It is that time of the year again for the annual retail weekend extravaganza. This is the time of year I buy any software or online tool or anything I need to run my business online.
It use to be that Black Friday was dominated by in-store, brick and mortar sales, and the online deals were deferred until Monday. However this is not the way it has evolved. Now almost all of the deals start on Friday and run until Monday, some running until the end of the week.
Most of the deals below start Friday, however there are one or 2 that hold off until Monday and only run for 24 hours.
All of the products that I have listed, I personally use on my sites or on my client sites. One thing I strived to maintain was that these are the BEST products and services, I did not look for sub-par products that had a bigger discount, just the best products that I use.
Because these are products and services that I use myself and I think they are awesome and offer value, I joined their affiliate programs, so if you should purchase something after clicking on one of my links I will earn a small commission. You do not pay any extra, I just get a little something for spreading the word.
Hosting deals are a dime a dozen this weekend, almost every host will have some sort of a deal. You will not see the usual list of suspects, a lot of the most popular hosting is terrible. A lot of the most popular hosting deals suck you into sub-par hosting with huge Black Friday deals. So I have a few top choices for you to consider before you make a huge mistake. All of these choices are being used by myself or by my clients.
The first one is my host of choice and by the end of next week most of my personal sites will be hosted on this little known provider.
My first two options are “managed” hosting. These options are for people that don’t want to mess with their hosting and they just want to get on with building their businesses and earning money. These are the hosts I like the most! Starting a profitable website is hard and there is a lot to do and trying to do everything yourself is crazy. That is why getting managed hosting is so appealing.
Managed hosting typically offers more services, better support, and far less websites on a server than shared hosting. Managed host servers are usually highly tuned for WordPress, extremely fast and include a bunch of services that standard shared hosting just can’t offer.
The downside is they are more expensive. Although if you have to pay me to fix your website, in the long run paying for better hosting will save you money.
The 3rd choice it is perfect if you have a starter site, hobby site or a site that is small. As well, I have one usual suspect, that I personally avoid and I really don’t recommend it anymore, it is a name that may surprise you!
WPX Hosting is a fantastic host. They offer so much value for their managed hosting. I have a site there now and I have been so impressed with them that this is where I will be moving most of my sites by the end of November. This year they for Black Friday they are offering one of 2 deals:
- 95% OFF the first month on ALL hosting plans for NEW customers.
- Three months for FREE on annual subscriptions across all hosting plans and all customers.
As an additional bonus they include their brand-new, WPX Cloud Service to all their customers completely free! This is a custom-built Content Delivery Network. That means a substantial boost to your website speed around the world, increase security, and no need to buy a 3rd party external CDN. Other highlights of WPX Hosting include:
- Fully managed WordPress hosting with FREE email included
- Superfast, highly optimized, new, high-end new SSD servers deliberately underloaded with fewer websites for high performance under extreme traffic loads
- Enable HTTPS with unlimited free Google-Sponsored SSL Certificates installed and active in under 10 seconds
- Unlimited FREE site migration from your current host to WPX Hosting Within 24 Hours, 7 Days A Week
- Website security with Enterprise-level Incapsula DDoS protection on ALL plans
- “Fixed for You Guarantee” Unlike a lot of the more popular hosts that send you a link to an article when you get into technical trouble and expects you to fix the issue WPX does it for you! Fast and FREE! Technical support 24/7/365
- An innovative “Staging Area” where you can merge your staging site version with the live site version WITHOUT losing new blog comments or post/page changes on the Live site since the Staging version was created
- WPX Hosting’s 24/7/365 support team that averages under 30 seconds response time
Check out the reviews from real people in the video below.
Kinsta is very different than other hosts as every WordPress site is housed in its own isolated container, which has all of the software resources required to run it. The resources are 100% private and are not shared between anyone else or even your own sites. They provide awesome hosting and you should definitely check them out. I have a couple of clients on this host and they love it. I also have 1 site of my own on Kinsta and the service is great.
Other features include:
- Free CDN
- Free Let’sEncyrpt SSL Certificates
- Staging environments
- Automatic daily backups and the option to create manual backup points anytime
- Full page caching at the server-level to deliver content almost instantaneously to visitors
- A Kinsta in-house desiged cache plugin
- Free Hack Fix! If your website is hacked they’ll fix it with immediate priority
- Server-level rules and optimizations for WooCommerce and Easy Digital Download sites to ensure a smoother checkout experience for customers
- A custom designed dashboard (no more confusing CPanel) with lots of data that helps you improve further your site
- MyKinsta analytics reports for data analysis and performance insights
- Multi-user access with fine-grained permissions. Add any number of users to your team. Give them access to all your sites, just billing or add them as developers or administrators to a subset of your sites
- SSH access, Git, and WP-CL
- At least one free migration, completed by their expert support team
- 30-day money-back guarantee with no long-term contracts
- Shared Hosting ($1.98/mo) & Managed WordPress – 67% off with code: SAVEBIG
- Managed VPS & Core VPS – 50% off with code: BLKVPS
- Reseller Hosting – 40% off with code: BLKSELL
- Select SSD Dedicated Servers – 50%with code: 50DEDI
A2 is a main stream host with a decent reputation. I have moved several clients to them from Siteground and the results have been very good. The sites loaded faster, and there were less problems overall, and no account suspensions. If you are just starting out or have a small website I would definitely give their shared hosting a shot.
