Shortcodes is a great way to extend the core functionalities of WordPress core. Nowadays all the best WordPress plugins using shortcodes to integrate their features and options within the pages and posts of sites.

In this tutorial on WordPress do_shortcode(), I will tell you several ways to implement do_shortcode()

function blog_do_shortcode() {
return 'This is a demo do_shortcode message';
add_shortcode('do_shortcode', 'blog_do_shortcode');

In this code snippet, blog_do_shortcode is the name of the custom function that implements do_shortcode() functionality into your website. The return statement contains the actual message that needs to be inserted later on.

Finally, in the add_shortcode(), you can see that the exact shortcode to be inserted is “do_shortcode”.


How to Add Parameters to the do_shortcode Function

You already have seen the basic structure of a do_shortcode() function. Now I will tell you how to use it more effectively. In this example, you will learn how to add the dimension of an image to the page.

function parameter_att_do_shortcode($atts) {
'width' => 100,
'height' => 150,
), $atts));
return '';

add_shortcode('do_shortcode ', 'parameter_att_do_shortcode');

The function parameter_att_do_shortcode() takes the parameters in the $atts. In order to use the user-provided parameters, I have used shortcode_atts() that takes the user-provided attributes.


To ensure your WordPress website looks attractive and engaging, you have to put a lot of thought into the kind of content to add to your pages. Videos, images, audio files and other types of media can help you better present the products or services you’re offering to your client base.

Luckily, WordPress comes with its own media uploader, so you don’t have to bother with using different file managers. However, there’s a limit when it comes to the maximum file size you’re allowed to upload. This can be an issue when trying to add large video files or sizeable images to your site, but it can also create problems when installing a theme or plugin.

But don’t fret! There are actually several ways in which you can change this. We’ll show you just how to increase the maximum file upload size in WordPress, so let’s dive right in, shall we?


Verizon Communications has found a buyer for Tumblr, the blogging platform it acquired in 2017 as part of its deal to buy Yahoo. Automattic Inc., the company behind the popular web development platform WordPress, has agreed to purchase Tumblr for an undisclosed amount, according to The Wall Street Journal, and will add Tumblr’s approximate 200 employees to the Automattic staff.

Automattic CEO Matt Mullenweg told The Wall Street Journal the acquisition was the largest ever for his company — both in price and head count. As a longtime user of Tumblr, Mullenweg said he sees it as complementary to

“It’s just fun,” Mullenweg told the Wall Street Journal, “We’re not going to change any of that.”

Why we should care

According to the Wall Street Journal, Automattic executives plan to find ways and Tumblr can share services and functionality. As the world’s leading CMS platform (a 2018 Kinsta report showed WordPress owns 60% market share among content management systems), adding more functionality and features to WordPress’ offerings should benefit marketers charged with managing WordPress websites.

The move to sell Tumblr also reflects Verizon’s dwindling digital business. While the company still owns a number of web properties, including HuffPost, AOL, TechCrunch and Yahoo’s multiple news sites, eMarketer reported earlier this year that the company is expected to take less than three percent (2.9%) of the digital ad market by the end of this year, a drop from 3.4% last year.

More on the news

  • The Wall Street first reported in May that Verizon Communications was looking for a buyer to acquire Tumblr.
  • Mullenweg said Automattic will keep Tumblr’s existing policy banning adult content, a decision made last year by Verizon Communications.
  • Yahoo purchased Tumblr in 2013 for $1.1 billion, a deal that was expected to increase Yahoo’s total audience by 50% at the time.

About The Author


December 6th, 2018 was a special date for WordPress: it marked the release of version 5.0 of the software that, to this day, powers more than one-third of the web. In the past, people working on the platform pointed out that there has never been any special meaning to version numbers used in WordPress releases; as such, WordPress 5.0 was simply the follower to WordPress 4.9. Yet, 5.0 brought possibly the biggest innovation since Custom Post Types were introduced in version 3.0 – that’s almost a decade, folks.

The Block Editor — codename “Gutenberg” — is now the new default writing tool in WordPress. Before its adoption in Core, our beloved CMS has relied on what we now call the Classic Editor. And, by the way, the Classic Editor isn’t really gone: you can bring it back by installing a plugin that restores the default editing experience you’ve known all these years.

