Here are some of the tools and techniques I use most frequently within the WordPress ecosystem.
I find the Genesis Framework to be a great tool for building custom WordPress sites.
In the past I’d often construct themes from the ground up, but the web changes so quickly that it helps to have a framework that stays up to date and scales well.
A powerful framework like Genesis enables us to build websites that last for the long-term, which saves you money in future updates and maintenance.
I’ve been using WPEngine to host websites for myself and my clients since 2013.
While I don’t believe they’re the right fit for every site, they’ve been a huge help to me and my clients in providing rock-solid service and support for websites that support a growing community of readers and customers.
When one of my clients — or anyone — needs a web host to support a platform where the goal is to keep building traffic, especially when it involves premium content, I’m quick to recommend WPEngine for the job.
Upon first launching the new Cal-Hi Sports platform, we quickly ran into the upper limit of what our original host could do. After switching to WPEngine, we practically eliminated downtime, and the loading speed for the website improved considerably!
Other websites I’ve built have often migrated to WPEngine once they start attracting 100,000 monthly visitors or more.
Premium content plugins
I often make use of third-party plugins such as Paid Memberships Pro and Zippy Courses so that my clients can put together and share a library of premium content that paying readers are excited to learn from.
Through these plugins, you can build a reader-facing or customer-facing online platform that generates revenue for content that you put together.
These kinds of sites typically scale well, growing your results as you get more traffic.
The Cal-Hi Sports website is a prime example of a project I built using Paid Memberships Pro. I put together a system using Paid Memberships Pro to process payments from readers and put certain premium content behind the pay wall, requiring people to pay for access.
For more information about how that project came together, and the results it generated for the business, click below.
Custom post types (CPT)
Custom post types offer a great alternative to standard posts and pages in WordPress.
Posts are meant to be articles. Pages should be reserved for standalone content that doesn’t need systemic custom functionality.
On the other hand, custom post types are easy to implement and they allow you to craft a scalable structure that meets your needs.
The BodyMind Community Care website uses custom post types extensively in order to represent the business’s services to potential clients.
By using custom post types rather than another methodology, the business’s owner can make changes to her services herself, without having to rely on myself or another developer. And when she makes those updates in one place in the back-end, they’re reflected everywhere on the website!
For more information about how that works using custom post types, and how the BMCC project came together, click below.
Advanced custom fields (ACF)
Custom fields help you add more information to your posts, pages, or custom post types.
You can leverage them to turn ordinary pieces of content into something much more full-featured, such as full suite of digital products in a store.
I like to use the Advanced Custom Fields to implement custom fields in a systemic way. The plugin includes many different types of content out of the box, so that you can build wide-ranging content to meet the ideas in your idea.