WordPress Toolbox

WordPress Toolbox

Welcome to my WordPress Toolbox! This is a curated list of resources that I’ve used and recommend.

Web Hosting

Selecting the right web host can be confusing. Here are my recommendations:

BlueHost – Affordable and performant shared hosting with excellent out-of-the-box support for WordPress.

Pantheon – WordPress specific container-based cloud infrastructure with built-in development workflows.

WP Engine – WordPress specific hosting that handles multisite well.

Plugins

This is by no means a comprehensive list, but I try to hit on some of the major categories of plugins. 

Analytics

Google Tag Manager – I recommend that you use Google Tag Manager and link your analytics through that. This plugin makes it easy.

Google Analytics for WordPress – If Google Tag Manager is too confusing, this plugin makes it easy to setup basic Google Analytics.

Backups

The most important thing with backups is to automate them and store the backups somewhere besides on your web host.

BackWPup – Allows you to set up automatic backup schedules and store backups via a number of services (e.g. Dropbox, Amazon S3, Google Drive, etc.).

VaultPress – Real-time backup and security scanning service designed and built by Automattic.

Content

Soliloquy – An awesome slider plugin with the ability to customize slides.

E-Commerce

WooCommerce – The go-to e-commerce solution for WordPress. Ideal for anytime a shopping cart is needed.

GravityForms – Just use with the payment extension of your choice for simple straight-forward sales.

Easy Digital Downloads – A great solution if you are selling digital goods, especially software that requires licensing.

Page Builders

Elementor – A well-built and very user-friendly page builder. They have a full-featured free version as well as a pro version that even allows you to build your own theme.

Beaver Builder – A little less user-friendly (in my opinion) this is another solid page builder. Again, they have a free version and a paid version that allows you to customize theme templates.

Performance

Smush Image Compression and Optimization – The plugin name itself is a bit long, but also self-explanatory. You need to optimize your images.

WP Rocket – A powerful, user friendly caching plugin.

SEO

Yoast SEO – The #1 WordPress SEO plugin with over 5 million active installs.

Site Management

MainWP – If you manage multiple web sites on various web hosts, you’ll definitely want to look into this.

Social Media

JetPack – Using the JetPack Publicize feature, you can link up your social media accounts and have any new posts automatically pushed to your network. You can also easily add sharing buttons to your posts.

Security

VaultPress – Real-time backup and security scanning service designed and built by Automattic.

Two Factor – Enable two-factor authentication on your website to protect against password brute-force attacks.

Themes

I’m super picky about themes. So many of them are bloated or poorly coded. These are the ones that have earned my stamp of approval:

ThemeBeans – This is actually a company and has a number of themes. I vouch for them all. In fact, this site currently runs the Tabor theme.

Books

These are a few books that I’ve read and recommend:

Code Simplicity – A book that both new and professional programmers should read.

Professional WordPress Plugin Development – A great book for learning WordPress in-depth or just to have as a reference within arm’s reach.

PHP Design Patterns – The book that first exposed me to design patterns in general. Also a great reference book.

The Complete Software Developer’s Career Guide – A great all-around book that can help you navigate and avoid pitfalls in your career.