Tools We Use
To Build WordPress Websites

These are the tools we use to build our own portfolio of niche websties and to manage client websites.

WordPress Themes

Thrive Themes

Thrive Themes has a collection of WordPress themes and plugins which are designed for conversion rate optimization. Out of the box, you can build a website that looks great. Features include lead generation forms, A/B testing, quiz builder, and online courses. For a few hundred dollars each year, you can have a suite of themes and plugins developed by one team.
Get Thrive Themes
Thrive Themes landing pages


This drag-and-drop website builder has a lot of community support and ample learning resources available on YouTube. You can create relatively simple websites, or get as complex as you want with whole site editing. Elementor does have a reputation for causing websites to be a little slow, but this can be easily overcome with proper caching and website speed optimization.
Get Elementor
Elementor Plugin

Essential Addons for Elementor Pro

These addons extend the functionality of Elementor. You get 3,000+ additional design templates and elements to help you create an Instagram feed, lightboxes, one page navigation, content toggles, and much more.
Get Elementor Addons
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Oxygen Builder

This is the builder OptSus is using for most new websites. It offers many of the same drag-and-drop website builder features found in Elementor and Thrive Themes. However, it also has advanced features which are not found in those other builders. Oxygen does not have as much community  support as Elementor and is not focused on conversion rate optimization like Thrive Themes. If you're looking for a blend of WYSIWYG features with advanced options for more technical designs, you may want to consider Oxygen.
Get Oxygen Builder
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SEO Plugins


The primary SEO plugin we have been using since the launch in 2007 is Yoast SEO. It has a wealth of features included in the free version. Most websites will get a lot of value without ever having to buy the premium upgrades with this plugin.
Get Yoast
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Rank Math

We have been experimenting with the Rank Math SEO plugin since it was launched in 2018. Today, you will find our websites using a mixture of Yoast and Rank Math SEO plugins.
Get Rank Math
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Utility Plugins

Child Theme Configurator

One of the easiest plugins to use when you need to create a child them, is Child Theme Configurator. However, if you're building a website using Oxygen Builder (referenced above) you will not use a theme or child theme.
Get Child Theme Configurator
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Google Analyticator

In the past, we have used Google Analyticator to quickly add tracking code for Google Analytics and Google Tag Manager. Today, we are not using this plugin to add this tracking code to new websites. However, we have not rushed to move our websites away from using this plugin. It is an efficient solution, but not our currently preferred option for new projects.
Get Google Analyticator
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WP Code

Depending on the project we're working on today, we will either include Google Tag Manger code in the child theme or simply use WP Code to add it to the site. This plugin makes it easy to add any tracking code to your website.
Get WP Code
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Sending email through a web server can wind up with that message being delivered to the spam folder. Additionally, some web servers do not allow for webmail delivery. For this reason, it is common to connect WordPress with an SMTP email service using WP Mail SMTP.
Get WP Mail SMTP
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When you want to create a WordPress website in multiple language, Polylang is the best plugin for this task. This is because you can create translations for posts, pages, media, categories, tags, custom post types, custom taxonomies, widgets, navigation menus, and URLs. These are manual translations which require a significant amount of work, but that is far superior to machine translations.
Get Polylang
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Updraft Plus

We have been using Updraft Plus for most of the WordPress websites we have built. However, recently, we started testing WP Vivid for backups. Both are great plugins and Updraft Plus has been a long-time leader in the WordPress community.
Get Updraft Plus
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WP Vivid

The reason we are migrating to WP Vivid for backups is that this plugin offers competitive agency pricing and white labeling. These are not significant factors for a single website that may only need the free version of WP Vivid or Updraft Plus.
Get WP Vivid
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Contact Form 7

This has been out default forms plugin for many years. It has a long history with the WordPress community and covers most of what users need from an forms plugin.
Get Contact Form 7
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Fluent Forms

Fluent Forms adds conditional logic and a drag-and-drop interface to the standard contact form features found with all these form plugins. If you're building more complex forms, you may find the features you need with Fluent Forms.
Get Fluent Forms
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Piotnet Forms

Many form plugins add a lot of code to the site which can cause it to be slow. When you need a balance between advanced features and fast load times, Piotnet Forms is a good option to consider.
Get Piotnet Forms
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Happy Forms

Happy Forms is a simple form builder with a modern user interface. It includes the most common features that users want with their forms without requiring additional plugins.
Get Happy Forms
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URL Shortener

Pretty Link

Pretty Link has been a popular redirect plugin for many years. There is a free version with limited features and a paid option that expands that feature set. This plugin allows you to create short URLs that redirect visitors to other places on your website or around the internet. You can also track how many times your short URL is used.
Get Pretty Link
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WP 301 Redirects

In addition to the URL shortening features that are common with this type of plugin, WP 301 Redirects adds 404 error management. This is why OptSus has shifted to using this plugin for short URLs, tracking redirects, and managing 404 error pages.
Get WP 301 Redirects
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Speed Optimization

W3 Total Cache

Some hosting providers have their own caching plugins. Before installing W3 Total Cache, check to see what plugin your hosting provider recommends. They may have optimized the hosting environment to work better with a different plugin. However, if there is no recommendation from your hosting provider, W3 Total Cache is a great option to consider.
Get W3 Total Cache
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Images are some of the largest files on a WordPress website. ShortPixel can help speed up your website by compressing these files. However, the best solution is to optimize your images before uploading.
Get ShortPixel
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EWWW has been a leading image optimization plugin for many years. Just like any image optimization plugin, it's best to have your images optimized before uploading to your website. However, this plugin will drastically improve uploaded images from users on your site that don't optimize before they upload.
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Cloudways offers a graphical user interface to manage underlying cloud computing resources that provide infrastructure as a service (IaaS). This makes it a convenient option for hosting when compared with the complexity of managing your own VPS directly. This hosting option is not ideal for beginners, but does offer many advanced features with some support.
Get Cloudways
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