Tools And Resources
Welcome to my resources page.
I designed this toolbox to assist you in building and maintaining your online business. Each one of them has been crucial to my business success. Although not all of them may be used on this particular site, I have used each and every one of them and I recommend them unreservedly.
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. This means that I may earn a small referral fee if you purchase a product or service via my link. I hold nothing back on this site and the remuneration helps me to keep delivering the same quality to you each and every day. I also donate a fair amount to animal rescue organizations. Thank you in advance for your support.
I host all of my sites on Cloudways because I get great value for money and fully dedicated resources on a pay as you use basis.
No Contracts and No Upfront Yearly Charges. That's how much the company believes in their products!
You can choose from 5 different cloud infrastructures, viz. Digital Ocean, VULTR, Linode, AWS (Amazon) and Google.
Plans start from $10 per month. My bill for June 2019 was $14.50.
I've done an incredible amount of research in the WordPress hosting space and I can honestly say that Cloudways offer the finest value for money cloud hosting in the marketplace.
I hosted with Siteground for a number of years until I needed dedicated resources. That's when I switched to Cloudways.
Yes Siteground do offer cloud hosting but starting at $80 monthly (compared to $10 with Cloudways), I couldn't justify it.
At $5.95 per month in the first year, their GrowBig plan offers great value but that rises to $19.95 p.m. thereafter. It's ironic that Cloudways offers better value and it's my duty to tell you that.
Money aside, Siteground have built their business around impeccable support and for shared hosting, their speed is phenomenal.
4 data centers are available to host from.
If you're looking for FULLY managed, cloud based WordPress hosting together with dedicated resources and you don't want to worry about caching and speed optimizations but prefer to devote all of your time to building your online business, then WP Engine is the best choice for you.
You'll experience an incredibly fast website with built in caching and CDN integration backed with high security, baked-in SSL and a staging environment to test out your changes without affecting your live site.
And if that's not enough, they offer incredibly efficient, expert WordPress support backed with a 60 day money back guarantee and trusted by over 500,000 clients across the globe, so you have absolutely nothing to lose.
To sweeten the deal further, since acquiring StudioPress in 2018, you can now get 35 StudioPress themes absolutely free when you sign up for a hosting plan.
Why would anyone want to pay a theme developer year in and year out for updates and support?
When you purchase a StudioPress theme you get UNLIMITED EVERYTHING. You also get the Genesis Framework which you can use to power as many themes as you like on as many different sites (and domains) as you wish. You'll never have to buy it again if you decide to buy another StudioPress theme.
This site runs on the Infinity Pro theme and I use StudioPress themes powered by the Genesis Framework exclusively on all my sites. It's a rock solid foundation for any website backed by over 213,000 happy users and used on over 500,000 WordPress sites.
All themes are lightweight, highly SEO optimized and bloat free.
If you build multiple sites for clients or yourself, pick up the All Theme Package which includes 60+ themes for the low price of $499. That's over $2000 in value.
The two most important requirements for a fast website are good hosting and caching - in that order.
WP Rocket is a premium caching plugin, so don't expect it to come free. It comes with a solid reputation as the fastest caching plugin backed by a substantial support base. Facebook polls consistently rate it the #1 caching plugin.
Together with a number of other features such as database optimization, Cloudflare integration and locally hosted Google Analytics, it goes well beyond just page caching.
The developers are so confident that their product will meet your expectations, they've removed all risk with a 14 day money back guarantee.
Give it a try. You literally have nothing to lose.
Swift Performance is relatively new on the caching front but it's fast becoming the Swiss Army Knife of WordPress speed optimization.
Like WP Rocket, it will work out of the box but if you want greater granular control together with aggressive speed, it's a little more complicated to set up. There may be some trial and error together with a bit of testing to ensure that nothing breaks on your site.
Swift Performance is loaded with additional features such as built in, unlimited image compression, a database cleaner plus a plugin organizer.
It integrates with Cloudflare, Varnish cache and almost any CDN while also providing a Google Analytics bypass (with various options).
With a 14 day money back guarantee, why not try it?
If you want to excel at affiliate marketing you're going to need a tool that helps you to build an audience and regularly engage them with the the least amount of hassle.
If you've ever used the clunky interface of Mailchimp and found they simply don't offer the functionality that you require, you'll appreciate the simplicity and ease of use of Convertkit.
Convertkit strikes a great balance between subscription form simplicity, attractiveness and conversion ability together with the ability to segment your audience.
Extremely powerful, graphic automation afrees you up to concentrate on email content without having to worry about all the the technicalities of reaching your subscribers. And in a glance, the user dashboard makes it a breeze to quickly keep abreast of subscription data and opt in conversions.
Convertkit also integrates with most popup forms, landing pages, e-commerce and membership site providers.
Thrive Leads is, in my opinion, the best lead generation plugin for WordPress.
I say that because you can purchase the plugin for a once off cost of $67 for a single licence, no yearly subscriptions.
Thrive leads helps you experience explosive list growth by offering every conceivable type of opt in form available to maximize conversions.
Lightbox popups, sticky ribbons, slide-ins, overlays, content lock and scroll mats are just some of the tools to help you build your subscription base.
Easy design and deployment, advanced targeting, A/B Testing, reporting and insights are their big 4 benefits.
You can integrate their subscription forms with just about any email list service available including the likes of Convertkit, Infusionsoft, Aweber, GetResponse, WebinarJam and many others.
Additionally, with Thrive Themes you can build amazing landing pages in 4 clicks and use their content builder for the design.
It took me a long time to find the right commenting system.
Those that I tried either didn't work properly or were ridiculously slow.
The native WordPress commenting system is the fastest but it's in dire need of a makeover.
It's not interactive and because you can't subscribe to replies to your comments, it doesn't promote good discussion.
I tried Jetpack which works well and is visually appealing but it added 13 seconds to my load time, needless to say I ditched it real quick.
Thrive Comments is not only fast but it provides some brilliant functionality and is conversion focused too. At $39 it's worth every cent!
Commenters are incentivized to remain involved by rewarding and encouraging positive interactions through badges, up-votes, and featured comments. They can subscribe to the post's comments, post from their social accounts (sign in/out with accounts) and share comments to social media too.
It's common knowledge in WordPress circles that Thirsty Affiliates is the best link cloaking and affiliate link management plugin.
It includes a link fixer module that automatically fixes broken affiliate links so you'll never have to worry about losing affiliate income or constantly auditing your links.
The settings further allow you to create global options that will always apply, such as opening affiliate links in a new window, applying "nofollow" rel tags and choosing between 301, 302 or 307 server side redirects.
Another hugely important feature for those using the Amazon affiliate program is the global option of smart uncloaking affiliate links to remain compliant with Amazon's terms and conditions.
The Pro version of the plugin is where the magic really happens though. It automatically adds affiliate links to your given keywords throughout your content thereby making it a breeze to monetize your past content. Other cool features include automatic affiliate disclosures, geolocation (determine where your visitors are), link health checker, link scheduling and more.