WordPress.org vs WordPress.com
The first thing you should understand is that there are two different versions of WordPress: wordpress.org and wordpress.com. Web developers typically call these the “dot org” and the “dot com” versions. They are similar but very different.
Here are the differences:
- WordPress.org is a website building framework used to create business websites or professional blogs. This is the “self-hosted” version of WordPress that requires a custom domain and separate web hosting account (see below). All of the tools recommended in this article are for the WordPress.org version of WordPress. This is the tool professionals like Surelutions use when creating business websites with WordPress.
- WordPress.com could also be called a “lite” version of WordPress. It is typically used for creating a personal blog. No additional web hosting is required. You pay a monthly subscription for certain upgrades, but overall the “dot com” version of WordPress is free. It is limited in terms of how much you can customize and grow. Professional web designers do not use this version of WordPress for creating business websites.
Domain Registration & Web Hosting
We recommend A2 Hosting and WP Engine for website hosting. We particularly like A2 Hosting because they have more options for hosting. So you can start on their small plans and upgrade over time if needed. WP Engine is an excellent choice as well, but they have fewer options for smaller budgets. Siteground is also a good choice if you have a website with consistent traffic throughout the year.
- A2 Hosting
- WP Engine
If you opt to have your domains with a different company than your website is hosted, we recommend:
WordPress Frameworks & Themes
We have worked with countless WordPress frameworks, builders, and themes since 2008. This is the stack we currently use and recommend:
- Theme: Generate Press Pro or Astra Pro
- Page Builder: Beaver Builder Pro (Elementor is also a solid choice)
- Advanced theme customization: Beaver Themer adds tons of advanced options for customizing the way your theme is structured and content is displayed. This wouldn’t typically be used by someone just starting out.
WordPress Security & Performance
- iThemes Security Pro
- Backup Buddy
- WP Rocket
- ShortPixel Image Optimizer
- White Label CMS
- Gravity Forms
- Post SMTP
Custom Content Types
- Advanced Custom Fields (ACF)
- The Events Calendar Pro
- Yoast and Yoast Pro
Social Media Integration
- Custom Facebook Pro
- Instagram Feed Pro
- Share to Social
Tracking and Listings via Google Tools
- Google Analytics – for tracking website visitors and traffic
- Google Console – for testing and optimizing how Google sees your site
- Google My Business – for adding and improving your business listing on Google