Comprehensive resource collection for bloggers and Internet marketers. To this page I have collected the best resources and tools, most of which I use personally as well. Make sure you bookmark the page, so you can come back here when needed.
Resource List Table of Contents (T.O.C)
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- Register your domains on a reliable domain registrar.
- You do not have to register domains with the same service provider you get hosting from, and
- I recommend for you to get domains from separate domain registrar.
This will make possible selling of the domain and/or blog much easier, which you should prepare even if you have no plans to sell when you start. Think of it as "not putting all eggs in the same basket", if you will.
For domain name registration, there are three services I recommend:
Domainers use Moniker for reliability and great service - and since people making a living with domains use it, Moniker is amazingly good for the average domain registrar too. Moniker is among the cheapest options when you count the additional services, e.g. WHOIS privacy, domain transfers, etc.
- Moniker - trusted domain registrar
- .com $8.02 / year
- .net $6.64 / year
- .org $8.02 / year
- Namecheap - another great domain registrar
- .com, .net & .org all cost $9.69 / year
At the beginning, I registered my domains with my web hosting provider (convenient, but not necessary the smartest thing), which is DreamHost. Domain registrations cost a bit more than from other registrars, but taking the WHOIS privacy into account, it's quite even. By having my main domains on the same account, the billing is simple, and DreamHost offers WHOIS privacy for free and automatically renews my domains too.
When getting shared hosting, I think you shouldn't have to worry about bandwidth, disk space, or be too limited on how many sites you can set up on your account. In addition to these, not all hosting are good for WordPress and some providers put their customers on a leash when it comes to speed. I don't want you to have anything of that.
The hosting services I recommend offer: Unlimited domains, unlimited bandwidth, unlimited disk space and great customer service when you need it. And they all have proven to work well with WordPress, keep their servers and services up to date (PHP and MySQL) and understand the importance of site speed. And here they are:
- DreamHost. This blog is hosted on DH. DreamHost is well optimized for WordPress and they offer all the site speed related goodies. Use my special discount code 'ZEMALF' when you sign up to save $61.20 on the first year (Normal price is $9.95 a month, which is a great price for such a high quality hosting, but you'll only pay $4.85 a month for the first year with my code.).
- BlueHost. For it's price, it's hard to beat BlueHost. Affordable and reliable service.
- Host Gator. Another very affordable with its pricing. Don't take the cheapest (hatchling) plan thou, as it only allows one domain.
For a long-term, scalable solution, look into VPS.net and their cloud hosting option. It costs a bit more than shared hosting (but still only $20 a month) to start with, but you'll have the option to add more capacity in an instant when needed, without transferring and setting up new servers. Plus, it's the fastest possible hosting option.
Premium WordPress Themes
If you want more unique and more customizable design, take a look at these premium WordPress themes:
- StudioPress has loads of well designed and optimized themes for you to choose from.
- After creating the Genesis, and porting all their "normal" themes to use the framework, in addition to offering the "plain" framework, StudioPress themes went from A-class to AAA.
- For the ultimate customization, I recommended you get their theme framework, Genesis.
- For "out of the box" theme, choose one of the ready-made options (or get Genesis AND buy a look as a child theme!)
- Very versatile and highly customizable Theme Framework
- Pros: High customization, wide user community, good support
- Cons: Although usable "out of the box", without work and customization it's quite plain.
Recommended WordPress Plugins
Most of the WordPress plugins are free, available through WordPress Plugins Directory.
Quick and easy install directly from WordPress Dashboard: Plugins --> Add New.
Must-have / Essential WordPress Plugins
Here are the most essential plugins for WordPress I use and recommended:
- Default spam filter (and a good one!)
- Protects your blog from most blog comment spam
- Google XML Sitemaps
- Generates and submits XML sitemap for search engines
- Great for SEO
- Lots of options
- Easy to use
- Updated regularly
- W3 Total Cache
- The ultimate caching solution for WordPress
- Yes, forget WP Super-Cache, this is way better.
- Bit technical and difficult to get running, but once you do, this one
- caches the pages
- caches the database connection
- automatically manages the media library with content delivery network (CDN), like Amazon S3
- allows caching via Memcache and APC (advanced, not for shared hosting)
- Read my detailed step-by-step W3 Total Cache guide to learn how to install and configure the plugin for ultimate caching solution.
- Backing and optimizing the WordPress database
- Automatic scheduling
- Can be used to send Db backups to email for offsite storage
- WP Smush.it
- Automatically optimize the images you upload for web
- Install once and you don't have to do anything afterwards,
- this one compresses and optimizes the images while you upload as normal
- WordPress SEO -plugin
- True "all in one" search engine optimization -plugin
- Even if you have SEO-friendly theme, this will help you maintain the settings easier
- I used All in One SEO Pack until this was released
- Has tons of features, including the functionality of my old plugin favorites:
- Robots Meta
- RSS Footer
- Yoast breadcrumbs
- Yet Another Related Posts Plugin
- Great for SEO
- Users can see related content that they may like = very "relevant" to the page
- Manage 301 redirects.
- Track the number of clicks
- Use for affiliate links
- Automatically monitor changing post URLs and set 301 redirects
- Manually set 301's for easy affiliate link management and tracking
- Monitors and logs 404 errors
Each and every blog I setup and install has the above plugins installed, for a reason, I have tried and tested the alternatives, and found that the above have worked the best for me. I keep the list of recommended list of WP plugins short for a reason, because I think one should only use what is really needed for both performance and maintenance reasons, but I also add great plugins to the list if I choose to use them myself after testing them out.
More Great WordPress plugins
Here are more recommended plugins, which are all great, but not needed on each and every blog I run...
- SEO Smart Links
- In-post, relevant links to posts and categories
- Automatic cross-post linking
- Custom keyword linking (optional case-sensitive), e.g. Affiliate links
- Limitation options how many links it adds, etc.
- Google Analytics for WordPress
In addition to the above, I also use Limit Login Attemps to secure the admin area, Contact Form 7 on my contact page, WP-Pagenavi for improved page navigation and Sociable for social bookmarking (uses CSS-Sprites!).
In addition to those, I was using RSS Footer, Yoast Breadcrumbs, and Robots Meta before, but none of these are no longer needed, as they've been integrated into the WordPress SEO -plugin.
- Robots Meta
- Micromanage how search engine robots index your site, setting nofollow and noindex tags on individual pages if needed.
- Easily set nofollow links on front page for PageRank sculpting for the home page
- Edit and handle the WordPress htaccess and robots.txt from the WP Dashboard