Here is a useful list of resources and tools that I recommend because I have personally used these products for clients, brands, and personal projects. Even though I am a developer, I recommend leveraging the power of the WordPress community for support, also these tools save time and money as they provide great value.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, there is no additional cost to you, I do earn a small commission if you decide to make a purchase. As stated, I recommend these tools because I have personally used all of these products for my own websites and projects, and they have proven to provide great value for the cost and time invested.
- Bluehost: My preferred hosting provider, this comes after trying all the major hosting companies. By far all my sites run considerably faster (at least TWICE as fast) just by moving them to Bluehost. You can’t beat the performance and value you are getting for less than $10 per month. Also, they provide excellent support for WordPress sites, 1-click installation scripts, and best of all 24/7 phone support so you can get any issue solved quickly.
Added Bonus: Bluehost will actually refund you the cost of your domain name, basically you get the domain name for FREE. You do have to signup for a 1 year plan, but any domain registration is a 1 year minimum purchase anyway. You can’t beat this deal.
- Godaddy: Still the most cost effective domain registrar, don’t pay $30+ when you can get the same service for less here.
- Templatic: Ready to go WordPress CMS Themes for any business. Highly optimized WordPress themes for eCommerce, Real Estate, Daily Deals, Event Booking, and more.
- Genesis: What this website is built on. I choose it because Genesis provides a flexible and powerful framework for any type of WordPress website. Also they have their own active development community and plenty of impressive child themes.
- WooThemes: One of the top WordPress theme providers. They offer themes with advanced CMS features, mobile support (responsive design), and excellent eCommerce support through their own eCommerce plugin (WooCommerce) .
- ThemeForest: Find a theme for just about anything under the sun here.
Advanced WP Learning Resources:
- Professional WordPress Plugin Development: If you want to create your own plugin or properly build themes that utilize powerful WordPress API’s you need to read this book.
- Digging into WordPress: This book covers WordPress from A-Z and has easy to understand guides on how to make templates, secure your website, and has tons of code snippets and expert tips. Written by WordPress experts Chris Coyier and Jeff Starr.
Highly Recommended Free Plugins
Amazing tools for the unbelievable price of $FREE.99!
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: Comprehensive SEO Add-on for WordPress, optimize any page such Category, Tag, Taxonomies or any CMS structure. Optimizes BreadCrumbs & Social Networking Links. Supports Multisite and generates XML Sitemaps for search engines.
- Google Analytics for WordPress by Yoast: The most comprehensive Google Analytics plugin, leverages many of the latest & greatest Google Analytics features.
- Google XML Sitemaps: Easy Google XML Sitemap integration, use this plugin if you are having issues setting one up with another plugin.
- Sharebar: Beautiful Social Sharing floating sidebar, easily controlled in the admin.
- Facebook: Official Plugin that integrates with Social Graph and Posts to Timelines, also includes a great widget for related articles and social recommendations.
- W3 Total Cache: Most comprehensive Performance plugin for WordPress
- Reveal ID’s: Reveals the ID’s for Categories, Posts, etc. Very useful in WordPress admin
- WP Smush-it combined with Regenerate Thumbnails for optimized images
- GD Custom Post Types & Taxonomies – Lets you create Custom Post Types & Taxonomies directly in your Admin (no coding required)
- Custom Sidebars: Lets you create as many sidebars as you want directly in your admin (no coding required)
- Contact Form 7: Easily Create your own Contact Forms with CAPTCHA code to prevent SPAM.
- Add-on: Contact Form 7 to Database – Saves any Contact Form 7 data inside a custom database and allows you to easily export contacts via CSV/Excel/Google Doc. Very useful for transferring data to another platform.
Premium Plugins (Provide great support and value for investment):
- WPMU – Comprehensive Library of Plugins and themes. Best place to find support for WordPress MultiSite and BuddyPress themes. They also provide eCommerce, Membership, Payment, and Social Networking tools for web professionals.
Email Providers and Services:
- AWeber – Most Reliable Email Solution Provider at an affordable price. Comprehensive API and Developer Tools.
- MailChimp – Plenty of Good Templates, and good User Experience.
- CampaignMonitor – Another popular option for email marketing.
Performance Tools and Solutions:
- MaxCDN – Simplest CDN setup ever! No joking, literally 5-10 minutes and your site is 25-40% faster, plus it’s very cost effective ($40 will cover most people for 1 year): Watch a setup video here
- www.gtmetrix.com – Good online tool suite will show YSlow and Google Pagespeed data in 1 report
- www.webpagetest.org – Get a very detailed snapshot of what users see when they come to your website. 1st hit, plus 2nd hit for Primed Cache
- www.pingdom.com – Easiest to use, tests are run from multiple locations but comparison site ratings can be a bit misleading
- Netbeans: Free Open Source Code Editor
- HeidiSQL (Windows) or Sequel Pro (Mac): MySQL management tool for Windows / Mac
- WAMP (Windows) or MAMP (Mac): Run your WordPress Blog locally, best approach for development
- FileZilla: Free basic FTP Client
- Transmit ($34): Advanced FTP Client, can mount remote FTP servers and Amazon S3 CDN as local hard disks. Automatically synchronizes local and remote folders.
- Coda ($40): Single Program than handles transferring files and remote connections
- PhpStorm ($99): Advanced Code Editor, used for Enterprise Application Development