Many of the links below are sponsored affiliate links. While purchasing through the links costs you nothing additional, it helps fund Domfeed and keep the service free.
Bluehost - Recommended by WordPress themselves, Bluehost offers an easy-to-use WordPress platform. Founded in 2003 and based in Utah, USA - they have a fantastic 24/7 support team, a money-back guarantee, and in-house WordPress experts. Really, how can you beat that?
NameCheap - While fairly new to the hosting realm, but I have been using them for well over 10 years for my domain name registry. Their support is top-notch and I appreciate the effort they invest in their web interface and infrastructure.
WP Engine - Should you outgrow your standard hosting - any many won't, you can find more advanced business-class hosting solutions with WP Engine.
GoDaddy - While I cannot recommend them due to high pricing and what I view as unethical business practices, I will list them for completeness.
Since this article is about blogging resources, I will not go into detail about other services, such as Netlify and Github Pages which can host static sites for free.
As stated in my How to Blog article, WordPress is clearly my recommended blogging platform. However, dozens of others do actually exist including;
Ghost - A blogging platform written in Node and uses Mongo.
Drupal - While more of a content-management system (CMS) than a pure blogging platform, Drupal does have many modules to add blogging functionality such as forums, community blogs, and profiles.
Joomla! - Like Drupal, Joomla! is another CMS platform better geared toward larger, more featured sites than blogs, it is an option.
To me, WordPress' best feature is the availability of so many fantastic looking and free ready-made themes. Within minutes, you can choose a theme and have a fully-functioning blog up and running. It's easy to experiment to see which theme best matches your site's personality. However, the one of the first difficulties you may run across is that most themes are not easily customizable. For example, some of the free themes it may be difficult to even do something simple such as change the typeface.
Should you have any difficulties, you can email us and make use of our design & development services.
My favorite themes:
Ashe - A clean and elegant theme with many nice features such as a pop-out features pane.
Shop Isle - When starting a store, I suggest using WooCommerce and trying out this theme. It's crisp, elegant, and may have all the basic features needed to start a nice little e-store.
MagBook - If you have a lot of content then a magazine-style layout may be suit you. Like many popular news sites, it has plenty of spaces to post plenty of articles, reviews and stories as well as many places for advertising space. WordPress Plugins
WordPress is open-source and plugable. One of the great things about WordPress is that it's very easy to change using plugins (free and premium). Plug-ins come in all variety of flavors, from ones which let you easily accept payments on your blog, change the formatting, or even turn it into a social network -- allowing others to create profiles and contribute to your content!
Imsanity - automatically resizes uploaded images to a sane size. Unless you are running a site which should deliver high-resolution graphics, it is best to first resize and then upload, or at least reduce your image sizes so your viewers will not have to wait for huge downloads.
Atomic Blocks - While the editor in WordPress is very easy and convenient, it lacks some features such as columns, author blocks, and other often-used design elements.
BuddyPress - helps you build any kind of community website using WordPress, with member profiles, activity streams, user groups, messaging, and more.
Hustle - having a website is an essential marketing tool but many waste opportunities to re-market their visitors. Using this plugin will allow you to easily add a form asking your users for email addresses and other vital information you should be gathering from your viewers.
Event Organiser - free calendar plugin unlike the Modern Tribe one which charges $90/month and looks like it may use this plugins basecode.
Page Links To - The normal WordPress action in to link to a page/post/product. If you need to link to a page off of your site -- say an affiliate link, this is the easiest way to do so.
Instant Images - Add Unsplash photos directly to media library
Post SMTP - send messages from your WordPress installation using SMTP instead of requiring SendMail
Safe SVG - Add scalable vector graphic (SVG) files to media library
Atomic Blocks - Gutenberg Blocks Collection - has awesome blocks. Columns block allows you to add responsive columns.
Feature a Page Widget - I don't know why this isn't a feature of WP directly, but this lets you create a page (or post) excerpt (with featured image) in a widget area.
TablePress - make nice, interactive and paginated HTML tables.
WP Slick Slider and Image Carousel - Turns WordPress galleries into interactive sliders and carousels.
Woocommerce - Easily add e-commerce functionality to your WordPress site. With this plugin you can also easily set up a store using no products of your own -- just choose the product of type "affiliate" and you can have a profit machine on the Internet in no time.
Woocommerce Gutenberg Products Block - used to be have widget to insert products into a page.. now have this error since Gutenberg update but I believe it's included with new Gutenberg;
WooCommerce Menu Cart - Display a cart ststaus icon in the menu of WordPress
Auto Upload Images - Automatically upload all images referenced in a post to the WordPress media gallery.
SiteOrigin Widgets Bundle - Has nice carousel widget.
WP Recipe Maker - If your blog includes recipes, this is one of the easier ways to manage and display them.
404page - When viewers arrive at your site but the page is missing - because it was renamed or deleted, they will be presented with WordPress' default 404 page. This plugin allows you to customize what the visitor will see. Works with (almost) every Theme. Royalty-Free Images
Capturing and creating images for your blog can be a time-consuming process. While I would suggest using custom images where possible -- as this will connect you closer with your audience -- there are many kind people who allow you to use their images for free. Here are some of the most popular:
If you have any questions or comments, please don't hesitate to contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Best of luck in your venture!