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40+ Must-Use Design And Development Tools For WordPress

Last Updated on July 9, 2021 by Fabrizio Van Marciano
40+ Must-Use Design And Development Tools For WordPress

In this mega-resource post, we're going to look at 40+ amazing and must-use design and development tools for WordPress. Whether you're a blogger or simply manage a WordPress website, some of these tools will give your the power to keep growing and creating the best content that you can! Let's go.

On its own, WordPress is the dog's crown jewels.

I can't think of a good enough reason why any business or serious individual would want to use anything other than WordPress to build their website. Maybe I'm just too biased.

However, the facts speak for themselves.

WordPress currently powers over 40% of all websites on the internet. Those are some crazy stats, don't you think?

The great thing about WordPress is that you don't need to be savvy to use it. From my experience working with clients, I always hear people saying that they're not very technically minded, and therefore they can't work with WordPress.

That is not the case, because WordPress is so simple to use. In fact, my 9-year old son is already learning how to use it.

So, whether you're a blogger, small business owner, solopreneur, whoever, if your website is built on WordPress, you're in for a real treat with what I have in store for you in this post.

Below, you will find links to 40+ of the best design and development tools, including applications, services, and various technologies that work with WordPress.

I won't be including themes or plugins in the list below, because I have separate posts for those. You can find the links below this post.

OK, so without wasting any more of your time, let's dive into the list.

Quick note: The list includes some tools and services that aren't directly related to WordPress, but are certainly extensions of using WordPress. For instance, I mention tools for editing photos, so that you can make them look good to add to your WordPress website, etc.

#1. Domain name and web hosting

Every single WordPress website project starts with two very important ingredients. A unique domain name, and some reliable web hosting.

I emphasize the word 'reliable' and not just 'affordable'. Cheap hosting will save you money in the long run, but you can also lose money if your visitors can't access your site.

1. SiteGround Web Hosting - Whatever WordPress project you have in mind, be it a blog or small business website, SiteGround is one of the most reliable hosting providers in the business. They offer both shared and cloud hosting solutions for WordPress.

Read: How To Start Your WordPress Blog With SiteGround

Looking for some SiteGround alternatives? Here are some to check out -

2. Kinsta Cloud Hosting - Kinsta specializes in WordPress hosting. Magnet4Blogging is proudly hosted on Kinsta's Pro Plan. We only recently made the transition from SiteGround. Kinsta offers 27 global locations, free migrations, automatic daily backups, hack and malware removal, 24/7 support, and more. Kinsta is powered by the Google Cloud Platform.

design and development

3. Bluehost - If you're looking for affordable web hosting that can also be reliable, then a great place to start is Bluehost. You get a free domain name with a new account too. I started my blogging journey with Bluehost back in 2010.

Read: How To Start A WordPress Blog With Bluehost

#2. Browser tools, apps and chrome extensions

Right, next up is a list of useful, as well as some of my favorite Chrome extensions and browser tools. These will surely help you with your WordPress management and development, as well as content creation. I apologize now if you use any other browser other than Google Chrome.

4. WordPress Style Editor - A useful Chrome extension that will allow you to save any CSS changes you make using the Chrome developer tools, directly to your WordPress stylesheet.

This extension is one of my most-used tools. I've been able to save a lot of time when working on client or personal website design projects.

5. WordPress Admin Bar Control - A simple Chrome extension to view and hide the admin bar control from your browser.

Very useful when you want to access the admin bar from the front end and hide it again without having to change the settings inside of your WordPress profile. Another time-saving extension.

6. WordPress Site Manager - Adds extra functionality to WordPress editor without having to install additional plugins on your site.

7. Web Developer Checklist - A useful little checklist extension for Chrome that analyses website SEO, mobile, usability, accessibility, environment integration, and performance.

8. Color picker And Converter - Save a ton of time with this simple but useful color picker app. Great for finding color values from websites and pages and converting them into HEX, RGBa, or HSLa.

9. WhatFont - Have you ever stumbled upon a website that was using a particular style of font that you loved the look of? With this tool, you can learn the name of the font.

WordPress tools

Expert recommendation: "My favourite design and development tools for creating a memorable online brand are; Thrive Architect, Canva, and Pixlr." - Kim George from YourChicGeek.com

#3 Design and dev tools not related to WordrPress, but valuable

When it comes to design, having access to the right tools and online services will save you a heap of time. Below is a list of the most prominent tools and services that will help you improve your website's health and performance.

