Using the right tools makes you more efficient and you know Bivori uses them. You'd like to know ‘behind the curtain' information about Bivori, i.e. hosting, domain, theme, plugins and other online services that Bivori uses.
Why I’m sharing this data?
- You’ll get some idea about the requirements to start a new blog or improve the existing one, and
- You can offer me better recommendations if there are some other than what I’m currently using.
I’d love to know your views. So, do leave a comment, please.
#1. Domain Name
Bivori.com is registered at Godaddy, the #1 domain registrar.
My first domain was registered at DomainRightNow. Because ddBoard offered a domain name for actively participating in their forum, and that was registered at DomainRightNow. I still have a couple of names in DomainRightNow.
These days, I purchase the domain names from Godaddy. All of my domain names except a couple are registered there at GoDaddy.
Update: Bivori is hosted from DigitalOcean droplet. DigitalOcean offered cloud VPS for $5/month and it is, with optimized configurations, more than sufficient for my current purpose.
Now I enjoy the unique IP Address dedicated to my blogs and lot more other features. You can read those features and know why I moved to DigitalOcean
Also, if you are planning to move your blog to DigitalOcean, read: How to move to DigitalOcean Cloud VPS Hosting
Before moving to DigitalOcean Bivori used HostGator, the #1 shared hosting provider. HostGator is most recommended for those who are new because of its award-winning support system. Apart from HostGator, other good shared hosting providers are BlueHost and CheapHost. They provide stable service and I enjoyed hosting my blogs from there.
I should not forget here to mention friHost.net. In my beginning days friHost gave me a kick start by offering the free premium hosting (but you must be active in their forum to keep your site alive). friHost helped me to survive until my sites grew and earned to afford paid hosting.
Bivori also enjoyed Netfirms hosting in the past. Thank you Netfirms for such a wonderful offer.
Netfirms hosting is great with its awesome services. I did not have any problem throughout the year and no complaints. My good votes to Netfirms!
With these years of experience and my acquired skills, I preferred to go for an unmanaged VPS and thus moved my sites to DigitalOcean droplets.
Update: I finally settled on Eleven40 Pro theme in Genesis Framework. Genesis is the best and the most flexible theme this day.
Earlier, Bivori used the Thesis Theme – the ultimate theme for WordPress sites – and the Marketing Delight skin to make it awesome.
Compare with Thesis Theme
I also liked HeatMap Pro theme with Ultimate Authority Blue (HMT Pro Skin). It worked great till I could afford Genesis 🙂
HeatMap Pro is optimized for Adsense (26 widget positions to choose from), SEO integrated, built-in Google Search support (simply fill up the search and result page code is provided in boxes), integrated social network (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, MySpace, YouTube, LinkedIn).
Too many plugins slow down your blog. Though we all know it, the awesome features and the functionality they add up to the blog, some are very hard to resist. I try to be minimalist and following is the list of plugins Bivori uses.
#4.1 Pretty Link Pro
For affiliate marketing, you know how important it is to cloak the ugly affiliate links and present them in a pretty format. Bivori uses Pretty Link Pro to beautify the ugly and long URLs into something easier to remember.
- Pretty Link Pro can add links to the specified keywords automatically.
- It has awesome reporting feature to track the link performance and discover where you need to put more work.
- With this plugin you can shrink, cloak, track, organize, share and test all of your links on your own domain and server.
- The plugin is very easy to use. Simply enter your long and ugly URL into ‘Target’ box and type your preferred pretty link.
- Don’t forget to type a list of keywords so that the plugin will automatically add links whenever found in posts.
This is really a must have plugin if you plan to sell affiliate products from your blog.
#4.2 WP Product Review with Pro Add-on Bundle
WP Product Review is one of the best plugins to showcase your reviews on WordPress blog. It perfectly suits to review about WordPress Themes, WordPress Plugins, Online tools, any other software products, baseball, bats, iPhones, tablets, laptops and virtually anything on the planet.
WP Product Review is awesome in three ways:
- It manages your product reviews,
- Displays your reviews in an awesome manner, and
- Crete rich snippet codes so that search engines favor your posts in it’s SERP.
#4.3 Yoast SEO Plugin
I don't need to introduce this plugin. It is so popular and almost every blog uses this. WordPress out of the box is SEO Optimized but that does not mean you can't improve it further. Here comes the Yoast SEO Plugin to help you write better content and make sure your post is optimized for the keyword you are targeting.
#4.4 CommentLuv Premium
I grabbed this plugin during ‘dime sale' offer on Black Friday and I got it for about $33. Andy was generous 🙂
CommentLuv Premium is no more just a plugin. In fact, you can call it a bundle of essential and most useful WordPress functionality. CommentLuv Premium includes, CommentLuv, TwitterLink, GASP, KeywordName, ReplyMe
CommentLuv: Let the comment authors leave a link to their recent post. What could be the better way to thank them for their comments? Having CommentLuv Premium, you can control who should get the list of 10 recent posts. Let them get the list of 10 recent posts or a dofollow for their recent post after they tweet, like or Google+1.
