Below you’ll find some of the most valuable tools and services + great discounts I’ve come across.
I update the page regularly and highly recommend everything on this page, honestly and warmheartedly.
Last updated: February 22, 2019
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Recommended Managed WordPress Hosting
WP Engine – managed WordPress hosting (read WP Engine review)
WP Engine offers “managed hosting” of WordPress websites. They take care of everything for you, including performance optimization, backups and WordPress updates. WP Engine are pioneers of legendary managed WordPress hosting.
WP Engine this year won their third Stevie award for outstanding customer experience! They also have an industry-leading (and totally frictionless) 60 day money-back guarantee should you (for any reason) change your mind. So there’s literally no risk.
If your WordPress site is slow, or you’re setting up a new site; now’s the time to give WP Engine a try!
WP Engine offer: Save 20% off your first payment
*** WP Engine Coupon Code! ***
Get 20% off your first payment! Good for annual plans too (and they’ll save you an additional 2 months / 16% – bringing your total savings to 36%)
Simply go here – the coupon code will be automatically applied when you go to checkout! (so the listed prices will be 20% cheaper!)
Flywheel – managed WordPress hosting (read Flywheel review)
Flywheel has done really well in my tests. Fast page loads and a nicely designed UI. Perfect for web designers setting up websites for clients. Once launched, your client can easily be handed “the keys” to their new website and hosting account.
Media Temple (gs) Grid hosting (read Media Temple Shared/Grid review)
I have been a Media Temple (gs) Grid customer since 2007. When I’ve tried other hosts, I’ve always ended up going back to Media Temple. Why? Competent support and stability at an affordable price. Their Grid is a unique offering – loved by some, hated by others. Me? I love it. Read my comprehensive review for more info »
*** Media Temple Coupon Code! ***
SAVE 15% on your first payment! Annual plan recommended for biggest discount (on top of the 2 months you also save on annual plans). Simply enter coupon code WEBMATROS15 at the bottom left of the checkout screen! Copy/paste the coupon code, and pick your plan here »
Membership Website Platforms
Teachable has one huge benefit vs Thinkific, in that they can function as the merchant / a marketplace. That means you’ll receive one large monthly payment, instead of hundreds (or thousands) of small payments you’d have to deal with in your accounting. In a world of VAT MOSS (EU’s country-based taxation) that’s a HUGE relief and the reason I’ve chosen Teachable myself.
Thinkific is another, very good option for your membership website needs. If you don’t care about Teachable’s marketplace merchant options mentioned above, Thinkific actually wins by design. It’s brilliant and super-slick. And so is Teachable! But Thinkific takes things further.
WordPress Page Builder Plugins
Beaver Builder (read Beaver Builder review)
Both a plugin and a theme, Beaver Builder is the best page builder on the market. Wonderfully clean UI, and it doesn’t even leave a mess if you stop using it!
Beaver Themer (read Beaver Themer review)
Beaver Themer is a Beaver Builder add-on that gives you enormous power when it comes designing your website. It lets you customize parts of your WordPress site normally inaccessible to page builders: archive pages, category pages, tag pages, search pages, 404 pages, and more. Highly recommended for any power-user!
Elementor Pro (read Elementor Pro review)
A perpetually rising star in the WordPress galaxy, the Elementor Page Builder is a force to be reckoned with. Huge fan-base. Read the full Elementor Pro Review for all you need to know!
Thrive Architect (read Thrive Architect review)
Thrive Architect is something special. It’s not just a page builder. It’s a marketing-centric page builder, perfect for creating conversion-optimized landing pages. And it integrates with 100% with the rest of Thrive Themes’ innovative marketing plugins, like Thrive Leads, Thrive Optimize, Thrive Quiz Builder and Thrive Ultimatum. That makes it a 100% unique offering – and potentially an extremely powerful bottom-line transformer, for your online business!
GeneratePress (read GeneratePress review)
GeneratePress beat the competition in my recent speed test Fastest WordPress Theme for Your Page Builder. Apart from being fast, it’s a user-friendly theme that can adapt to whatever design needs you have – especially when pared with a good page builder like Beaver Builder, Elementor, or Thrive Architect.
If there’s one plugin that has never caused me any trouble, on dozens of WordPress sites: it’s Gravity Forms. By far one of the most versatile, useful and handy WordPress plugins available. It’s not just for contact forms. Using its add-ons, you can create feedback-forms, surveys, accept payments, and much much more!
