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Hosting and Domain Registration

Step 1: While website hosting and domain registration can be acquired separately, we recommend purchasing them together to simplify and streamline your website hosting services. The primary exception would be small businesses and entrepreneurs who are planning on purchasing Google’s hosted email services (via GMail, Google App Services). These inboxes are rather expensive, but offer the best deliverability rates that we’ve tested. In this case, Google Domains offers a streamlined, albeit expensive way to set this up with no technical expertise (domain only, hosting not included – see hosting options below). Now, let’s look at our two top picks!

  1. Bluehost * 9/10 – Bluehost is one of the oldest and most trusted website hosting companies on the Internet. One of the things that really sets Bluehost apart is the ease of use for newcomers, and the ability to create an all-in-one system including: website hosting, domain registration, automated backups, email accounts and forwarders, and more (features vary by the plan selected).
  2. Namecheap 6.5/10 – While Namecheap requires additional set-up and configuration, it includes the ability to configure the same features at a slightly lower price barrier. While these plans include free SSL certificate for the first year, we recommend that you also consider Cloudflare for flexible SSL and improved speed as these servers tend to be a bit slower than Bluehost in our web hosting experiences.

WordPress Themes and Templates

Step 2: It’s 2021, you definitely don’t need a dedicated website developer. Save yourself $10-$25,000 by purchasing either a WordPress design kit like Divi or Elementor, or a predesigned theme package from Themeforest. This section is primarily personal preference, so we don’t go into a lot of details, but all of the recommended sites have been used by our team for several years

  1. Divi * 9/10 – Powerhouse website development toolkit, endless possibilities, everything is editable, but requires time.
  2. Themeforest 9.5/10 – Thousands of choices, sourced from independent artists and coders, occasional glitches/lack of product support after first/second year.
  3. StudioPress 6/10 – Classic, sturdy, very few glitches.

Email Marketing

Step 3: Building, maintaining, and effectively using an email marketing list was rated the #1 marketing tool in 2020 in our recent survey, and is expected to become even more effective in 2021/2022 as organic search traffic continues to decrease for non-paid indexing and social media traffic dips lower as user disperse to a variety of social media platforms.

  1. ConvertKit * 10/10 – Simply out, this is the #1 recommendation we make to all of our clients. ConvertKit combines several highly effective tools into a streamlined and efficient product that includes not only email marketing, but also features landing pages, deliverable incentives, competitions, etc…
  2. MailChimp 7.5/10 – MailChimp was previously our #1 recommendation, but hasn’t managed to keep up with market completion, and now offers significantly fewer tools than competitors. However, core email marketing services continue to be effective and high deliverability rates.

Sponsored by Deep Creek Lake & Morgantown Marketing.

John Corbin

Marketing, SEO, + Web Development Based in Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, Morgantown, West Virginia, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Washington DC

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