Still using a traditionally designed website? You are missing out on one of today’s top tools to help you gain traction online. A few years ago we started designing all of our sites using WordPress, and today they are completely integrated into our online business. With the tools and plugins available, there really isn’t a reason to use anything else. Here are some of the top tools we use every day, and highly recommend to anyone getting started with WordPress.org

A Site Of Your Own

People ask all the time why they can’t stick with Blogger or WordPress.com as a free alternative to a site. My answer: You get what you pay for. Free sites offer very little details or customization. You only have access to a small amount of storage space – which means very few photographs. And do you really want to risk having your site shut down because they have ultimate control, not you? (I hear stories all the time of large sites being shut down, and you have very little recourse. It’s free after all, and they really don’t provide a lot of customer service for free.) Get your own domain name – you can do so for around $10 per year. Get your own cpanel hosting and use Fantastico to quickly install WordPress is 3 steps, or download WordPress, and load up your own theme. With thousands out there, there is something for everyone. And you can customize along the way.

Themes

WordPress is the platform that makes it easy to add content. And in order to customize your look and feel, and create a brandable site online, you’ll need a theme. With thousands available, you’ll find one that’s perfect for you. Then customize it to your hearts desire.

Free Themes – just getting started? There are hundreds of free themes at WordPress.org to get you up and running.

StudioPress – a perfect line of templates with a variety of possibilities. StudioPress themes are fully customizable, and you can easily move plugins to your hearts desire. Buy one or the whole series, either way you’ll love your site.

Templatic – I love the details of these Templatic themes. They provide a variety of looks within a variety of niches, which will give you a ton of opportunity to customize the way you like.

Plugins

One of the most impressive benefits of being a part of the WordPress community is you have access to thousands of plugins. With a plugin, you get quick benefits of adding things to your site. If you can dream it, there’s probably a plugin for it. Here are some of our favorites.

SEO – if you want the benefits of search engine optimization on every post you create, you can’t live without the All In One SEO Pack.

Flickr – want to make showcasing your Flickr account easy? Try the Flickr Highslide plugin. It comes with 8 different display galleries to use anywhere on your blog.

Stats – looking for a way to view your sites traffic and analytics? While Google Analytics is always good, the WordPress.com Stats plugin is an excellent way to keep on top of everything happening with your blog.

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