So, why was the Classic Editor replaced? Essentially because it embodied an old concept of writing, a concept that was conceived when the only need of a text editor was to visually compose HTML code.

Not to create layouts. Not to embed dynamic content form heterogeneous sources. Not to offer a representation of what your post or page would look like when you pressed that “Publish” button, and go live with your piece of content.

In short, the Classic Editor delivered a very basic writing experience and, frankly, it always fell short at creating anything more than flowing text.

The Block Editor is based on the idea of content “blocks” in the sense that everything we can add to a page — a text paragraph, an image, an embed — is technically a block, that is, an atomic entity that’s defined by a certain series of properties. The combination of these properties determines the state of that particular block. Combine several blocks one after the other, and you’ll get the content of your page.

In this transition from unorganized text to rigorous content structure lies the biggest change introduced by the Block Editor.

Layouts pre-Block Editor

Before all of this bursted into existence, people who wanted to create a layout within WordPress had to choose between either of these options:

  1. Create a custom template from scratch, getting their hands dirty with code – a noble intent, yet not so appealing to the masses.
  2. Use a tool, better if a visual one, that helped them composing a page structure without having much code knowledge.

That’s how page builders were born: page builders are plugins that provide a visual way to compose a layout, ideally without touching a single line of code, and they were created out of necessity to fill a gap between visual mockups and the actual, finished website.

Page builders have always suffered from a bad reputation, for a variety of reasons:

  1. They tend to be slow and bulky.
  2. Some offer poor editing experiences.
  3. They end up locking users into a framework or ecosystem that’s tough to replace.

The first point is as obvious as it is unavoidable: if you’re a page builder author (and, hopefully, aspire to sell copies of your product), you have to make it as appealing as possible; physiologically, builders started to slowly become big code soups with everything in them, at the detriment of performance.

The second point may be subjective, at least to to some extent. The third point, however, is a fact. Sure, one could be perfectly fine using the same tool for every project, perfecting knowledge of the instrument as time goes by, but the more you stick to it, the harder it gets to potentially stop using it one day.

The Block Editor aims to surpass this deadlock: from the user’s point of view, it aims at offering a better, richer writing experience, while, from the developer’s perspective, providing a unified, shared API from which to build upon.

A brief history of CSS layouts

If you’re old enough, you’ll probably know the story already. If not, it might be fun for you to hear what life was like for a front-end developer back in the day.

The first version of the CSS specification dates back to 1996, and it allowed an embedded stylesheet to add font styling, pick colors for elements, change the alignments and spacing of objects in the page. The problem was that, in those days, the concept of semantic HTML wasn’t exactly widespread. In other words, there was no clear separation between content and form. The markup we’d write and the appearance we want were completely intertwined in the same document.

This led to HTML elements to be used more for presentation purposes, than conveying meaning to their presence in the page. For example, on the layout side of things, this also led to to table elements being used to create layouts instead of actual tabular data. To achieve even more complex layouts, tables began being nested into other tables, making the page become a nightmare from the semantic point of view, its size grow and grow, and resulting very hard to maintain over time. If you’ve ever coded an HTML email, then you have a good idea of what life was like. And, really, this still sort of happens in websites today, even if it’s for smaller elements rather than complete page layouts.

Then the Web Standards movement came along with the goal to raise awareness among developers that we could be doing things differently and better; that style and content should be separated, that we need to use HTML elements for their meaning, and reinforcing the concept that a lighter page (in terms of code weight) is a fundamentally better option than an unmanageable ocean of nested tables.

We then began (over)using div elements, and juxtaposed them using the float property. The presentation focus was shifted from the markup to the stylesheet. Floats became the most reliable layout tool available for years, yet they can be a bit problematic to handle, since they have to be cleared in order for the page to return to its standard flow. Also, in this age, page markups were still too redundant, even though using divs instead of tables helped make our content more accessible.

The turnaround moment came in 2012, with the publication of the Flexbox specification. Flexbox allowed developers to solve a whole series of long standing little layout problems, complete with an elegant syntax that requires a lot less markup to be implemented. Suddenly (well, not that suddenly, we still have to care about browser support, right?), reliably centering things on both axises wasn’t an issue anymore. It was refreshing. Finally, tweaking a layout could be reduced to altering just one property in our stylesheet.

