Web Design & Digital Marketing Getting Started Guide
With thousands of options for platforms, plugins, themes, and tools available, knowing which are best to use for your project, can take days of testing. I’ve done that testing for you, and ongoingly test alternatives to the list below, to build the most efficient combination of tools to accomplish most projects using Elementor Pro.
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What to Consider When Selecting Products
Disclosure: I only recommend products I would use myself and all opinions expressed here are our own.
This post may contain affiliate links that at no additional cost to you, I may earn a small commission.
Web Design Tools
Every great website, regardless of niche, needs to cover a few areas as efficiently as possible. The goal is to find a combination of products that follow the list above, with minimal overlap. Every site I build starts with WordPress, using the Hello theme, and Elementor Pro combined with the tools below.
Choosing the best web host is step 1 in creating great websites. Good web hosting not only impacts SEO for the client but also your maintenance time requirement. It could be backing up clients’ sites, taking a staging site to live, adding resources, or just getting a sub 1 second load time, Cloudways solves all of these problems.
- Common Problem: You’ve built a client site on your subdomain or staging site, and it’s handover time. Normally you’d find a backup/cloning plugin to take it to their server, then find/replace the old URL in their database, and pray it all still works.
- Cloudways allows you to transfer the server to the client’s account by typing in their email.
Everything you could need in a solid web host to make your life more efficient is included. The ability to accomplish so much, with little time required, for an affordable cost, made me switch all my clients over.
Elementor + Elementor Pro
With the flexibility Elementor offers, combined with the longevity of the company, there’s a good chance the websites you build for clients with it, will be the last website they have built for many years. Whatever change or addition a client may request, there’s a strong chance a plugin exists for Elementor that will allow you to do it.
- Common Problem: You’ve built a site for a client using a ThemeForest theme, and now the developer decided to abandon it, leaving you and your client helpless.
- Elementor allows you to be the theme developer. You’ll never be left struggling to fix a problem that someone else created.
With over 10million users, Elementor is going to be around for a long time, and will only get better.
Finding an easy-to-use caching plugin, that consistently works with your chosen web host can be a headache. FlyingPress comes in to solve that problem because it works great combined with the web host Cloudways.
- Common Problem: 5 hrs into A/B testing settings with your premium caching plugin you’ve found your perfect config, broke the checkout forms.
- FlyingPress has a minimal configuration because it already integrats well with most webhosts. Only a few checkboxes and you’re done.
No more fiddling deep in your server’s admin panel to enable features of your premium caching plugin.
If you’ve spent any time searching for an SEO plugin, you’re asking why not Yoast or RankMath. Both of these are great products, but I felt SEOPress offers more, at a lower price point.
A common theme in recent years for SEO plugins is offering additional features for separate pricing. In the end, you’re stuck paying a high price, for 1 plugin. SEOPress goes the opposite route, by offering everything for one price. No addons required.
The developers follow the SEO world closely to make quick updates to their plugin, following the latest best practice.
Optimizations can come in many forms, but the primary two, to maximize performance, are image handling, and service, script and font management.
ShortPixel is an image compression plugin, that allows you to get the maximum image quality, at the lowest possible image size. Even better, it’ll also automatically create .webp and .avif images, that will be served to visitors, further reducing page size, increasing load times.
If you’re building a site that has more than one or two images, this plugin, or a comparable one is almost required to max out performance.
Digital Marketing Tools
The Digital Marketing scene is flooded with tools, platforms, and programs to help you manage clients ads, social channels, and data better. Below are the ones I’ve chosen to use for my clients.
SocialPilot is a social media management tool that allows you to schedule/post to up to 25 networks at once. You’re probably thinking, who uses 25 social media accounts? Well, why not? If they all can at least provide a profile backlink, and the possibility of a new audience, it makes no sense to skip.
Create 1 post, click a checkbox to share to all 25 networks, and then click Queue, and it’s now scheduled at the best time, for each network, at the next available time slot. You can go from 10 posts a month, to 250, doing LESS work than the 10.
There are a lot of tools that offer very similar, but SocialPilot is the cheapest, and somehow offers the most networks. It’s not as polished, but it’s my go-to.
The list is still being developed. Check back soon.