Other Helpful Tools for Freelancers (WordPress Toolkit Part 2)

Episode 46 April 21, 2022 00:24:09
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WP Review
Other Helpful Tools for Freelancers (WordPress Toolkit Part 2)
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Joe Casabona

Show Notes

Last week I told you about my must-use tools for my WordPress freelance toolkit. But that's not the end of the WordPress toolkit story. There are thousands, maybe millions, of plugins and features out there. And today I want to give you the rest of the best, as well as some honorable mentions for tools to add to your WordPress freelance toolkit.

Brought to you by GoDaddy ProGet all of the show notes, and a written to be read article over at https://wpreview.io/46

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Episode Transcript

Last week I told you about my must-use tools for my WordPress Freelance Toolkit. We talked about hosting, backups, security, optimization, performance, a theme, a way to build complex content, which was not a page builder, forms, plugin, redirection, and an email service provider or ESP integration. But that's not the end of the WordPress toolkit story. Now, there are thousands, millions, maybe of plugins and features out there. And today I want to give you the rest of the best as well as some honorable mentioned for tools to add to your WordPress Freelance Toolkit. We'll get into all of that in a minute. Hey, real quick, before we get started. I want to tell you about my new Creator Toolkits Newsletter. I want to help you find the right tools to make your personal and business life easier. Anyone can create content anytime, anywhere. But finding the right tools that add more value to your content creation process is hard. From figuring out the best membership plugin to choosing an LMS, the process can be overwhelming. And that's why I've created this very free, very weekly, Creator Toolkits Newsletter. Every Wednesday at 7:00 AM Eastern, you will get a tip or tool delivered directly to your inbox. Again, this is completely free to join. You can sign up over at [creatorcourses.com/toolkits]. And as a thank you, you'll get a set of toolkits I've already created as well as a free private podcast. So if you want to find the right tools to make your life easier especially when you're creating, head on over to [creatorcourses.com/toolkits] and sign up today. All right. So now that we've covered the must-have tools, let's talk about the rest of the best. And what exactly does that mean? Well, I mentioned in that first episode that there are things like SEO tools, social media tools, and a few things to make your life easy as a freelancer. That's what we're going to dive into today. Hey, everybody. And welcome to WP Review. A show that provides analysis on what's happening in WordPress and what it means for users and business owners in the ecosystem. This podcast is brought to you by GoDaddy Pro. My name is Joe Casabona. And today I want to keep telling you about my WordPress Freelance Toolkit. And you might be wondering, is this analysis about what's going on in the WordPress space? Here's the thing, though. There's a lot going on in the WordPress space. Wordpress.com, it just caused a whole hubbub by changing prices that they then walked back. If you want to get kind of the low down on that, I strongly recommend you check out the WP Minute. I will have that in the show notes over at {wpreview.io/46]. They cover more news-related stuff. The analysis though is, how are you as a freelancer or a small business owner, how are you supposed to make heads and tails of this? How are you supposed to go about your business? And by and large, the things that [.com] is doing will not affect you? So what I'm trying to do is show you how to be the most efficient freelancer or small business owner pulling on or drawing on my 20 years of experience doing it. And using the right tools is important for that because you don't want to waste time. So I will evaluate more tools and talk about them with you. But this toolkit should set the stage for you to do even better work in the WordPress space. So, let's talk about the rest of the toolkit. Rounding out the toolkit are plugins that I tend to use everywhere. These aren't, again, these aren't must-haves for me. There are other options, right? Maybe roundup episodes are coming. But these plugins are the ones that are generally my go-to. So the first is an SEO plugin. It's Yoast SEO for search engine optimization. They are the big fish and the longest-standing WordPress SEO plugin. It's the one I'm the most familiar with. It's the one I tend to like. I still use it. But they're really heavy-handed with their upsells, and the ramifications of their sale to New Fold Digital remain to be seen. I’m a little suspect of New Folds Digital because they were Endurance at first and they own all of those kind of smarmy shared hosting companies. And so their practices have not been the best in rebranding to a new name and then picking up a few brands that have the goodwill of the people. It hasn't turned me off, but it hasn't really fooled me. I'm still a little suspect. I'm still going to use it though. I