WordPress Toolbox: The Best Tools to Help You Succeed in WordPress
Every WordPress user, from beginner to pro, needs a toolbox to do their best work.
For 10+ years, I’ve built my career using WordPress. During that time, I’ve learned that it takes skill plus the right tools to get the job well done.
My plugins can be found on 19m+ WordPress websites, so you can trust that my recommendations come from a position of experience. I only recommend things that I use myself.
WordPress Toolbox Categories
I’ve broken down my WordPress toolbox into various categories. Each category is equally important – you need lots of different tools to do great work!
- Personal Development
- Web Hosting
- Lead Generation
- Miscellaneous Tools
- Helpful Resources
- Bonus: Claim Your Gift!
Confused by this category? You shouldn’t be. Doing your best work with WordPress demands the best of you.
Here are some of my favorite resources to help you grow as a person:
WordPress Toolbox: Personal Development
My favorite personal development book. In his own words, “an easy and proven way to build good habits and break bad ones”. You get what you repeat, so if you build better systems, you’ll get better results!
Personal influence is key to winning more clients and contracts. I can’t recommend this book enough. It’s fun, insightful and actionable!
Web hosting is the most important piece of any website. It must be fast, secure and reliable.
I’ve been around the industry for long enough to know the good, bad and downright ugly. I personally use and recommend WP Engine (you’ll notice this site is blazing fast), but I’ve also used SiteGround and Bluehost with great experiences as well.
Here are my official WordPress web hosting recommendations:
WordPress Toolbox: Web Hosting
My preferred WordPress web host. They are currently hosting this site, and I have nothing but good things to say. It’s fast, secure and reliable, and I can sleep well at night knowing my site won’t go offline.
SiteGround hosts the marketing sites for all of my products at Awesome Motive. Their infrastructure is run on the scalable Google Cloud Platform. Best of all – I’ve had fantastic customer support experiences with them!
Website backups are critical. While many web hosts offer a backup solution, what happens if they go down?
I always recommend multiple backup points so that there are no single points of failure for your website. It’s a good practice that has saved me multiple times over my WordPress career.
Here are my recommended WordPress backup solutions:
WordPress Toolbox: Backups
Harsh from BlogVault has built a fantastic backup service. I’ve met him multiple times. He’s smart and has a great team around him. You can’t go wrong selecting this plugin as your backup solution.
Nobody likes to get hacked. WordPress is the most popular CMS in the world, which makes it both the most secure website platform and the most targeted website platform.
You want to be protected at every level of the stack, so I’m going to make a few recommendations that work in tandem to ensure your website is secure, top to bottom.
WordPress Toolbox: Security
Stop security threats at the DNS level. Cloudflare can help mitigate DDoS attacks on your site and block hackers at the network level. Plus, it’s free!
Surprised to see this again? Choosing the right WordPress web host is important for security, and I trust WP Engine to keep my site secure from hackers 24/7. Plus, they offer automatic security updates!
If your site gets hacked, you need a backup ready to go to get your site restored back to normal. BlogVault is the best and quickest way to do it.
Sucuri is the best WordPress security plugin. It offers all the things you’d want – brute force protection, IP blocking, audit trails – as well as a robust service to monitor your site for potential threats.
If you want to stand out, you’ve got to have a great WordPress theme.
I’ve seen many themes come and go, and I’ve settled on two: Genesis and Elementor.
WordPress Toolbox: Themes
The go-to theme of choice for WordPress professionals. Lightweight, extendable and easy to customize, it’s a must-have for consultants and developers alike.
The easiest, most robust drag-and-drop WordPress theme builder. You can build literally anything, no code necessary!
I’m passionate about making things load fast. In fact, this site loads incredibly fast. I’ve spent the majority of my time in the WordPress industry making products that are faster than the competition.
I’ve been fortunate to figure out a few things related to performance, so I’m going to give you recommendations for the same tools I use on this site to make it load blazing fast.
WordPress Toolbox: Performance
Yes, Cloudflare is here again. They are fastest DNS resolver on the planet, and the best part is it’s free!
You’ve got to have a fast, reliable web host to have a fast website. My site is powered by WP Engine, and I recommend that your site be powered by it too.
WP Rocket is the best caching plugin for WordPress. I use it on this site, and it is fine-tuned to work with WP Engine as well. This is hands down the best money you can spend to improve your site performance.
BunnyCDN is the best CDN for WordPress. They have a great UI, lots of PoPs (points of presence), and their interface is easy to use. Plus, it works out of the box with WP Rocket!
You’ve got to have traffic to grow your list, leads and sales. SEO (search engine optimization) is a critical component of your overall site strategy.
You need a solution for OnSite SEO (so your site can rank better in the search engines) as well as SEO research (so you can know what keywords to target).
Here are my recommendations:
WordPress Toolbox: SEO
The best WordPress SEO plugin. With over 65,000,000 downloads, it’s the most trusted and downloaded WordPress SEO plugin. No plugin can help you rank higher than this one.
The best SEO research and planning tool. I use it for this site and absolutely LOVE IT. Plus, they have a fantastic mobile app so I can see my position rankings on the go.
Your website is your lead generation engine, and the sad truth is, 70% of people who visit your website leave and never return!
Fortunately, I can recommend some tools to help you convert more of those visitors in subscribers, leads and sales.
WordPress Toolbox: Lead Generation
The #1 most powerful conversion optimization toolkit in the world. Plus, I built it! It’s the best solution to convert more visitors into subscribers, leads and sales, and you’ll see it all over this website. In fact, you may have reached this page through OptinMonster!
The best WordPress contact form plugin. A great contact form gets more leads in the pipeline, and WPForms is the best out there. Plus, I helped builed it too, so you know it’s good!
There are some tools and plugins that I use to make my WordPress sites faster, easier and better. They don’t necessarily fall into any of the categories above, but they are just as important to have in your toolbox!
WordPress Toolbox: Miscellaneous Tools
The easiest way to connect Google Analytics to your WordPress site. Bonus: awesome dashboards in your admin area with the stats and data that actually matters!
WP Mail SMTP
WordPress emails suck, plain and simple. They don’t get delivered reliably, and that’s a problem. WP Mail SMTP solves that problem by offloading delivery to reliable 3rd party platforms. Never miss a contact form notification again!
Finally, I’d like to share some helpful resources with you so that you get the most out of WordPress!
WordPress Toolbox: Helpful Resources
The largest free WordPress resource site. Tons and tons of helpful tutorials for WordPress beginners. You can’t go wrong with any article here!
Bonus: Claim Your Gift!
Hey, you made it all the way here – congratulations! I’ve got a free bonus gift just for you.
As you know, I’ve been in the WordPress space for 10+ years. My WordPress products can be found on over 19m+ websites across the globe.
I’ve been fortunate to learn and grow during my time in the WordPress community, and I’m grateful for all the people who stood before me to point me in the right direction. I would like to extend that gesture of kindness to you.
Here’s my free gift to you: fill out my contact form, select the topic of WordPress and fill out the comment box. Toss in a link to your website, and I’ll give you 1-2 suggestions to help it convert better. I may even make some recommendations for SEO, speed and usability.
No strings attached – just wanting to pay it forward for all the help I’ve received over the years.
I hope you’ve been able to improve your own WordPress toolbox as you’ve browsed mine, and I wish you the most success in WordPress.