Setting up a website is not hard now. You can set up a website without knowing any back-end coding and programming languages. With more and more blogging tools available, it is easy to set up website.
Being a computer science graduate, I know how every tool functions from the back-end. But now, some of the best developers have made great plugins and front-end tools that do not require any programming background.
You don't need to be a geek to make a website. There are drag and drop website builders to take away the hassle from you.
Now comes the hard part, what blogging tools are essential for a website. Since you are building a business, you need to consider business requirements as well.
These tools works best with my Eight week launch plan that I have made for you.
In this article, I will share what tools you require to set up an online business. You can design a professional website within 2 hours and make it go live too.
Disclaimer: *This post contains affiliate links. It means I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you if you purchase through one of my links. If you do, thank you for supporting me!
Free V/S Paid Blogging Tools
Today, a variety of free and paid plugins are available. Choosing between them is difficult.
Beginners fall into the trap of using free tools for their business. They expect to earn profits without any investment.
But there is no business without investment. You have to invest a minimum upfront amount for starting any business. For other businesses, it could be thousands of dollars of investment. Then how can you expect your blog will be set up completely free.
You can set up a free blog with free hosting and a free theme. But that won't support your business as the foundation is weak. It is a good choice for a hobby blogging.
Hence to make your foundations strong, you should invest in the right tools from the start. If your business scales, these tools will scale with you. No free tool will scale with the increasing number of customers.
I am not against free tools. A free tool like UpdraftPlus is good for taking backups for your site. I think this is the best free tool for your site backups.
But you should buy building blocks of your business as well. They will provide ample opportunities for you to grow your business and scale with your audience.
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, that means if you decide to buy any tool, I will earn a small commission with no extra cost to you. However I am serious about my recommendations. I won't recommend you anything that is not good for you.
The Building Blocks of online business
Having a solid foundation for your online business will serve you long. While building your business from scratch, you should focus on the foundation in the initial months.
A page builder saves time and designs a professional looking website with drag and drop. You can design beautiful pages likes this in matter of minutes. It saves time and speed up your website designing.
Self Hosting provider
What is Hosting?
When you make a website, you need to host it on a web server so that other users can see and access your website. In layman terms, you are renting/buying a space from a web host to make your site available to the World Wide Web.
Now some companies provide free hosting. Never opt for free hosting unless you are building a hobby blog. Running a hosting company requires a lot of money. Always try to find out how your free hosting is managing expenses of hosting.
Cons of free hosting providers
Your website load speed is directly dependent on your web host. It is one of the top 3 metrics that Google uses to rank your content. Hence it is essential to choose a reliable hosting provider for your website.
The problem with EIG Hosting providers
Now comes the harsh truth that no one will tell you. EIG is a company that owns most of the hosting providers. So, if you are getting started with your blogging business, chances are you will end up with the one owned by EIG.
EIG is a big company. They pay above-average affiliates to bloggers and digital marketers for recommending their hosting companies. All the big hosting sites you have heard the name of belongs to EIG.
I do not recommend EIG backed hosting providers. The reason will be occasional breakdowns in sites and unreliable customer support.
One of the biggest complaints plaguing EIG is the unreliability of its services.
Hence I won't recommend you Bluehost, one of the most recommended hosting service. Sure they offer the highest affiliates, but I am serious about my recommendations. I won't recommend you any tool just for good affiliates sales.
How to choose hosting service?
Always consider these features while choosing a hosting provider. These features should be your top priority. This will decide your site authority and your future success.
Website speed is the first consideration for web-host. Speed should be top-notch and never be compromised. It leads to higher bounce rates if website is not fast, which affects your business.
A fast responsive customer support is essential for technical details especially who are not so technical. If your website develop issues, your web host should be fast to respond, helping you in issue resolutions fast.
Web hosts should have proactive security measures to make your site safe and secure. Protection of data of your visitors is yours responsibility. Hence Security is key part of running online business.
Benefits of using Hostinger
Hostinger supports LiteSpeed, which is powered to ensure the best possible experience for users. This makes a website very fast by server caching.
99.9% uptime Guarantee
When your site goes offline, it hurts your Google ranking and for small businesses, any offline time could mean lost sales. Thus uptime plays a big role in ensuring the success of your online business.
A free SSL
Users and websites are safe from frequent man-in-the-middle type of attacks due to free SSL certificate.
responsible and Friendly customer support
They have a responsive Customer support. Your hosting provider should be responsive and quickly reachable.
Beginner friendly interface
If you are new to hosting, the interface should not be too much technical to handle. Hostinger has a beginner friendly interface for a beginner to handle.
A suite of Email tools
A domain based email address like [email protected] adds instant credibility to emails you send from that email address.
Budget Friendly prices
For a beginner, the prices are low with the amount of features provided. The beginner pricing starts from as low as $1.9 per month.
For high budget users
Cloudways has a different mechanism of storing website. It stores your website at multiple servers. That's why it's a bit expensive. But you will get what you want from a hosting website. If you can afford a higher price($13 per month), you should go for Cloudways Vultr High Frequency server for your website.
They provide resources of cloud hosting on a price little more than shared hosting.
My advice is start from shared hosting in Hostinger for 6 months to 1 year, gain traffic and then switch to CloudWays. It will cost you less and performance is top notch.
Benefits of CloudWays Hosting
Vultr High frequency instances
Cloudways have Vultr High frequency compute instances, that can make your website insanely fast. They are equipped with larger capacity NVMe Local SSD Storage, which increases the overall I/O throughput of the server.
