There are 7 billion people on Earth, how hard can it be to find your best friend or one true love. If there’s an abundance of something, it’s not that difficult to acquire it, right?
WordPress has become one of the most used platforms for blogs, corporate websites, ecommerce businesses, even web applications. It’s certainly one of the trendiest. You don’t lack WordPress plugins, themes, how-to blogs and forums, support services even managed WordPress hosting companies. There’s an abundance of them all.
Having this many options seems to empower, but you’ll soon realize it is not. How do you differentiate between two similar WordPress products or services? How do you know which will be better in the long run or more suitable for your online presence?
Our friend Amanda has written a post on how to choose a WordPress plugin. It applies to all WordPress products. But, there are so many WordPress theme and plugin shops, so many independent developers, so many similar hosting companies with similar plans.
How do you find the one you want, the one perfect for you and your business?
Figuring Out What You Need
The first step to making a choice is figuring out what you need. Simplifying your needs means you satisfy the essential ones. If you prioritize the needs, you’ll find it much easier, cheaper and more efficient to run your business and find your WordPress tools.
You first write down what you need and expect out of your WordPress product or service. Going straight to Google will turn out to be a nightmare because it’s so hard to organize information and find reliable sources.
Many theme buyers want to “make it look like the demo“, but you should focus on figuring out how you want your website to look before finding a demo you want to emulate. Think about your business philosophy and what you’re all about, don’t try to copy. It will be much easier to accomplish what you’re after if you believe in it and you’re following your heart and mind.
How to Search for WordPress Sources
Once you figure out what you need and narrow down the list to the most important items, you can then go online. But, there’s more than reading testimonials. It’s about credibility and authority.
When it comes to independent providers, you’ll have to look for several signs of a good WordPress product:
- customer support
- author credibility
Legit WordPress authors will try to make you feel comfortable using their products. Browse their blogs and forums to see if they’re responsive when it comes to answering support questions. Great support goes a long way and if you’re paying for premium WordPress item, you’ll want to be covered if issues start to emerge. Many theme shops are looking for a quick buck, so you’ll need to avoid them.
I suggest you use WordPress products endorsed by the following bunch:
Free WordPress Products
I always suggest our clients to search one of the themes they like at WordPress.com theme repository and then see if they can find it in the WordPress.org repository. Themes are nicely coded and supported by reliable developers. You can easily use any of the free WordPress products and extend their functionality or alter appearances with minimal investment, using WordPress jobs network.
The same goes for free WordPress plugins. If you need any special feature that you cannot find in a free WordPress plugin, try extending the functionality of the free plugin.
If you decide to use premium products, do extensive research on the plugin’s author. Not just because of the money, you’re paying, but because you want your website to be secure, coded with best practices and future proof. Be sure to have those three things checked before you put anything on your servers.
WordPress (Hosting) Services
As for WordPress services, I have yet to find the free option that’s better than the paid ones. The biggest part of the problem with finding great WordPress hosting or any other service is to recognize who to trust. The story with services is pretty similar to the one with products. A great number of companies out there are trying to make some quick cash from end-users who cannot distinguish between trustworthy, reliable providers and frauds.
You can use various sources to do this. Social validation is the best clue when it comes to services, but not the one found on the provider’s website. Use social networks to find out what people are talking about the service you want to use.
There are different types of WordPress hosting options available such as: free, shared, VPS, dedicated or managed WordPress hosting. We’re currently using Namecheap, prior to that we used these quality hosting solutions. We choose our hosting based on their support quality, pricing and reliability. But, you can choose from any of the hosting companies WordPress.org suggests.
It comes down to figuring out what you need, checking out the official sources, free repositories for fresh and supported products and searching trustworthy sources and people connected to WordPress.org for recommendations. For reliable WordPress services, you’ll just have to try several reputable ones and find the one that suits your business needs.
If you have other suggestions on how and where to look for perfect WordPress anything, please leave your comment below.