They say it takes money to make money. Unfortunately sometimes when it comes to blogging you have to spend money to make money. Below are a list of blogging resources from themes, premium plugins, services, and advertising formats I either use here at avgjoegeek.net currently or at least highly recommend using.
Please Note: Yes, these are affiliate links and I will receive a small commission from any purchases you make if you click on the links below. This will help me grow the site and help put food on the table 🙂
WP Engine – If you want a fast site, built in CDN (Content Delivery Network) services, and not have to worry about things like Security or Downtime? Then I highly suggest moving up to a Manage Host like WP Engine. This is all they do by the way – host WordPress websites. I have heard nothing but great things from people like Reginald Chan or Ana Hoffman.
GoDaddy is #1 for a reason. If you’re looking to get started with blogging you’ll want to get your own domain name first! And GoDaddy offers a ton of other services, from Hosting, to SEO, to their new Local Search feature as well.
Coupon: 10% off your order at GoDaddy
Name Cheap – I have used them in the past because they are just that – cheap! But not in terms of service. If I ever move away from GoDaddy? It would be because I moved to these guys.
Coupon: Free 1-year Whois Privacy Protection with any domain registration or transfer at Namecheap (expires 3/31/2014)
Genesis from StudioPress – This is the Framework/Child Theme I use here at avgjoegeek.net. And so do a LOT of other bloggers out there. Sure the initial investment might seem a lot. But with that cost you get a theme that is ready to run right out of the box, with built in SEO and designed to run fast! Now with Genesis 2.0 you get HTML 5 and CSS3 support which means you’ll get a theme that is using Responsive Design so it will look great on a visitor’s Desktop, Smartphone, or Tablet!
Elegant Themes – I’m really impressed with these guys. They have some of the greatest looking themes out there (besides Genesis..). If your looking for a theme that doesn’t require hours of re-designing/changing things? Then Elegant Themes is for you. Oh and they just released “Divi” which is a full blown page builder for those who do want to customize their theme too!
Thesis from diythemes.com – Although I’ve given them a lot of flack with their 2.0 update. They are finally starting to turn it around a bit. If you want to see a great example of what you can do with it? I suggest visiting Patt Flynn’s smartpassiveincome.com website. He has an amazing landing page when you visit the site.
Premium WordPress Plugins
CommentLuv Premium – Even with all of the Google updates and scares out on the internet today? CommentLuv is still one of the best plugins out today. It is actually more like 6 plugins in one package. And it doesn’t bog your site down either! Having a visitor be able to leave their Twitter and a link back to their own article is a great way for you to build relationships with other bloggers. So I find that this comment system is still an invaluable tool!
WP Subscribers – I’ve tried a lot Email Optin Managers (reviews pending) but I’ve always come back to this one. Although it might seem a bit clunky it can actually do quite a bit. From popups, having optin forms on your sidebar or in your content, having it block content so they have to signup before they see it, Facebook optins and a lot more. Plus this plugin is fairly cheap! Check it out here and if you are trying to grow your list this is one of the best out on the market!
Max Banner Ads Pro – If you run a website and require the ability to control where and how banners are placed on your website? Then there is probably no better banner ad manager than this one. Check out the full review I did here – then decide for yourself why you were trying to manage them yourself!
MBP Ninja Affiliate – I love this plugin! With it I can manage all of my affiliate links for the site easily and quickly. Along with the reports it offers to track how many clicks/impressions I receive and from where. Not only that it turns an ugly affiliate link into a pretty one! Take control of your affiliate links and get this plugin to make your affiliate life a lot easier!
Author hReview – Hesham from Famous Bloggers came up with this awesome plugin. If you do any type of reviews of products or services than this is a must to run on your own site. It is a very clean easy to use plugin that adds the review stars not only to the site but to your rich snippets so they show up on Google too!
