Tools to build sites in 2021 a la Authority Hacker

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I like to listen to the Authority Hacker podcast. It is full of handy information and can learn a lot about SEO and how to grow affiliate sites. Episode 253 was especially useful. I listened to it at least twice. Found so many mentions of great tools and services. I wanted to add my notes, so it will be possible to come back later and re-read them.

Domains: Namecheap and Godaddy

For domains, I am using GoDaddy and NameSilo but they mentioned these services that were not known to me. I will register and try them out in the future:

Namecheap

NameCheap seems to be a nice way to buy and manage your domains. It was also mentioned that their support is good.

Their beast-mode search looks very promising. You can put in all the words you want in your domain. You can specify prefixes and postfixes and top-level domains.

Once, you hit search, it will come up with all the variations and their availability.

Domain Auctions

Godaddy Auctions – Never used this service but sounds like a good service to find domains that are expiring.

SpamZilla – This is a service if you are going after expired domain names. The services collect information from several marketplaces where expired domains are auctioned. and you can use different filters to make sure that you get what you are after.

Hosting: SiteGround vs Cloudways vs Kinsta

I was using Bluehost for hosting my WordPress sites. Generally, I have good experiences with them. I used their shared offering and hosted many WordPress sites. The support was great and the price is also good.

I never tried SiteGround, but they recommended it for starting out. They manage the server for you and they offer great support.

Cloudways

After listening to this podcast, I decided to switch away from Bluehost and try Cloudways.

This seems to be for a bit more technical users and you also get more control over your server. You can add servers from different providers like AWS, Linode, DigitalOcean, and others.

Migrating my WordPress site from Bluehost to Cloudways was super easy. They basically provide a plugin that you install on your WordPress site and provide the details of your Cloudways server and then it is all automated.

I am planning to use them in the future to host all my sites.

Kinsta

Kinsta is another WordPress hosting service. It is recommended when you have a premium site because their support is really good. I never tried them but I am planning to do this and compare Siteground with Kinsta later.

CDN: Cloudflare vs NitroPack

CDN stands for content delivery network. CDN is a bunch geographically distributed set of servers. These servers are caching larger files from your site. Bringing them closer to the end-user.

For example, images and javascript files are not served to a user in Asia from your server located in North America, but from a closer location in Asia. This way the users are getting these larger files faster.

Cloudflare

This is the service I decided to use for my sites in combination with Cloudflare and it is pretty sweet. It speeds up my site and gives me an almost perfect score on Google Page insights and GTMetrix for desktop. I still have some work to do on the mobile site experience though.

The best thing is that Cloudflare has a generous free tier.

An extra service is Cloudflare APO. APO stands for Automatic Platform Optimization. Cloudflare APO is a 5 USD addon on top of the free Cloudflare subscription and allows you to optimize your WordPress site.

Also, they mentioned that Cloudflare APO sometimes is causing small issues. This is due to aggressive optimization.

NitroPack

NitroPack is a premium service and it seems to be rather expensive. I never used them as I do not have a site that justifies the cost.

According to the podcast hosts, it gives the site about 20% better performance. It compresses images and javascript as well.

The conclusion is that Cloudflare APO should be good enough for most of the sites and NitroPack should be used for sites that are already making a lot of money.

Page Builders: GeneratePress vs Kadence vs Elementor

GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks

GeneratePress and GenerateBlocks are harder to use but it gives you the most performance. Never tried it but planning to do that and will update this section with my experience…

KadenceWP and KadenceBlocks

KadenceWP and KadenceBlocks are solutions that can be used for small business and non-content websites. The code it generates seems more optimized and is based on the Guttenberg editor. This seems to be the sweet spot between the built-in WordPress editor and a page builder. It also has a free and a paid version too and the free version is quite capable. I am going to test Kadance as well and report back on this page.

Elementor

Elementor is a full-fledged page builder like Divi or Thrive.

It has all the bells and whistles and should be used when building complicated and large pages. One of the downsides is that the generated code is bloated according to AuthorityHacker.

I never used Elementor before, but I have experience with Tribe. These tools are powerful tools with a steep learning curve.

Branding: Colors, Fonst and Canva

These are a bunch of tools that are helping with design, colors, fonts, and images.

  • Coolors is for picking colors for your website.
  • FontJoy is for picking matching fonts for your website for free.
  • Canva is the design tool for non-designers like me. I like to use creating images with text. The free tier is quite usable.

Templates in Canva are there to help you finish your tasks quickly. The paid version includes stock photos for $10.

I love Canva.

SEO: Yoast vs SEOPress vs RankMath

Yoast used to dominate the market. They made a few mistakes. Two up-and-coming contenders are SEOPress and RankMath.

RankMath is my favorite choice because it handles schemas. They are giving away so much stuff that the free version should be good enough for most people.

Misc Plugins

I never tried these. I will update these once I installed and tried it.

Great for managing media by putting the media library

Reference

If you like this list, I recommend to subscribe to the Authority Hacker podcast and listen to the tools episode and the others as well:

AuthorityHacker tools to build sites in 2020