Your WordPress Website ToolBox
This is an ever-growing list of my personally recommended products and services for WordPress and online marketing. Affiliate links are indicated where applicable. Note that I am only affiliates of services that I use, love and recommend to clients. The price to you is the same whether or not you use an affiliate link, it just means they kick me a little cupcake money if you use my link :)
Domain Name Registration
The first thing you need in order to build a WordPress website is a domain name. Many hosting companies give you the option of purchasing your domain name with them in addition to hosting, but it’s a better move long term (in case you need to switch hosting) to purchase your domain name separately.
I recommend Namecheap (aff. link)
My favorites for solid, affordable, shared web hosting:
SiteGround Hosting (aff. link) – a great choice for inexpensive shared hosting. They have lots of cool features including services to help your site run faster, and a staging (testing) area for your site.
For high-end, WordPress-specific hosting:
WP Engine (aff. link) – this site is hosted on WP Engine. They are pricier but provide an excellent service – great for corporate or high-traffic sites.
Lightning Base is another solid choice.
Take this quiz to find the best host for your needs.
Password and Online Accounts Management
You’ll discover very quickly that you have more usernames and passwords than you know what to do with. The security of your online accounts, financial information and identity hinges around creating extremely secure and unique passwords for each account. The ONLY way to effectively do this and be able to manage everything is to use an appropriate tool. Both my recommendations below help you secure your information easily and conveniently.
LastPass – a cloud-based password management tool with collaborative features. Free and paid account levels.
1Password – Very similar to LastPass but it’s an actual application that you download to your computer.
Mailchimp – They have a free level of service which provides comprehensive features. Their interface is much easier to deal with than Aweber, they are always adding awesome new features, and they just rock in general.
Web Security and Hack Cleanup
Sucuri (aff. link) – Has your site ever been hacked? If so, you know how big of a headache it is, and how scary it can be to try and clean that up by yourself. Why not call in the pros? Sucuri are web security experts. Their plans start at a crazy-reasonable $89/year – they will clean up your hacked site and monitor it going forward.
WordPress Site Backup
Vaultpress – their service seems a little pricy for just one site, but it really is an awesome service. It’s the only WordPress backup service I know of that does incremental backups – it’s like Time Machine for your WordPress site. They have now introduced a Lite service which is much more affordable, for daily backups
Premium WordPress Plugins
Gravity Forms is so much more than just a contact form plugin. You can do all kinds of cool things like integrate with your email marketing system to allow opt-ins on any contact form, set it up as an order form to sell products, use it as a way to enable your readers to submit content to your site without a user account, enable your clients to upload a file to you and much more. It’s a plugin I use time and time again.
Soliloquy Slider (aff. link) – This is one of my go-to Premium image slider plugins. It’s extremely well-coded and has tons of features.
MemberPress (aff. link) – need to create a membership site in WordPress? The plugin situation is a warzone! MemberPress is a great one – lots of sweet features and pretty easy to get up and running.
Some of My Favorite Plugins
I’m keeping an ongoing list of some of my favorite and frequently recommended plugins here. You can download a .pdf of them all for free – they are organized by topic such as backups, sliders, security, forms etc.
Check out my Theme Resources post
WordPress Development Tools
DesktopServer (aff. link) – If you are a WordPress developer, or even just need to test changes for your own sites in a non-public environment, Desktop Server makes it incredibly easy to set up local test sites on your computer for you to tinker with. For anyone who has tried to use MAMP or XAMPP, you will really love the ease of DesktopServer. I HEART DesktopServer.
WordPress Tutorial Videos
If you enjoy learning through tutorial videos, the following will give you a good grasp on the basics:
Apple Mac Support
Fall in love with your Mac all over again with John Carroll’s No Problem Mac – 24/7 Apple Mac Support, Service, Repair & Training