WHY THIS POST?
The reason I have put together a WordPress resources for bloggers is help those who are looking to launch their own website or blog online or they just want manage or optimize a WordPress website either for business or personal use. These are simply tools and resources that I myself use, have tried and tested and can personally recommend. If you have the time to commit to learning WordPress and using some of these resources then you can have an online presence in no time. Although the design side of things may not come so easily (this is where my skills might come in handy).
Disclosure: Just to let you know some of these links are affiliate links which I shall earn a commission on should you choose to purchase any of the products on offer, however they are of no extra cost to you. I would really appreciate it if you did, but dont feel you have to spend the money on these products if you think you will not have any real need for them.
Committed to creating high quality products and services, they have the very best WordPress theme developers from across the world. They not only sell themes but eCommerce solutions, PSD Templates, graphics, plugins and more. I have found this such a great resource when it comes to matching a theme to a companies brand. Once they are customized they look unique due to the amount of options you have to change the designs. The latest themes come with page builders which make managing your content even easier.
With any online marketing campaigns you need the tools to do the job or make things easier to get good ranking and traffic to your website. I have found Traffic Travis very helpful with this, you can access quality keywords in your niche, gain valuable backlinks from your competitors as well as analyse their websites and increase your traffic. One of the best features I think about this is the dashboard is simple and easy to use. When it comes to SEO you dont want things to be complicated.
The Ultimate Beginners Guide
Simply a great beginners guide to WordPress at a great price. The Kindle edition is FREE to those that sign up for Kindle Unlimited. Learn how to create, post and develop a blog and keep readers by using social media to drive targeted traffic step by step. It gets 5 stars from those that have brought the product. This guide is pretty close to the one I started with a few years ago.
WHERE TO BUY THEMES
Themeforest has a huge presence online when it comes to WordPress themes as well as resources for other content management systems. They are part of the Envato Market and have guidelines for developers to follow to ensure the themes are without error. I have found their support very helpful. My advice would be to look at reviews, the developers portfolio and documentation before purchasing as I have found some themes look great but can be quite awkward to work with, as you want as little hastle as possible when it comes to building a website.
Template Monster currently offers over 20 thousand templates for various platforms. This includes themes and templates for WordPress, Magento, Prestashop, Opencart and Joomla. The themes are a little more expensive than themeforest but their functionality is very good. If you are looking for a theme for a particular niche they are categorised well they have good documention and I have found their support very good in the past. They have extra options for logo integration, installation, set-up of your site and even a buy out licence.
Elegant Themes works differently than others as you will pay one amount for the year and get access to all of their 87 themes. If you are only needing one theme for one website this may not be the best solution for you. I am a big fan of Divi though their featured theme which has just gone under a redevelopment, this website has been built with Divi. The page builder that is used with this theme is also available to be used as a plugin, this makes building pages and managing a website a lot easier.
These stock image websites are all free for personal and commercial use. Some of them have further upgrades to gain access to premium services. Please be aware you will have to check with some images whether you have to ask permission from the photographer.
- Picjumbo (Premium services available)
- Death to the stock photo
- Life of pix
- Transparent Textures
- Free Images
HOSTING & DOMAINS
Hostgator: As already mentioned the hosting service of choice for many bloggers myself included. A range of services from domains, single domain hosting to full self managed servers. Some of their offers include the first month hosting for only $0.01c. Dont be put off because it’s all in dollars.
Namecheap: Domain registrar and hosting company. They have great offers on throughout the year. I cant comment on their hosting though as I have never used this service.
RESEARCH & ANALYSIS
Google Analytics: If you have a website or are looking to build one, you need this service. Simply sign up with a gmail account, put some code on your website and you can then track visitor traffic and paint a complete picture of your audience and their needs.
Google Search Console: This goes alongside Google Analytics and is used for the indexing status of your web pages and to optimize visibility. You can now connect your analytics account with your webmaster tools account.
