I’m often asked which blogging platform, plugins, etc that I use and recommend. This list includes products and services I have used consistently and highly recommend.
- Disclaimer: If any of the products or services I use offer an affiliate program, I have included that link. If they don’t, I still include the link.
- WordPress. The only blog platform I will use for my sites, whether or not I use them for a blog. I do NOT recommend using the free hosted one on wordpress.org, but rather have it hosted for you elsewhere (read: Self-hosted WordPress vs. Free hosting.) The benefits of using WP are vast: Should I use WordPress for my Blog?
- BlueHost. This is my preferred hosting company, and the only service recommended by WordPress themselves. Not only are they extremely economical (WP hosting from less than $50 a year) but they offer automated WordPress install, allowing blog setup to be complete in minutes. Note: My busiest blogs are hosted on my own server, however, these sites receive a significant amount of traffic requiring services that would not make sense financially for most bloggers. For this reason, I highly recommend BlueHost when getting started.
- WP Engine. While BlueHost is an excellent choice for those starting out, WPEngine is my recommendation for those who currently have a significant amount of traffic, or are expecting a significant amount of traffic in the future. They are WordPress specialists with a strong focus on serving bloggers specifically. Sign up for a WP Engine plan with this link, and receive the Genesis Framework and 35+ StudioPress Themes free.
Blog Design & Themes
- Restored 316. Hands down, my favorite WordPress themes. The designs are beautiful and the support and tutorials are phenomenal (they thought of everything, seriously.) These are well-coded, SEO friendly, Mobile responsive, etc. The only con to Restored, is that they don’t have more themes.
- StudioPress. I have found StudioPress themes to rank the best, with the smallest amount of work. This alone, tells me they are built with SEO and function in mind, as well as aesthetics. I do offer some tips for choosing the right blog theme* here.
- ThemeIsle – Hestia theme. This is one of my go-to themes. It’s aesthetically pleasing, SEO coded, Responsive, and tons of easy to customize features.
- Elegant Themes – If you want something flashy with endless aesthetic features, Divi theme is a popular one.
- ConvertKit. My preferred email list manager.
- Aweber. While I love ConvertKit, I find Aweber is a great service for those starting out on a budget.
Graphics & Design
- The Webmaster Company – I have long relied on Patrick and his Marine-approach to keeping my sites and server in tip top shape. Anytime I have an issue or simply need to consult, Patrick is ON IT. At the risk of making him too busy… I must recommend him for site development, wordpress design tweaks, and as a general right hand man for those who need someone who knows their stuff about sites and servers.
- Fat Joe: Writing Services. I use these guys for everything from blog posts to academic research articles, blogger outreach and press releases. You have a different writer each time however, so be sure to check the work thoroughly each time, in case you need a rewrite with your own style preferences.
- PR Reach: Years ago, when I was starting out, I would send out press releases in the hopes of gaining traffic. Well, it worked- I was picked up on national morning shows, talk shows, radio, news channels… I went from a few thousand readers, to millions practically overnight. I still recommend using traditional media to pursue traffic and now I LOVE PR Reach- they are next-gen press release distribution and an absolute MUST.
Plugins I Use
Plugins for MMO (Making Money Online)
Nifty Resources I Use
- KnowEm.com – Check your blog’s name for availability across all major social media profiles in an instant. They offer services for setting up profiles as well.
- Gyazo and Gyazo GIF – Take screenshots on your computer, and create gifs/videos on your computer.
How I Find Affiliate Programs
- Shareasale – Shop and apply for affiliate programs.