EasyAzon – I’ve been using EasyAzon to manage my Amazon affiliate links and images for a long time now. This is a huge timesaver! Especially when your doing lists of popular games like I do. But it will link to anything found on Amazon so if you do any type of Amazon affiliate linking this is the plugin to get! Not only that it has some awesome features such as “Click to Add to Cart”, link cloaking to make the Amazon link cleaner and a ton of other features you just won’t find with other plugins like this.
WP Touch Pro – Before Responsive Design became so popular you had to figure out a way to get your site to look great for mobile devices. Well with WP Touch Pro you can do just that. With tons of popular themes and extensions now you don’t have to re-code your entire site to make sure it looks great for both Desktops and Mobile devices.
ShareaSale – This is my favorite affiliate platform to use. It has a ton of relevant products to advertise with for bloggers. From Genesis, Thesis, WP Engine, GoDaddy, HostGator, and a ton of others. That and they offer some of the best commission rates in the business. If you are a blogger looking for affiliate links? This is THE place to go for them.
Link Share – I’ve been using this network for a year now. It has a lot of premium advertisers from Microsoft, EA/Origin, Gamestop, and more. If you run a technology or gaming blog? Then this is the site for you to sign up with! Though they have thousands of other advertisers that should fit your niche as well!
Commission Junction – I’ve been with CJ for a long time now. They always have great companies that you can work with. Although I use them specifically to advertise products such as Malwarebytes, NewEgg, and Crucial. They have thousands of companies that will want to work with your specific niche as well!
123RF – If you want some great stock images for an affordable price? Then 123RF is the answer! They have a huge assortment of great stock images. And even better? You can purchase credits so you’re not stuck with a monthly subscription like some other sites.
Get Response – I was using Mail Chimp for their free service. And it is great if you have a growing list and just want to offer your readers a Newsletter. When you want to do more with your list though? You need to start looking for something a bit more robust. Since I’m a blogger on a budget? No way could I afford Aweber? With Get Response I am able to get the same type of service for a fraction of the cost! Auto Responders, and the ability to offer things like my Free Report (Sign Up on the sidebar to see it!) If you are serious about blogging? Then you need an Email Service that delivers! Plus – if Neil Patel from QuickSprout uses it? Then you know its a great service!
TweetAdder – If you want to quickly grow your Twitter following and not cheat? Then this is the tool to use to do it with. Easily search the millions of accounts quickly from your Desktop using this application. It also has some automated features such as automatically replying to new followers with a Direct Message that you can fill in with your choice. It is an awesome time saver and helped me grow my own Twitter account!
HootSuite Pro – If you want an all-in-one solution to managing all of your Social Media outlets? Than HootSuite is the answer you’ve been looking for. Have multiple windows open to easily manage your Twitter, Facebook, Google Plus, and YouTube in one easy to read browser tab. Not only that you can message directly from there as well to all platforms at once! And if that isn’t enough? You can use their Scheduling tool to schedule messages to your followers quickly and easily as well!
Words of Wisdom
OK, although I’d love for you to click on everything so I could go travel with my family to the Bahamas? It’s time for me to take a moment to tell you the following:
Take a long deep breathe with me. Hold it in. Now let it out. Feel better? Good.
Before you go breaking out your credit card and make a purchase. Do your due diligence and make sure to ask yourself one important question. Do I really NEED this, or is it some new shiny thing that I WANT. The difference is that you will actually use the service/plugins I’m promoting vs. spending the money then getting mad at me because you aren’t using it.
Although I do personally love and have used everything mentioned here? There are a lot more out there that I have spent money on that sit in a folder on my computer taking up hard drive space. So go take a look at your blog once more before hitting the “Go” button and ask yourself “Will this really make my blog better?” If you can answer truthfully and think you will get some use out of it? Then please purchase it.
If you run into issues? Try contacting support first. If your still stuck? Feel free to Contact Me and I’ll see what I can do to help!
And thanks for visiting (and purchasing)!