24 Tools to Maximize Your WebsiteUsed by Matt Morse
There are two things you must have to get started... a hosting provider and a domain. There are many options available but I've had great experiences with Bluehost, for both hosting and purchasing domains. They offer a very affordable and reliable hosting service, starting at $3.95/month and domains starting at $9.99/year.
Wordpress.org is an open-source content management platform which is the foundation of a majority of sites that I build. Within Wordpress, you will have the ability to create multiple posts, pages, install plugins, etc... It is very user-friendly with a clean backend dashboard. *Bluehost has an easy one-click install option to add Wordpress to your domain.
Pro is a Wordpress theme with a built-in visual webpage builder that allows you to create webpages that look and feel consistent with your brand. There are millions of themes available, but at $79/license, I don't think you'll find more bang for your buck anywhere else. (I love how responsive this theme is to render your site correctly on all device sizes!)
Wordpress comes with a default commenting system built-in, but you can easily install a Facebook Comments extension to replace the default with integrated Facebook comments. This does not post to Facebook, but allows the user to post with the Facebook profile, which creates a unique community and increased credibility.
Facebook Ads allow you to track all visitors to your site, what they do on your site, and retarget them accordingly. That is all possible by inserting a piece of code that is much easier by using a plugin like Pixel Your Site Pro, which starts at $80/license.
There are many different software options available to create visually stunning graphics, such as Canva, but at the end of the day, Photoshop remains the most robust option for creating graphics of any size for any platform. You can download this app for $19.99/month.
Creating visually stunning graphics can sometimes lead to large file sizes and slow page load times. TinyPNG is a great place to compress and optimize your photos without any loss in quality. They have an online option at TinyPNG.com, as well as a Wordpress plugin to automatically compress any photos you upload to your site.
There's going to be times that you want to seamlessly provide a link to an external page or a long URL... This free Wordpress plugin allows you to redirect any URL on your domain to wherever you choose. This allows you to create shorter URLs which improves readability on social media, in e-mails, or elsewhere.
Blubrry is great for hosting your podcast, but if you want to embed a fancy podcast player on your site, I highly recommend Smart Podcast Player. This starts at $8/month and if you're going to be podcasting regularly, I think it's worth your investment.
If you want to sell products on your site, WooCommerce is the way to go. They have endless customization options and integrate with all popular plugins and payment processors. They have a free Wordpress plugin that will allow you to be up and selling very quickly.
If you want to add recurring subscriptions to your site (such as a membership site, or a product with a payment plan), the $199.99 investment in WooCommerce Subscriptions will save you lots of time and headaches. Trust me on this one.
As they say, Stripe is the new standard in accepting online payments... Now, there are several options out there but Stripe is one of the few that support recurring subscription renewals. You can install a Stripe integration on your site, connect your bank to Stripe, hook it up to WooCommerce, and you're ready to go.
Can't figure out why your site is taking so long to load? GTMetrix is a free, online software that will analyze your site and tell you exactly what is requiring significant resources to load. They'll also give you some great recommendations on how to improve your load time.
This free Google Chrome extension allows you to screenshot your entire page in one image, rather than only what is visible on your screen. This is great for capturing elements of other sites that you want to model, or showing a new site to a client.
Are you ready to take your website to the next level?