am trying out SEO Press. SEO Press Pro on a couple of websites. But it's been a hit and miss for me. For example in some instances, it tells me that I need to enable a PHP function called curl in order for it to work when on the same hosting platform with a different site, I don't have to. And frankly, I'm not about, you know, I'm a programmer. But I'm not trying to do all of these things just to get an SEO plugin to work. So if that is a necessity for me than you’re not going to do it. SEO, Yoast SEO, you walk through the wizard, the installation wizard, and then you're done. And then you can use it as much or as little as possible. But it provides metrics. I won't say good metrics, but it provides metrics for you. And that's what I like about the Yoast SEO. The other thing about Yoast SEO, if you get the pro or the premium version is you can set cornerstone content, which is really important because it tells search engines like, “Hey, this is, I consider this really important” but they'll also automatically create redirects if you change a permalink or delete a post. So, it'll let you know, and then it'll have you redo it. So if you are using Yoast SEO premium, I think it's called premium but the paid version of Yoast SEO. Then maybe you don't need the redirection plugin mentioned in the previous toolkit. Next up is BlockMeister. BlockMeister is a block pattern builder. You can use it without needing code. And that's what I really like about it. Right. I have a whole course in the LinkedIn Learning library on how to make block patterns. It's like a block pattern cookbook. But if I don't need to code them myself, that's a big win, right. Because I am using the way you create a block pattern, right, is to use the block editor anyway. And then copy all of the code, escape it, and then put it into a plugin with the proper categories and things like that. I have a tutorial on YouTube. I'll be sure to link that in the show notes as well. Again, those are over at [wpreview.io]. But if I don't have to do any of that and BlockMeiter lets me do it. The free version is really good. For me, it's a must-use at this point. And generally, I don't know if the pro version does this. Maybe I should check it out and make sure because this would actually be really valuable to me. Being able to sync between sites. Right. So, okay. So pro. I'm going to reread right from the website, right? This is the good kind of podcast content that people want. For a BlockMeister, if you would like even more features like group locking, cloning, activating, or deactivating individual plugins, exporting, importing, controlling, which core third-party patterns are set and allowed to load, you can get their professional version. So that's a good value proposition for me, especially because it is quickly becoming an important part of my toolkit. And generally, I'm going to share the same opt-ins between sites. So, oh gosh! And the price is like, it looks like it's $19 per site. Oh! It's in…you know what? It's interesting. Their pricing. Again, great! Reading a website is great podcast content. But their pricing, t's all for a single site. And you just get more features depending on the level that you need. So export your custom block patterns and import. I would want that for $29 a year and I would want a 10 site license. Oh oh. And the scaled pricing is very generous, right? So for 10 sites, it would cost $59. One for one site would cost $29. And for a hundred sites, it would be $119. So, the scaled pricing is very generous. So that's definitely something I'm going to look into in the near future. But I've spent a lot of time on Block Meister. Basically, if you're using block patterns, which if you're freelancing, you should, right, because you're probably creating common things for your clients, especially if you're using something like Kadence Elements or the Kadence Blocks. Right. You'll want to maybe move those between sites and change up the branding. So BlockMeister seems like it's going to be a thing for freelancers. And then finally, I guess the rest of the best of the rest of the toolkit, Scriptless Social sharing for the share buttons. I know you can add social media and sharing buttons with a block editor now. I'm actually a little fuzzy on sharing buttons. It might just be social media buttons. But Scriptless Social Media sharing is such a lightweight rock, solid plugin that I prefer it a lot more over everything else. It doesn't use any of the social media sites of scripts as the name implies. And it even has an SVG option. And so it accomplishes extremely well. Its main mission of adding social sharing buttons without any bloat. Without adding loading time to your site. And maybe you're thinking at this point, right. I've mentioned a bunch of tools including the sharing, why not just use Jetpack? Right? Jetpack has a lot of different features that are, I don't know, continually more convoluted. I just…I'm not a fan of Jetpack. I don't like that you need to Log in to [.com] to use it. So, yeah. A lot of the things I mentioned here are going to be part of the Jetpack suite. But I'd rather have, you know, 14 plugins than one giant plugin with 40 features and I'm only using 