This past week, our founder Syed Balkhi did a presentation at WordCamp New York 2014 where he shared his favorite tools that help him manage and grow our WordPress blogs. Below is the list of 40 useful tools to manage and grow your WordPress blog.
Backups are extremely crucial for any online business to grow. We use VaultPress on WPBeginner and all our websites. It is a subscription based service with different plans and pricing. VaultPress offers automated real-time cloud backup solution with one click restore option.
Alternatives: See 7 best WordPress backup plugin compared (Pros and Cons)
Any website can get hacked or attacked by malware or denial of service attacks. Sucuri is a website monitoring and security service. It provides real time alerts for any suspicious activity on your website. It not only prevents your website from malware but can also detect and remove them.
Checkout 5 reasons why we use Sucuri to improve our WordPress security.
3. Google Analytics
Understanding your audience is the key to success for any online business. Google Analytics provides you the statistics you need to understand your audience. It is very easy to install in WordPress and it is free.
Alternatives: 7 best analytics solutions for WordPress.
4. Yoast SEO Plugin
Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin is the complete website optimization solution for WordPress. It is packed with features and eliminates the need of installing several other plugins. It is also very easy to install and setup in WordPress. See why we use WordPress SEO plugin by Yoast.
Alternative: All in One SEO Pack
5. Edit Flow
Managing a multi-author WordPress site can be a mess if you don’t know what everyone is working on. Edit Flow offers a smooth editorial workflow management system for WordPress powered websites. It allows you to add custom statuses, leave editorial feedback, view editorial calendar, and execute your content strategy like a pro.
Alternative: Content Progress
TablePress allows you to add tables into your WordPress posts and pages without writing any HTML or CSS. It is simple to use and comes with advance features like sorting columns, exporting data, and using formulas in your tables.
See how to add tables in WordPress posts and pages.
As the name suggests, Polldaddy allows you to add polls, surveys and quizzes to your WordPress site. Polldaddy makes it very simple to create polls and quickly embed them into your posts. The only downside is that it asks you to connect to your WordPress.com account.
Alternative: Gravity Forms, SurveyMonkey
Affiliate marketing is the main source of income for many website owners. Adding and managing affiliate links can be a time consuming task, this is where ThirstyAffiliates comes in. It is an affiliate link manager which allows you to easily add affiliate links, cloak links with pretty URLs, and auto-insert links for keywords. See our guide on how to add affiliate links in WordPress with ThirstyAffiliates.
9. After The Deadline
After the deadline allows you to check your WordPress posts and pages for grammar and spelling mistakes. Developed by Automattic, it also checks your posts for style which allows you to improve readability of your content.
10. Floating Social Bar
Most social media plugins for WordPress slow down your site’s page speed. Floating social bar is the best WordPress social media plugin which only loads your social media buttons when needed. It adds a sticky floating bar on your WordPress posts to maximize your social media visibility.
See how to use Floating Social Bar
11. nRelate Related Content
Displaying related content at the end of your articles is an effective way to increase pageviews. nRelate is a third-party related content service provider. It is available as a WordPress plugin and allows you to easily display related posts with your articles in WordPress.
Alternatives: 5 Best Related Posts Plugins for WordPress
WordPress has a built-in commenting system. However, if your site receives lots of comments, then you are better off with Disqus. A third party commenting system Disqus comes equipped with anti-spam, faster load times, easy comment subscription options. Check out our guide on how to add Disqus commenting system in WordPress to learn why we switched from default WordPress comments to Disqus.
Alternative: JetPack Comments
There are many WordPress slider plugins available on the market. However, most of them slowdown your website significantly. Soliloquy is the fastest WordPress slider plugin. It allows you to create beautiful responsive sliders in WordPress without slowing down your page load times. It is also very easy to use, even for absolute beginners.
Alternatives: Which is the Best WordPress Slider? Performance + Quality Compared
14. Easy Digital Downloads
Easy Digital Downloads is the easiest way to sell digital goods with WordPress. It comes with multiple payment gateways, recurring payments, discount codes, reports, and dozens of addons. It is easy to set up, even for beginners, and strong enough for developers to customize easily.
Alternatives: WooCommerce, iThemes Exchange
MailChimp is one of the most popular email service provider. It allows you to build your email list, design emails, and send it to your users. It is very beginner friendly and at the same time powerful enough for experienced users.
Alternatives: Aweber, CampaignMonitor
OptinMonster is the best WordPress lead generation plugin. It allows you to add beautiful optin forms into your WordPress site and helps you get more subscribers (see how we increased our email subscribers by 600% with OptinMonster). It comes with page level targeting, split testing, analytics, and exit-intent technology which allows you to display a lightbox popup when a user is about to leave your website.
See how to build your email list in WordPress with OptinMonster.
17. Gravity Forms
Gravity Forms is the most beginner friendly contact form plugin for WordPress. Not only you can create contact forms, you can also use it add surveys, lightbox popup forms, user submitted posts, and many other things. It also stores your form entries into database and you can export them anytime you want.
18. CC Search
It is a proven fact that people find images more engaging than text. However, finding images that you are legally allowed to use is not that simple. CC Search allows you to search through creative commons licensed images. You can restrict the search to look for images you are allowed to use and modify. Check out our guide on how to find and insert creative commons licensed images for your WordPress blog posts.
Also checkout our guide on how to find royalty free images for your WordPress blog posts.
Ever wanted to add professional looking graphics to your site? Canva allows you to create beautiful graphic designs, edit images, create posters, with a simple and intuitive drag and drop interface. It is extremely easy to use even for beginners.
