“What tools and services do you use and recommend?” So many people email me asking this same question. And I get it.
People want to know the tools I use and recommend, and how I do things, so they can replicate how I do things.
Once you know what to do and how to do it, it becomes much easier to achieve your goals.
So, I created this recommended resources page so instead of replying to every single email, I can just direct my readers to this regularly updated page.
This page contains all the tools and services I use for most of the sites I own, but also for sites I help develop.
Web Hosting & CDN
SiteGround has been around since the year 2004 and is one of the most popular web hosting service providers.
Being a Siteground customer myself, I can vouch for the quality of support and performance this company has to offer. My site is never down and their support team answers all my queries really fast.
They also offer a live chat system on their website where they have solved a lot of my queries in just a matter of minutes.
While their pricing starts at $3.95/month, I recommend their GrowBig plan. It offers everything you will need at a very affordable price.
KeyCDN is a content delivery network (CDN) service provider. They offer a simple CDN service that is really easy to set up.
And unlike most of their competitors, these guys offer the cheapest CDN service on the market.
But don’t let their cheap price tag fool you. They are one of the most popular and trusted CDN providers.
I use KeyCDN's service on all my websites. Their CDN service is one of the main reasons why all my sites load up so fast. They use a global network of 25 data centers to speed up your website.
Sign up for their free 30-day trial to test out the difference their CDN service can make in your website’s speed.
3. Google Search Console & Google Analytics
When you know which pages on your site are and aren’t performing, you can focus on what works and create content that your audience wants.
This is where Google’s free tools, Google Search Console and Google Analytics, come to help.
Google Analytics helps you analyze what pages people visit on your website and what pages are performing well. You can use the data from Google Analytics to improve your site’s user experience and conversion rates.
Google Search Console, on the other hand, shows you which pages are performing well in Search Engines. GSC also lets you diagnose crawling and indexation issues, Google AMP pages, XML sitemaps and 404 errors. Not only that, this tool also tells which keywords your pages are ranking for.
You can use the data from Google Search Console to improve your site’s Search Engine performance.
I recommend you to install and use these tools on all your sites.
Ahrefs is a premium SEO tool. It is like a secret weapon for search engine optimization.
It can be your unfair advantage over your competitors. This tool helps us track how well my site is doing in terms of SEO and keep an eye over my competitors.
Ahrefs helps us find the best keywords to target and helps us a lot with link building.
If you want to make it rain on your site with free search engine traffic, you need to start using this tool.
While this tool may be unaffordable if you are just starting out, it is a great investment that will provide you at least a 10x Return on Investment.[2019 update: I now use a cheaper Ahrefs alternative called KeySearch, check out this post to learn more about KeySearch.]
If your website goes down, you will start losing dozens of customers and revenue every second your site stays down. And I am sure you don’t want angry customers calling you because your website is down.
This is where Host-Tracker comes to rescue. It notifies you if and when your website goes down. This helps you get your website up and running as soon as it goes down.
A good idea is to set up a notification for both you and your web developer, so your developer can start fixing your site as soon as it goes down.
They offer a free 30-day trial you can start using today to test out the service.
CMS & Theme
WordPress is a free content management system (CMS) that is fully open source. It powers over 27% of the websites on the internet. It comes with dozens of features and allows you to extend its functionality however you want.
If you want to add more functionality to WordPress, all you have to do is install a plugin. There are thousands of plugins available for WordPress.
And if there is no plugin available for your specific needs, you can always hire a developer to extend WordPress.
WordPress is no longer just a blogging platform, you can use it to build full-featured Web Applications.
There are a lot of reasons why I love WordPress. One of those is its simplicity. It is one of the easiest blogging platforms available.
Unlike most other content management systems, you can setup a WordPress site in just 5 minutes.
7. Genesis Theme Framework
The WordPress theme you use defines the design and functionality of your website. I use and recommend the Genesis Theme Framework by StudioPress.
The Genesis Framework not just a theme but a framework. It comes with hundreds of customization features. You can customize almost all aspects of the theme.
With search engine optimized and built for speed code, airtight security, instant updates, customizable widget and layout options, and a huge developer community, Genesis is my goto theme framework when creating WordPress powered websites.
And if you want more control over the functionality and design, you can always create your own child themes with ease.
8. WP Rocket
WP Rocket is a caching and speed optimization plugin for WordPress.
It can help you cut your website’s load time by more than half. WP Rocket is super easy to set up and offers a beginner-friendly interface.
If you are not investing in your site’s speed, think twice. Your site’s speed can make or break your site’s conversion rate and its ability to rank high in search engines.
9. Yoast SEO
There are a lot of things you need to do to optimize your site for search engines like Google.
One such thing is on-page SEO. Most people don’t underestimate the importance of good On-page SEO.
But if you want to get on the first page of Google, you need to take good care of your on-page SEO.
Yoast SEO plugin is totally free and takes care of the technical part of On-page SEO. Not only that, it adds a lot of much-needed functionality to WordPress.
For example, WordPress by itself doesn’t offer the functionality to generate XML Sitemaps. But when you install Yoast SEO, it automatically handles XML Sitemap generation for you.
If you don’t know how to set up Yoast SEO on your site, check out my 4000-word guide on setting up Yoast SEO. That guide includes everything you need to know about Yoast SEO.
10. Ninja Popups
Some bloggers hate popups. But that doesn’t change the fact that popups just work.
Popups can help you literally double the growth of your email list overnight. A popup will offer you far better conversion rate than a simple sidebar opt-in form.
The reason why popups work is that they get the visitor’s attention. Unlike a static opt-in form that you place in your sidebar, popups are something that is hard to ignore and grabs attention.
While the benefits of using popups sound awesome, it can be really difficult to find a plugin that offers all the functionality you will need. Most popup plugins are either too expensive or don’t offer much functionality.
That’s why I use and recommend Ninja Popups. This WordPress plugin offers you everything you can ask for in an opt-in form solution.
Ninja Popups offers a beginner-friendly interface, multiple templates, A/B Split Testing and much more. The best part is that it allows you to build your popups using an easy drag-and-drop interface.
11. Let’s Review
If you run a review site like mine, you can benefit a lot from the Let’s Review WordPress plugin.
It allows you to create beautiful review pages within just minutes. Instead of paying a developer hundreds of dollars just to create a page, with this plugin, you can create beautiful review pages within seconds.
This plugin comes with multiple design options to choose from and offers everything you will need to create an appealing review page.
It comes with full support for Schema Markup to help you outrank your competitors in Google's search results.
If you run a review site, I highly recommend the Let's Review WordPress plugin.
Need WordPress training for your clients (or for yourself)? Then WP101 is the resource I use. WP101 is the easiest and best way to train your clients WordPress basics with easy-to-follow video tutorials.
In the last 10 years, WP101's WordPress tutorial videos have helped more than two million beginners around the world learn how to use WordPress. WP101's training videos are used by companies like GoDaddy, LiquidWeb, Pressable and WooCommerce.