I have tried out a LOT of tools, so I thought it would be good to start a page that anyone could come and take a look at what resources I find the most useful.
There are certainly a lot of tools to choose from, and I am an absolute sucker for testing things out (I’ll pretty much try out anything once).
Hopefully this benefits you, as I will be updating this page with tools that I consistently use and recommend, hopefully saving you some time.
Lastly, try not to get too caught up with too many tools, you won’t get far with constant edits and tweaks, and a great design won’t make up for crappy content!
Disclaimer: Some links in this resource page are affiliate links, where I generate a small comission if you happen to purchase the product or service. Please know that if I ever use an affiliate link to a product it is because I use the product CONSISTENTLY and greatly enjoy the value the product/service provides: I would never recommend something that I didn’t actively use myself.
WordPress: The only CMS I use, it’s free, it’s awesome, and it can do pretty much anything you want!
WP Engine: This is the only host for WordPress I would ever recommend. Most bloggers recommend crappy shared hosts (you know the ones…) because they want the commission and don’t actually care about your site.
If you truly believe you’re going to be putting out AMAZING content, you need to have a host to match!
Consider this: one day last year, I had a video + a huge guest post on Forbes go out on the same day. That day, I added around 796 subscribers… in a DAY!
If my host had went down, I would have lost all of that business, but thankfully a solid host like WP Engine kept me alive during that enormous traffic strain.
Thesis Theme Framework: One of the most notable theme frameworks due to it’s popularity and use on a lot of big sites, I am myself a Thesis user as well, there is no denying that it’s light build improves a lot of aspects of your site, including page load and subsequently SEO, useful improvements for any blogger.
Google XML Sitemaps: For people that don’t want to build a sitemap themselves, this plugin is essential. This will greatly increase the chances that your pages will be crawled and indexed by Google, and even better, you can submit this sitemap to Google’s Webmaster Tools and get picked up immediately
Akismet: Pretty much the essential plugin for managing the bombardment of spam that your blog is likely to recieve. Remember that you don’t have to pay for this plugin, but if you want to support Automattic (the creators of WordPress), you have the option to.
Growmap Anti-Spam: Another very useful anti-spam plugin, this simply asks your readers to confirm that their comment is not spam.
W3 Total Cache: Simply put, my favorite caching plugin, which is something that I believe all WordPress blogs should be using.
Elegant Themes: Pretty much the go-to site for just getting started, everybody that uses WordPress will eventually hear about Elegant Themes, they are that notable. Simply put, the best value per dollar for niche sites or blogs.
ThemeFuse: Simply put, the best designed themes that I’ve ever seen, and the best part is, they are very customizable and not widely used, so your site won’t look like a million other sites out there. Again, perfect for niche sites or blogging.
Google Keyword Tool: The classic, less useful nowadays than it was before, but this is the best tool to get started with keyword research, and best of all, it is totally free.
WordTracker Free Keyword Tool: One of my go to options for keyword research, especially useful for long tail keywords for blog posts or niche sites.
Premise: The fantastic plugin from Copyblogger that creates a stunning landing page for you, no code or HTML knowledge required. This plugin is a must have for blogs looking to increase conversions, and really handy for niche sites that are looking to sell one product only.