Products and Services I’ve Used: WordPress Blog Themes, Website Hosting, Plus Books and Events on Blogging
Please explore the products and services I’ve listed here, if you find an option that works for your needs feel free to sign up. These are affiliate links*, and I receive a portion of the fee for those sign-ups. However, if you do not wish to use the link here, feel free to do a Google search, and do your research and purchase that way. However, I only choose to be an affiliate of companies I have either used myself, have set up for other clients and/or that I have researched and believe will perform well. Although there are no guarantees as products and services do change over time. The final decision is always up to you my clients, colleagues and readers. Bop over to my contact page if you have any questions about any product, I’ll be glad to answer them.
(*FTC Disclosure: I am a consultant, and if purchases are made after clicking these links, I receive compensation from the companies whose products are listed here. I only recommend those products I use for myself or for clients, or that I have researched. My company is independently owned and the opinions expressed here are my own.)
Blue Host is one of several very serviceable hosting companies and is compatible with Word Press.org blogs and websites hosted on your own domain name. Blue Host is not the only company out there, but I have found them easy to work with, have had good luck with calls to customer service, and am familiar with their services. So I’m giving them a plug here on my blog. They currently offer a one-button installation of WordPress.org software to make things easier.
The other hosting company that I have used is GoDaddy. One nice service they currently offer, (although you may have to hunt through their site for it, or call to sign up) is a hosting package that includes the WordPress.org software already downloaded onto the domain name of your choice. This can help get you up and running faster if you are the non-geeky type. They also offer the “one-button” installation of WordPress as well. Another option that is nice for people just starting out in blogging, is that they currently offer hosting that can be paid month-to-month (currently $7.99/month), rather than a year or two paid in advance. The longer the term you buy, the cheaper each month itself costs – and they only offer discounts the FIRST time you sign up – renewals are almost never discounted anymore. Also, if you pay month to month (or three months at a time) – don’t miss a payment, or you could lose your website files after a short grace period.
Host your WordPress Blog or Website at GoDaddy.com*
(By the way – if you don’t already have a domain name you can buy them from Network Solutions, Godaddy or even Google (buying it from Google gives you access to free privacy registration and standard google apps. They use godaddy and another domain seller as the underlying domain reseller). You can also buy from Godaddy.com – here is my affiliate link:
There are other hosting services that you can use, but be sure that they meet the requirements of WordPress.org. Click this link to see their current requirements.
WordPress.org Premium Themes
These themes generally have a one time fee ($49 to $164 ish), for use on your own domain name, (a self-hosted wordpress site). Some allow you to use the theme for only one site, others allow use for a selected number of sites, or unlimited sites. Several of them have a two-tiered pricing structure, or a main theme and what are called child themes – some free, some paid.
One of the best Word Press theme designs that also get’s lots of good feedback is the Studio Press themes which include the Genesis Theme Framework and optional “child” themes. This company is consistently in the top 5 and top 10 lists of the best WordPress website themes available. They look good and they have clean code, that loads fast on the back end, which means your site gets seen by customers faster. I have used them for several of my clients. The themes are clean and professional looking, work great for businesses, and have solid functionality built into them. The basics are easy, although some of the more unique features can be a bit tricky to implement, but they look good, and they have a great support website with folks who help answer questions. They also have a simple one-button site upgrade that makes these themes easier to maintain. Some of the child themes have different color scheme choices, but you may be stuck with those colors and with the site layout framework – it can be hard to change these with Studio Press, but with a little bit of coding, these sites can rock.
Click on the Studio Press Affiliate link below to explore consider purchasing the Genesis Theme Framework and one of the several child themes in this family, if you find one that fits your needs.
Headway is another WordPress theme that I like to use. I like it for two main reasons – it’s easy to learn their drag and drop visual editor, and to change the look and feel of your site to make it unique to your business (there is a learning curve, but it offers great flexibility). They are also committed to maintaining a one-button software upgrade (which takes the stress out of upgrading). It makes it easy for my clients to keep up the sites I help them build, even when I’m not around. Headway Themes currently offer a 30-day money-back guarantee, if you are dissatisfied with the product. The current cost is $87 for a license that allows you to use Headway on two sites you own or develop. (There is a developers option for $164 which allows you to use Headway on an unlimited number of sites – and you can buy the individual then upgrade to the developer later), but check their site for current pricing.
One of the WordPress.org themes that I have also worked with is the Thesis theme. It is the theme that this blog was first built on. Why I like it: it is clean, and Chris Pearson at DIY Themes, has built-in many of the site tweaks we all want to make, so that you don’t have to mess with the word press code to do the basic things. There are two downsides to this theme, If you have a geeky wordpress type on your team that can dig into the coding, then this is the theme for you, it can be a real powerhouse. Click below to research if the clean Thesis theme is the one that fits your needs click here on my Thesis affiliate link* to check out and purchase this robust theme.
Books on Blogging:
One of the best bloggers out there Darren Rowse AKA @ProBlogger has just this August launched a new book on blogging and marketing – two of my favorite subjects. His information never fails to provide useful, concrete information – the book costs $49 – click through to check it out and see if it would be useful to you:
Click here to view more details* on the The Blogger’s Guide to Online Marketing book*
If you are in the Philadelphia PA area – check out @PodCampPhilly the first weekend in early October, 2011. It is a low-cost informal conference, and I got my start in social media there in 2007. This is not an affiliate link, the event costs only $20, and the proceeds are donated to charity. The event covers blogging, podcasting, video blogging and all things social media, plus the chance to hang out with cool and slightly geeky people – you might even meet me there: http://PodCampPhilly.com
If you really want to take your blogging to the next level and are near LA or love to travel – then check out BlogWorld :
The information on this page is up to date when written, prices and offerings are subject to change. Please do you research to ensure that the product or service you purchase fits your needs.
Sorry for the formatting issues here (more bold than there should be and some code peeking through the text; I’m working to fix it)