As important as Flexbox is to this day, it is not the end of the story.

It’s 2019! Let’s use CSS Grid.

If you’ve come this far reading this piece, we think it’s safe to assume that two things are for sure:

  1. That we clearly aren’t in this industry to live peaceful, quiet professional lives.
  2. The things we use are going to change.

In 2017, the CSS Grid Layout Module specification was officially published, but, as it always happens with CSS specs, its draft and interim implementations had already been around for some time.

CSS Grid is a bold leap into what CSS can and should do. What if we stopped micromanaging our pages styles, and started thinking more holistically? What if we had a system to reliably position elements on the screen that doesn’t depend at all on the markup being used, nor the order of elements, and that is, at the same time, programmatically applicable on smaller screens?

No, this isn’t just a thought. This is more of a dream; one of those good ones you don’t want to wake up from. Except that, in 2019, this has become a reality.

The main difference between Grid and Flexbox is more nuanced, of course, but basically comes down to Grid operating in two dimensions, while Flexbox is limited to one. Knowing what elements are going to be placed within the limits of a container, we can choose exactly where those elements are going to end up, entirely from directives written in the stylesheet.

Do we want to tweak the layout down the road? Fine, that modification won’t affect the markup.

The basic idea behind Grid is that elements are laid out in, well, a grid. By definition, a grid is composed by a certain amount of columns and rows, and the boundaries between columns and rows form a series of cells that can be filled with content.

The savings of this approach in terms of quantity of code being used to achieve the desired result are extraordinary: we just need to identify a container element, apply the display: grid rule to it, and then pick elements within that container and tell CSS what column/row they begin/end in.

.my-container {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: repeat( 3, 1fr );
  grid-template-rows: repeat( 2, 1fr );

.element-1 {
  grid-column-start: 2;
  grid-column-end: 4;
  grid-row-start: 1;
  grid-row-end: 3;

The above example creates a 3×2 grid associated to the .my-container element; .element-1 is a 2×2 block that is inscribed in the grid, with its upper left vortex being positioned in the second column of the first row of the grid.

Sounds pretty neat, right?

The even neater thing about CSS Grid is the fact that you can create template areas, give those areas meaningful names (e.g. “header” or “main”), and then use those identifiers to programmatically position elements in those areas.

.item-a {
  grid-area: header;
.item-b {
  grid-area: main;
.item-c {
  grid-area: sidebar;
.item-d {
  grid-area: footer;

.container {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: 50px 50px 50px 50px;
  grid-template-rows: auto;
    "header header header header"
    "main main . sidebar"
    "footer footer footer footer";

For those who have begun working in this business in the tables era, the code above is nothing short of science fiction.

More good news, anyway: support for CSS Grid is pretty great, today.

Using CSS Grid in WordPress

So, this is great, and knowing that we can do so many more things today than we could compared to a few years ago probably makes you want to give Grid a try, at last.

If you are working on a WordPress project, you’re back facing the two options mentioned above: do we start from scratch and manually coding a template, or is there something that can give us a little help? Luckily, there is a plugin that might interest you, one that we have created with a dual goal in mind:

  1. Create a bridge between the Block Editor and CSS Grid.
  2. Create a plugin that could perhaps make people move past the initial skepticism of adopting the Block Editor.

It’s called Grids, and it’s a free download on the WordPress plugins repository.

Grids only takes care of the layout structure. It puts a 12×6 grid at your disposal (called Section), over which you can drag and draw the elements (Areas) that are going to be contained in that Section.

The system allows you to manually specify dimensions, backgrounds, responsive behavior, all using visual controls in the Block Editor, but by design, it doesn’t provide any content block. Sure, one could see this approach as a weak point, but we think it’s actually Grids’ biggest strength because it enables the plugin to integrate with the myriad content blocks that other developers all around the world are creating. More so, in a way Grids helps bringing those blocks, and WordPress as a platform, in touch with CSS Grid itself.

Yet, even if the plugin doesn’t strictly produce content, it’s inevitable to put it in the same phrase with successful page builders, in fact comparing its functionality to that offered by those. If you care about concepts like separation of form and content, page weight, ease of maintenance, Grids offers a cleaner solution to the problem of creating visually appealing layouts in WordPress.

