Resources

I thought it would be a good idea to share the tools that I use for work on most of my websites. I’ll possibly add to this as time goes on. The only items mentioned are those that I use regularly and recommend.

Please note:  There are some affiliate links on this page. Should you purchase an item through such a link, there will be no extra charge to you, but, I may earn a small commission.  Please do not purchase any item unless you decide you really have a need for it to help you with your own website or work.

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The Platform

  • WordPress: Having experienced a couple of other CMS I discovered WordPress and immediately fell in love with it.  It’s simplicity of use and the amount of extras on offer meant it was the only choice for me.  I now don’t look at projects on other platforms! WordPress is open source so it’s free.
  • WooThemes: I actually came across WooCommerce first and checked out their themes really in passing. I’ve used two or three to date but I mainly stick to Canvas as it gives me so much flexibility.
  • WooCommerce: A discovery quite by accident in fact.  I was actually helping a friend with a Joomla eCommerce package and read a review about WooCommerce and WordPress. (My discovery of WordPress too!) Like the latter WooCommerce was easy to set up and use that it was a no brainer!  There are loads of extensions to this plugin – the Table Rate Shipping extension makes dealing with shipping rates a breeze.

Hosting

  • Siteground: Recommended when I was setting up a Moodle course management system in a school where I worked a few years ago.  Their pre-sales advice was top class.  I have been with them ever since and they have never let me down.  They have always taken the time to explain things and their technical support has never wavered.  They have a number of deals on offer to cover most needs.
  • NameCheap: Another recommendation to me and one I’ve used when simply purchasing a site name. They do offer hosting as well but I’ve never tried them.

WordPress Plugins

Backing Up

  • Backup Buddy: This is a premium plugin that a lot of people rave about. I use it one most of my sites now.  Backing up is your first line of defence and could save you hours of time.  It is great for migrating websites from one domain to another.  For instance, developing a site on a private area before transferring it to the live site.
  • Updraft Plus: This is another good plugin offering a lot.  It is free to download from the WP Repository but there is a premium version with lots of extensions.  You can view it here.

Security

  • iThemes Security and Wordfence are the ones I use for security. They both seem excellent and are both free from the Repository. The former is probably more extensive as there is a lot to set up but if you’re not too confident the second one is possibly for you. There is also a premium version of Wordfence. iThemes Security now has a pro version.

Forms

  • Gravity Forms: Another premium plugin that has many fans and is in fact excellent.  There is so much that one can do with it. It is really top-drawer! It can be set up with reCaptcha quite easily.
  • Contact Form 7: Excellent although slightly more difficult to use but it is free from the Repository. It can be used quite easily with the Really Simple Captcha plugin.

 SEO

  • WordPress SEO by Yoast: Yet another plugin that is raved about and rightly so. I use this on just about all my sites.  Free from the Repository.  It comes with the site wide elements all set up.  Individual items can all be set up easily. Clearly set out and gives a remaining character count for those items that have a limit. Extra products can be bought from the plugin website.

Others

I use several other plugins that I find so useful.  Probably the most frequent of these is Pretty Link Lite.  This gives a way of monitoring click rates for individual links.  The Pro version adds a lot of functionality. Easy Content Types from Pippin’s Plugins is one I use from time to time to quickly create custom post types. I like this plugin as I can export code for use in other sites.