PiktoChart makes it possible for anyone to create beautiful infographics, charts, and presentations. It has hundreds of templates and allows you to upload your own photos. You can use the simple drag and drop interface to create any kind of infographic.
21. Google Drive
Google Drive makes it easier for you to share documents, collaborate with teams, and access your stuff from any device. Google’s cloud storage service is a reasonably good alternative to desktop office applications. It comes with 15 GB free storage which is shared with your Gmail and Google+ accounts.
TimeDoctor is a productivity tool that allows you to see exactly how you spent time while working. It can be used by an individual as well as teams. As a time tracking tool it can monitor websites, applications, and idle time.
Ever wanted to schedule emails to send later? Boomerang allows you to schedule emails in your Gmail account. It also allows you to automatically send follow up emails if you don’t get a response in a given time. Boomerang is available as a browser extension for Chrome, Firefox, and Safari. It is also available on mobile and android devices.
Trello is a project management tool. It offers a visual to organize and manage your projects. A typical Trello board is a list of lists displayed as cards. Add team members to any card, assign tasks, and get things done. Trello displays real time activity on the same board and you can everything that is happening on a project.
There is no excuse for using weak passwords or using the same password for different services. But the problem is how do you remember all these passwords? LastPass is a password manager that stores all your password under one secure vault. After installing LastPass, you can use it to auto generate strong passwords and save them in just one click.
Alternatives: 1Password, Dashlane
26. Twitter Search
Twitter is the chatter box of the web. Use Twitter search to find content ideas. See what users are talking about topics related to your website and then reach out to those users to engage them.
27. Google WebMaster Tools
Google Webmaster Tools allows website owners to check how the search engine sees their website. It allows you to check the most commonly used queries where your site appears. It is a comprehensive set of tools, it shows reports on duplicate titles, crawl errors, search queries, indexed content, etc.
See how to add your WordPress site to Google Webmaster Tools
28. Google Keyword Planner
Google’s keyword planner tool gives you an estimate of search volume for keywords. Using this tool you can identify keywords worth writing for. You can also find long tail keywords with high search volume. This will allow you to easily rank your posts for these keywords.
29. EMV Headline Analyzer
Emotional Market Value headline analyzer tool checks your post titles, headings, and headlines for emotional impact. Studies have shown that users find headlines with higher EMV much more appealing. Testing your headlines for EMV will teach you to write more persuasive titles and call of actions.
Feedly is a modern news/RSS feed reader. It allows you to view and read content from all your favorite site in one place. Feedly is available on the web, as browser extension, and as app on Android and iOS devices.
See also: 15 Must Have Mobile Apps for WordPress Users and Bloggers
BufferApp provides a better way to share your content across social media. It allows you to schedule and share your content across Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin from a single dashboard. You can plan your whole day’s tweets and status updates in one go.
See our guide on how to schedule WordPress posts for social media with BufferApp.
Hootsuite is a social media management tool for marketers. It allows you to add teams to monitor and engage across your social media profiles. It also allows you to schedule updates, view multiple streams at once, and manage multiple accounts from a single dashboard.
33. Google URL Builder
Did you know that you can track outgoing links on your website in Google Analytics? All you have to do is embed a few strings in your URL and then see how this URL performs in your Google Analytics reports.
See our guide on how to track links in WordPress using Google Analytics.
RavenTools is a suite of tools and utilities for professional marketers and SEO experts. It allows you to monitor and improve your marketing campaigns, do site audits, and get instant reports on your campaigns and sites.
HARO stands for Help A Reporter Out, its a free service which connects experts to reporters. Experts gets questions from reporters if they need any help in that particular area of expertise. When answering the question you can request the reporter to mention your name, blog, or startup in their story.
FiveHundredPlus is an online service that helps you build stronger relationships with your LinkedIn contacts. Think of it as a personal CRM software that helps you interact with your connections and engage them. It is very useful in making stronger business relationships on LinkedIn.
Alternative: Rapportive, Ming.ly
Viewbix is a video marketing platform that allows you to make your videos more engaging. Viewbix helps WordPress users rebrand their YouTube videos with a customized video player with call for action buttons, signup forms, subscribe buttons, etc.
See our guide on how to add highly engaging videos in WordPress with Viewbix
Camtasia is a screen recording software available for Windows and Mac. Extremely useful for sites where you need to walk through users. It allows you to easily edit your videos, add graphics, animations, arrows, sounds, etc.
Alternatives: Screenflow, CamStudio
Your site’s uptime and speed are crucial for the success and growth of your business. Pingdom is a website performance and uptime monitoring service. It offers free tools that you can use to monitor website speed and uptime.
If you manage multiple WordPress sites for yourself or for clients, then you would know how frustrating it could be to update them all one by one. InfiniteWP allows you to manage all your WordPress sites from a single dashboard. See our guide on how to manage multiple WordPress sites using InfiniteWP.
Alternative: ManageWP and iThemes Sync.
Here are some bonus tools to help you grow your WordPress powered website.
IFTTT is an online tool which allows you to put the internet on work for you. You can automate your social media sharing, organize your text messages, even handle your calls using IFTTT. Checkout our guide on how to automate WordPress and Social Media with IFTTT.
TargetPattern helps you find useful connections on Twitter and boost your user engagement. Simply sign up for the service and provide a few hashtags that describe your business, product, or interest. Target pattern will then find the valuable users that share your interest. It will also display the relevant tweets from those users which you can use as an icebreaker.
That’s all for now. We hope these tools help you manage and grow your WordPress blog.