These are the very resources I have used to build Side Project Plan and other personal side projects. That means I have not only tested these services, I personally use them and have depended upon on them.
I wholeheartedly encourage you to use these in your own side project.
Disclosure: These are affiliate links. I will earn a modest commission if you purchase or sign up for the services after using my link.
Web Hosting: SiteGround
I’ve worked with 5 different web hosts since I got into this business, moving most recently to SiteGround (from Site5) and love working with them. They offer a tremendous lineup of features for the money. Multiple sites. Fast hosting. Incredible support. One-click install of WordPress and several other apps. Free SSL encryption through Let’s Encrypt.
SiteGround is now my sole website host for all side projects I have live or in the works, including Side Project Plan!
Website Design: GeneratePress
Side Project Plan is built on WordPress and the GeneratePress Premium theme. GeneratePress is extraordinarily lightweight, lean, and fast-loading. I pair GeneratePress with the Elementor page builder.
Just as important to me, the theme is thoroughly customizable without any real experience with WordPress. The support is excellent, and the price is highly affordable.
Website Design: Elementor
I have used countless tools for building websites and home pages. I now exclusively use Elementor for home page and landing page development. The free and premium templates we provide Side Project Plan participants are built with GeneratePress and Elementor.
If you can sketch it or design it, you can build it visually with Elementor. But the features go far beyond that. Please check them out.
Avoid the cost of monthly landing page service providers. Elementor is the way to go.
Email Marketing: ConvertKit
ConvertKit is the best email service provider for freelancers and solo entrepreneurs. And it’s not even close. I love the ease of sending broadcasts with ConvertKit, integrating with website forms, setting up and sending automated, behavior-based emails, driving multi-email series for teaching lessons, and even letting people catch your latest articles via RSS-driven campaigns.
There’s no free plan like MailChimp—and I still recommend MailChimp to those with zero budget for email marketing—but it’s absolutely worth your $29+ per month.
Social Sharing: Post Promoter Pro
It’s not enough to write a post and hope it gets shared on social networks. You’ve got to promote it yourself.
My best practice on this is to promote each article at least once per day over the 14 days following that article going live. When multiple posts are within their 14 days, they’re automatically promoted at different times throughout the day.
I do this with PostPromoterPro is a WordPress plugin that allows you to do exactly this. You can schedule one or however many tweets, Facebook posts, or LinkedIn posts when your blog or article goes live. Brilliant plugin that I’ve used since it was first created.
Website Analytics: Analytify
Implementing Google Analytics with your website is free. There are numerous ways to view your analytics within your WordPress dashboard, however, and I’ve used about a dozen. This is my tool of choice.
Why? Analytify provides a super clean dashboard for viewing your most important site traffic indicators, and offers integrations with the very tools I mention throughout Side Project Plan for you to ensure you’re tracking all of the right events on your site.
There’s a free plan with Analytify and a premium plan.
Video Hosting & Analytics: OptimizePlayer
I have used Wistia. I like just about everything about their video hosting service. But OptimizePlayer is an incredible, much more affordable alternative. If videos will be a part of your online marketing—and they should be—OptimizePlayer is a killer secret weapon. No one knows about these guys…yet.
With super analytics on every video, a fully customizable player, email-list building capabilities, the features are too numerous to mention here. You’re going to see and read a lot about them in the coming months and years.
Reminder: If you choose to purchase some of these resources after clicking away from Side Project Plan, I will earn a commission, though that will not come at a higher cost to you. With others, I earn nothing, but I do like to track how many people click through.
I will never recommend a resource simply because of the company’s affiliate program or because others have featured it—I only recommend resources I can personally vouch for and rely on myself.