The generated markup is minimal. In its most basic form, a Section (that is, the element with the display: grid property) is only composed by its own element — of course, an internal wrapper (that couldn’t be avoided and that’s used for spacing purposes), and then one element per Area belonging to the Section. This is a huge step forward in terms of avoiding using unnecessary markup.

For those of you who haven’t been afraid of getting your hands dirty with the development of blocks for the Block Editor, the rendering of the block is done server-side, which allows for custom classes to be added to Section and Area elements using filters.

This choice also directly determines what happens in the eventuality that you disable Grids in your install.


​​If you don’t re-save your page again, what’s left of Grids on the front end is actually exclusively the content you put inside the content Areas. Not any extra markup elements, not any weird-looking shortcode.


​​On the back-end side of things, the Block Editor has a system in place that warns you if you’re editing a page that is supposed to use a particular block type, but that block type isn’t currently available: in that case, you could easily turn Grids back on temporarily, move your content in another place, and then get rid of the Section altogether.

CSS generated to create the grid is also dynamically added to the page, as an inline style in the portion of the document. We haven’t been exactly fans of styles written in the page directly, because ideally we’d like to delegate all of the styling to files that we could put under version control, yet this is a case where we found that approach to be very convenient.

Another viable option would have been to identify all the possible combinations of column/row starting/ending points, and programmatically map those with classes that could then be used to actually position elements within the grid. On a 12×6 grid, that would have lead to having a grand total of 36 class selectors, looking like this:

.grids-cs-1 {
  grid-column-start: 1;

.grids-ce-2 {
  grid-column-end: 2;

What if we decide to offer more control over how a grid is composed and, say, give users access to options that determine how many columns or rows form the grid structure?

We’d have to manually map the classes that we don’t yet have in the stylesheet (and release an update to the plugin just for that), or, again, generate them inline, and then add those classes to the grid elements.

While perfectly fine, this approach kind of goes against the idea of having a leaner, more scannable markup, so we’ve decided not to follow this route, and pay the price of having style dynamically put in the head of the document, knowing that it could be easily cached.

Because of the experimental nature of the plugin, the backend UI that’s being used to actually compose the grid is created with CSS Grid, and a set of CSS variables through which we control the properties of content Areas. Using variables has immensely sped up our work behind the grid creator prototype — had we chosen a different path there, things wouldn’t just be much longer in terms of development times, but also more complex and less clear to maintain down the road.

Feedback wanted!

To further foster the adoption of CSS Grid, we need tools that automate the process of creating layouts with it.

While we have been seeing great examples of this technology out in the wild, it would be short-sighted to assume that every website that is published today has a team of front-end devs behind it, that can take care of the issue.

We need tools that produce good markup, that don’t hinder the maintenance of the website stylesheets, and, most importantly in the WordPress world, that can be easily integrated with the existing themes that people love to use.

We think Grids is a step forward in that direction, as it’s a tool that is built upon two standards — the Block Editor API, and CSS Grid — and, as such, suffers less risk of reinventing the proverbial wheel.

While we’ve been recording general interest in the plugin at the recent WordCamp Europe in Berlin – with Matt Mullenweg himself displaying a brief demo of the plugin during his keynote — we know that it still needs a lot of feedback that can only be obtained with real-life scenarios. So, if you want to take Grids for a spin, please use it, test it and, why not, suggest new features.




There are a variety of reasons why you might want to embed audio in your website. For instance, maybe you sell your own music and want to give users a preview before asking them to purchase a song, or you might just want to have an audio version of a text-based post. In either case, WordPress offers a lot of free plugins to get the job done. They are easy to use and support all common audio formats like .mp3, .wav and .ogg.

In this post, we’ll briefly discuss the features of some popular free plugins. Before we go any further, I would like to mention that there are some very good WordPress audio plugins available from CodeCanyon. These plugins will generally offer more feature and come with free support for up to six months. This means that you can always ask for help if you get stuck.

Compact WP Audio Player

The Compact WordPress Audio Player is actually an HTML and Flash hybrid plugin. You can use it to embed audio files in .mp3 and .ogg format with use of simple shortcodes.

Compact WP Audio Player

Since the plugin offers very basic functionality, it will work on almost all devices which people might use to visit your website. It is actually one of the big positives of using this plugin.

