We’re often asked what tools we use to manage this web site or what we’d would recommend. Here are some of our favorite tools:
- WordPress: you can’t go wrong with WordPress as a blogging platform and content management system. WordPress currently powers over 60 million web sites around the world. And there is an active community developing innovative themes and plugins for WordPress, which let you fully customize your site (assuming you’re self-hosting and not using the WordPress.com site).
- Start a Blog That Matters: anyone can create a blog in a few minutes. But if you’re serious about building a blog that really matters, then check out Corbett Barr’s online course. Corbett runs the highly successful ThinkTraffic.net site and his Start a Blog That Matters course offers excellent and simple to follow advice on how to create great content and build an engaged audience.
Web Site Hosting
- Dreamhost: there are a ‘gazillion’ web hosting options out there. However, there are only two services that I recommend — the first one is Dreamhost. I’ve been using Dreamhost for over 6 years and have a very satisfied customer. Their customer support is outstanding and their “one-click install” solutions make it incredibly easy to install your self-hosted WordPress site. You can use our promo code rfedream for a 20% discount.
- Bluehost: the other hosting service that I highly recommend is Bluehost. I started using their service about a year ago for some of my web sites. I’ve found Bluehost to also be a very reliable service. Their hosting plans are great value for money and best of all, they offer an “anytime money back guarantee”. So you can get a great price on a 1 year hosting plan and if you’re not happy, then just ask for your money back.
- Google Analytics: you will need an analytics tool so that you can understand how much traffic your site is getting, where that traffic is coming from and how you can do a better job at increasing traffic. Google Analytics is an excellent and free tool that you can use with your site. Simply sign-up for a free account and follow the instructions to add the tracking code to your WordPress site. Voila! You’re done.
- Clicky: if you don’t like the idea of sharing all your web site data with Google or you want something more user-friendly, then you should consider Clicky. I use Clicky for most of my sites these days (including this one). It has a very user-friendly interface and a ton of really useful features that will help you analyze your web traffic with the minimum of fuss and effort.
- StudioPress: you can use a number of free WordPress themes to customize the look and feel of your web site. But if you’re serious about blogging, then you really need to invest in a more professional looking and robust theme. I am a big fan of StudioPress, who offer a number of high quality premium themes for your WordPress site.
- WooThemes: another alternative to StudioPress is WooThemes who currently have over 80 great looking themes. You can buy an individual theme or join their theme club where you will get access to all of their 80+ themes for a small monthly fee.
- Hootsuite: if you’re doing anything meaningful with social media, then you’ll need a tool to help manage and measure your social networks. Hootsuite is an excellent tool to help you manage your social activities on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and more. You can even schedule your posts in advance, so can be more efficient with your time.
- ManageFlitter: if you use Twitter a lot, then you should also consider ManageFlitter. These are a set of tools that help you work ‘smarter and faster’ with Twitter. You can use this tool to manager your Twitter lists, find new relevant people to follow, find out when most of your Twitter followers are online, manage spam and much more.
- Google Keyword Tool: doing effective keyword research is a critical part of any search engine optimization (SEO) strategy. Google’s Keyword Tool provides all the fundamentals of keyword research to help you identify relevant keywords to target for your web site.
- Market Samurai: one of the biggest mistakes you can make is to pick the wrong keyword. And then spend months wasting your time and money with no results. Market Samurai is a powerful keyword research tool that provides advanced features in a simple and easy to use interface.
Web Site Backup
- WordPress Backup to Dropbox: you don’t want to look at backup solutions when you’ve experienced the pain of losing your web site and not having a backup. This plugin is free and allows you to backup your site to a free Dropbox account.
- Backup Buddy: for a more robust backup solution to give you added peace of mind, you should consider Backup Buddy. This is a more powerful backup tool and makes it really easy for you to backup, restore and move your WordPress site to another domain.
- Aweber: if you’re doing any kind of online marketing, then you need to have email marketing software. Aweber is one of the most popular choices amongst professional online markets. You can get started today with just $1 for a 30 day trial.
- Mailchimp: this is a good alternative if you’re just getting started. They offer a free plan for up to 2000 email subscribers. Just be warned that after you reach that limit, there isn’t a big difference between the cost of Mailchimp or Aweber.