Stop wasting valuable time searching and researching WordPress tools to help you grow your blog. I’ve done the hard work for you so you don’t have to. Check out the list below, grab a few of these powerful tools and start building your blogging business like a pro.
I can clearly remember the day that I discovered WordPress for myself.
And in all honesty, it took me months to find my way around and get used to everything.
There was even a time that I considered ditching the WordPress idea altogether.
Just so many options and features, and then there’s plugins and themes which really puzzled me.
But I think the most thing I struggled with using WordPress was customization.
Life without WordPress today
Fast forward to today and I simply couldn’t live without WordPress in my life.
Yes, I know that sounds really sad, but, that’s the truth.
Both my website and the line of business that I’m in relies on me having access to WordPress.
There was a time that I thought I could never master my way around WordPress, but now I’m building every kind of websites imaginable with WordPress.
In my humble opinion, it is the best platform out there for building and launching an online business.
The vast number of tools available for WordPress
In the last 9 years of using WordPress, I’ve come across hundreds of various plugins, themes, apps, and extension tools that make WordPress what it is today.
Out of the hundreds that I’ve tried using over the years, only a small collection of these tools truly stand out, for me at least.
So, today I’m sharing my personal list of ‘must-use’ tools for WordPress.
These are the tools that have helped me with the growth of my blogging business, like a true pro!
So let’s get to it!
Must-use tools for WordPress bloggers: Themes
Let’s start with good old WordPress themes.
Themes are what makes WordPress websites and blogs unique in their own way. Using a theme is how you define the appearance of your personal brand.
Themes come in all shapes, sizes, colors, and styles, and out of all the ones that I’ve used in the last 9 years, only a few theme creators stand out for me.
Genesis theme framework 100%, and the other is Thrive Themes.
I began using Genesis way back in October of 2010, the same month that I launched my first ever blog.
I’ve used Genesis consistently for the last 9 years and experimented with a few others too, but Genesis has always been my primary ‘go to’ theme.
Magnet4Blogging has been running on Genesis since 2013.
I love using Genesis and therefore recommended it for several reasons:
Customizing a Genesis theme is relatively easy. Well, it’s a lot easier than it was back in 2010 and that’s thanks to the Additional CSS box available in the customizer.
That being said, it’s still quite challenging to add any advanced customizations, especially for none-savvy users.
02. Thrive Themes
Thrive Themes is the other premium theme that I’ve had experience with and would highly recommend.
Thrive Themes haven’t been around as long as Genesis or StudioPress, but they are getting increasingly popular every day.
Thrive Themes create more than just themes, they offer a range of conversion optimization and marketing tools and plugins for online businesses.
Recommended reading: Review of Thrive Themes Membership here.
I have worked on countless client website design projects using Thrive products in the past.
When it comes to customization, just like with Genesis, it helps to have some knowledge of CSS.
You can play around and add your own custom CSS into the built-in “Custom CSS” box provided, or you can create a stand-alone child theme to use with Thrive Themes.
The great thing about using a Thrive theme is that you don’t need to install or use any additional plugins to achieve simple things like;
- Adding social share buttons,
- Adding related posts widget
- Uploading a custom Favicon.
Most of these features and options are built into each theme.
Note: Sadly though, and perhaps I should have mentioned this earlier, Thrive are no longer offering its themes to new customers. The themes are being replaced with an all-new, next generation theme builder tool which is currently in the works. I personally cannot wait for this.
Must-use WordPress tools for bloggers: Plugins
This list was quite difficult to put together and could have easily been much longer.
However, I’ve kept it short because I already have a blog post listing my favorite premium WordPress plugins here.
Below I’ve listed the plugins that I truly believe to be professional in every way!
03. Thrive Architect
When I first discovered this plugin back in 2015, it was called Thrive Content Builder.
It was one of the most exciting plugins to use, and I still love using it today.
Thrive Content Builder, in my opinion, was the real game-changer of page builder plugins. I was absolutely blown away by the technology of it, and what I could do with it.
Thrive Content Builder, now known as Thrive Architect, is by far the most powerful and complete front end page builder plugins for WordPress.
Since its launch, we’ve seen many other front-end page builder tools crop up, but none of them comes remotely close to Thrive Architect.
In the last 4 years, I’ve used Thrive Architect to:
- Build custom home landing pages.
- Design and deploy sales pages.
- Create conversion focusd email opt-in pages.
- Design podcast pages.
- Create a video landing page and more.
I couldn’t recommend this plugin enough.
Read: Check out my detailed review of Thrive Architect here.
04. Thrive Leads
And the trend continues with Thrive, but I won’t talk too much about Thrive Leads as I only recently reviewed it in greater detail here.
