8 things I’d use if starting a new website today

I am often asked exactly what I’d use if I were starting out new and making my own website today. What would I use to complete the picture as easily and quickly as possible? And at low-cost? And so – here it is.  All the good stuff! It’s a very solid plan that will suit a great many websites – from personal to business.

One

WordPress Why? Because it’s an amazing website creation tool. WordPress is a CMS (Content Management System) that is free and has fantastic support. If you’re new to WordPress, it’s not as easy as a simple website builder to master, but it’s worth it.  There are plugins and widgets that can enable you to do an incredible amount of things – and these are also free. Want to create a business website, a store, a reviews site, a book review site, a personal blog or a business blog?  Need multiple menus, the ability to show different content on different pages, have people comment on your pages or posts and a robust CMS that just works? WordPress excels at all of these. Many well-known, large websites use WordPress.

WordPress.org


 
 

Two

Hostgator

Why? Because Hostgator is the best web hosting provider that I’ve found. I’ve been able to grow my websites since being with Hostgator without experiencing problems with support and hours of downtime each month. Because Hostgator offers live chat support around the clock.  (It’s extremely frustrating being with some web hosts whom only offer email support – especially if they take hours or days to respond and if their hired support are so poorly trained they don’t understand your question in the first place.) Because they will move your website from your old host for free. (Conditions apply) Because they have fantastic uptime. My websites are up and functioning all the time – if they’ve been down for a few minutes at all, I haven’t noticed.

And if you want to use WordPress,  installation is easy. Click a button and you’re there.

 


 
 

Three

MailChimp or Aweber

Why? Because an email list is one of the most valuable things your website can have. Some say the most valuable. It has often been reported that there are much higher conversions from email promotions as opposed to online promotions. In other words, you can sell more with an email list. Many say Aweber is best as it has more sophisticated features. The lowest plan on Aweber is $20 per month – which is not bad at all when you consider the value of the list you can create. But MailChimp is a great choice also and is fully featured – and free for the first 2000 subscribers. What could you do with 2000 subscribers for your website’s newsletter?

mailchimp


 
 

Four

Box.net or DropBox.com

Why? Because backup is important and Box.net and Dropbox are great online backup solutions. I had my computer supply blow up recently, and I realized just how much I need to backup my files. I also have a laptop, but it’s a machine that can break or get destroyed. Storage in the cloud is safeguarded as it’s not confined to a particular server. I can keep copies of important stuff on my computer’s hard drive and I can send backups of my WordPress sites there.  Backing up your website or blog is crucial. I currently only use the free allowance on Box.net – 5GB is nothing to sneeze at! box.net


 
 

Five

Divi WordPress Theme Why? Because Divi is an incredibly versatile theme for a WordPress site. With Divi, I can create websites the way in which I want and the way in which a site will function best – without any coding. The dynamic Divi Page Builder allows you to change page layouts with a fluid drag and drop interface. Put what you want on which page you want, colors, fonts and other advanced design settings can also be set for each item.

Delete an Element or access its options panel at any time.

Add any number of rows, columns, and modules

Drag and Drop rows, columns, or modules with ease.

Six

Elance,  freelancer.com, 99 Designs and fiverr.com

Why? Because outsourcing frees up your time and allows you to grow your business – and I’ve tried Elance, Freelancer, 99 Designs and Fiverr and think they are all good (for different outsourcing needs.) I don’t like to go too cheap when outsourcing. Yes, you have articles written for $2 each and yes, you can have your website designed for $20 – but will the quality be there? I personally don’t outsource any of my writing, but I do outsource research and coding from time to time and am planning to outsource a personal assistant. I really like elance as I can browse through what they term talent, and get to know about individual people and see their work samples. See how two guys in a garage built a business with Elance. I like 99 Designs because the range of designs you get are impressive and of high quality, and if none suit, you don’t pay. Your online business or website deserves a professional logo.  So do you actually get 99 designs for each project? Nope, but you do get an awful lot. If I wanted little bits and pieces done, such as a cartoon graphic drawn, I’d head down to fiverr.com.  You can even have a Facebook business page designed and created for you – yes for five bucks.

SEVEN

Wordfence WP Plugin,

The Wordfence WordPress security plugin provides free enterprise-class WordPress security, protecting your website from hacks and malware. It protects your site from hackers, malicious networks, blocks bots that scan for vulnerabilities in your site and many other features.

EIGHT

Cloudflare CDN,

CDN, know as Content Distribution Network or some times Content Delivery Network can be used to deliver your websites content to the end users with a higher than normal UP Time and speed. Another advantage of using a CDN provider is a higher level of security for your website and the transfer of data. A CDN doesn’t remove the need for Web Hosting, the function of the CDN is to sit between visitor and your Web Host provider acting as a reverse proxy for the website.

 
Below is the page analytics for one of my websites, this site is being cached via Cloudflare and as you can see its a very good free tool.

  • 43 GB Bandwidth Saved Per Month 87%
  • 12,930 Total Threats Stopped 1 month 100%

 

Summary

There’s much, much more involved creating, maintaining, promoting and growing a website than the above 8 things. But for me, they’ve have been the backbone of the majority of my websites – providing a sturdy foundation, allowing flexibility and growth, and carrying out some of the heavy lifting. (Of course, the plan won’t suit every type of website I might choose to undertake, and it certainly won’t suit every type of website or business that you might choose.) If you were paying attention, you might have noticed I mentioned more than 8 products in the list above :) In the end, I couldn’t decide between certain products.

Linkage

I only choose to partner with a company if I genuinely and completely love the product or service they have on offer.  I’m happy to promote great stuff – Great stuff deserves a little promotion :) Some of the links above are partnered, and some are not.