Below you’ll find some of the most valuable tools and services I’ve come tested thoroughly. I update the page regularly and highly recommend everything on this page, honestly and heartfully.
Recommended WordPress Hosting
SiteGround is amazingly well-rounded hosting. This site, WebMatros.com, is hosted on SiteGround – after extensive testing of every viable alternative.
True, SiteGround isn’t quite as cheap as shared hosting from alternatives such as Krystal, Hostinger, Namecheap’s Stellar Plus & Stellar Business, etc.
But, SiteGround is remarkably reliable and consistently fast – and is better compared to considerably more expensive alternatives from Pressable, Pressidium, Flywheel, and WP Engine.
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 have also won several awards for outstanding customer experience! They also have a swiftly-honored 60 day money-back guarantee should you (for any reason) change your mind. So there’s literally no risk.
Give WP Engine a try! Pricing and details are here.
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.
Membership Website Platforms
Teachable has one huge benefit vs Thinkific, in that they can function as the merchant / 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.
I’ve worked with Simplero (for clients) since it was known as zenbilling – and only here in Denmark. Since then it’s made waves globally and is certainly a gem worth trying if you’re about to start an online membership website. It’s a complete suite – incl. powerful (yet simple-to-use) online marketing tools!
Landing Page Builders
One of the best landing page builders available. One outstanding feature is its ability to create landing pages as valid, fast-loading Google AMP (Accelerated Mobile Pages). It’s not the cheapest option – its pricing reflects its high quality and excellent reputation. But certainly worth it if your business needs more landing pages, faster!
Excellent on-page optimization that goes far beyond what competitors like Yoast SEO, Rank Math, and SEOPress does, with advanced features delivered in a simple, easy-to-use UI. Their support are quick to respond, and helpful as well!
Raven Tools conveniently aggregates your online marketing (incl. SEO) efforts into tool – great for marketing teams and agencies!
WordPress Page Builder Plugins
Beaver Themer (read Beaver Themer review)
Beaver Themer is a Beaver Builder add-on that gives you enormous power when it comes to 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:
Mike Monteiro: Design is a Job
You’ll do your web design / graphic design freelance business a MAJOR favor reading this book! It’s a must-read – and a treat to read. Full of essential 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!
Principles of Website Design Every Web Professional Should Know
A seriously bang-up, bang-on resource for every web designer! Surprisingly many of these rules were new to me! Perhaps to you too?
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.
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!
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.
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. Subsequently, it received a dramatic update. It’s an amazing tool that’ll help you achieve 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 the HTML code needed for your website. It’s free, and the best favicon-generator I’ve used!
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.