Cloudways Own CDN
Cloudways have their own CDN which is better than Cloudflare free CDN provided by most of the hosting providers. CDN makes your website geographically available in all locations. Hence it is an important factor for speed of your website.
Cloudways comes with one click WordPress installer and one-click Backup and restore. For cloud hosting, these features are rare to find.
Multiple security measures
Cloudways comes with Firewalls, Login security, Bot Protection, Database security, and Application Isolation. They also offers two-factor authentication, end-to-end encryption across its platform, and a suspicious device login control that will send you an email alert if any suspicious activity is detected.
24/7 support and live chat
You’ll have a lot of options or avenues for help with Cloudways. Platform itself is pretty simple and straightforward.
You can have a free staging copy of your website with one-click. Staging site is the one where you test changes on your website before making them live.
Other cloud hosting have pretty complicated pay as you go pricing. However Cloudways provide simplified monthly price. You can choose what suits you best.
good for techies
Cloud hosting require a certain level of technical expertise, but Cloudways makes it easier than dealing directly with the cloud hosting providers themselves. It is middle ground between the beginner-friendly offerings of Hostinger and the technically-demanding services of others, like AWS. It would suit people who have some technical knowledge but lack full SysAdmin skills.
What is a Page builder?
A page builder is front end editing tool which is used to design look of website.
To create a beautiful page like this, you need a good page builder. It ensures your site looks professional. At the backend, a good page builder runs optimized code for your website. The structure of a website is a priority for search engines for SEO rankings. Hence, you should ensure you use a good page builder which at the backend runs quality code.
A page builder should be good from the front end too. It should offer you a wide range of options and building blocks to run your website.
See the above tool I am using right now. It is so easy to write a blog post with this. Also, my posts look good and appeal to the audience. Sure there is a learning curve involved with page builders. But it is worth it. You will have control over how you want to design your website.
Don't know how to design? Page builders come with a pre-designed template that you can use to design your website within minutes.
Why Free theme won't work?
There are several free themes in the market. But almost all of them are not optimized for speed. Poorly coded free themes can affect speed of your website. As a beginner, you will be using a shared hosting for few months. Shared hosting already slow down a website. If you will be using non optimized theme, your website will further slow down.
Hence invest in a good page builder. There are page builders which cost as low as $2 per month and are very good. Let's discuss one in detail.
Recommended Page builders
Elementor is one of the best and cheapest option for page building. If you are on tight budget, use this as your page builder. It generates optimized backend code, making your side faster than other heavy page builders. Most of the top bloggers use this tool to build pages and make their sites look professional.
This is how front end editing looks like. You can simultaneously know how your website will look to your users. Also it is easy to build with drag and drop builder. It is very interesting and fun to work with different elements of page builder.
Since your are just starting, Elementor will be cheapest and best option for you. It will cost you $49 for a year on one website. Cool isn't it?
Email Marketing Provider
Email marketing should be your number 1 priority while setting up your business. There is no reason why you don't want to start your list building from day 1. It will earn you loyal fans. You can interact with them and help them if you have their email address.
Your subscribers said yes for the knowledge you are sharing. To help and interact with your subscribers, let's understand what we need to do.
How to choose Email marketing provider?
You should consider these features for email marketing provider. These are the things you will be using for building your online business.
Email Marketing automation
Automation is important for evergreen sales sequences. Your Email service provider should be capable of automation with easier interface.
Email List segmentation
Segmented list of users help you to serve your subscribers better. You can segment and label them according to their behavior and interest on your website.
Numbers are important when it comes to emails. you should be able to track subscribers engagement, A/B tests, Sales campaign success rates.
My recommendation is FluentCRM. It is a more budget friendly option. It pretty much offer everything inside the WordPress only. For me, it is good that I can manage my emails inside WordPress. However if you want to keep your email marketing separate from your main site, it is your choice. But is it very expensive and your data is on third party hosted service.
Benefits of FluentCRM
While other hosted solutions are quite expensive, FluentCRM's 1 website full year license costs for $129. It is relatively very cheap and equally powerful as compared to hosted email service providers. Also you won't be charged extra for increasing number of subscribers like other email marketing providers. That will eat up your most of the profits.
Seamless integration with wordpress
Your opt-in forms are inside WordPress. Now with email marketing you can make a powerful automation with conditional logic inside WordPress only.
Email marketing automation
It is easy to develop automated funnels with FluentCRM. You can monitor each stage of your sales funnel and improve them. Everything is visual and easy to make. No need of technical skills.
Top notch reporting
Whether it is your new campaigns report, A/B tests and even individual user engagement can be accesed inside FluentCRM.
You can easily segment your audience according to their interest by freebie they downloaded. Hence it easier to apply tagging, categorize your users into different categories of your blog. This will work with Automator to make a powerful marketing campaign.
I know most of you think that you can launch a free blog as well. Yes you can. But it will have a weak foundation.
Without an email list, you are not building followers who will be advocates of your brand. They will find you and be lost forever if you don't have their email address.
Without a good host, neither your website speed is ensured, nor your authority on your content.
Without a page builder, ummmm... okay I agree without a page builder you can go. You can use Gutenberg editor of WordPress for the start and a theme. But you will soon grow out of it. So soon that you will have to redesign and rebuild your website again which will add complexity to your business. It will shift away your focus from your business to your website look and design. Which is again a waste of time in my opinion.
It all depends on you. Whether you want to build a proper business for a long term. Or you are just hobby blogging. But I believe if you are trying to set up a business, give your everything to it. It will make sure you don't have any regrets left after.