Web Design & Digital Marketing Quick Guide
With thousands of options for platforms, plugins, themes, and tools available, knowing which are best to use for your project, can take days of testing. I’ve done that testing for you, and ongoingly test alternatives to the list below, to build the most efficient combination of tools to accomplish most projects.
What to Consider When Selecting Products
An unsecured plugin, or platform, could ultimately cost you a client, and/or your client their business. A few minutes spent to make sure the plugins you use are consistently updating can save you hours looking for a replacement in the future. Never overlook security.
With WordPress offering thousands of free plugins, most haven’t been developed for months (or years). Choosing a free or paid plugin, should include an audit of the developer, to make sure you’re not relying on just one guy to keep the lights on.
Complicated products or ‘all-in-one’ solutions can solve a current problem, but cause hours of future maintenance. Plugins/platforms you select should fill a required need. Building minimal, without taking away from UIX, will keep maintenance hours low.
Avoiding high-priced, as well as resource-heavy plugins can help you stay profitable, but also keep your client’s sites performing faster than the competition. Avoid bloated pricing structures, and plugins/tools that are overly resource-heavy on the end user.
Web Design Tools
Every great website, regardless of niche, needs to cover a few areas as efficiently as possible. The goal is to find a combination of products that follow the list above, with minimal overlap. Every site I build starts with WordPress, using the Hello theme, and Elementor Pro combined with the tools below.
Good web hosting not only impacts SEO for the client, but also your maintenance time requirement. It could be backing up clients sites, taking a staging site live, adding resources, or just getting a 1.5 second load time, Cloudways solves all of these problems.
- Common Problem: You’ve built a client site on your subdomain or staging site, and it’s hand over time. Normally you’d find a backup/cloning plugin to take it to their server, then find/replace the old URL in their database, and pray it all still works.
- Cloudways allows you to transfer the server to the client’s account by typing in their email.
Everything you could need in a solid web host to make your life more efficient is included. The ability to accomplish so much, with little time required, for affordable cost, made me switch all my clients over.
Finding an easy-to-use caching plugin, that consistently works with your chosen web host can be a headache. Breeze comes in to solve that problem because it’s developed by the web host Cloudways.
- Common Problem: 5 hrs into A/B testing settings with your premium caching plugin you’ve found your perfect config, broke the checkout forms.
- Breeze has a minimal configuration because it’s already integrated well with Cloudways. Only a few checkboxes and you’re done.
No more fiddling deep in your server’s admin panel to enable features of your premium caching plugin.
Breeze is best paired with Cloudways hosting. If a different web host is used, I’d recommend checking with your hosting provider for their suggestion.
If you’ve spent any time searching for an SEO plugin, you’re asking why not Yoast or RankMath. Both of these are great products, but I felt SEOPress offers more, at a lower price point.
A common theme in recent years for SEO plugins is offering additional features for separate pricing. In the end, you’re stuck paying a high price, for 1 plugin. SEOPress goes the opposite route, by offering everything for one price. No addons required.
The developers follow the SEO world closely to make quick updates to their plugin, following the latest best practice.
Optimizations can come in many forms, but the primary two, to maximize performance, are image handling, and service, script and font management.
Perfmatters allows you to disable several WordPress features that you’re probably not using. In addition to this, it offers a script manager to reduce the load for every website visitor.
Maximize performance by unloading plugins from your homepage, that are not being used on each page.
Digital Marketing Tools
The Digital Marketing scene is flooded with tools, platforms, and programs to help you manage clients ads, social channels, and data better. Below are the ones I’ve chosen to use for my clients.
The list still being developed. Check back soon.