Building countless MVP’s, blogs, directory sites and my own folio sites in WordPress has taught me a thing or two about what it takes to to build a powerful, sticky and traffic ready WordPress website.
Below is a list of what I currently use when building out all of my new sites. These are tried and tested, effective tools. Use them to create something great.
1. Find An Available Domain Name
A great site always starts with a great domain name. One of the best tools I use is Domainr. It’s fast, easy and they also have an app for your phone. If you’re like me, you must know if that killer domain name is available now.
Name Mesh is also an awesome site that now only let’s you know if the domain name is available, it also suggests alternate versions of the name for you and let’s you know if the other handles are free like Twitter, Facebook & YouTube. Check them out they’re great tools.
2. Simple Domain Name Registration
You can’t go past the simplicity of Namecheap when registering a new domain, yes it may seem like a simple task. But have you ever tried to register a domain name with GoDaddy? Oh man it’s like trying to book a budget flight – the amount of upsells and cross sells they try. When and if you have to transfer your domain, Namecheap makes it a super easy thing to do also which helps. Check them out.
3. Get Fast Hosting
Now this is big one, after years of searching and testing and trying hosting out I’ve settled on Digital Ocean. They are blazingly fast, like really fast. Reasonably easy to set up once you know how and charge by the hour, yes by the hour. No 12 monthly lock in contracts either – perfect if you’re project fails or you want to sell it. They also have a super simple site backup and restore. And did I mention the hosting is fast, very fast – a must have when you’re using the WordPress dashboard for like 20 hours a day like I am when building a new site.
4. Use A Good WordPress Theme
This is also a big one, you have to have a good theme for WordPress. I’m currently using a theme called Jupiter for all my sites. It’s fast, beautifully built and has good support with very little bugs, if any. It’s also super customisable which helps when hacking together something unique.
5. Use Engaging Stock Photography
The content of your site is something I can’t really give you advice on, but when it comes to quickly finding free stock photos for your pages and posts check out ZippList. The site features links to a large selection of completely free stock photo sites where you can download and use photos without cost or attribution.
6. Easily Apply Search Engine Optimisation
Search engine optimisation is super easy once you install this plugin, I use it for all of my sites and I really like the way you can set SEO elements for each individual page including the social aspects to. Download Yoast to get serious about SEO on your WordPress site.
7. Creating And Sending Simple Newsletters
When it comes to creating and sending email newsletters I used to be a big fan of MailChimp, and still am but I have recently found the guys at MailPoet have created a pretty sweet, free plugin which integrates really well into your site. The beauty is you don’t have to leave WordPress to create and send your newsletters – you can do it all from the dashboard, compete with posts and imagery.
8. Socialising The Site
There’s a bunch of social plugins out there for your WordPress site, I’ve tested many of them and found Sumo Me’s plugin to be the best, it’s fast and reliable and pretty easy to set up. I use it on all of my sites. I like how it has so many options like mobile settings and layout / positioning of the buttons.
9. Building A List And Community
I’ve tried numerous plugins and tools to build email lists and build social followings, Hello Bar is what I’m using right now and it really seems to get results. I’m a big fan of the simplicity and also the settings – they even have A / B testing which is very cool as well as some cool stats and insights.
So there you have it, this list of tools and plugins is what I use and recommend. It’s taken me years of trial and error to get to this point, I hope this helps you out building your next big WordPress site.