14. And I'd rather use a plugin that doesn't require me to log in to a third-party site, especially if I'm doing client work, right? Cause I'm not going to have every client site logged in on my wordpress.com account. So, Scriptless Social sharing buttons are great if you are looking for something that like automatically publishes or automatically shares when you publish a blog post. There are a lot of tools out there. Maybe that's something I can talk about in a future episode, let me know. The way I'm currently doing it is with Zapier because I have Zapier. Well, I go to Zapier to Pubbler which is a social sharing platform. But you could use like social web suite. That's a good one. I think they're a little bit pricey there. I think they're probably going after more enterprise-style clients. But there are a lot of different options out there. Buffer is probably one that you could do. But those are the plugins that I use the most. So, there are also a bunch of honorable mentions. We'll get into those. But first, let's hear from our sponsor. This episode is brought to you by GoDaddy Pro. GoDaddy Pro is an experience tailored specifically to the needs of web designers and developers and helps them more efficiently manage their work and deliver results for their clients. Combining website, client, and project management, GoDaddy Pro is an integrated solution made by and for web professionals. Whether you are new to web design or looking to grow your business, you'll find the tools, products, guidance, and support to help you deliver results for clients. At the heart of GoDaddy pro is the hub. From one intuitive dashboard, the hub seamlessly brings your sites, clients, and projects together. Manage and monitor all of your client's WordPress sites from a single place. No more juggling multiple client passwords. With one click, perform bulk updates, backups, and security checks no matter where your client's sites are hosted. You will save time and free up your day. Integrated Project Management makes it easier to keep track of your client communications and deliver projects on time. Electronically sign, notarize, and store documents. You can create a visual timeline to break down projects into smaller tasks, to stay on track, and on time. Access all of your client accounts with a single sign-on through their tailored shopping experience by-products to help clients grow their business like powerful e-commerce stores using Woocommerce. You can always reach dedicated and knowledgeable customer support 24/7. On top of that, you'll find a thriving community of web designers and developers who share advice, insights, and learning opportunities. GoDaddy Pro is free to join. Head over to [go.me/wpreview] to get started. That's [go.me/wpreview]. Okay. So let's get into what I call the honorable mentions. I want to round out this toolkit with plugins and tools which I think are great, but don't use regularly. You might want to add them to your own toolkit or have them in your back pocket for when you do need them. WP Migrate, formerly WP Migrate DB Pro (I'm glad they changed the name). They made a couple of changes recently. They changed their name to WP Migrate because now it's not just inclusive of databases. There are database lists of ways to migrate data, which is fantastic. They also consolidate Their ad-on into the main plugin. So like themes and plugins, others like move themes and plugins and move media files were separate ad-ons that are now part of the core plugin, which is great. So WP Migrate is the best data migration plugin on the market. I use it to move sites from live to local staging to production and everything in between. I've even used it in a pinch to make it a real-time backup of a database just in case I blew something up. So WP Migrate, I'm a big fan of it. And I strongly recommend that. If you're not, I don't have it installed on every site because I don't find myself needing it on every site. But for the sites where I need it, that's my go-to tool. A WP-Sweep is fantastic. It's free. It's a fantastic plugin. I run routinely on my bigger sites to clean out the WordPress database and improve performance. This will do things like delete orphaned content, clear out revisions, delete unused transients, and things like that. Just a bunch of cruft that happens with a WordPress database over time. So, WP Migrate like the free version will give you an SQL dump, right? So the one, two punch of WP Migrate and WP-Sweep backing up the database and then cleaning it up is really great for basic site maintenance. And I strongly recommend those. Again, this is not something I have installed on every site all the time. But when I do need it, it's the first thing I go to. Next up is WP Wallet. Full disclosure, WP Wallet is a new sponsor of my show, How I Built It. And gosh! I wouldn't have known about this if they hadn't reached out to sponsor the show. But this is a tool. This is something I wish I had for my freelance business years ago. Managed premium plugins and easily invoice clients for them. They're not going to get the ad reheated here. But if you want to hear the ad read, you can head over to [howibuilt.it] and check them out. Or you can