9. Pingdom Website Speed Test Tool - A free, reliable website page speed/loading test and page insights tool.

10. Google PageSpeed Insight Score Tool - Another popular, must-use tool for testing your website or page speed. Although, if you're looking for something more thorough, then check out the one below.

pagespeed insight mob

Read this post: How to improve your page speed insight score

11. GTMetrix - The most thorough and detailed website and page speed performance analyzer on the web. GTMetrix will help you identify areas of your website that need improving.

12. Mobile-Friendly Test Tool - According to this source, almost 60% of all internet access is done through mobile. This means, if your website is not mobile-friendly, you could be missing out on traffic and customers.

13. Google Webmaster Console - Every website owner should have a webmaster account with Google. They have some great tools that will help you keep your website healthy and in good shape. Keep an eye out for your page experience signals. If there are any security issues with your site, or your site gets hit with a manual action, this is where you can learn about it.

14. Font Squirrel Webfont Generator - A useful tool for generating web-safe fonts to upload to your WordPress site.

Font Squirrel 1

15. Pixlr - Pixlr is a powerful free collection of photo editing applications for iOS and Android. There's also a desktop editor available.


16. Photoscape (Mac & Windows) - Photoscape is a super simple, feature-rich, desktop photo editing tool. It comes complete with filters, fonts, shapes, brushes, effects, and more.

There is a free version and a premium version of this desktop software. The premium version opens up more options, tools, and creative possibilities, with additional filters, design elements, etc.


17. TinyPNG - Before I upload any images to my WordPress blog, I first optimize them. TinyPNG is a useful online tool for compressing and shrinking PNG and JPG files. Optimizing your images, of course, will save you a lot of space over time and help you to reduce page load time for your visitors.

18. Affinity Designer (Mac & Windows) - An award-winning, full professional graphic design suite for graphic designers and content creators. I've used Affinity Designer since the software became available in 2014. It has been the one tool I use every day in my business.

19. Affinity Photo (Mac & Windows) - A beastly professional photo editing software to rival some of the best pro tools in the business, including Adobe's Photoshop, but at a fraction of the price!

Affinity Photo 2

20. Macaw - Powerful wire-framing tool for web designers. While you can't use this tool to export projects to WordPress, it's excellent for creating wireframe website design templates before finalizing and moving your design concept to a different platform.


Expert recommendation: "To create my online brand, I use several different things to help me.

1. An image template I created using the simple program Paint. (This is pre-installed on most computers and is free!) I then use Canva and/or Pixlr Express to create images for my blog posts, and place my business/site’s name in the bottom right-hand corner.

2. My business logo, which I paid a designer for. (Thanks, Fabrizio!)

3. Trello, which I only recently started using. I know a lot of freelancers who use this to organize their tasks and projects. Because of their recommendations, I decided to check it out. I’m very organized already, however, so I’m not sure I’m a fan yet! ;)" - Lorraine Reguly, WordingWell.com

#3. Project management and development tools

Now here's some of my favorite project management and web development tools for both Mac and Windows environment, as well as online tools and mobile apps.

21. CodeAnywhere.com - Powerful cross-platform cloud integrated development environment (IDE) with many features. Web, Android, or iOS application available.

22. Quiver (Mac App) - Quiver is a handy application for organized programmers as well as bloggers working with code and text. Quiver lets you create and mix text, code, markdown in a notebook—great ACE code editor with syntax highlighting support built-in.

I use Quiver daily as it saves me a tremendous amount of time having to keep writing the same code. I can search my saved pieces of texts and code to add instantly to my web projects. I can then modify the code as necessary.


21. Notepad++ (Windows) - A popular free source code editor for Windows users, supporting many languages.

22. Atom (Mac App) - My absolute favorite open-source text/code editor application for the Mac, and one that's completely hackable. These days I use nothing else but Atom to write custom code. I then use Quiver to save my work.


23. Bablic.com - Website content language-translation tool.

24. Color Picker (Mac App) - A very useful application for identifying and saving HEX and RGB color codes to use in web projects. Very easy to use, drag-and-drop on any part of your screen. Drag-and-drop colors into the palette to save for later.

#4. Themes, visual editors, frameworks and plugins

Now we get down 'n' dirty with some truly remarkable WordPress themes, page builders, and plugins.

