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.

I remember my college days when I started learning website development. It requires HTML, CSS, Javascript, Angular JS and much more.

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.

Self hosting ensures you own your website completely and scale it at your own pace.

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.

With Email Marketing, you can build a community of your subscribers. With this done right, you can create sales sequences and help them.

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
  • They may run banner ads on your website for revenue.
  • You don't own your site and content. If your free host find anything that doesn't suit their business model, your site would be off from the server  
  • Limited Features(No SMTP email accounts, DNS settings access, Root directory access, databases, cPanel)
  • No customer support. (Trust me, it's necessary)
  • Security risks.
  • Website speed can be severely affected.

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.

Speed

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.

Support

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.

Security

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.

My Recommendations

Blogging tool Hostinger

Benefits of using Hostinger

LightSPeed Support

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

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.

One-click installers

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.

free staging

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.

simplified pricing

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.

Page Builders


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.

Page builder blocks


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.

Pre build landing pages


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.

Elementor Page builder

Elementor Page Builder Front End Editing 


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.

Analytics Reporting

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

FluentCRM

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

Cost effective

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.

contact segmentation

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.

Conclusion


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.


Kriti is helping beginners Solopreneurs & bloggers to setup their blogging business. From testing their business idea to implementing it step by step to build a strong foundation of their blogging business setup.

  • This is truly excellent Kriti – I sometimes cringe reading the “how to get started stuff” – but this is good because you REALLY know your stuff. Fist-bumps from one compsci to another! 😘

    Also I very much agree about the free tools – some are good (enough) for some things. E.g., the Asana plan for example for a solo entrepreneur is fine – but themes? Ugh no. I was really trying to bootstrap when I made my first WP site and grabbed a free theme… started digging and it was chock-a-block with dodgy crap (malware and embedded backlinks). 🙁

    • Yes Alex, It is easy to tell others to get started free but it is not easy to blog on free themes. We should focus on other important aspects of our business rather than caring about shady themes.

  • I learned HTML to customize my myspace. I don’t think I could have created a whole website like that. It took me hours just to fix one section on myspace. I love the free or paid-for drag and drops. So much easier.

  • Having the right tools definitely helps. I also learned how to make a website by coding the HTML/CSS when I was in high school. I know how to do it, but I still prefer WordPress and also use Elementor on a few websites I manage.

  • These are great tips! I agree with you that email marketing is essential. Will take your recommendation and check out FluentCRM. Very timely since we’re thinking of switching providers.

  • A good host makes all the difference, especially as your blog grows. I had to switch 3 times as my traffic increased over the years because my hosting provider can’t handle it!

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