WordPress Tools

This site uses a number of WordPress tools – as well as some more general tools. For each I list why I use it (basic needs), the name and type (external server, plugin or PC program) of the tool and a description and evaluation.

Basic NeedsTool UsedDescription and Evalution
Create WebsiteWordPressAt WordPress.com you can create a simple site for blogging, that is also hosted there. At WordPress.org you can fetch a more advanced DIY package to install on a webserver.
The WordPress FrontEnd is your actual website, while the BackEnd is the web-based environment you create it in.
Host WebsiteProviderIf you don’t run your own server, you will pay someone to do it for you. They may also help with buying/moving a domain-name. They typically also give you some tools that can setup Apache’s “.htaccess” and other files outside the WP installation. And DNS and SSL…
I use one.com who – like many others – offers a one-click install for the basic WordPress. Thus you don’t need to fetch it at WordPress.org and upload it.
WordPress Look & FeelThemesWordPress Themes help you design the overall L&F. Be sure to create a “Child Theme” (there are plugins, but it can also be done manually). This allows you to keep your customizations when you update the theme. If you change your theme, your content survives in the database, but the menu-system typically does not. In your child theme you make files with same name as the parent – treated as follows:
– style.css: Parent version is loaded first, then child version. Child styles that have same name as in the parent version, replace the parent style. In other words the child file can contain new styles and redefined styles.
– functions.php: Both child and parent version is loaded and used together. Child functions should have new names – name clash is bad. So you only add new functions.
– All other files: Only the child version is used if similar names occur. Typically you start with a copy of the parent.
Content StructurePages, Posts, MenuWP was originally created for blogging and Posts were in focus. You can also create Pages. The menu system is used to organize the pages, while the posts appear in the menu as a stack with a single entry. Posts are pushed to other places via RSS feed. In my case they can be seen at Amazon.
You should use pages for long-lasting stuff and posts like a newspaper.
Search Engine Optimization,
Sitemap,
Advice on improvements
Yoast PluginI am pretty satisfied with the Yoast plugin – even though it is difficult to judge its value. It comes up with suggestions on how to improve readability, it helps you make a “Focus Phrase” and other meta-stuff, and it creates and updates your sitemap so that Google knows about your new pages and posts. See yoast.com. Yoast also recommends a readable slug (The URL after https://<yoursite>). If you change this after other pages have linked to it you will get broken links (see further down).
Caching for speedWP Super Cache PluginIn WordPress all pages and posts only exist in the database. When a user requests an URL, the HTML is created. This separates code from content and usually makes it easier to drop a plugin and use another. However, speed suffers from this build-on-every read. Therefore you need a cache that keeps the built HTML-pages for the next visitor.
Another popular cache plugin is “W3 Total Cache”. If you run an international business you might also need CDN (Content Delivery Network). This keeps copies of your site close to any customer. It usually costs. My provider offers “Varnish”,
Avoid SpamAkismet
Plugin
I don’t have a very visible blog-site, but nevertheless Akismet has blocked a lot of comments that in reality were advertisements and links for useless products.
Backup, ExportAll-In-One-WP-Migration
Plugin
This is a nice tool that compresses all pages & posts (in the database), menu-system and configurations into a single file. This can be downloaded and used on a local server (see XAMPP) or used as backup.
FilezillaFile-Copy
PC Program
Filizilla is not a WordPress Tool, but a general program you can install freely on your PC/Mac. This allows you to pull files from the server, work locally (e.g with notepad++), test locally if you want to, and push them back. See https://filezilla-project.org
https and http2Really-Simple-SSL PluginA professional site should use SSL. This requires a certificate that your hosting provider typically already has. This plugin converts to https and this again opens up for the faster http version. Note that there is a small speed bump in this procedure, as the plugin changes http to https on the fly.
Optimize scripts for speedAutoptimize +
Async JavaScript
Plugins
Autoptimize helps you speed up your site. This is kinda complex to configure and your site can break. It can clash with your Theme etc. However, you can always deactivate it again.
The same developer has created “Async JavaScript”, which sort of extends Autoptimize.
Statistics on visitsGoogle Analytics
Server
You need to create a free account at GA and submit your sitemap. Yoast can help with this process. Once done, you can follow visits on your PC or smartphone daily. GA is also a good place to learn what slows down your site. It analyzes your site and suggests improvements.
Statistics on SearchGoogle Search Console
Server
Also here you need a free account. This will help you analyse what brought visitors to your site.
Tags and EventsGoogle Tag Manager Server (and Plugin)You can stitch variables, triggers and tags together in advanced systems without writing any code in Google Tag Manager. Again you need a free account in this system. This might end up as a good tool, but currently it’s error-prone and not easy to understand. There is a WP-plugin of the same name that helps you insert the “container” script code needed to support the GTM.
DashboardGoogle Site Kit
Plugin
WP has a nice dashboard that helps you develop your site, and it may be all you need. If however, you subscribe to all the Google tools, you might like this plugin that aggregates the headlines from all these and shows it inside your WP console.
Local web serverXAMPP
PC program
XAMPP is a full solution for a webserver built on Apache. You only need it if you want to try running locally – e.g. before big changes. See https://www.apachefriends.org/index.html
Block referrer spam and the likeStop Bad Bots
Plugin
Some people setup robots that does a lot of garbage connections to real sites, where they leave an URL as referrer – hoping to score some cheap points at Google. It doesn’t really work like that anymore, but the traffic is still there – and it is annoying.
Resize Images?

Google Analytics will tell you to shrink your images. Some plugins do that automatically when you upload your image, but I have not have much luck with these tools. If you create images in a drawing tool, it might also be the place to resize. If you like commandline tools, I can recommend ImageMagick. The rule of thumb is to have photos as jpg and created drawings in png. GA also suggests new formats like jpg 2000 and webP. Only problem is that different browsers support different formats. There are plugins that will help you shrink and serve the right format to the given browser. I tried:
– Imagify. Did not change anything.
– Optimole. Got slower, and some PNGs did not draw at all.

File ManagementFile Manager
Plugin
This file-manager does what it is supposed to. You can move, delete, rename files etc. It is also easy to upload a single file by drag’n drop. In the long run I prefer to use FileZilla and notepad++ together.
Find broken linksbrokenlinkcheck.com
Server
Internal as well as external links may break. Go to https://brokenlinkcheck.com and type in the URL of your site to detect broken links.
Site SearchIvory Search
Plugin
In my theme, the posts have a sidebar with a search field. However, when pages are used, there is no search-field for the user. This plugin allows me to have a search field in the menu, and do some excludes of posts in the search – and more.
  
   
   
   
My current recommendations.

The above table is sort of my current knowledge. I do a chronological log of the whole thing at https://klauselk.com/wordpress-logbook/.