Google Keyword Tool: Another free tool from Google if you have a gmail account. You can research the best keywords to use across your websites and blog pages. A nesessary tool for any Ad words campaigns you might be looking to launch.
GT Matrix: Not totally necessary to install on your WordPress site but it’s handy to have as it will deliver information on your websites elements and how they are optimised for the search engines, including loading times, page requests and advice of how to solve the issues you might have.
OTHER HELPFUL TOOLS
Evernote: Whether on your phone, laptop or desktop this is by far the best note taking tool. It sync’s up all your devises so you can pick up where you left off. It has other capabilities including page scanning and the capability to store and organise lots of things across the web.
Dropbox: I have been reluctant to go premium with dropbox but now I have done it I have no regrets. I use Dropbox to share high res images and other large files I might get from clients. It’s a super simple service and the free plan is the only thing most people will use. It has a really cool new benefit that will integrate directly with your Gmail account so you won’t have those small attachment size limits. If you do decide to go premium it is only £8 per month and you get a huge 1T of storage, well worth it.
Google Drive: I have just started to use this Google service a lot more as I can transfer files to my clients who also use this service. It works in much the same way that Dropbox does but doesn’t require any download. Check out this tutorial on how to upload files.
PLUGINS FOR WORDPRESS
Wp Total Cache: Probably the best plugin to speed up your WordPress website and enhance user experience. It has a performance optimization (WPO) framework. It has been recommended by various web hosts such as, Go Daddy and Host Gator.
Cognito forms: A recent discovery of mine, free for individuals. Easy to set up either from their website or by installing the plugin from your WordPress Dashboard, the forms are easy to create, look professional and it records form submissions on the backend. For me this is certainly a step up from contact form 7 you can quickly and easily create contact forms, registration forms, payment forms, surveys, and more.
Akismit: A free plugin that checks your comments against the Akismet Web service to see if they look like spam or not. Simple to set up and usually comes already installed on your WordPress website. Make sure you enable it and get your API key.
Sumome: This has got to be one of the easiest plugins in regards to setting up social channels, forms, subscriptions, heat maps, analytics and much more. A small piece of code is all you need and the features work seemlessly with a wordpress blog or website. I have found you can search for a long time for multipal plugins which will have these sort of functions, but this has them all in one. A MUST to check out.
SEO by Yoast: Just doing a search on the web about seo plugins to use this comes out on top. Lots of options to choose from regarding the elements of seo you may want to tackle on your website. You can create generic discriptions for your pages or complete individual details on certain pages.Other features include the built-in content analysis function, so you can easily optimize your site’s titles and descriptions for Google. Automatically generate XML Sitemaps, quickly tidy up permalinks, and remove unnecessary bloat from your website’s code.
Image Widget: This is a simple widget plugin that will enable you to add an image in the footer or sidebar of your website. Very handy as WordPress does not come automitically with this feature.
Slider Revolution: This is debatably the best slider plugin available. It can be purchased at codecanyon, part of the envato market. Certainly worth the cost, it is easy to get to grips with, responsive, has lots settings but without it being to complicated. It is the slider of choice that is included with a lot of premium themes on themeforest.
WooCommerce: A free eCommerce solution that gives you complete control to sell anything. Great if you have a products to sell on your website. Easy to setup and creates the necessary cart, shop, signing pages for you. The pages get neatly laid out for you as you add products.
Monarch: Social Media plugin by elegant themes. You have the options to place sharing buttons from all the major social and bookmarking sites on your blog as a sidebar, pop-up, slide-in and more. You can also place follow buttons for your own social account pretty much wherever you want on your blog, either with a widget or shortcode. Make sure you check out the website, its pretty slick.
Bloom: Another plugin from elegant themes which creates opt-in forms and pop-up to grow your email subscriptions. Bloom gives you all the tools you need to turn your website’s visitors into loyal followers and customers.