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RECOMMENDED TOOLS

Mike Red Stripe Shirt Cropped

As a person who has been involved with digital media and WordPress for over a decade, I'm still constantly amazed at how the technology and tools continue to evolve.

A few years ago what used to take hours to accomplish can now be built (with the right tools) in a few mouse clicks! It has never been easier to build a truly professional money making website.

Even with the powerful tools we have at our disposal today, it can be confusing and overwhelming trying to figure out what software is essential for our particular need or what products are the best.

This page is a fully curated and tested list of software and resources which I whole heartedly recommend. Every single item on this page is something I personally use in my own business.

THE ESSENTIALS

InMotion Hosting is a top notch WordPress hosting company. They offer all the WordPress blogging essentials, WordPress pre-installed, stellar customer support and service for your WordPress website and are extremely reliable. I recommend starting your blog on a solid hosting platform like InMotion Hosting. They provide a very high value for your dollar.

Thrive Themes sets the bar with their suite of WordPress plugins and themes. Their Thrive Architect plugin provides infinite flexibility to create any kind of page you want. Thrive landing pages are conversion-focused. For one reasonable price, you gain access to several tools which will make setting up your business so much easier. Thrive Themes is the "best bang for your buck" in terms of both themes and landing pages.

I absolutely love MailChimp and this is the email marketing service I used when I first started. MailChimp has a beautifully simple interface that anyone can use and is great for beginners and professionals alike. MailChimp integrates seamlessly with WordPress and works perfectly to create beautiful customized emails. Best of all it’s Free for beginners!

What I Use For My

EMAIL MARKETING

Drip is an email marketing automation platform that has really set the bar. It is incredibly powerful and highly cost effective for website owners who need more than a standard email broadcast service like MailChimp. You can build full, custom workflows and segment your web traffic with Drip in a very user-friendly interface.

What I Use For My

WEB HOSTING

The only managed WordPress hosting provider I recommend and personally use. I only recommend WPengine if you have the budget for it. Managed WordPress Hosting is not for everyone but if spending a little bit more money is not a problem for you and you plan on turning your blog into a serious business then I recommend you go with WPengine from the start.

NOTE: For people just starting out, WPengine may be priced too high. For that reason, I recommend InMotion Hosting or SiteGround for people just starting. Both hosting providers offer WP hosting options.

What I Use For My

MEMBERSHIP SITE

The entire membership portion of The Blogging Buddha is built on top of the MemberPress platform which allow me to protect member content. This membership plugin is truly open-source and extremely robust.

What I Use For My

WORDPRESS PLUGINS

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    Social Warfare - A very robust social media plug-in for WordPress. Highly recommended.
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    Yoast SEO -  Is one of the most downloaded plugins within the WordPress repository. Yoast SEO will ensure your onsite SEO is optimized for the search engines. I personally use Yoast SEO on all of my WordPress sites and recommend it as one of the first plugins to install on your new WordPress site.
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    Advanced Custom Fields Pro - I use custom fields for various internal functions and the ACF plug-in allows me to take control of WordPress in ways that are not possible with the standard WP install. 
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    Gravity Forms - All the various forms used on this website are built with Gravity Forms. There are other form builders but none are as powerful. This is WordPress forms perfected.
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    Nested Pages - Drag and Drop Any Post Type. Nested Pages works with any WordPress post type. With separate settings for each type, you have complete control over your admin experience. Really handy for organizing content.
What I Use For My

VIDEOS

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    Vimeo Pro All the videos inside the Course Library and members area of the site are hosted with Vimeo Pro.
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    Wistia (free version) I use the free version of Wistia to host a few of the videos on the front facing portion of the site.
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    Logitech c920 HD Pro WebcamMuch of the time I use this webcam if I'm doing screencasts or Live Training. This is still one of the best webcams around and shoots in full 1080p HD.
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    Camtasia - Is really user friendly video editing software created by the guys at TechSmith and one of the best screenrecording tools I've used so far.
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    Canon 70 EOSD DSLR - This is one of the highly recommend and used cameras for making YouTube videos.
What I Use For My

Backend Operations

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    SlackIs Free to use and is a great tool you can use to bring your team together. Instead of going back and forth via email I use Slack to communicate in real time and it’s packed with many other useful features like file sharing and collaboration.
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    DropBoxI use Dropbox to store and share files with people in the cloud. The service is Free and you can purchase more storage if what they provide is not enough. Dropbox can be used to store pictures, videos or just about anything you want to be able to access on the fly from anywhere.
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    G Suite by Google Cloud- Gmail is by far the most superior emailing platform available. Formally called Google Apps for Work G Suite integration comes with Google Hangouts, Calendar, Drive, Docs, Sheets and more. I personally use Gmail for my personal email and for all my domains..
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    Google Analytics - Offers freemium web analytics for your WordPress websites. When starting a website or online business it’s necessary to have some basic data about where your traffic is coming from. Everyone who is interested in building a business website should setup Google Analytics.
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    Evernote - I use Evernote mainly as a web clipper to save articles and curate content for later use.
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    QuickBooks Self-Employed - The best balance of features and cost for my accounting, comes with a mobile app and integrates with TurboTax.
What I Use For My

DEVELOPMENT

This California-based development company provides unlimited WordPress fixes and ongoing maintenance to make sure your blog is running in top shape. Once your website is running with Zen WP’s support plan, concerns are fixed before they become problems and existing issues are solved within moments, not days. You won't find a better deal for WordPress development anywhere!