The audio player is responsive and its compact design means that it won’t take up a lot of screen space or look distracting. You can embed it in any page or post by using the following shortcode after installing the plugin.

[sc_embed_player fileurl="path/to/file.mp3"]

There are a couple of options available that you can use to determine if the audio should be played on loop or if it should start auto-playing once the page loads. You can also choose between two different templates for embedding the audio. Visit the plugin description page to know more.

HTML5 Audio Player

This simple HTML5 Audio Player plugin allows you to embed .mp3, .ogg and .wav files into your posts and pages very easily.

HTML5 Audio Player

The plugin is easily customizable in case you decide to override its styling to make it blend into the theme of your own website. The audio player can also be embedded in the widgets area or in template files.

It offers almost all the same features as the Compact WP Audio Player plugin. For instance, the player has a compact and responsive design. You can also choose to auto-play or set the volume level fro the player. It also relies on shortcodes to embed the audio player into the website.

The major difference between these plugins is that HTML5 Audio Player gives you a user interface that has options to set values for looping, audio volume and player width etc. Once you have checked all the options, the plugin generates the shortcode for you. This might make the plugin more easier to use for complete novices.

Read about all its features on the description page. If you want to give this plugin a try, don’t forget to check out this tutorial adding a free audio player to WordPress sites. It uses the HTML5 Audio player plugin to embed the audio.

Seriously Simple Podcasting

If you have been looking for a free WordPress plugin to easily manage your podcasts, your search ends here. The Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin is aptly named because it gets the job done with minimal level of configuration required from your end.

Seriously Simple Podcasting

First and foremost, the plugin only has a couple of simple settings so you will be up and running in no time. It also allows you to run multiple podcasts from the same website while giving each of them their own unique RSS feeds. You can also collect stats on your listeners using a free add-on.

The media player is customizable and it was redesigned in a recent update to show the podcast cover image. The plugin supports both audio and video podcasting.

It also offers shortcodes and widgets to allow you to embed single podcast episodes or playlists anywhere on the website. The plugin comes with an integrated podcast hosting platform but you are not required to use it. You can freely host your media files wherever you like.

The are a few more free add-ons for this plugin which augment its functionality. You can read more about the features and how to use this plugin on the support page.

Audio Album

The Audio Album plugin is a great choice for people who want to embed music playlists into their webpage. You can also use it to embed single audio files but it is specifically meant for playlists.

Audio Album

Since the whole list of audio files acts as a single playlist. All of them have a similar styling applied to them. You can also easily change the color of the text and buttons along with the album or player background.

The plugin even gives you the option to completely rewrite the CSS and style everything from scratch. This will give you fill control over every detail of the plugin.

You can embed the songs and playlists in any WordPress post or page using just two shortcodes. There are a bunch of parameters that you can change for each of them to specify things like the title, width or height of the album.

You can specify the audio source in .mp3, .ogg, .wma, .m4a and .wav formats. Just like other plugins, it also allows you to auto-play the audio or play it in a loop etc.

There are a couple of options available for people to show a button along with the audio files in the playlist. This could be to a link where users can read more about that song or purchase it.

If you like the features offered by Audio Album, you should read this tutorial on adding a free WordPress music player to your website. It will teach you how to use all the features mentioned in this post.


AudioIgniter is yet another plugin that you can use to create music playlists and embed them in your website. The player can be added to posts, pages or any other custom post types.

Audio Igniter

The plugin allows you to create unlimited playlists with unlimited songs. The player also has a responsive layout and it can be embedded using simple shortcodes. Settings for playback can also be tweaked for individual playlists.

You can easily show or hide track numbers and covers. It is also possible to display the album art of current thumbnail more prominently.

It is also possible to integrate AudioIgniter with WooCommerce to sell individual tracks.

The overall layout of the playlists you create with AudioIgniter does look better compared to the Audio Album plugin. However, you lose the ability to customize every part of the player.

Final Thoughts

In this post, we have summarized the common features as well as the pros and cons of some popular and free WordPress audio player plugins. You can use them to embed individual audio files or whole playlists in your pages and posts.

