Your strategy, ideas, and approach―these determine the success of your website or blog. But you can't ignore the right tools, because these can also greatly affect your project.
For example, if you choose the wrong technological foundation―hosting, plugins, etc.―for your website, it won’t perform well, and reaching its maximum potential will be out of the question. Your ideas and strategies should be based on tools that won't let you down. Think of a table: We pay attention to its materials and design, but what is it without its strong legs? The technological foundation of your website is what strong legs are to the table.
I’ve tried many tools during my time in the field of blogging. Now it's time to share my favorites so you don't have to waste time reading dozens of articles and trying out various tools.
But be aware, the prices and promotions I'm writing about now may change over time. Check the products’ official websites for detailed information and current pricing.
To launch a website, you first need to register a domain name and choose a hosting server. Hosting isn’t very expensive, but you may have to pay some related expenses. I focused on a balance of affordability and excellent quality when choosing hosting services to recommend to you.
1. Bluehost: from $3.95/month
Bluehost is a great choice for beginners. When registering, you can get a significant discount by purchasing hosting for 36 months at once. The hosting service does not have a free trial, but it does have the option of a full refund within 30 days of purchase. Plus, Bluehost provides a free domain. It also has 24-hour support with quick response times, and the service is well protected.
2. Dreamhost: normally $2.59/month
This hosting is suitable for those whose sites already have traffic—so if you start with Bluehost, you can eventually switch to Dreamhost. Yes, it’s more expensive for bigger plans, but it is also much more convenient in terms of service, versatility, and a comfortable interface. Dreamhost has everything you need to keep your site running with increased traffic—performance, automated security systems, and easy management with advanced features for advanced users.
Best WordPress Themes
It can take weeks to choose a WordPress theme, especially if you have no experience and believe all the descriptions that developers promise you. Not everyone wants to fool you, but with some themes you may have to grapple with incomplete details, updates that will break everything, or problems with adaptability. Why waste time searching for the perfect theme if someone else has done it for you? That someone is me. Here are the themes I chose.
This is a fast, lightweight, and responsive WordPress theme. It was created with a focus on speed, SEO, and usability features. GeneratePress can serve as a solid base for any website, and it works perfectly with all your favorite page builders. The theme has its own WordPress Customizer, meaning you can instantly see every change you make before clicking the publish button.
2. WP Astra
This is a fast, beautiful, super-lightweight, fully customizable WordPress theme designed for blogs, personal portfolios, business websites, and WooCommerce showcases. The Schema.org code is already integrated into Astra, plus it has built-in AMP support, so search engines will love your site. The theme contains special features and templates, so it works perfectly with all page builders, including Elementor, Beaver Builder, Visual Composer, SiteOrigin, and Divi.
WP Astra Pros
WP Astra Cons
Page & Theme Builders for Advanced Users
Once you gain experience, pre-made themes won't be enough for you and you’ll be able to create your own. There are many tools for this, from intuitive to complex. I’ve tried many of them and found the best ones, so I'm ready to share functional theme and page builders with you.
This drag-and-drop page builder allows you to create functional page layouts using a live editing interface that instantly shows you all your changes. Advanced features such as parallax scrolling, background images for a wide layout, advanced buttons, custom headers, and other elements are included. The biggest advantage of Elementor is that it lets you put into action any page-design requests. Use the Astra theme and edit it with Elementor to implement all your ideas.
2. Thrive Themes & Thrive Architect
These tools are suitable for advanced users, and I use them myself. Thrive Themes has a range of useful tools that will help you create your own templates. You no longer need Astra or GeneratePress. If your needs are outside of their capabilities, use Thrive Themes.
Thrive Architect is a convenient and intuitive visual page editor for WordPress. With it, you can easily create dynamic layouts, expand content elements, and more. It’s similar to Elementor but works perfectly with Thrive Themes. Thrive Themes and Thrive Architect are literally made for each other.
Plugins expand the capabilities of your site. They can speed it up, help you collect information, gather statistics, and much more. There are many different plugins with different features. I recommend those that are the most useful and convenient.
1. Rank Math
Rank Math has broad functionality, many features, and easy-to-use management. It monitors pages with broken links and provides data so you can quickly fix the error. It allows you to make a full-fledged SEO setup for AMP pages and to work with regionality. And most importantly, it allows for an extended snippet. You may not understand what this is yet, but you’ll soon see that it’s very important. The plugin is free, which makes it almost perfect.
Rank Math Pros
Rank Math Cons
2. WP Rocket
WP Rocket will speed up your site and optimize its performance. This is the only caching plugin that applies 80% of the best optimization practices. Moreover, many functions become available immediately after connecting the plugin, even without activating any options. Just consider these bonuses to the main functionality. This is the only cache plugin you need—just install it and you’ll have a fast website.
WP Rocket Pros
WP Rocket Cons
Email Marketing Software
A great way to communicate with your audience is through a newsletter. This is how you remind people about yourself, share new info with them, encourage them to subscribe, and even notify them about promotions and discounts if your blog is linked to a business.
This means that it's important to choose a seamless newsletter service that will provide you with fast delivery to all email addresses and at the same time keep your emails from ending up in spam. I have a couple of tools in mind that will help with your newsletter.
1. Constant Contact
This software offers hundreds of customizable templates, a drag-and-drop editing interface, segmentation of emails, and the ability to organize contacts in folders and lists. The “Get Delivered” tool allows you to track the delivery and reading of your newsletters, and the analytics and developing data report features will help you monitor the results. To set up a campaign, you can use an image library and even a database of contacts. It’s convenient and functional—just what you need. There is a two-month-long free trial, and service plans range from $20 to $45 per month.
Constant Contact Pros
Constant Contact Cons
composer, image hosting, and much more that can be useful for organizing newsletters. The main difference between Sendinblue and Constant Contact is that Sendinblue even offers SMS mailing lists. The subscription fee ranges from $0 to $49 per month and depends on the number of emails that you plan to send daily as well as the features you need.
This list contains tools that don’t fit into any of the groups above. While the tools I’ve already listed are pretty much mandatory for a good site, the rest of the tools work well in different situations and niches. Be sure to study this section as closely as all the previous ones—I think you will find something useful here.
Are you going to monetize your site by selling an online course in your niche? That's a good idea, but you need a platform to implement it. I suggest Thinkific. It provides a wide range of tools for creating, managing, and selling online courses. It offers the ability to create sites that can host an infinite number of video courses, sell content, and offer support for an unlimited flow of online students.
Landing pages are super important for sales. One day there will come a time when you need to sell something―a product, a service, a course, or a webinar―so you will need a landing page. Leadpages will become your best friend and assistant. Here, you will find lots of stylish templates, including free ones, though there are more paid templates than free ones. For most, you’ll have to pay $7 and up, but it's worth it.
Your audience likes to listen, and you have something to say. Welcome to the world of podcasts, where it's best to go with Buzzsprout. This service is constantly updated, is #1 in the world of podcasts, it is even adapted for mobile.
There is a partner platform that allows you to earn money by streaming. The main version is free, but the podcasts are deleted after 90 days. If you want to avoid this, choose a plan starting at $12 per month—quite an affordable price.
This is where the list of my favorite services ends, but you can be sure that if I find something even more convenient, profitable, and interesting, I will share it with you on my Instagram or website. Thank you for reading this! I wish you great luck with your first site—I'm sure you will succeed.
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