I debated whether or not to include Siteground in my list. There are a lot of Siteground fanboys out there so a lot of people think they are one of the better hosts and at one time they were. In my opinion their service has gone downhill.
Siteground used to be my go to host that I would refer people to, as they have a very client friendly hosting account dashboard, it is easy to use, and their customer service has, in the past, been very good.
That being said, I have heard a lot of complaints about Siteground and I think they will only get worse. On their shared servers the websites don’t load very fast, people are having their websites suspended because of CPU over usage, customer service mostly consists of getting an auto-responder email with a link so that you can solve your problems yourself, and you will get a huge increase in price when you go to renew.
I still have several clients on Siteground and so far the clients that remain have had little, to no issues, and for the most part I know what Siteground wants to see to get an account un-suspended. Their sites are all fairly small and do not get a lot of traffic so until they grow Siteground should be fine but as soon as they start getting decent traffic I think they will all want to move to a different host.
So consider yourself warned if you decide to choose Siteground.
Your perfect domain name awaits! A website domain name is your address on the Internet, it carries your brand, your public image, and your professional reputation. It’s the first thing people see when they visit you online. Choosing the right domain has become more important than ever.
Namecheap is a great place to buy domain names. They are less expensive than other domain registrars, and they provide WhoisGuard Privacy Protection for FREE, for life with any domain registered with Namecheap.
Keysearch is a very popular keyword research tool. Good keyword research is important if you want to rank highly in Google. With Keysearch you can easily find related, niche relevant keywords. Just enter your main keyword or seed keyword and Keysearch will come up with tons of related keywords all with search volume, CPC & PPC data.
But that is not all Keysearch does. With a click of a button you have the ability to do in-depth keyword competition analysis. Find the keyword difficulty score and see the full first page search results. Plus you can track your rankings and your domain authority stats automatically.
If you need more than just keyword research then take a look at the following tools. They are all outstanding and they all have different strengths.
SerpStat is billed as an “All-in-One SEO Platform”. This is the tool I use the most. It really has everything you need and one of the best all round SEO tools.
SerpStat has a comprehensive suite of tools that consists of 5 modules – rank tracking, backlink analysis, keyword research, site audit and competitor research. It allows you to keep track of your projects in order to track the history and analytic reports
There is just way too many things that this tool does to list them all here so just check out the website to this if this is something you can use. (My guess is that it is) Over all this is the SEO tool that I find is the best over all tool to use. If you can only afford one SEO/Keyword tool this is the one I would choose.
SE Ranking is also an all inclusive SEO tool. You can guess from the name where SE Ranking really excels. That is rank tracking. I use this tool for rank tracking and site audits and I think it does both of those things very well.
They claim they have 100% accurate keyword position tracking. Showing real-time positions of your website’s keywords in major search engines. Depending on your plan you can track your rankings on a country / region / city level as frequently as you want. However the keyword research is lacking and is not anywhere near as good as SerpStat.
I use StudioPress themes on almost all of my websites. They are well coded they load fast, the support and community are outstanding. If there is something you are trying to do with a StudioPress theme chances are there is a tutorial on the internet that will help you.
The themes are Gutenberg ready, SEO optimized and have great security, they really are a leader for premium WordPress themes.
I bought the All Theme Pro Pack several years ago and it has been invaluable to me.
StudioPress is now owned by WP Engine and if you sign up for hosting with WP Engine you get StudioPress and 35+ themes for free. (WP Engine is not one of my top picks for hosting but they are also running a Cyber-Weekend sale 5 months free when you buy an annual plan)
Astra Pro Theme is a theme I just started using this year on one of my sites and I can say that I like it. It too, is well coded and super fast loading. They are also Gutenberg ready.
Astra Pro has some great features and integrates incredibly well with page builders like Beaver Builder (more info on Beaver Builder at the bottom) and Elementor, and shopping plugins like Woo Commerce.
One of the best parts of Astra pro is the ability to import a pre-made website demo among 100 + options, and go live with just a few tweaks! This can help get you up and running with a beautiful website in just a few minutes rather than a few hours!
GeneratePress Pro is similar to Astra Pro it is also light weight and well coded the free version is extremely popular, but the Pro version is far better and very affordable.
