The best tools to build powerful websites.
🔥 Editor’s Note
Welcome to the NewPulse Labs resource section! I’ve curated all the tools & software I recommend to build and grow online businesses.
To get an important disclaimer out of the way: some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I may earn a commission. This commission comes at absolutely no cost to you.
That being said, please know that these are tools I’d fully recommend with or without an affiliate link. I’ve tested or used each and every tool extensively, for both client and personal projects.
If you’d rather not use my link, you can always Google the product name as well.
Need a personal recommendation? Feel free to reach out!
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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.
Rocket.net might be the fastest managed WordPress host I’ve ever tested. The front-end of your site loads in a split second, but even just seeing how fast it is to navigate around the WP admin made me re-think my setup. I’d highly recommend Rocket.net for those who want blazing-fast hosting without the fuss of tinkering with servers.
Building Your Website
I rebuilt this site using Cwicly, and am starting to use it on most client sites going forward. There are some other great page builders out there, but what I like most about Cwicly is that it’s built on top of the WordPress block editor. This means you’re getting a native WP experience and can use other blocks within your pages. Their developer Louis is also a machine!
Relume Library has become my starting point for any new custom website build. The AI sitemap and wireframe builder saves countless hours during the planning phase, and their free Figma kit featuring common layouts makes it easy to piece your site together. You can check out my full review of the Relume AI Site Builder here.
Bricks Builder is another really great page builder with a ton of power and a silky smooth UI. The biggest difference between Bricks and Cwicly is that Bricks is a traditional page builder. If you’re not the biggest fan of Gutenberg, Bricks would be my top pick.
Breakdance is a traditional page builder that focuses more on ease-of-use. While still very powerful, it tucks away advanced controls in favor of a simpler UI. And unlike many other beginner-friendly page builders, it still has performance and flexibility at its core. Breakdance is a great site builder if you’re looking to build pages quickly. You can check out my full review on Breakdance Builder here.
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.
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.
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 WS Form review here. There’s also a coupon code to get 20% off at checkout.
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.
Admin and Site Enhancements
ASE is a plugin that has found its way onto all my new site builds. It has a ton of little admin functions that you would normally need separate plugins for. I featured it on my newsletter here, but it’s replaced at least 5+ plugins on this site. It’s also great for cleaning up the WP backend, making any site feel a lot less cluttered.
There’s a handful of good backup plugins out there, but WPvivid is the one I’m rocking right now. I use it as an additional layer to my host’s backups, and have it auto-upload backups to the cloud. The UI isn’t the prettiest, but it packs a lot of features and has been reliable whenever I’ve had to use it. The lifetime pricing also makes it an attractive option.
After Google Analytics gave everyone a reason to switch, Plausible Analytics has become my platform of choice. It’s not free, but is far more focused on being lightweight, easy to use, and protecting the privacy of your visitors.
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.
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.
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.
You can read my full review here. Using our link will also get you 20% 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 to a web designer what a hammer is to a contractor. If you create want to create high-end pixel perfect web & app designs, you need Figma. All my site builds get designed in Figma first. Their free plan is generous and 100% usable.
There are a thousand and one screen recorder apps, but Screen Studio changed that game. It’s buttery smooth to use, and it somehow makes every screen recording look high-production. I didn’t think it was possible for me to love a screen recorder this much.
Testimonial.to is a really easy way to collect testimonials/reviews and embed them on your website. You can either ask your customers for a text or video testimonial directly, or automatically pull them from social media. The UI is well-thought out and enjoyable to use. You can read my full review of Testimonial here.
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.
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.