TwitterLink: Adds one more field in comment form for the commenters to leave their twitter ID. The good thing about TwitterLink in CommentLuv Premium is that you can choose the position of the Twitter box in the form. I prefer to show it just above the comment box – more intuitive and they won’t miss it.
GASP: Fights smartly with spam comments. Comment moderation is truly a nightmare without an effective anti-spam plugin. GASP is already popular among blogs for this purpose. CommentLuv includes GASP with more options and capabilities. This is probably the most important asset in the pack.
KeywordName: Win-win situation for both the blog author and comment author. As a blog owner, I’d like to have real people on my comment list. As a comment author you'll love to have some Google love for the link back you’re getting from here. So, KeywordName solved the problem including both. I allow you to enter your keywords in Name field as [email protected] if you have already 3 approved comments in this blog.
ReplyMe: Another awesome feature of CommentLuv Premium. This component will send an email to the comment author whenever somebody replies his comment. There is an option to choose if you’d like to send email for site admin’s reply, or post author’s reply, or everybody’s.
Uhh! It became really longer than I intended. Why not, after all, the plugin covers so many awesome functions.
#4.5 Genesis Simple Edit
Genesis Simple Edits is a small plugin that lets you edit the three most commonly modified areas in any Genesis theme: the post-info, the post-meta, and the footer area.
Notice the post meta information and site footer information in images below:
#4.6 Genesis Simple Hooks
This is another important plugin if you are using Genesis theme. This plugin creates a new Genesis settings page that allows you to insert code (HTML, Shortcodes, and PHP), and attach it to any of the 50+ action hooks in the Genesis Theme.
I use Simple Hooks to insert different tracing codes and scripts such as Infolinks integration, VigLink integration, Add this sharing scripts, Google Tag Manager code.
You can also use it to display Ads before or after the post title or after the first post in the archieve page and much more!
#4.7 MailChimp Form by MailMunch
The MailChimp Form captures the lead and sends it to specific MailChimp lists automatically. You can set it to no opt-in, opt-in, or double opt-in. You can add MailChimp forms to posts, pages or sidebar, and also open it as a popup or top bar.
Simply sign up and connect your MailChimp account into the plugin admin settings and it will pull in all your MailChimp lists. From there you can choose the MailChimp lists you want to make MailChimp forms for.
Apart from above plugin I was using following plugins in the past. Though I don't use them anymore, it may be helpful to you if you are looking for these features in your blog.
Lovely plugin to show the earlier posts of your blog. If readers directly land to your posts from search engines and they are about to finish reading current post, show them previous posts. They might be the first time visitors and need your little help to navigate
It has two direct benefits:
- It is not irritating because reader does not see it when not needed. It appears at very right time.
- Reduces bounce rate. When users see other venues to check, hope they’ll visit your other pages.
Social media are important more than ever. I use this plugin to display the Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and StumbleUpon buttons in posts.
There two features I love most about Socialize:
- Allows you to display most important social networks at the top
- Display the set of favorite social networks at the end of post.
There are sufficient settings you can play with to meet your expectation. Choose the networks, buttons, positions, alignment, floating or static and so on.
Smart YouTube Pro
Very smart plugin to embed YouTube video in blog. Simply copy the video URL and add ‘v’ after ‘http’. What could be easier?
You have settings to configure the size of video.
WP Google Fonts
Bivori uses WP Google Fonts to make the post easy readable and pleasant to your eyes.You can simply choose the font you want to use on your site from a dropdown menu and the plugin will take care of everything else. You can check the boxes of elements that you want to define, add custom css, or do it the old fashioned way and use your theme’s stylesheet.
This is another of my most favorite plugin. You can search for the most performing products in Amazon, easily embed the affiliate code into existing posts or create new Amazon posts.
I’ve used WPZon Builder plugin to create products sites like PregnancyGoods.com or simply to display related products in blogs like this one.
Sometimes I need to offer some coupons and DRP Coupon is awesome for that. You can set up coupons and insert in your post. Very simple and works awesome. Following is an example of HostGator coupon bivori offers:
Better Adsense Targeting
Bivori uses Adsense as an important source of revenue and thus has to display more relevant Ads. The Ads must be matching to what Bivori talks about and what you are interested to. Better Adsense Targeting helps me to do this.
Simply install this plugin and configure what parts of your blog you want Google Adsense to look for to determine the context.
Blogsphere is not as safe as you wish. You need to have some security tools to ensure smooth running of your blog. Bivori uses BulletProof Security for this.
BPS Security plugin implements .htaccess method to control access to your blog so that the important files of your blogs are safe from unwanted modification and hacking.
Lock your blog when it is clean. You’ll really find it hard to recover once it gets infected. Please read WordPress Malware Tools for more about the risks.
WP Super Cache
Page load speed has been increasingly an important factor in search engine ranking. You should do all that can reduce the loading time for your blog and pages.
W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache are the best known WordPress plugins for the purpose and Bivori uses WP Super Cache. It is much more simple to understand and easier to configure compared to that W3TC.
Download the plugin