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You finally did it. You logged into WordPress and started a website. And there’s a lot of good reason for your choice. WordPress is the most popular backend website builder and content management system in the world.
Now it is time to make the most of that choice. Thankfully there are plenty of great tools and apps to help you make your website look great while being user-friendly. We’re sharing a few of our favourite apps and tools!
A good website starts with solid content and a great design idea. Often the doesn’t happen inside WordPress itself. Most designers create the look and feel of the website using other tools that provide design flexibility.
Even if you don’t plan to do the actual design yourself, it is a good idea to know what some of these tools are, what they do and how to speak the language of web design. Website Setup has an excellent primer on the tools and software that are a major part of the website design process.
Yoast SEO is one of the most popular plugins available for WordPress because search optimization is so important to making sure your website is easy to find. The plugin helps you optimize every page and post for search with a set of easy to use tools that will help you fill in meta-data and reminds you when you aren’t SEO ready.
It can help you write better web content and even helps you function better and more efficiently on social media as well.
Broken links are a big, bad deal for your website. They can hurt search rankings and frustrate users. The Broken Link Checker monitors links in posts, pages, comments and custom fields and detects links that aren’t functioning.
The plugin assembles all the broken links into a single location on the dashboard where you can fix or unlink elements all in one place. This tool is one you won’t be able to live without once you start using it.
Instant Images gives you access to all of the photos in the Unsplash library without having to leave WordPress. If you use a lot of stock photography, this little tool is a major timesaver.
You can browse photos, search and upload right from the Creative Commons listings on Unsplash and then transfer the photos you want to use to your media library without leaving your website. It makes finding and saving photos quick and easy because transferring images only takes one click.
The search is easy to use and you can crop and edit inside of WordPress just as you would with any other image.
There are lots of form builders available for WordPress – Ninja Forms and Gravity Forms are among some of the most popular. No matter which form builder you choose, having one is important. Forms are a vital part of the data gathering process for your website.
Some forms also integrate with third-party element such as email applications like Mail Chimp or Constant Contact. All of these items are vital for creating and implementing an overall marketing plan and gathering leads from your website, no matter what type of site you run.
Almost everyone knows that it is important to track what happens on your website, and the Google Analytics Dashboard for WP puts all the information you need right in your WordPress dashboard. (This is one of those tools that you don’t know you need until you start using it!)
The convenience of having basic user data, such as pageviews, search and bounce rate right in WordPress brings analytics to top of mind. You can see daily what is happening with traffic and use this information to make tweaks to the content and design to ensure that users are getting the best possible experience on your website.
CSS Hero is the customization tool for WordPress users that don’t want to get involved with coding. The tool touts itself as “the definitive WordPress plugin to easily customize the look of your themes and plugins with an easy and intuitive point and click interface.”
The tools helps you take charge of the looks of fonts, colors, special effects, measurements and alignment, theme skins and even ready-made styles to help you customize your site as much as possible quickly and easily.
As with forms, there are plenty of options when it comes to finding an image slider. The tool is so popular that you’ll probably want to include one in your website design. Popular options include Master Slider and Soliloquy.
While all of these slider tools do pretty much the same thing on the user end, they can work quite differently on the back end. Picking the one that is easiest for you to manage is the key to slider success.
Sucuri will help keep your website safe from hackers and malware. It audits and logs “security events” on your website so you can ensure that it is running properly and safe for users.
The tool includes a robust set of features – most of which are important but that you won’t need to know every detail of – and can even find out if your site has been blacklisted, and help you get running again.
If you are using WordPress with a team, Slack might make your communication a lot easier. The notification and communication tool includes a WordPress plugin that can be used to help make it easier to manage multiple users and teams within your website.
You can set up automatic updates to remind users to post or to create notifications when certain actions are taken. It also provides a place for all group communication so that emails don’t get lost in the shuffle of everything else you have to do.
A good collection of tools and resources can make WordPress a lot more fun and easy to manage for even the most novice website owner. But don’t feel like you need to go out and download everything in this list today; install and learn one item at a time to make the most of these tools.
And remember, it all starts with a good design and content plan. There are plenty of tools to help you get started there as well.