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WordPress is by far the most popular content management system Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison Blogger vs. Wordpress.com: A Complete Comparison The two undisputed kings of the free blogging sphere are Google's Blogger and the content management system-turned-host WordPress.com. While both offer what every free-thinking democracy-guzzling thought-cannon wants – a place to express themselves – there... Read More , when it comes to running websites. MakeUseOf depends on WordPress, as do millions of other sites. Upgrades to the WordPress system, themes, and plugins, make WordPress as secure as it can be, and a rich variety of plugins help ensure WordPress’ popularity above all the other contenders such as Blogger and Tumblr.

Here are 5 apps and tools you might want to look at when starting a new WordPress site.

What WordPress Theme Is That? — Identify A Theme You Like

Finding a suitable theme for your new site can be extremely difficult, especially if you elect to go down the path of finding a free theme. There are thousands of them out there, most of them either identical to one another, or not that great, functionality-wise. So when you are browsing and you come across a fantastic theme that you MUST have, it’s good to be able to quickly find out what theme it is, and where you can find it. That’s where “What WordPress Theme Is That?” comes into play.

Simply type in the site URL, and if it is a WordPress theme, it will tell you the name of the theme and the site where it is hosted. The license name also gives a pretty good indication of whether or not the theme is free.

If you are constantly looking for WordPress themes, it is a good idea to add this as a bookmark to your browser bar for easy and quick access.

ZenHabits — Install A Relaxing New Theme


Leo Babauta is a blogger who owns and writes the blog “Zen Habits”, a site which promotes the idea of simpler and healthier living. Everything on the site — including the articles — are in the public domain, which means that you can take them and use them anyway you want. Also free to use is the site’s theme, and Leo has made a dedicated page where he gives you the theme download link.

It is a great theme if you like simple minimalist themes 10+ Resources For Free Professional WordPress Themes 10+ Resources For Free Professional WordPress Themes Read More , and it’s easy to install. Just head on over to the site to see what it looks like live.

Where In The World Is My Domain? — Find A Country’s Domain Name & Requirements

When it comes to buying and setting up domains, we are not constrained by only .com, .org, .edu…..we also have other countries and their domains which you may want to consider setting up, if you have a presence in that country. But each country has restrictions and requirements, plus domains vary in price, depending on where you want to go. A German domain is going to be a lot easier than if you wanted say Libya, Syria, or Iran.

“Where In The World Is My Domain?” is a service offered by the Internet Service Provider Namecheap. Just input your country and it will give you all the details you need to know about setting things up. Obviously you don’t have to set it up through Namecheap if you don’t want to. Any ISP worth their salt will know how to get it done for you.

Google XML Sitemaps — Set Up Google Indexing

Once your site is live, then the next part is making sure Google is aware of it. This is where the XML Sitemap Generator comes in. Install the plugin, and it will make sure that something along the lines of what you see above is generated. This then is waiting for the Google indexing spiders to pay a visit, and each site gets logged.

WordPress Plugin Boilerplate — Make Your Own Plugins


I have nothing but the utmost respect for anyone who has the ability to make their own plugins and extensions. It is something far beyond my skills and comprehension, despite my best efforts. But even for developers who know what to do, I’m sure they are always on the lookout for ways to make the process easier and faster. That’s where the WordPress Plugin Boilerplate comes in.

The WPB is an app where you can see exactly what needs to go where, so the right code and the right files are in the right place, first time.  This is an open source project so you can also take a look at the code and see if it can be improved upon.

The whole process of setting up a WordPress site, picking a theme, and choosing the best WordPress plugins is a huge subject. So it goes without saying that I have missed a tremendous amount. So use the comments below.

Tell us what themes and plugins you would use for a first-time site, as well as what processes you use to make the installation a fast, easy, and efficient one.

  1. Vincent
    November 20, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    What happened to the makeuseof.com main page? It's really ugly and looks as if it was crafted by a 4 year old on an Etch-A-Sketch. Yuk!

    • Mark O'Neill
      November 20, 2014 at 4:43 pm

      It's been that way for quite some time. It looks rather good. What specifically don't you like?

    • Jeff
      November 21, 2014 at 11:15 am

      I have to agree. It feels like I'm stuck on MakeUseOf's archives page or RSS feed with no way to go to the real landing page. The related articles below the comments section almost looks better than the home page.
      There are no featured articles or any kind of graphics that help create a brand image.

      I get it. It's simple and super responsive on mobile. But it looks like my Pocket feed....almost exactly like my Pocket feed: http://bit.ly/1p5lyed

      Also, is there no way for readers to sign in anymore?

    • Dave Parrack
      November 21, 2014 at 12:25 pm

      You must have been away from the site for a long time, as it's looked like this for a couple of years now.

    • Dave Parrack
      November 21, 2014 at 12:27 pm

      @Jeff We scrapped MakeUseOf Rewards, so there is no reason to sign in to anything. As you have already left a comment you know how that works.

  2. Etta
    November 20, 2014 at 9:45 am

    Try SafeUM https://safeum.com/ make your life more protected.

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