People who are looking to embed a single audio file in their projects will find the Compact WP Audio Player and the HTML5 Audio Player plugins to be easy to use. Someone who wants the ability to create their own playlist will benefit from using the AudioIgniter plugin. However, if you need the option to fully customize the look of the music player, using Audio Album would be a better choice. Both these plugins offer the ability to create dedicated buttons to sell individual music files.

Finally, the Seriously Simple Podcasting plugin will serve you well if you are planning on creating and managing your podcasts with a WordPress website.

If these plugins don’t have all the features that you want or they don’t look very professional, give the premium WordPress Audio plugins in the Envato market a try. They start for as little as $11 and offer a huge set of features with six months of free support.


Something I see a lot with the WordPress consultants I coach, as well as something I experienced in the early days of my own agency, is that the wrong tool can do a lot of damage to the foundation of a business.

You might be thinking:

“Who has the time to research the best tools and apps though? I just need something that works for now.”

But there’s a trade-off. If you don’t create a stable foundation for your business with the right set of tools now, it will cost you much more time and money to replace them and repair your business down the road.

So, rather than waste what little time you have recreating the wheel, I’ve gathered up the 10 best tools and apps for WordPress freelancers. If you want more time to focus on what’s important (like building websites and making money), you need to start here.

10 Best Tools & Apps for WordPress Freelancers

This is something that comes up a lot in our private Facebook group. People want to know which WordPress page builder plugin is best. Or how to keep track of their income. Or whether they should be tracking time on jobs.

And they’re right to be looking for the best tools and apps. They’re the key to creating a solid foundation for business — something both you and your clients both need to succeed.

These are your essentials:

1. WordPress Themes: Astra and GeneratePress (Freemium)

Although you may be inclined to build WordPress websites with different WordPress themes, you’d be doing yourself and your clients a great disservice by doing so.

That’s because every WordPress theme has its own nuances: customisation options, theme variations, flexibility in design and development, and so on.

While that variation may seem like a good thing because it means more versatility in what you build, it doesn’t actually work that way. Because the more WordPress themes you have to memorise the layout and functionality of, the more time you spend readjusting to the given theme’s workflow every time you start a new project.

That’s why you need to commit to one or two themes.

The ones I’ve found WordPress freelancers have the most success with are Astra:

Astra - one of the best tools & apps for WordPress freelancers

And GeneratePress:


Both are lightweight, responsive and highly customisable. They also work really well with the WordPress page builder plugins I’m about to talk about.

2. Page Builder Plugins: Elementor and Beaver Builder (Freemium)

While the WordPress editor may suffice for blogging, it’s really not ideal for building the pages of your website. And while you can leverage the beautifully made templates provided by WordPress themes, page builder plugins allow you to have much more control over the design and code.

There are a number of page builder plugins you’re going to run into. However, if you’re trying to use the best plugins to start, then there are two I strongly recommend. Choose one.

If you’re a web designer, consultant or other WordPress professional, Elementor will fit nicely into your workflow:


In fact, it’s the theme that WP Elevation used to design this website. It’s also the plugin I use in most of my WordPress tutorials.

Beaver Builder, on the other hand, is going to be best for web developers that want more control over the code and functionality of their pages:

Beaver Builder

The debate between Beaver Builder and Elementor is a common one and for good reason. They’ve both been on the market for years and are well-loved by the WordPress community. If you have to start somewhere, they’re going to be your best picks.

3. Asana (Freemium)

It’s not just WordPress tools that are going to be crucial to the success of your business. You’re going to need various business management tools and apps to get everything else in line, too. Starting with a task management system.

When you’re first starting out, Asana is going to be your best friend.


Not only can you track and organise all of your clients and projects in this tool, but you can create templates so you don’t have to spend so much time on tedious tasks (like setting up projects or onboarding clients).

Then, if you decide to grow your business and build a team, you can upgrade Asana so you and your team can collaborate more efficiently within the same workspace.

4. Toggl (Free)

One of the tricky things about managing your time when you’re a freelancer is knowing exactly how much of it you need to get stuff done.

If you’ve been building websites for a while, you might have a good idea of how long it takes to get them out the door. But you’re going to have to be more precise than that. How long do your client kickoff calls? How about your content gathering and research phases? And how about QA?

If you’re not scheduling enough time for yourself in Asana, you’ll either end up working extra-long days to get it done (and risk burnout) or you’re going to miss deadlines (and upset your client). Neither situation is ideal.

