Cloudways is a fantastic bang for your buck. You get Managed WordPress Hosting performance for a fraction of the cost. It’s lightning fast, has free SSL, staging environments, and automatic backups. Support is OK, but still good enough that I'd recommend Cloudways for most people.
If you want to take your hosting to the next level, GridPane is the way to go. It's what I use to host most of my websites now. You pick your server and they add their highly performant stack on top. It's most cost-effective if you manage multiple websites, and want to be more involved in optimizing your servers.
If you host medium-to-enterprise level sites, aren't sensitive about pricing, and would rather not be tinkering around with your servers, check out WP Engine. They're not cheap, but they provide fantastic support and are a good worry-free premium hosting solution.
Oxygen is simply the most powerful website builder for WordPress. While it's not as easy to use for novice users or clients who edit their own site, no other builder matches its performance. It has virtually no bloat and let's you create highly-custom dynamic websites. It's what I use for this site and most client sites.
Elementor is a very good option for the average user. It doesn't offer the same power as Oxygen, but it has plenty of available addons and can be very quick to create standard layouts. I often use Elementor to quickly build landing pages and for sites where the client will be managing the content.
ThriveCart is a great option if you want a checkout system that doesn’t rely on WordPress or WooCommerce. It also comes with upsells, downsells, order bumps, custom checkout forms, and subscriptions, but has a bit less flexibility when it comes to styling. It can currently be purchased for a one-time fee, making the decision virtually a no-brainer.
CartFlows is a great way to create beautiful e-commerce funnels on WordPress. It ties into WooCommerce, allowing you to create custom product pages, checkouts, and thank you pages. It also let's you easily create upsells, downsells, order bumps, and custom checkout forms. If you're using WooCommerce, you should get CartFlows.
This is a brand new e-commerce platform for WordPress that I'm really excited about. It's headless, meaning it doesn't add any bloat to your website (unlike WooComemrce). Currently it's best suited for digital products and one-off sales. You can read my full review of SureCart here.
Convertful is a very good popup and opt-in form builder. While most page builders have popups and forms built-in, Convertful's magic sauce is in allowing you to deeply integrate with your email marketing CRM. This lets you show opt-ins based on lists, tags, etc, and create highly targeted calls-to-action.
WS Form is the most powerful form builder I've ever used. It has features that simply aren't available elsewhere, making it almost as much of an app builder as it is a form builder. Their support is also really helpful and responsive. This one is easy to recommend.
Read my full review here. You can also use the coupon code NEWPULSE to get 20% off at checkout.
Fluent Forms is a great all-purpose form builder. It has an easy-to-use interface, plenty of conditional logic built in, and allows you to create conversational forms (think TypeForm). Its founder is active in the WP community, and the plugin is well supported by most page builders.
Server-level caching is where it's at these days, but WP Rocket has introduced a bunch of speed optimization features that make it essential for any website. Including CSS/JS minification, delay JS execution, video lazy-loading, link preloading, CDN integration and more. It works really well with all the hosts I mentioned above.
Optimizing the images on your website is super important for page speed and search rankings. ShortPixel is the best plugin I've tested in terms of reducing file size & ease-of-use, and I use it on all the sites I build. It's also great for automatically converting your images to WebP format - reducing file sizes even further.
I previously used Wordfence, but NinjaFirewall offers a better Web Application Firewall (WAF) at the free level. Its rules are updated every few hours as opposed to every 30 days, and it processes requests before they even reach your website. This allows it to block more attacks and use up less of your server resources.
Untitled UI is easily the best Figma UI kit I've used so far. If you're building a website for a startup, SaaS, or tech company and need a design framework with a ton of different prebuilt layouts - it's pretty much a no brainer.
Read my full review here. You can also use the coupon code NEWPULSE to get 15% off at checkout.
Not only has BrandBird sped up my content creation process, it's made it a lot more enjoyable. I love being able to take a simple screenshot and make it look amazing in 5 seconds flat. If you want nice visuals for your content or social media posts, it's definitely worth trying out.
Read my full review here. You can also use the coupon code NEWPULSE20 to get 20% off at checkout.
Figma is life. Along with Oxygen, it's easily one of my favorite pieces of software. You’re able to quickly create pixel perfect web & app designs, and it’s much more efficient than using something like Photoshop. All my site builds get designed in Figma first. Their free plan is very generous and 100% usable.
ui8 is similar to Envato Elements, but has fewer, more premium resources. It has some beautiful modern web/app UI kits, icon sets, mockups, illustrations, and templates. You can choose to buy items individually or get an all-access pass.
Envato Elements is a handy resource to have for a wide variety of graphical assets. It’s a monthly subscription, but you have unlimited access to all their graphics, videos, stock photos, sound effects, templates, fonts etc.
Its email editor could use a face-lift, but ActiveCampaign is one of the more powerful email marketing platforms out there. You’re able to build complex automations and it integrates with most other marketing tools. ActiveCampaign is my current choice for any business that isn’t an ecommerce store.
If you write a newsletter, you should definitely check out Newsletter Glue. It let's you publish to WordPress AND your email service provider (like ActiveCampaign) at the same time. I've been using it for The Lab Report since the beginning of 2022, and it's easily saved me 1-2 hours a week.
Read my full review here. You can also use the coupon code NEWPULSE10 to get 10% off at checkout.
FluentCRM made a splash when it launched in late 2020. Most ESPs can get really expensive the more contacts you add. It still has a lot of catching up to do, but the beauty of FluentCRM is that it's self-hosted - you pay one flat price whether you have 100 subscribers or 100k subscribers.
If you run a traditional Shopify or WooCommerce store, Klaviyo will provide the deepest integration. Its UI can be a little primitive at times, but compared to Mailchimp or most other email marketing platforms, you’re able to build some really advanced flows.
Notion is a beautiful productivity tool. It's like a Google Docs + Trello + Excel + Evernote combined. It's great to use as a daily journal, to-do list, habit tracker, goal planner, and a place to keep track of any thoughts that float across your mind. It works well for both personal use and business teams.
ClickUp is one of the most powerful project management tools out there. They add new features at an insane pace and are very receptive to the community's feedback.
Bonjoro allows you to send customers/contacts personalized videos in an easy & automated fashion. It sends you a notification when a contact meets your trigger criteria, you record the quick video through their app, and they send it out automatically. It’s a great way to engage your audience.
If you need an advanced accounting platform, Xero is the winner. It has the best multi-currency features of all the platforms I've tested, it directly integrates with a ton of bank accounts, and you’re able to use your own Stripe and PayPal accounts to accept payments on your invoices. For me, the time savings make it easily worth the price over Wave.