Managing a website can be tough. One must think of security, updating the code, generating leads (if you’re a business/organization), growing traffic and more. Here, I generated a list of 10 awesome tools that I use to help manage and run my websites. Some are to simply monitor my website’s health, others help generate leads. None the less, they all require some work on your part. These tools are to simply help ease the work and get you going. If you have your own tools that you like to use, I’d love to be able to see what you’ve got!
List of tools to manage your WordPress website:
- Firebug. My favourite tool, one that wins the spot as number one in my book. What is it? It’s a tool that I’m sure most developers have heard of, it’s purpose is to help explore your websites coding structure, both html and css. I use it to particularly edit my website’s css so that I can see what it would look like before I make it go live. You can add it as an extension to your firefox or chrome browser. For Firefox CLICK HERE. For Chrome CLICK HERE. Most browsers now-a-days already have some sort of developer tools available, but I seem to use Firebug most often. Want to see what all it can do? Take a look at this youtube video on how to use Firebug.
- Down Time Monitoring. This one is a simple tool, yet so helpful. Many a times I’ve had my client’s WordPress website go down and for days it would go unnoticed. So, I set up a tool called Uptime Robot. Uptime Robot will send you alerts via e-mail, SMS, Twitter, web-hooks or push. Everyone’s website will go down some day, one way or another. What’s worse is if that WordPress website goes down and no one catches it for days. We recommend always having an alert set up to let you know when this happens. Take a look at Uptime Robot, familiarize yourself with it and get a little peace of mind.
- Google Analytics Referrer Spam. There’s a plague going around, did you hear? It’s a referral plague. This plague takes over your Google Analytics reports and ruin your data like locusts ruin crops. I know this isn’t exactly WordPress specific, but if you run a WordPress website and use Google Analytics, you may want to pay attention. I recently discovered this handy tool called Referrer Spam Blocker. This is a free tool, that filters out that nasty false sense of traffic growth. I would look at a website’s analytics and think ‘Oh sweet Jesus, we’re getting 50 visits per day! Saweeeet!’. Only to be raised up to the sky and dropped on concrete. Curse you spammers! How do you tell if your analytics has false data? Usually if you look under the referral, channel section of your Analytics, you can see a bunch of websites that have no correlation or similarities to your site. Some of the most popular spam referrals have been:
- semalt.com (and various subdomains)
So, overall, make sure you’re not being duped into thinking your traffic is all that and a bag of chips. Take a look at the Referrer Spam Blocker site and enjoy!
- Security. Security is, as Donald Trump would say, “Huuuuuuuuuuuuuge’. Most folks who are already very familiar with WordPress would have their favourite security plugin. Whelp, I’m going to share with you mine and explain why. I use ‘iThemes Security (Formerly Better WP Security)‘. Why do I use this? Well, to me, it is much more straight to the point with more advanced features. The options that I think are the most important is to block php uploads, hide your login panel link ( http:yourdomain.com/wp-admin INTO http://yourdomain.com/yourcustomloginlink ), remove file writing permissions, disable directory browsing and to protect system files plus many more. I’ve had more luck with this than any other security plugin.
- Social Sharing Icons. Oh, those classic social icons we see on sites everywhere. Some are very functional, some are just so ugly, even a baby would cry at the sight. I use Elegant Theme’s Monarch Social Sharing Plugin. This plugin is in my default list of plugins that I install on almost every single website. With basic to advanced functionalities, this plugin does exactly what you need and it looks good. You can have social icons float along the side of the website, or be injected above/below/ or both of your pages &/or posts. Take a look at the plugin, I highly recommend it.
- More Security – Block Countries by IP Addresses. As you can tell, security is important to me. I bluntly think that this is WordPress’ major weakness. This security tool is about blocking your website to other Countries. Why would you do that you may ask? One should block access to other countries that have no business accessing your website because of hacking issues. For example, I don’t have any reason for a Russian or Korean to visit a website that sells ice cream in Central Pennsylvania USA. I noticed this website was getting hacked, or a high load of visitors were coming from Russia and Eastern Countries. So, I put an HTACCESS block up to disable the access from countries other than the United States of America. Very useful, and easy to install resource.
- Visual Composer. This one is a doozy! Actually, this one is my favourite and most used. Visual Composer is a WordPress plugin that allows you to edit your pages visually. Want 1/2 x 1/2 columns & rows to separate your content? Wala Bama Booma, just two clicks and you’ve got content laid out the way you want it. Visual composer allows clients to edit their own content, the way they want it. Plus it includes awesome elements to enhance your pages. Every website I build, I use this plugin.
- Cloudflare. SSL, SPEED, SECURITY. When I can, I install cloudflare on every website. According to Cloudflare; “CloudFlare protects and accelerates any website online”. Cloudflare basically speeds up the load time of your website and secures it at the same time. I would say, those with moderate knowledge of how the web works would understand how cloudflare works and how to set it up. Cloudflare states “We automatically optimize the delivery of your web pages so your visitors get the fastest page load times and best performance. We also block threats and limit abusive bots and crawlers from wasting your bandwidth and server resources. The result: CloudFlare-powered websites see a significant improvement in performance and a decrease in spam and other attacks.” So, when launching a website, or wanting to improve the load time and security of a website, give Cloudflare a go!
- SEO. Of course, any WordPress User, Semi-Beginner to Advance, would have heard of YOAST SEO. Yoast is basically an out-of-the-box plugin to help ease your SEO woes. Along with the simple features, the plugin has advanced features for those who know what they are doing. Definitely in my default plugin list.
- WordPress Migration. Need to migrate / move your wordpress website to another server or on the same server but in a different installation? Don’t fret! All In One WP Migration plugin to the rescue! I’ve used the plugin so many times to move WordPress Website. It’s a plugin to keep in your arsenal. Easy to use, it moves the entire website without having to manually change code or the database.
So, those are the 10 tools and resources I had in mind to share. I’d like to hear what tools that you use to manage your wordpress website. Please comment below with your thoughts! Any questions, I’d love to answer. You can contact us here.