just go to [wpwallet.com/joe]. You know, give me the extra credit, I guess. But they'll automatically scan your site without the need for an extra plugin, grabbed the premium plugins. And you can also invoice clients. So as a freelancer, this tool seems invaluable to me because either a year buying the developer version of a plugin and just using your license key or you're making your clients do the dance. Right. Okay. So go to [gravityforms.com] and buy this version of Gravity forms and then give me the license key. And where, you know, with a tool like WP Wallet, you can buy the developer license and you're still using your license key. Or you could just buy them their own version of it and invoice them. Right? So there are a few options there. So WP Wallet, check it out. I like it. As a freelancer, I think this might be the best honorable mentioned tool on the list if you're getting a bunch of premium plugins for your clients. All right. Next up are Insert Headers and Footers. If you're not using a theme like Kadence, which supports header and footer scripts, this plugin is perfect for things like adding Google analytics. Or, you know, Hotjar or Phantom, Fathom Analytics, whatever. Any script that you might want to add to the header or the footer. And I'll add a quick caveat here. I go back and forth on this, honestly. But I think using a plugin for stuff like Google analytics is probably the better bet. You know, Kadence has a way to add Google analytics, but if you ever…it's probably more likely that you'll change your theme than it is you'll delete a plugin explicitly for adding analytics. Right? So like, I mean, you can get like a Google Analytics plugin and that's fine. And you have more integration there. But I'm curious to hear what you think about that If you're in this business. Add it to the theme. Add it as a separate plugin. Add it to the functions dot PHP file or, you know, just add your own simple, lightweight scripts. Let me know. Let me know what you think. I'm curious. You can get in touch over at [wpreview.io/46]. The last plugin I'll mention here. Okay. The second to last plugin cause there's one I thought of just now is a Thirsty Affiliates Pro. And I'm including this because it's on four out of seven of my own current personal sites. It's great for managing affiliate links. And this is not going to be a need that everybody has and certainly, not all of your clients have. But it's also just a fantastic auto-linking plugin. Right? So what it'll do, you add a link. It'll create a redirect link, which you know, maybe to stay on brand. You want to create these branded links anyway that are coming from your site. So, but then you, so you provide the link, it'll create the redirect and then you can tag a bunch of keywords that will automatically get linked in your content. So it'll filter the content, look for those words and add the link. And you can limit the number of times it automatically links. And you can say, “Hey, don't include it on the homepage” which is good. And you can say, “Hey, don't include it in headings” which is good. But this is a great tool. So like, if there's, you know if you want to make sure you're going back to SEO, Internally linking to your cornerstone content, you can use Thirsty Affiliate for that. So I think that it's pretty nifty and I would recommend it. Check it out at least. And then the last plugin I'll mention here that I haven't mentioned in the Freelance toolkit, so I'll have to update it is Query Monitor. Query Monitor is a very developery and you should never use it on a production site. So it will...When you open a page, it'll tell you like all the queries that that page is generating. I think it might show you hooks and filters. But it's a really good way to troubleshoot your site if something has gone wrong, I would recommend it for that site. So that's it. That is all of the honorable mentions. And that is part 2 of two of my freelance or WordPress ToolKit for 2022. These tools are meant to help you standardize the website creation process without really handcuffing you. I think that's the important part, right? If you say I always use the (Whatever. I always use some Genesis theme.) you're a little bit more handcuffed. Maybe that's not fair. Maybe Genesis is fine. But you know, if you always use like the same theme, generally your sites are going to look the same. But with Kadence, for example, it's not going to. And then with the honorable mentions, you have a little bit more flexibility as well, without handcuffing into something like Jetpack and wordpress.com. So, that is it for this episode of WP Review. Again, I want to hear your thoughts on the Toolkit. What are some must-use plugins that I didn't know that you think should be included? Let me know. Thanks so much for listening. To get even more WordPress insights and subscribe to the show, and to get the show notes, head over to [WPreview/46]. If you liked this episode, share it with a friend, especially if you shared part one with them cause this is the thrilling conclusion. Thanks to GoDaddy Pro for sponsoring. Until next time. I'm Joe Casabona, and I'll see you out there.

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