We get a ton of questions about how to create a high quality WordPress website that is fast, secure, SEO savvy, simple to update, and withstands the test of time. After 8 years of surfing the waves of WordPress here are our answers to the following questions:
- What is the best hosting for a WordPress website?
- What type of theme is the best for a high quality WordPress website?
- What are the best SEO tools for WordPress?
Who offers the best hosting for a WordPress website?
We currently maintain 40-45 client sites at WP Engine. WP Engine is established, well staffed, has a great infrastructure, are accountable, and mean business when it comes to WordPress hosting.
Here’s Why We Use: WP Engine
- WP Engine is established and according to a fair amount of valid online sources they are the only hosting company invested in by Automattic (the creators of WordPress). If it’s good enough for Automattic it’s good enough for us.
- WP Engine is WordPress specific. Their hosting is built especially for WordPress and the entire team at WP Engine has an extensive understanding of WordPress.
- They have phone support and it rocks (most companies at this level don’t). The techs know what they are talking about and always seem to have a positive attitude. They will help you with your hosting as well as general WordPress scenarios.
- WP Engine provides a staging area for your WordPress website. This allows you to create a mirror image of your website and update it without effecting the live version seen by visitors. Once your revisions are done you can push your changes to the live site. You no longer have to make changes directly to your live site.
- They have an easy to use backup and restore system. If your website breaks or something goes haywire you can backup to a previous day at a moments notice. Aside from creating your own backups a restore point happens every day automatically. Check out the video below to see how simple it is.
- WP Engine is secure, optimized, and current. They also update your WordPress install as it evolves to future versions.
- Any plugins that negatively effect the performance of your website aren’t allowed. If you accidentally install a poorly made plugin they politely explain why it’s no good and ask that you remove it. If you forget to, they remove it for you.
- Caching plugins are known to make your website move faster. They are also finicky and hard to work with. With WP Engine no caching plugins are required. They maintain your caching system for you. If your a novice user, not having to deal with a caching plugin is a HUGE help.
WP Engine Introduction Video – 3 Great features :
What is the best type of theme for WordPress?
We highly recommend The Genesis Framework accompanied by a StudioPress child theme
Rather than parroting the information on the StudioPress about their product features I’m going to speak entirely from experience.
I thought it’d be best to address the benefits in two ways:
- What we’ve seen over the past 3+ years of working with non-web-savvy business owners on The Genesis Framework
- How Genesis has benefited us as WordPress designers and developers
How business owners come across The Genesis Framework for their website:
Often our clients typically come to us wanting to move their website to The Genesis Framework for at least one the following reasons:
- While searching Google they notice that Genesis/StudioPress based websites keep showing up at the top of Google search results.
- Throughout their research on building a WordPress website with best practices, great SEO, and more security they discovered The Genesis Framework.
- Industry leaders speak highly of it because they use it themselves.
Benefits of the Genesis Framework For Website Owners:
- Our clients websites have a WAY longer shelf-life. WordPress and the internet changes often and your site has to keep up. The Genesis Framework provides this and your site piggybacks on the updates of a large company rather than a single website developer.
- Because of its easy to use structure our clients websites stay nice looking after they start contributing to it.
- We’ve noticed much better placement in search engines. Google any of the following search terms and you’ll find one of the sites we made towards the top:
– Chicago event lighting (mdmentertainment.com | 1/19 mil.)
– kiley beach (kileybeachresorts.com | 1/1.4 mil.)
– korean cooking blog (mykoreankitchen.com | 7/14 mil.)
– wedding industry website (3200creative.com | 1/120 mil.)
Benefits of the Genesis Framework For WordPress designers and developers:
We were introduced to the Genesis Framework 3 years ago by several of our larger clients. We purchased the StudioPress Pro Plus Package which provides grandfathered access to all current themes and all future themes they develop. This has paved the way for a couple hundred client websites.
Genesis highlights for designers and developers:
- With a child-parent architecture (Genesis is the parent theme, a StudioPress themes is the child) you don’t have to worry about conformity with future WordPress enhancements and updates. You simply work within the parameters of the parent theme and your design is ready for the long haul!
- Each website we design looks completely different on the front-end however they look the same under the hood (same WordPress dashboard layout). After you’ve designed even a handful of websites using a variety of theme providers it gets confusing going back to them and making updates. Genesis crushes this workflow problem by providing different font-end looks while using the same core principals.
- We prefer to have each client purchase a child theme of their own. This allows them to be part of the StudioPress community and have access to changes, revisions, and updates without the need for us. We then use our Pro Plus package resources for the custom child themes and enhancements as we design on top of their simple pre-built child themes.
- We’ve seen some designers working with clients on a small budget and a need for a website. They use a pre-built Genesis Child Themse from the Pro-Plus Package, slightly change the colors, integrate their content and they’re done.
- Clients can update their theme automatically. They can also get support from the StudioPress.com community if you don’t offer support.
Want all of the technical specs?
For the full scoop check out studiopress.com.
What are the best SEO tools for WordPress?
I decided to mention our two faves rather than one. A free SEO tool and a high-end premium SEO tool for WordPress. I use both of the following SEO tools side-by-side. They complement each other extremely well.
Scribe 4.0 is an incredible professional level SEO analyzer for WordPress. It’s extremely detailed yet still easy to use. It also takes a ton of the guess work out of Keyword Research. At 3200 Creative, we’ve been using it for about 3 years now and it’s played a big part in the success of our business.
How we use Scribe SEO for WordPress:
- We write what we want and then use the analyze tool through Scribe to adjust our website for better search engine conformity.
- The keyword analysis tool helps a ton for finding a focus keyword that is being searched online and is low in competition.
- It offers a great site-wide tool for site-wide analysis of content allowing us to see what our websites focus areas are or are not.
The Best Free SEO Tool For WordPress: WordPress SEO by Yoast
As mentioned in the beginning of this post WordPress is like surfing. You ride each wave as long as it’s good. These products have created a great ride for us and our clients and hopefully they can do the same for you.