Team Treehouse offers a wonderful and quite in-depth track that covers WordPress Development. I’ve been using WordPress since 2006, but I have to say, I never knew exactly how extensive it is and how expansive it can be. I’m a bit taken aback by all the possibilities that are at my fingertips.
I just finished taking a course by Jesse Petersen that covered the Genesis Framework by StudioPress. I guess Jesse sort of sold me on the whole thing and after using Genesis years ago, I decided it was high time to give it another shot. Honestly, I most likely didn’t know what its reason for being was back when I had it installed, but after learning of its super-powers, like Jesse, I’ve settle into the Genesis space. It answers questions I hadn’t even considered asking.
With this information in mind, I decided to set up a website using WordPress and have it run Genesis.
Let’s talk about the page you’re currently reading. Here, I plan in keeping an ever-growing (I’m sure) list of what this website is running on the front-end as well as the back-end. It’ll sort of be like those “What’s in My Camera Bag” videos you see over on Youtube, except that it’s for a website. I know I’ve been interested in what other sites have got going on under the hood and if you’re reading this page, you might just have the same types of curiosities. So let’s get going.
WordPress has earned my trust. I’ve been blogging with it since 2006 and it has never let me down. Looking back, I could have used an install of WordPress for ever single website I’ve ever developed. There’s nothing I’ve created that WordPress couldn’t have handled.
It seems like Genesis has been around forever. This is important when dealing with themes and theme developers online. Longevity and professionalism are important like none other.
If you run a WordPress blog or website and aren’t using Akismet, you should really ask yourself why you aren’t. Akisment was created and is currently maintained by Automattic – the folks who own WordPress.
I used this plugin during the setup of the News Pro child theme I mentioned above. StudioPress offers an XML file with all the demo content their version of the theme uses, so it’s helpful to import that data in an effort to minimize the hassle of getting your install to look as good as theirs.
Simple Social Icons
This is a social plugin created by the fine folks at StudioPress. It works well with the News Pro theme and it was suggested that I install it. I haven’t set it up yet, but you’ll see what it looks and functions like soon.
Genesis Simple Hooks
This is a really great and powerful plugin that allows you to place snippets of text or code in a wide variety of places around your Genesis Framework theme.
Genesis Simple Edits
If you’re looking to remove the StudioPress and Genesis credits from the bottom of your child theme, the easiest way to do this is to use this plugin. No need to dive into the code or database – all you need to do is update one line. And this plugin also allows you to quickly modify some meta information as well.
Genesis eNews Extended & MailPoet Newsletters
These two plugins go hand in hand. I use the Genesis plugin as a container for the MailPoet plugin. I use the MailPoet plugin as an easy and professionally managed way to send post updates to followers via email. By the way, if you’d like to receive my posts in your email box, simply head down to the bottom of the page and type your email address right below the “Posts by Email” label. You’ll receive my content as I write it – directly to your inbox.
MailChimp for WordPress Lite
I’ve been switching back and forth between MailPoet and MailChimp for a few days now. Both plugins are similar in that they send emails to subscribers. From what I’ve seen out in the wild though, MailChimp is hugely popular right now. It has an extensive back-end (MailChimp) where site owners can customize their email campaigns, their email templates and their lists. It’s a somewhat in-depth process, so if you only have one subscriber on a very low traffic site, you may want to opt for something like FeedBurner for the time being. MailChimp really is a force to be reckoned with though.
Highly recommended Ninja Forms. I set this plugin up in less than 5 minutes. It almost works out of the box. Adjust a few settings and choose what page you want your form to reside on and you’re all set. Of course, I’m only using this for a contact form, so if you’re building something more complex, it’ll take more time and effort.
WordPress SEO by Yoast
This plugin is a must if you want granular control over almost every aspect of your site’s SEO. It’s simple to use and simple to install. And it’s leaps and bounds better than any other SEO plugin that’s available. You can find more information on the author’s website.
Broken Link Checker
If you write a fair number of posts or pages, you’ll undoubtedly include links to websites that disappear over time. There’s nothing worse than someone browsing one of your pages, only to click on a link that goes nowhere. It makes you look bad. Period. The “Broken Link Checker” plugin continually scans your WordPress site, looking for broken links. If it finds any, you’ll receive an email and the link will be placed on a list for you to edit.
Have you ever tried to place code in one of your posts on WordPress? If so, I bet you’ve had a terrible time trying to do what you wanted. Some people say that the “pre” tag or the “code” tag will help, but I haven’t found that to be true. This plugin does exactly what it’s supposed to do – it’s displays your example code the way you want it to look.
Genesis Visual Hook Guide
If you’re a Genesis developer, there are a few plugins that you absolutely need. One of them is the Genesis Visual Hook Guide. This is an “admin” plugin, in that the general public doesn’t see its operation. What it does is, when activated, it highlights all the sections of your Genesis child theme’s action hooks, filter hooks and hook area markup, on the front-end of your website (when logged in as admin). This is extremely helpful during the development process. It gives you something to look at graphically as opposed to digging through code, using valuable time.