Here are the tools and plugins that we use in every WordPress theme that we build.
This is our go-to plugin for creating custom page templates and custom theme options that are easily editable in the WordPress admin, for both the client and the developer. The Pro version gives us Repeater, Gallery and the Flexible Content fields which are infinitely useful to match data input needs.
The Sage starter theme is literally our starting point (get it?) for all custom theme development. It provides a solid base file & folder structure, Bootstrap 3 SASS, bower, npm and a gulp build system so we can get straight to theming.
Yoast helps optimize SEO on a WordPress site and has powerful tools for analyzing your content as you type. It’s straight forward to use and helps our clients learn the ins and outs of creating SEO optimized content marketing.
Caching each site just makes sense. We get improved response times, less overhead on the host, and can serve a larger number of requests when the need arrises.
In most of our sites, we use Custom Post Types to handle specific sections of content. So we always make a custom plugin to register them (and any related code like taxonomies) agnostically from the theme for future compatibility. Also any WordPress modifications that are not theme specific will go in our custom plugin.
And that about wraps it up for our main go-to’s. We tend to not use very many plugins to keep it simple and clean. There are a few we use fairly regularly that are not listed here, but they are for specific uses like The Event Calendar or WooCommerce for e-commerce sites.
I hope this gives a bit of insight into our WordPress process and the tools we use.