User Role Editor
If you’re using WordPress as a CMS with external users / clients, then you’ll probably need this nifty plugin to edit the capabilities of user roles.
Learn & Evolve
If you’re an online marketer, in any way, shape or form: there’s ONE blog I recommend you read, regularly. Especially if you’re a solopreneur, creating online courses, or at all interested in higher conversions on your website:
The Thrive Themes Blog
Expertly written by skilled online marketer Shane Melaugh (Thrive Themes founder and chief), this blog is SO helpful and resourceful that I always end up opening WAY to many tabs, and have to force myself to stop scrolling their ever-expanding feed of great content! Be forewarned;)
A free ebook on agile, lean software development. A must read. A true classic, that changed the way I look at web development and product design.
Mike Monteiro: Design is a Job
Starting (or already having) your own web design or graphic design business? This book is a must and a treat. It’s shock-full of advice on dealing with clients, pitching projects, getting paid, staying creative and all the rest that’s involved in running a successful freelance business. The audiobook version is superbly narrated by Mike himself!
Shopify = the world’s best ecommerce platform
Shopify is a hosted webshop platform – and a great alternative to WooCommerce. For shops selling physical goods, I pretty much always recommend Shopify to my clients. Why? Because it’s a stable, unproblematic platform with superb, helpful world-class support.
Why not WooCommerce? The WooCommerce plugin itself is fine, but I’ve experienced again and again how the same can’t be said for its many extensions. Whenever these extensions/plugins are updated, problems can (and likely will) arise. Such issues are common, and may end up frustrating you on a weekly basis.
An online shop needs to be… online:) And Shopify is simply better for that. Yes, it costs money, but you’d need a proper managed host for a WooCommerce-based shop anyway, so in fact: with Shopify you save yourself trouble – at the same cost as what you’d pay to run it on WooCommerce. Go Shopify. Seriously.
Much more than just “hello bars” – this has evolved into a super flexible little marketing automation system, with popups, overlays, and more. Very intelligent, I love using it!
Raven Tools conveniently aggregates your online marketing (incl. SEO) efforts into tool – great for marketing teams and agencies!
Podcasting & Audio Production
Waves Pro Audio Plugins
Most of the audio plugins I’m using are from Waves. They do amazing plugins like Greg Wells’ MixCentric, which makes mastering really easy. It’s just one knob:)
Designing With a Grid-Based Approach
A tremendous resource, collecting a vast amount of articles on the venerable discipline of grid-based design.
Research-Based Web Design & Usability Guidelines
A free PDF ebook filled with great usability guidelines based on solid research. Made by the US government!
A free, extended color picker for Max OS X.
Damn this PNG-compressing panda rocks! PNG files can often be compressed more than you think. This easy online app does its best to do so!
Doing user experience design? Check out this vast design pattern resource.
A minimalistic, super quick online wireframing app. Perfect for that quick mockup.
Golden Ratio Typography Calculator
Maverick Chris Pearson brings typography closer to an exact science with this Fibonacci-based tool. I’ve used it religiously since it was first released quite a few years ago. In 2018 it received a dramatic update. A frickin’ amazing tool that’ll help you achieve… frickin’ amazing typography:)
Home of legendary font designer Eduardo Recife. Also has some free font classics. Eternal respect.
The Making of a Typeface
Wanna know what goes into the creation of a beautiful font? Treat yourself with this beautiful tour de force.
A typographic scale calculator, with a visual preview. Makes it much easier to choose beautiful header sizes etc.
Use Typecast to play with Google Fonts in a great testing environment.
Coding & Development
Generates favicons, both .ico & .png (even transparent ones!) and all the HTML code needed for your website. It’s free:)
Quickly create a development server, locally on your own computer. Much faster, since no network slows you down. DesktopServer even comes with WordPress pre-installed. Just click and go – no Apache indians to catch;)
GenerateWP’s Post Type Generator
A different approach to creating custom post types for WordPress.
WordPress Custom Post Type Code Generator
Easily create custom post types for your WordPress sites, using this easy-to-use “wizard” GUI.
WordPress Plugin Boilerplate Code Generator
Jump-start your WordPress plugin development with this easy to use “wizard” GUI.
How to Use Google Analytics on a WordPress.com Blog
Have a WordPress.COM blog? Want to use Google Analytics? Here’s how it can be done!
A search engine for source code. Can be useful. Great idea!
WordPress (and others) Search & Replace Tool
A good, reliable script for migrating your WordPress database from one domain to another, or from localhost to a live server.