Designers and developers are among the top occupations in the freelance and remote work industry. This is, in part, possible thanks to a variety of remote working tools like communication and time tracking apps, collaboration programs, design and developer platforms and more. In this post, we will look into the most helpful tools for those working closely with WordPress.
WordPress remains the most widely used content management system (CMS) in the world, powering close to 40% of all websites on the Internet. As WordPress is an open-source CMS platform, it allows anyone with the right skills to use and modify WordPress software to create personalized online projects. What’s more, there are plenty of WordPress tutorials online, making it easier for people to learn how to use the platform.
WordPress also offers designers and developers a nice set of tools for working with their software — but in some cases, these may not be enough. If you are working with WordPress but are looking to expand the standard toolkit with more plugins, apps and extensions, we are happy to share our 8 favorite tools for WordPress designers. Let’s get started.
Roots is one of the most popular tools among professional developers. It’s not just one program but more of a comprehensive toolkit aimed at providing you with all the needed resources for designing a WordPress project. Within Roots, you will find all the functionalities you need to cover both server setup to theme development.
The three tools included in the kit include:
- Sage (a starter WP theme that lets you create more advanced themes faster with a set of development tools)
- Bedrock (a WP boilerplate that can be used to better manage a WordPress project, with configuration files and organize plugin files)
- Trellis (an advanced server stack that lets you automatically create and provision a server to host your WordPress site).
Elementor and Beaver Builder Plugins
WordPress Editor generally has all the functionality a blogger might need. It is great for building simple and effective web pages and, together with a variety of templates available in WordPress Themes, will probably suffice for most bloggers. However, if you are working on designing websites with more customized functionality, page builder plugins are what can give you way more control over the design of a website. You will find plenty of options here, but the most popular choices include Elementor and Beaver Builder. Elementor offers more variety when it comes to design options and Beaver Builder can grant you more control over the actual code and functionality of the pages you are designing. You can learn more about the differences between the two plugins here.
FontAwesome, as the name of the tool might suggest, focuses on providing designers with the resources to customize typography and iconography on a WordPress site. The plugin comes with a full library of icons, which include icons for web applications, icons for accessibility and transportation, icons for gestures and genders, file type icons, and spinner icons, among many others. One of the key advantages of the plugin is that it offers really high-quality icons compared to a lot of free resources. The icons have been specifically designed to look good in any size and are all vectors, which means that scaling won’t be an issue either.
Canva is probably one of the most popular quick design tools for both beginners and more experienced users. As a plugin for WordPress, Canva lets you create your own social banners, design logos, themes, infographics, feature images and more. It’s a simple yet effective way of customizing a blog and working with website graphics when you need something quick and not resource-demanding. With Canva, you will have the tools at hand to edit photos and videos and will be able to build your own media library. Plus, you also get access to an extensive library of existing layouts and images that can save you lots of time when working on a project. While Canva does have its limitations when it comes to professional design, it is a great option for quick design solutions and, thanks to the friendly user interface, can be easily used by beginners.
Anyone working with large media files on a daily basis will need an efficient cloud solution for storing images. Keeping them all on your PC can prove unworkable in the long term and you will soon be on the lookout for an online storage option that can easily integrate into WordPress. Google Drive may be a veteran player in the field, but it remains to be highly efficient and, most importantly, widely compatible with other elements of the Google ecosystem. With Google Drive, you get 15GB of free space and options to expand that further when you need to with a paid subscription. Storing, sharing and organizing files is easy and intuitive and the interface is comfortably familiar for anyone using Google and Gmail. Google Drive makes it easier for teams to collaborate and exchange projects when working remotely and there is a dedicated plugin for WordPress, which makes using the tool even more convenient.
Thrive Content Builder
Thrive Content Builder is pretty much an all-in-one solution for building up the front end of a WordPress site. It is suitable for working with all types of pages from sales landing pages to pricing and email lead capture pages. The plugin comes with a drag-and-drop interface and is a simple yet powerful solution for building and editing the visuals on your WordPress page. With Thrive Content Builder, you will be able to visually create and then personalize your website’s
header, footer, blog post templates, layout, search pages, 404s and more. You get lots of useful resources within the plugin including icons, fonts, page dividers and blocks, conversion tools, color management tools and more. You will have the option of creating both static and personalized blog posts with the plugin.
If you are working on a WP design project that involves a large team who are working from different locations, you may also need a tool to monitor remote employee productivity. Traqq can help you check productivity across the board for your WordPress project without interfering with your teammates’ progress or demanding extra resources from their systems. The app is a time tracker with screenshots that will also let you see what your colleagues are working on in real-time without interrupting them or asking for non-stop updates. The best thing about Traqq is that the app is totally free — and that does not mean just a free trial. You get full access to the app’s services and functionality without providing your credit card details. This way, you are at no risk of investing into something you might not use in the long term but can still see if you and your team can benefit from time tracking and activity monitoring.
XAMPP is a helpful productivity tool for designers as it lets one set up WordPress websites locally, on a computer. This way, you won’t need a live server to design and work on your site and can build your project from anywhere without a live demo of your possible mistakes. As XAMPP is open source, it’s free to use, easy to download and quite simple to set up.
Another great thing about the app is that it’s a cross-platform solution and can be used on Windows, Linux, and Mac. The program is effective in helping develop and deploy small to medium high-loaded sites and can be used in conjunction with other tools for more advanced site building.
This is, by far, not an extensive list of apps and extensions that can be helpful for those working with WordPress sites. With that, we hope we’ve been successful in giving you a few more ideas on how to expand your WordPress tool kit with programs that are both effective and free.