To keep yourself sane and your clients happy, put Toggl to work for you.


This time-tracking tool lets you capture how long you spend on whole projects as well as specific tasks. And not only will this help you better budget your time, but it’ll help you price your services more effectively, too.

The Secret to Making More Money with WordPress Is…

Toggl is just one piece of the pricing puzzle. If you want to charge better rates and make a greater profit, sign up for this free webinar.

5. Evernote (Freemium)

Take a look around your desk. Do you have sticky notes and notepads covered in details and reminders from client meetings? Now, take a look at your digital workspace. Does it have a similar vibe?

You can’t afford to leave your notes scattered around. You need to capture your ideas more effectively. With Evernote, you’ll not only be able to take down all of your notes in one place, but you can better organise your thoughts there, too.


Even better, it works on all devices, so you no longer have to manually take notes anymore. You can dictate them by voice, link websites or save screenshots for reference and inspiration.

6. Call Recorder Lite App (Free)

Another way to avoid the burden of having to take notes by hand is to record your calls and meetings with clients.

A great tool that does that is Call Recorder Lite. It’s an app you install on your iPhone to record, export and save your calls.

Call Recorder Lite

That way, you won’t have to worry about missing any pertinent details from your client meetings later on. Even better, it will free your focus from the page, so you can pay closer attention to what your client is saying and really be engaged in the conversation.

7. LastPass (Free)

On average, how many tools and WordPress websites do you think you log into every day? That number will only grow as your business does. So, how do you keep track of your username and password for each application?

To ensure that you always use a strong username/password combination, you’re going to need a password manager like LastPass to help you out.


In addition to storing your login credentials there, you can use LastPass to create super-secure passwords for new tools. You can even share your credentials with others through this app, which will come in handy when you hire an assistant.

8. Accounting Software: Xero and QuickBooks (Premium)

Financial security is the dream for every freelancer. But it’s not something that will happen if you don’t know your numbers.

I get it. You know money is going out of your business, but you worry that you don’t have enough coming in. However, those numbers are the only way to confirm it, so you need to pay attention.

With accounting software, the responsibility of tracking your cash flow doesn’t ride on your shoulders. You can automate that piece and then spend your time focused on bringing in new business and charging rates that will bring your profits up.

Two of the best accounting software tools for freelancers are QuickBooks:


And Xero:


Both of these tools grow alongside your business, too. So, if you only want to start with self-employed tools like budgeting and tax management, you can do that. Then, when you’re ready, you can upgrade the tools, so they do more for you — like manage invoices.

9. Spotify (Free)

This early in the game, you can’t afford to let distractions or stress slow you down. If you let them work their way into your workflow now, it’ll be hard to fight them off later.

That’s why I always recommend that freelancers find a Spotify playlist that keeps them calm and focused. The one I’m most fond of is called Jazz Vibes.

Spotify Jazz Vibes

Even if you’re not into jazz, that’s cool. Video game soundtracks, for example, are good for helping people focus, too. So, play around with it and find the genre or playlist that works best for you.

10. Runkeeper (Free)

It won’t take long before you realise just how hard it can be to maintain your health and wellness when you’re busy running a business or scrambling to get clients.

This is another one of those things you need to create good habits around early on. If you don’t, you’ll soon find that your lack of physical activity causes you to feel sluggish and unmotivated during the workday. That’s a major problem for freelancers whose sole source of income comes from the time they’re able to commit to building websites.

To keep yourself motivated and accountable to your health, I’d recommend you find the right health and fitness app. For me, it’s Runkeeper.


With it, I keep tabs on how much walking or running I do each day while monitoring progress against my goals.


There you have it. The 10 best tools and apps you’re going to need to make your life a lot easier as a WordPress freelancer. This is just the start though. Once you start to pick up steam in your business, there’s more to be done to turn your business into a lean profit-generating machine.

In Parts 2 and 3 of this Best Tools & Apps series, I’ll share the resources you’ll need to take your business to new heights. So, stay tuned!

Oh, and if you want to see what other tools our WordPress community is talking about or have questions about ones not included on this list, join our Digital Mavericks Facebook group. As you can imagine, it’s a hot topic around these parts.