This is our toolbox we use to successfully maintain and develop the wpcrib blog. Some of these tools and resources are free products, some are paid, and some have a free initial trial. However, they all benefit our blog creation process and are a great help in a smooth daily workflow.
Website creation & blogging tools
WordPress is powering 25% websites in the world, including the wpcrib blog. It is a free and open-source content management system (CMS) supplemented with thousands of plugins and themes to help you build whatever sort of websites.
We like it because of its extensibility and flexibility. Using WordPress we have achieved to have a well organized and functional blogging site.
Starter Theme is a free WordPress theme that is suitable for all kind of projects. It combines the flexibility of multipurpose themes and offers great eCommerce solutions.
This theme has become our best companion in building the wpcrib blog, especially its perfect fit for the Visual Composer Website Builder - the plugin we use to build our blog with an easy drag and drop maneuvers.
Visual Composer Website Builder is a WordPress plugin that offers a great bunch of free and premium level features in order to build any kind of website. The website builder offers an outstanding library of elements, templates, and add-ons which you can download from Visual Composer Hub marketplace in no time.
Its fast and easy-to-understand interface has let us built our blog in less than a week. The convenience is that many of the required elements are already inside the builder.
For example, to build a sidebar on wpcrib, we used the Template Widget add-on available straight from the Visual Composer Hub. As well as Social Icons, Post Grid and other ready-made elements are available for you to use immediately.
As we have built our site using the Starter theme from Visual Composer, we were happy to entrust our site to their local hosting service. At wpcrib, everything is done and hosted on Visual Composer. The support provided by the Visual Composer team gives us the assurance that everything will be maintained to the highest standards.
Apart from website builder and the WordPress theme mentioned earlier, we have used the following WordPress plugins to create a safe and functional blogging site:
Yoast SEO — great at exporting all focus keywords for better analysis. Although Yoast offers the Free version, we want to take advantage of all the benefits offered by their Premium package. This gives us full optimization for keywords, phrases, related keywords, and even synonyms.
Apart from the keywords, there are several goodies giving the light to a better SEO. Internal link suggestions, social media previews, readability analysis, excellent support and always being ready for Google.
Gravity Forms — an easy tool to create simple and advanced forms for WordPress sites. At wpcrib, we use this plugin to build and maintain our contact form. Added value is its integration capabilities. You can integrate Gravity Forms with Slack, MailChimp, PayPal, and many other popular tools.
Mashshare Share Buttons — the tool that helps to increase the amount of traffic with the assistance of Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks. It allows sharing the wpcrib content written by us or our guest bloggers.
Better Click To Tweet — easy to customize and very well organized tool for encouraging readers to share our written content in a click. It lets us highlight the quote or a sentence in a Twitter way and gives our blog visitors a ready-to-tweet content.
Slack — the plugin allows to send notifications to Slack channels when certain events in WordPress occur. It is useful to get notified whenever there is a new comment or a post pending for a review (helpful to monitor guest blogging activities). We also use Slack for internal and external communication.
Additionally, there are several more plugins used to serve the security, speed, and certain policies. By using the following WordPress plugins, we have ensured that wpcrib works at the highest level:
- Antispam Bee — sophisticated tool-set for effective day to day comment and trackback spam-fighting. Built with data protection and privacy in mind;
- WP Super Cache — the highest rated caching plugin to speed our site up;
- WP GDPR Compliance — this plugin assists our blog to comply with European privacy regulations known as GDPR;
- Glue for Yoast SEO & AMP — the tool that makes sure the default WordPress AMP plugin uses the proper Yoast SEO metadata;
Google Analytics is a virtual data hero consisting of custom reports, remarketing options, multi-channel funnels, and more. It is so likable not only for the fact that it is free, but it also offers statistics for search engine optimization and marketing purposes. It is a must tool to be aware of your audience and constructing a successful website.
At wpcrib, we use Google Analytics to find out how our visitors locate our blog. Once we know that, we can segment them and improve our blog’s UX.
Content performance tools
Grammarly is a great help to ensure proper grammar and spelling in our blog posts. It is a proven fact - fine writing is a key to perform the content strategy. Anyway, haste and negligence can cause foolish mistakes. Grammarly takes care of our content and suggests necessary fixes as we develop our articles. We simply type right into our WordPress content editor and it underlines incorrect words or phrases.
Hemingway App is an online editor that is a great assistant in making our writing bold and clear. Trends are changing, small sentences are on demand now. Raw statistics say that people only read 20% of the whole post.
We spend hours to craft the post but people scan through it in 5 minutes. We are aware of that and make sure to provide the exact content people are looking for. Simple, easy to understand writing that outlines most important as well as goes in-depth if someone is more interested. Hemingway app is great at highlighting lengthy, complex sentences and common errors.
Kraken is an online tool we use to compress our images. Graphics tend to be large in size. It is important to make sure our site loads fast, as well as our images. Kraken optimizes images and accelerates our blog.
What we do is simply upload the necessary graphics into the Kraken, let it compress the files and use the light version of images to avoid the heavy load. Kraken is also great for newsletter content, because who wants to wait for the promotional email to load!?
Active Campaign is a beyond marketing automation tool offering a custom approach for any kind of email. It is loaded with awesome features to be able to shape our audience in bits. We use Active Campaign to send a dynamic content to our subscribers. It is great because we can segment our readers and shape the messaging for each interest.
MeetEdgar is a popular social media automation tool that helps businesses curate content and share posts on a variety of social networks - Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter. It is an easy to use tool that allows categorizing our content on daily basis.
MeetEdgar acts as our virtual social media assistant. We use it to reduce the amount of time we have to spend on social media but still maintain a very active and engaged presence. We can choose to post the content once or schedule it in the loop thus providing our followers with constant and topical information.
Project management tools
Jira software by Atlassian is a development tool used by many agile teams. It is a tool for creating road-maps and progress boards. The tool helps our team to run weekly sprints and keep an eye on our progress in whole. Apart from the everyday to-do list boards, Jira goes in-depth with reports thus providing an all-included solution for agile teams like wpcrib.
Right from the beginning to the done stage, Jira lets us plan, track, release and report our tasks in a way we feel supervised.
Slack is a messaging platform that makes communication among team members not only easier, but better. It lets users create niche channels to keep each topic segmented. For example, channels #general or #random, one could be for general topics regarding the business, whereas random could be for fun and laugh. Every team needs a break! 🙂
At wpcrib, we use those and dozen of other customized channels. It helps us lead the communication between different departments, as well as keep a track on our blog activities as Slack gets integrated with the WordPress and notifies us about new activities on wpcrib.
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