What I will say is that this plugin is a professional tool for serious bloggers and online business owners. If you’re serious about growing your email list, don’t look at any other tool for this, really.
Here’s what you get with Thrive Leads:
- Powerful email opt-in form builder (drag-and-drop builder).
- HelloBar style opt-ins.
- Post-footer opt-ins.
- Slide in opt-ins.
- Pop-ups with the ability to create 2-step opt-ins.
- Scroll-mat forms.
- Full-page forms.
- Full control over how your forms behave including Exit Intent feature.
- Full suite of A/B split testing tools for your opt-in forms.
- Built-in metrics, content marketing, and analytics, plus much more.
Thrive Leads is easily one of the best investments I’ve personally made for my business in the last few years.
Read: Check out my list building strategy study post here.
Also, check out my walkthrough video of Thrive Leads here. Be warned it’s a good few years old now.
Absolutely no WordPress website should exist without this nifty little plugin installed.
I put this on my list here because using LLA over the years has really helped me tackle a lot of unwanted spammy login attempts on my site.
The combination of using this plugin and blocking IP’s with a security plugin like WordFence, and you’ll be good to go.
The ultimate SEO plugin for WordPress… period.
This plugin comes with lots of on-page options including social media optimization tools, site-wide SEO options, and much more.
The biggest plus point of using this plugin is that it’s completely, 100% FREE!
There is another plugin that I love to use as well called SEOPressor Connect. Have you heard of it? I use this particular plugin over on my e-commerce art website.
You can compare these two SEO plugins here.
After many years of using Social Warfare, I decided to stop about six months ago. This was a personal choice due to an updated version of the plugin which came out that I didn’t agree with.
Despite this, Social Warfare is still the best of the best social sharing plugins out there, which is why I’ve added it to my list here.
SW comes with a host of options including social media optimization tools, blazing fast loading buttons, customizable buttons, click-to-tweet, tweet counts, and more.
Social Warfare is free, however, you can purchase the Pro add-on and add more options to the plugin.
Recommended: Please check out my full review and tutorial of Social Warfare Plugin here.
A simple but very practical plugin to help you organize your blog posting schedule.
If you run a guest blogging blog, this would be perfect for you.
If you’re looking for something with more punch and more scheduling power for your entire online business, check out my post about CoSchedule here.
Online services, tools, and apps for bloggers!
Right! Now for some of my other favorite online tools, apps and services that simply make using WordPress more pleasurable.
09. Google Analytics
You can’t build a successful and profitable blog or online business without using Google Analytics.
Google Analytics is free and great for keeping tabs on traffic, visitor behavior, bounce rate, visitor time on site, as well as setting up conversion goals.
Want to blog like a pro? Then don’t forget to build your email list, and for this, I recommend using MailChimp.
In my humble opinion, MailChimp is simply the best and most cost-effective email marketing service provider available for bloggers and small businesses.
If you’re just starting out, I would recommend using MailChimp, as it is free for up to 2,000 subscribers.
In addition, if you use the Thrive Leads list building plugin I mentioned earlier, integrating MailChimp couldn’t be easier.
Every blogger should have a Google Webmaster account. Well, at least that’s what I think.
The webmaster toolbox contains essential tools and features that will help you get a better understanding of what’s going on with your website, health, and performance.
If you have too many 404 error pages on your website, for example, your webmaster console will have that information and you can use it to identify those pages and fix them.
If your website has a manual action or penalty applied to it, that information will also be available in your webmaster account.
LTP is a powerful and useful tool for helping you do some good old fashioned keyword research.
Keyword research is essential for blog traffic growth, and I love to use the Long Tail Pro to find and research keywords for my blog posts. It’s quick and simple.
This is one tool that I use quite often when working on client projects and my own personal projects too, of course.
If your website is taking too long to load, you need to know about it.
Use Google PageSpeed Insights tool, and the mobile-friendly test tool to check your site frequently.
So, folks, that’s it! That’s my personal list of pro WordPress tools and other various useful online tools, apps, and services I like to use in my business.
Some of these you’ll be familiar with, no doubt, but I’m sure there are a few here that you’re yet to discover and use.
Many of the tools I’ve mentioned above are free to use. Some, however, offer premium options.
Here’s my disclaimer should you need to read it.
Affiliate disclaimer: Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. This means if you click on one of them and make a purchase of a product or service, I will be paid a small commission. This comes at NO additional cost to you, of course. If you do use my affiliate links, I would like to thank you for your continued support! I truly appreciate you. I also want you to know that I NEVER use or recommend tools or services that I do not trust.
Hope these will keep you busy for now, have fun exploring.