Tools for Running a Website Publishing Business

This is a list of the tools I use to run this website and the other six in my portfolio. I do all of the writing myself at the current time, so there is no information about hiring writers or using content providers.

To scale this project to a ‘proper’ business, one that can run without me, I realise I have to hire writers, editors and VAs and hopefully I’ll do that soon. But right now, it’s just me and my partner (she helps whenever I need her).

I try to use as few plugins as possible to reduce the number of breakable moving parts, and to help improve site speed. I think this is becoming a more popular way of working for website publishers.

Contrary to popular opinion, it’s not the number of plugins that slow down a site. It’s the quality of the plugin, typically the coding within. I read elsewhere that one poorly coded or performing plugin can cause a site to slow down more than 100 well-coded plugins.

For these reasons, I use as few plugins as possible and tend to stay with the ones I know. I’m not a big fan of testing plugins just for the sake of it. Instead, I prefer to focus on creating content.

So here’s the list of tools. Some of them are free, but a lot of them have a one-off, monthly or annual fee.

Website building software

I only ever use WordPress to build websites. There is a number of other software you can use but WordPress has been my number one choice since 2008 and I can’t see that changing anytime soon.

It’s not without its flaws but it does what I want it to do so I’m sticking with it.

Domain names and web hosting

Over the years I’ve used many different hosting companies and a few domain name providers. For the past few years, I’ve mainly bought domain names from Namecheap.

I’ve bought a couple of domain names elsewhere if that company offered a special discount, then moved them over to Namecheap when it was time to renew.

For hosting my sites, I also use Namecheap for US hosting and Guru for UK hosting. I have a legacy hosting account with TSOHost in the UK. This hosts a few client sites but I would like to close it and switch the sites to Guru.

WordPress themes

Once again, I stick to themes I know. My main choices at the current time are Genesis Framework and the free version of GeneratePress. I also like Kadence and Astra.

WordPress plugins

I use as few plugins as possible on my websites.

  • AAWP – My favorite Amazon plugin
  • Ad Inserter – This one handles AdSense ads and the affiliate disclosure at the top of each post
  • GDPR Cookie Consent – For gaining permission from European visitors to use cookies during their visit
  • Insert Headers and Footers – Used for adding code such as Google Analytics to the head section of your pages
  • LiteSpeed Cache – Caching plugin for LiteSpeed servers
  • ManageWP Worker – Offsite backup service provided by ManageWP
  • Post Type Switcher – Convert a post to a page or a page to a post*
  • Pretty Links Lite – I use it for making affiliate links look prettier than the naked links provided by affiliate partners
  • Redirection – Handles redirects from one page or one site to another
  • Remove Category URL – Automatically removes the /category/ section of WordPress permalinks
  • WP Word Count – Tracks the number of published and unpublished words across the site
  • WPForms Lite – Creates nice contact forms
  • XML Sitemaps – Used on a site that doesn’t have an SEO plugin installed

Ad networks and affiliate programs

Like a lot of website builders and bloggers, I like to use display ads and Amazon links to generate income. This is a list of the companies I’m using as of April 2022.

Photos

I get most of my photos from Pixabay and Pexels.

Admin tools and software

This is a list of tools and software I used to run everything behind the scenes.

  • Google Workspace – Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive and email
  • FileZilla – FTP program for accessing web servers
  • Asana – Project management software that’s simple to use, packed with features and easy on the eye
  • LastPass – Password management app
  • Google Analytics – For tracking visitor data such as visitors, popular pages, length of time on site etc