of WordPress beyond a blogging platform.
Extend WordPress beyond a blogging platform

Plugins

WordPress started out as a simple blogging platform, it has developed into a powerful Content Management System (CMS). Want an eCommerce store? Need a CRM? – Add additional functionality to WordPress using plugins.

Plugins for Design

I don’t use any page builders like Elementor or Divi. I prefer to use the power of the default WordPress block editor (also known as Gutenberg).

  1. GeneratePress Premium is a plugin installed to enhance the GeneratePress theme – you get this free with my Web Design Packages. It helps me build sites without bloat.
  2. GenerateBlocks adds incredible versatility to your block editor (Gutenberg) without bloating it. Learn how to use just 4 blocks deeply to build anything: Container, Grid, Headline and Buttons.
  3. WP Show Posts to display posts anywhere on your website and make them look good.

Plugins for Development

Go beyond standard WordPress posts and pages; make it a full Content Management System (CMS). These plugins help me create a custom experience for you.

  1. Advanced Custom Fields (ACF) – to take full control of your WordPress edit screens. Go beyond standard WordPress title and content areas.
  2. Custom Post Type UI – provides an easy to use interface for registering and managing custom post types and taxonomies for your website.

SEO Plugins

  1. Yoast SEO + my FAQ Accordion Plugin
  2. Schema Markup
  3. XML Site Maps
  4. Redirection

Analytics

  1. Google Site Kit – Google Analytics in your dashboard.
  2. Koko Analytics is a privacy-friendly analytics plugin that does not use any external services, so data about your visitors is never shared with any third-party company.

eCommerce Plugins

  1. WooCommerce – Perfect eCommerce Solution for small business – Get my affordable eCommerce Package
  2. Easy Digital Downloads (EDD) – Simple eCommerce for selling digital files.

Payment Gateways

  1. Stripe
  2. Paypal
  3. Square

Email/Form Plugins

  1. Fluent Forms – my current favourite
  2. Ninja Forms
  3. Contact Form 7 – used this for a very long time; developer focussed.
  4. SMTP – ensure emails get delivered

Be Social – Plugins to Promote your website

  1. Custom Facebook Feed
  2. Scriptless Social Sharing
  3. wpDiscuz
  4. Social Media Autopublish
  5. BuddyPress – BuddyPress helps you build any kind of community website using WordPress, with member profiles, activity streams, user groups, messaging, and more.
  6. bbPress is forum software from the creators of WordPress. Quickly setup a place for asyncronous discussion, subscriptions, and more!

Page Speed Optimisation Plugins

GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks are extremely lightweight.

  1. SG Optimizer
  2. Autoptimize
  3. ShortPixel

CRM Plugins

  1. Fluent CRM (I use this CRM with Fluent Forms)

Security Plugins

  1. sucuri security
  2. Akismet Spam Protection
  3. Really Simple SSL
  4. WP Armour
  5. Blackhole

Backups/Transfer/Migration Plugins

  1. WPvivid is an all in one solution for you to manage backups, restoration and migration of your WordPress websites, all for free! I use this plugin to backup my own and my client sites.
  2. All-in-one WP Migration exports your WordPress website including the database, media files, plugins and themes with no technical knowledge required. Use it to create regular backups, export and import the entire site including all WordPress, Theme and Plugin settings.
My tools for SEO and more
Some of the tools I use frequently

Tools

SEO Tools

  1. Ubersuggest
  2. WordStream
  3. Google,
  4. Answer the public,
  5. YouTube
  6. AHREFS
  7. Google My Business
  8. Google Search Console
  9. Screaming Frog
  10. Local Citations – list by WhiteSpark and do-follow citation links video

CRM

  1. Hubspot
  2. Mailchimp

Project/Task Management Tools

  1. Trello

Images/Icons

  1. Pixabay
  2. Pexels
  3. SnagIt
  4. Canva.com
  5. IconXYZ
  6. ImageOptim

Logo – A well designed logo is the face of your brand – get your logo designed by weperfectionist

Keep Learning
Keep Learning

WordPress Learning

WordPress Guide

Learn how to build your website using WordPress via my free WordPress 101 series. Learn how to write content (posts and pages) in WordPress using the block editor. Also, learn how to configure your site for SEO, manage menus, comments and queries.

Other wonderful resources include: LinkedIn Learning and WordPress for Beginners: Create a Website Step by Step by Brad Schiff on Udemy.

The post

Tools

first appeared on VJ Design.

VJ Design
Affordable and creative web solutions from Melbourne, AU. I build robust fast-loading WordPress sites for a fraction of the price. Call VJ on +61389867186
Address :
106 Alamanda Blvd,
Point Cook,
VIC - 3030
Australia.
Tel : +61389867186
Email : hello@vjdesign.com.au

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