Check out the companion to this post, Customize Your Website! 12 WordPress Plugins I Can’t Live Without.
I thought you’d like to know the software and services I can’t live without for my sites and online commerce.
I use Bluehost to host my sites. I chose it originally because WordPress.org endorses Bluehost and because it has an easy, 5-minute WordPress install that actually takes less than 5 minutes. Bluehost customer service has been top-notch, although I haven’t needed to call them for the last two years or so (knock on wood!). The speed of Bluehost servers hasn’t wowed me, although performance is better when using the WP Super Cache plugin.
I use a StudioPress theme for PstoppingPsoriasis.com. StudioPress themes are easy to get up and running and they look good out of the box. The downside is many people use StudioPress themes, so your site won’t look original unless you tweak it.
Headway Themes is a drag-and-drop theme builder that I used for an earlier version of StraightRiverMedia.com.
I used the Canvas theme from Woothemes to build DynastyFantasyFootballRankings.com, TheSolopreneurUniverse.com, and the current version of StraightRiverMedia.com. Canvas, which is a responsive theme, is outstanding if you want to customize your website; I especially like the CSS editor, which is built in to the WordPress dashboard.
I really enjoy selecting fonts for a project, and Webtype.com is my favorite source for licensed fonts.
List Management/Email Publishing
You have a choice for list-building and enewsletter publishing: Mailchimp or AWeber. I chose Mailchimp in 2010, and I’ve never had a reason to want to leave. People who use AWeber swear by it, so I don’t think you can go wrong.
Premise’s claim is: WordPress landing pages made easy! It’s true. I’ve used Premise to create landing pages for several products, including my book The Solopreneur Life: 42 Solo-Business Owners Speak the Truth on Dreaming Big, Failing Forward, and Calling Their Own Shots. Premise is built in to the WordPress dashboard, and you don’t need to know code to customize your landing pages.
Datafeedr is a powerful tool for setting up, stocking, and managing online stores.
Domain and Website Auction House
SurveyMonkey.com. I began using SurveyMonkey on behalf of clients before anyone had heard of it. Today SurveyMonkey is the standard and people are very comfortable using it. SurveyMonkey is powerful, flexible, and easy, and I’m a big fan.
PayPal. A necessary evil. Their fees are exhorbitant — they’re the Ticketmaster of online commerce. PayPal works, but I can’t wait for someone to mount a serious challenge against them.