Building on WordPress has become significant simpler since I started building websites in 2011. I often get ask by friends, customers and business associates when they find out I build my own websites. I guess I’m considered an amateur web designer. If you are interested in building your own website or just want to know:
My Current Tool Kit
- Divi Theme – Magical theme with build-in designs, visual editors, amazing functionalities and more. I cannot have a team working on my different websites without it
- Ultimate Divi – They build great add-on’s, child themes & templates for Divi theme
- DreamHost – After trying 5 or 6 hosting companies, they are my current go to. Great live chat support & 1 button WordPress installation. I survived going viral twice with them.
- Vectr – free online vector editor, I use it as a Photoshop/AI substitute
- VaultPress – my best friend….
What I Tried/Used in the Past
I like to work with themes that can give me flexibility in both functions and appearance. There are 3 other main themes I have worked with in the past
- Genesis – super robust & tons of child themes. Many professional web design companies like to build off of it. To truly see why this theme is amazing involves skills I don’t have
- Visual Bakery – ok, this is really a plug-in. But in 2013 I used it to heavily modify another theme. It was buggy for awhile, and fairly heavy weight, so I moved onto Genesis. Good if you are looking for a low cost visual editor.
- Responsive Theme – when I first started down the amateur web design/development path in 2011 ‘responsive web’ was the hot topic. So I thought all I had to do was Google “Responsive Theme WordPress” and that would solve all of my problems. Little did I know that was just the name of the theme… and I suspect that’s 80%+ of everyone that downloaded the theme. That being said, it’s a nice and light weight theme, and it’s responsive!
Until recently scaling WordPress websites (meaning having lots of people go on your site everyday) was a major topic. When my first business’s website was growing we crashed a few hosts, at the same time our traffic wasn’t valuable enough for different premium hosts.
- Fat Cow – this was the first hosting company I ever went with. At the beginning of Sunberry Fitness, we signed up because there was a super deep discount (something like $3/month). I think when Sunberry started getting more than 100 page views/day it started crashing… (yes, that is page view, not visits).
- HostGator – After Fat Cow I moved Sunberry website there at John Chow‘s recommendation. It still crashed… then I found out HostGator & FatCow are really the same company. It was a bit of an internet conspiracy moment… And I still haven’t figured out how John Chow got HostGator to work given his traffic volume
- WP Engine – the nice people at Spokal told me on the phone about WP Engine back in 2013, when I told them about the random crashes. It was nice until we maxed out their base plan. Favourite features were: live phone support and staging (you can clone you site, make changes, then push it live)
- Fly Wheel – Similar to WP Engine, I was with them for 1 or 2 years? Very fast and stable. Only complaint is that their tech support aren’t as knowledgeable as WP Engine’s. They are geared towards web designers. As my websites’ traffic grew, I started look to just paying for hardware, but still have stability and speed => that’s how I ended up at DreamHost right now