25. Thrive Architect (Plugin) - The best and most intuitive 'true WYSIWYG' front-end visual editor plugin for WordPress. You can use this plugin to high-converting landing pages for any purpose. Enough said. Check out my review and tutorial here.


26. Thrive Suite - Thrive Suite gives you access to a range of conversion rate optimization tools for WordPress. These include Thrive Optimize for A/B testing, Thrive Headline Optimizer, Thrive Apprentice for creating your online courses, Thrive Leads for building your email list, and the revolutionary Thrive Theme Builder.

27. Oxygen Builder - Ultimately, the most powerfule, advanced, and lightweight theme builder plugin for WordPress. Magnet4Blogging's custom theme is built on Oxygen's framework.

28. Genesis Theme Framework - StudioPress has created a powerful WordPress theme framework, plus many professional child themes to work with WordPress CMS. Genesis is very popular amongst bloggers and small businesses. If you're looking for a ready-made premium theme that doesn't require a great deal of customization, Genesis might be for you.

Recommended: Genesis Theme Framework Review
Recommended: Genesis VS Thrive Themes: Which to use?

29. Genesis Design Palette Pro (Plugin) - The GDP is a simple plugin with simple built-in design features to help you customize any Genesis child theme, and without having to touch a single line of code.

Read: Genesis Design Palette Pro Review

30. Dynamik Website Builder (Plugin) - DWB is a powerful WordPress plugin designed to help you create custom child themes for Genesis Theme Framework.

This is a plugin like nothing you've ever seen for Genesis. It comes with many built-in features and options, including the ability to export your child's themes to install into other websites running WordPress and Genesis Framework. A favorite amongst many front-end web designers, developers, and bloggers.

dynamik wb

31. Headway Themes - The original and powerful drag-and-drop WordPress theme builder since 2009. A great pleasure to work with and without having to mess around with too much code. The developer license comes with a number of free templates too.

32. Theme Check (Plugin) - A must-have tool for all theme developers. When installed, this plugin will help you test and check your theme and ensure it meet the current and latest WordPress standards.

phil PV Ariel (1)

Expert recommendation: "The three tools I love to use to create my online brand are: Visual Composer Page Builder, Page Builder by Site Origin and JetPack." - Phil V Ariel pvariel.com

Various other useful tools, services, apps, reference guides & resources

Here is a collection of other useful tools, reference guides, resources that I've not already mentioned.

These include free stock image libraries, color pickers, reference guides for developers, reference resources, and various other development tools.

33. MAMP and MAMP Pro - For those Mac-based bloggers and developers wanting to create a WordPress installation locally on their computer for development projects. MAMP is free and there's also a MAMP Pro version that gives you an unlimited number of virtual hosts and more.

34. WampServer - For those Windows-based bloggers and developers wanting to create a local WordPress install on their machine to work on development projects.

35. WordPress Codex - The bible for WordPress users and developers.

36. Pixabay - Amazing website for finding free quality images and vectors to use in your personal and/or client web design projects, templates, and landing pages. Currently, there are over 1.2 million images to choose from, all free.

You can also contribute by uploading your own quality images to share with others. Check out some of mine here.


37. GitHub - A massive online filing system for developers to network and share projects, amongst doing many other great things.

38. Iconsflow - Need some icons for your web or application project? Check out Iconsflow. There's a free plan waiting for you, or some very affordable plans if you want to create many more icon sets.

39. Freepik - The one-stop online portal for all your graphic resources, vectors, PSD files, icons, photos, and more.

40. Canva - A popular, intuitive, and extremely addictive online graphic design software for everyone to use, regardless of experience or level of creativity.

41. Flat UI Colours - An online reference portfolio of stunning flat design UI colors, complete with HEX and RGBa color codes for you to use.

42. Death To The Stock Photo - Subscribe to this website and you'll get free quality images sent to your inbox each month.

43. Dafont - A great place for finding cool free and commercial license fonts for use in your WordPress web design and development projects.

That's it?

Yes, that's my awesome list of WordPress design and development tools I think every savvy blogger should use or try at least once!

I will try my best to update this list as and when I find new tools that I think are worth adding here.

Anyway, make sure you bookmark this page for the future, OK? Or feel free to subscribe to my email newsletter for updates here for future updates.

For now, though, enjoy.

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