Every web publisher has his or her set of favorite tools and services that they use for running their online business. I’ll be sharing mine on this page.
I’m going to share all of my tools – or at least everything that I can think of. Some of the links will be affiliate links, so thanks in advance for signing up using my code.
Courses and tutorials
I’ve bought three courses so far and plan on buying more in the future. If you’re after creating a content website that’s similar to mine, I can recommend Jon Dykstra’s courses.
I started following Jon’s blog a couple of years ago and it was a source of advice and inspiration. I’ve tried all of his courses (some I paid for, and a few he was gracious enough to share with me for testing) – and they’re perfect for the beginner or advanced web publisher. These short concise courses are where you’ll find step-by-step recipes for techniques and strategies that work for Jon.
Project and task management
This is my current setup in 2020 –
- 9 niche/content websites
- 4 VA’s
- 2 editors
- 20+ freelance writers
- 150 posts published each month (give or take)
It’s quite a challenge to manage everything! Especially since I have ADD and I can’t take Ritalin for medical reasons. This is where I rely on Clikcup. I’ve tried Trello, Toodledo, and Asana as well but Clickup gave me the best value for money. I do use the paid version for the premium features but I only started paying about a year into using the platform. The free version of Clickup works very well. It’s robust and feature-rich.
WordPress is pretty much the industry standard. It’s free, open-source and has every plugin you can imagine. And if you’re still missing something, it’s fairly easy to get a coder to fix you the right plugin. Some of the plugins are mentioned down the page, in the context of how I use them.
I’ve tried so many themes over the years. In my experience, good themes come and then go when they are left unattended. My current favorite is OceanWP. It’s fast, reliable and highly customizable. I’m also using it here on Yeys.com. Best of all, it’s free! Although I did pay when began using it, to get premium support.
For designing the main page of each site I use Elementor Pro. It’s easy to use and generates professional-looking results. That’s important when you want to impress an ad network (or just your readers).
My current hosting setup isn’t suitable for beginners. It’s ideal if you know how to manage a server without Cpanel, or are technical enough to learn how to do that. It’s very cheap for the quality of super-cheap hosting that you get. I also love that it’s very scalable. When I started out, it was costing me $5 a month. Now I’m at just over $40 a month. That’s for as many sites as you need to host – calculated by overall bandwidth and storage needs.
That $40 currently covers 8 active sites with a total of over 300,000 monthly pageviews. Not bad at all, considering how robust this solution is. I’ve been using Digital Ocean for a year now with zero downtime and zero problems.
At this point, I’m also using AdminGeekz to manage the server, paying them an hourly rate of $100 an hour. They’re very expensive but they are the best. I’ve known the owner since he was 12 and he’s pretty amazing. Anyway, other than setting up a new site once a quarter, I don’t usually need their help, but it’s good to have them in case something ever happens.
Nothing exciting here. I use Godaddy. I have been with them for more than 15 years now and it works. They’re not the cheapest but I’ve used their support more than once and they’ve always been helpful.
I’ve been using Blog Vault for over a year now for my largest sites. Currently, I’m using the basic plan for small businesses. That means full backups for up to five sites which I use for my largest and most active sites. Daily backups that are easy to restore (I tested it once).
For the smaller sites, I use Manage WP’s free solution. That means backups are only done once a month but the way my system works is that I usually have a bunch of smaller sites “on the back burner”. These sites have ~100 posts each and no content is added at that stage, so a monthly backup is actually ok.
In addition to the above services, I now also use the UpdraftPlus plugin to create free daily backups of all of the sites on my Google Drive. I just don’t like relying on a single backup option.
Publishing ~150 posts a month means we need a constant stream of quality images. Pixabay and other free sites just won’t do and I also prefer to stay away from copyright issues. I buy the annual mega subscriptions from two services. That means we have a total of 1500 stock photos to download each month. We don’t use all of them but I like to give our VA’s a good selection to work with. When the time comes for renewal, I look for coupons. So far, I managed to get good annual deals at about $150 per month per service. We usually go through 500-800 images a month so per file, we end up paying around 5o cents.
All of these images tend to be large files. While our VA’s are instructed to reduce file size prior to upload, it’s always a good idea to run the images through a file size reducer. ShortPixel is very easy to use and has a “pay as you go” model where you can buy tokens to be used across websites. Very convenient and effective.
I’ll be adding to this page as I come across more tools and services that I use. If you have any questions on any of the above or would like to ask me about another function that I may have missed out on, just leave me a comment!