The turning of the new decade has prompted me to rethink web design and development. 10 years ago, it was common practice for me to start in Adobe Photoshop and then build a theme from scratch using Adobe Dreamweaver.
Today, I would never design a website that way. In fact, I likely won’t design a website like I did way back in 2019 thanks to some new WordPress design tools.
These tools are free and can help you:
- Design WordPress websites without knowing code or requiring a page builder plugin.
- Improve on-page SEO, both on a site-level and individual page or post-level.
- Test out WordPress themes and plugins safely and easily without wrecking your live site.
The roll out of the WordPress Block Editor (or Gutenberg editor) has been a game changer for WordPress website designers, because trying to improve SEO or copywriting using a page builder plugin is usually difficult.
WordPress has a huge assortment of customizable content blocks that ship with version 5.x. What Stackable does is give you more blocks and more customization options. It’s like having the convenience and speed of the WordPress Block Editor, with the control of a good page builder plugin like Elementor or Divi.
Rank Math is comparable with Yoast SEO, except that it provides a lot more features for free such as schema markup, a site analyzer and the ability to use multiple keywords in a page or post.
I recently switched over to Rank Math for my own site after being a long-time fan of Yoast SEO. I still think Yoast SEO is a great plugin, but I think RankMath provides more.
One of the selling features of Rank Math is how it gives you a score from 0-100 for each page, based on SEO best practices. Yoast SEO gives green, yellow and red light indicators for scoring, but I think an actual number for a score gives me more incentive to improve.
Local by Flywheel
Local by Flywheel is a free development tool that allows you to quickly and easily setup test WordPress sites on your local computer.
Setting up a local testing environment isn’t just useful for testing WordPress themes and plugins. They can also make it easier to design a WordPress site and work out the kinks before going live.
If you’ve ever used MAMP, WAMP, or XAMP, for creating a test environment and found the interface a bit complex, you’re going to like Local by Flywheel. It’s extremely easy to use.
How I’ve used these WordPress design tools this year
- I’ve used Stackable for transitioning a website to use the WordPress Block Editor instead of a page builder plugin. The result is a significant speed improvement and…
- …with the WordPress Block Editor, I’m able to use Rank Math for improving on-page SEO, which was difficult before when using a page builder plugin.
- Local by Flywheel has been handy for creating test environments to try out themes and plugins without putting my website at risk.
What WordPress design tools are you using this year?
Are you using any new WordPress design tools this year?