To help cut through all the clutter, I’ve put together a list of helpful resources that you can come back to regularly to reference as needed. Because of this, I anticipate updating it often, so I strongly suggest you create it as a separate bookmark (hit Ctrl+D now!), for easy access in the future.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you purchase through them, I might earn a commission, or be compensated in some way. However, please note that these are resources, tools, etc., that I’ve either used in the past, or continue to use personally; or come from helpful companies or individuals that I know and trust… That’s why I’m listing them here for you! If you click on any of ‘em, thank you!
Websites and Blogging
I have used Bluehost for a number of my websites over the years, and I've always liked it because it is easy with the 1-click WordPress installation. When I've needed customer support, they are always there via phone or chat. I highly recommend Bluehost to anyone wanting to set up a website inexpensively and with ease.
I have also used Siteground for a several of my websites over the years, and I've always liked it because it too is VERY easy to set up a WordPress blog. And it is quite possible that Siteground's customer support is second to none. SiteGround is a fantastic starting point for anyone wanting to build their own website - they make it easy, and I highly recommend them!
Whether you are setting up a personal blog or an intricate and complex multi-site for your brand, WP Engine® makes managed WordPress hosting a snap. This is the premium web hosting company I currently use for the Divorce the Workforce website. They offer amazing customer support because they specialize only in WordPress website hosting. With each hosting they offer daily backup service, EverCache technology for lightning website load speed, they scan for website hacks, etc.
More people trust GoDaddy than any other domain provider. Since the right domain name can set you up for future success, you don't want to mess around. Go with the world's largest registrar. With more than 59 million domains under management, they have more experience than anyone. GoDaddy make sure you find the right domain and that it's got a secure, comfy home online. I use this service to find all my website domain names, and most of my domains are purchased at Godaddy.
Whether you are trying to figure out a new niche idea, or simply doing research on blog topic terms, Long Tail Pro is an indispensable tool for advanced keyword research. I've used it almost exclusively ever since I began blogging, and I cannot recommend it more. It is very easy to learn and master, and the one or two times I've needed help from customer support, they've been right there.
Online Merchant Services and Checkouts
Okay, in December 2015, we revamped one of my online retail websites, moving from an outdated WordPress store and checkout to a Shopify store and checkout. True story: sales jumped 50% immediately and stayed there! I had no idea that I was leaving so much money on the table with the old WordPress store, which was actually a nice site. Shopify makes everything so easy, and customer support is fantastic, too. I can't recommend them enough if you are setting up a store online.
Shipstation integrates nicely into Shopify and all of the orders that are made at my Shopify store are imported into Shipstation, where I fulfill the orders. Shipstation can be used to completely fulfill orders, including adding shipping or postage and printing paid postage labels, in addition to automated emailing to customers that their package has shipped and what the tracking number is. I use Shipstation with Stamps.com for all of my shipping, which saves me up to 49% off of all postage with the United States Postal Service! That's an INSANE savings! Highly recommended!
Apps And Other Tools
I love Adobe Creative Cloud. Yeah, it is a recurring expense and there are times I use it less than others. But this toolbox full of awesomeness is second to none. Whether I'm dealing with images, sound, or video, Adobe is my go-to for so many projects - and I'll share a little secret - I'm 100% self-taught! You do not need to take classes to learn how to use Adobe's software. Just about everything you want to learn is available in Adobe's videos, on YouTube, and on Lynda.com. I cannot recommend the Creative Cloud enough. Packages vary, but can include Adobe Bridge, Adobe Creative Cloud, Adobe Digital Editions, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Media Encoder, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Premiere Pro, and more!