Curated WordPress Tool Suite

Curated WordPress Tool Suite

Build Your WordPress Site Right

When I started building WordPress sites back in 2014, it was as a volunteer on a non-profit committee. They needed someone to help out and as the youngest person there, it fell to me (of course). At the time I just wanted to be helpful, so the hours spent wading in DIY forums online was no biggie. Honestly, I learned a lot from the experience, and added an achievement I’m still proud of (think, huge mess of a website, which ultimately was subdivided into three sites, courtesy of yours truly).

Well.

These days, as someone who is working full time with a business on the side, and trying to have a life next to that to boot… Nobody got time fo’ dat. My clients, like myself, are often working full time with a business on the side, which is great! But spending 1, 10, 100 hours learning an entirely new industry’s worth of information just to get yourself onto the web is ridiculous.

I bring to you, the set of tools that I’ve found to be such a time saver – and a way you can get it all for way less than it normally costs.

ExtendThemes

The one thing everyone knows about WordPress after trying to work with it for even 30 minutes is that your theme is what determines the look of your site. I don’t remember how I came across this theme solution (ThemeForest, probably?) but it has seriously been one of the most revolutionary discoveries of my WordPress career. Beautiful site? Check. Drag and drop pre-formatted sections? Check. Which means that clients can change their own sites if they want to super easily? Check!

One of the issues with WordPress themes (you’ll know if you’ve ever bought one, or – especially – more than one), is that you never really know what you’re getting in terms of

  • how the theme author has decided to structure your editing options (customizer? backend theme-specific tab? Editing page layout options?)
  • how many of the features in the demo are actually plugins >:l

so you can imagine, when you buy something that magically just works out of the box, looks great and has, like, zero learning curve, what a great day it is.

This tool retails at a price point basically the same as most other themes ($79 USD per year), but is absolutely worth every penny. So save yourself the headache and a zillion hours of struggling around with a “free” theme and just do it right the first time, am I right? Or read on for the cost-reduction option.

WPMU Dev Premium

I was on again off again with this before I got serious about WordPress site management, but in the end it’s basically everything you need to run a solid WordPress site bundled into one. That’s security (Defender Pro), backups (Snapshot Pro), Maintenance Automation (Automate Pro). It’s ALSO speed optimization (Hummingbird Pro), image optimization (Smush Pro), Google Analytics (Beehive Pro), custom forms (Forminator Pro), pop-ups/slide/ins (Hustle Pro), and a ton of other plugins they’ve developed PLUS support if any of their products is having issues. WHEW.

What I was humming and hawing about was the price tag ($49USD per month) which, if you live in Canada like me, is actually more than that per month HOWEVER. For everything that comes with it? You’re sleeping pretty soundly at night.

CleanTalk

OK, so you’ll get a basic WordPress site together eventually, and leave comments on for the world to engage with you at their leisure – and set up a contact form so your clients can reach you. Great! Until the spam starts rolling in. There are hundreds if not thousands of bots and seedy advertisers trying to find that “in” all the time, and they have officially found you.

This is another one of those things that you know, “hmm, haww”…. Until you just go for it, and wonder why you didn’t do it from the start. I mean is not having 100 unread spam emails from your contact form to sift through (in case there’s an actual client inquiry in there somewhere) not worth $9.99 USD/year? I recently had to figure out how to tackle 8000 moderation comments. 8000!! So I definitely think it is, but maybe I’ve just moderated one too many WordPress comments linking to a site selling “cialis” or “online wives”. One thing that is true is you’ll spend more than $10 worth of time in a year dealing with the spam unless you turn your comments and contact form off.

Paid Memberships Pro

This was a cool find that I came across looking at a solution for a non-profit; the ultimate plugin for a membership site! With so many extras included (65+ add-ons included in their premium subscription), I was drooling when I first came across them. The price tag at $297 USD per year felt really steep, it honestly did – but if you have a following and realistically expect to be converting people into paying members, it can easily pay itself back (and automation, oh my goodness,  wooooorth it. If you can, automate).

Recap & Cost Reduction

So there you have it. A suite of tools for WordPress fundamentals and some additional ones to really make your site ship-shape. Don’t forget to add your SSLs, business peeps (if you don’t know what that is you can learn more here). Altogether it does stack up to $943.99 USD per year (not including your hosting and domain! Yeesh) but you’ll be sitting on a concrete foundation for your WordPress site with all kinds of support at your disposal in the event of an issue.

Understandably it’s a little intimidating – and if you are a small business owner just setting up shop, you may be looking for something a little less… pricey. Which was also me when I started, so I get that. The good news is, you can get ALL of that for your WordPress site and ongoing support, for $60 – $300 CAD a year. You’re welcome in advance. 😉

But-but-but… how?

It’s called, developer subscriptions. What I’ve done is purchased a bulk subscription to all of these services for you and many other small business owners to use, and bundled them all together in a nice little package to use with all my clients. Effectively, we all cost-share what would otherwise be a little bit heavy on the wallet. Suddenly, this is doable.

Like I said, I spent a lot of time wading around thinking there had to be a better way, and it turns out, there is. 🙂 Before you waste another minute surfing the forums, let’s give your site a solid foundation with this tool suite!

 

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