As with Astra, GeneratePress has many downloadable demo sites that will get your website up and running in no time. It integrates well will page builders and Woo Commerce. GeneratePress is also Gutenberg ready.
However if you are just looking to make your website faster WP Rocket is great and is 35% off this weekend. It is less complex to set up and it works pretty much as soon as you activate it. WP Rocket also offers a 100% No-Risk Money Back Guarantee, they will provide a refund if it’s requested within 14 days of purchase.
Swift Performance is up to 80% off depending on which plan you need and has more bells and whistles and provides excellent caching. If you don’t already use an image optimizer then seriously consider getting Swift Performance Pro.
Other Super Useful Plugins
OptinMonster is a great lead generation/collection software that is feature rich. It will help grow your email list, reduce cart abandonment and increase sales conversions and as far as I am concerned it is a must have plugin if you want to make money on your website. OptinMonster integrates with all the well known email marketing systems such as Mailchimp, Aweber, Constant Contact and many more.
- Lightbox Popup
- Exit-Intent® Technology
- Fullscreen Welcome Mat
- Floating Bar
- Slide-in Scroll Box
- Inline Forms
- A/B Testing
- Conversion Analytics
- Yes / No Forms
- OnSite Retargeting®
- Page-Level Targeting
- Geo-Location Targeting
- OnSite Follow Up Campaigns®
It is worth mentioning that OptinMonster also has a training course called OptinMonster University.
They market it as “Digital Marketing Training to Explode Your Business Growth. OptinMonster University is where entrepreneurs, business owners, and marketing professionals learn how to attract and convert website traffic into customers.”
3 months of the Pro License is included in the price of OptinMonster University making it a no brainer if that is the license you were looking to purchase.
MonterInsights is the best WordPress Google Analytics plugin there is, bar none. It can be set up in just a few minutes and with just a few clicks to connect with your Google Analytics account.
One of the things I like the best is the tracking features. Enhanced Link Tracking can track clicks to your outbound links and affiliate links. Other tracking features include Popular Post Tracking, Forms Tracking, Referral Tracking, Ads Tracking, and File Download Tracking.
Find all your real time Google stats right in your WordPress dashboard plus get link tracking and so much more with MonsterInsights.
Beaver Builder an awesome page builder. Page builders are design systems that allows you to build great looking pages without knowing any code. Position images and text with precision, and build column based layouts in minutes, insert custom modules for extended functionality. Beaver Builder has dozens of beautiful templates that you can use as you own or use to unleash your creativity to build your own custom built pages.
Thirsty Affiliates is a plugin that you should use if you have any affiliate links anywhere on your site. With Thirsty Affiliates you can cloak the long ugly affiliate links making them look better, it protect your commissions from theft and lets you insert affiliate links into blog posts easily.
The Pro version has many more features.
- Automatic Keyword Linking
- Advanced Statistics Reports
- Geolocation Link Redirects
- Amazon API Importing
- CSV Import / Export Tool
- Export Statistics Reports as CSV
- Link Scheduling
- Link Health Checker
- Google Analytics Click Event Pushing
- High Speed HTAccess Redirect
- Link Event Notification Emails
- URL Shortening (with bit.ly & goo.gl)
- Google Tag Manager Compatibility
A few months ago I was looking for a new social share button plugin as the one I was using hadn’t been updated in 2 years and it was one of the slowest loading parts of my sites. So I was looking for faster, nice looking social sharing buttons.
I found Social Warfare, not only is it faster it has more functionality and I was able to get rid of 2 other plugins and having less plugins is a good thing.
Social Warfare Pro has a bunch of sharing options such as:
- Hacker News
Social Warfare also has a “Pin All the Images” function that when enabled will place a “Pin” button over top of every image inside of your content when a reader hovers their mouse over it. This made another plugin I was using for this redundant so I could deactivate it and delete it.
You can also customize how your content is shared. Any network that uses Open Graph Data can be customized, this includes Facebook, Pinterest and more. This add-on allows you to decide exactly which image, title and description appears when your content is shared.
Social Warfare also has a Click to Tweet function (good bye to another plugin I was using for this), and perhaps one of the biggest reason to use Social Warfare is to recover lost share counts. If you have ever changed permalink structures, domain prefixes, connection protocols (http-https) or just flat out changed domains you know that you end up losing all your social share counts. Social Warfare has a tool called Share Recovery which allows you to get back your lost share counts.
Black Friday / Cyber-Monday Weekend Conclusion
The above list has everything you need to set up, start, and run an online business. These sales only run for a limited time. Some will be over by the end of the day on Friday, some will only run 24 hours on Monday
So don’t delay if you like some of these deals, click on the links and buy the product or service. I use all of them on at least one of my sites and several of them I use every day and on all my sites.