If you thought I was going to say ‘Thanksgiving and Turkeys’ then you thought wrong. No, it’s that time of the year where bloggers can stock up on steep discounts for plugins, themes, hosting, and digital services. You typically save 20 to 40 percent and with some services (like hosting), it’s possible to score 50 percent to 80 percent discounts.
If you plan your ‘year’ out right by buying all the plugins, themes, hosting, and other services for the next year (until like next Black Friday / Cyber Monday), you can cut your spending costs significantly. This is what I myself now do — I buy what I need now for the next year.
Here are a couple tips for saving money before we get to the discounts.
1. Buy Your Hosting Now for 1-3 years
You can save quite a pile if you buy 1-3 years of hosting with some of the major hosting companies. BlueHost is offering 80 percent off their hosting on Cyber Monday. HostGator is throwing 70-80 percent discounts over the next couple days. SiteGround and Dreamhost are also offering big discounts.
Most of the big hosting companies offer slightly better deals on CyberMonday than Black Friday. And some of these deals are lightning deals that appear for a limited time only on the sale date. So I recommend buying your hosting, if you need it, on CyberMonday for extra savings.
I recommend buying 2-3 years of hosting if you can, to lock in a bigger discount. This gives you 3 years of cheap hosting (saving you a lot of money over that 3 years). And you end up with 2-5 different host networks that you can spread your domains around on, giving your sites IP diversity. As such, if you have 2-5 sites, you can more powerful links between each (as long as you do it in a non sneaky way and such that it makes sense to link).
For example, last year I bought 3 years of hosting with Hostgator and with Bluehost to spread some sites around on. This year, I’m going to do the same with Dreamhost, SiteGround, and JustHost for some more IPs.
2. Buy Only What You Need
It’s easy to go all crazy with buying stuff you don’t need. Some people love to camp out in front of Walmart to buy unnecessary crap for 50 percent cheaper. I personally like to buy unnecessary software just for the sake of ‘collecting it’. I’ve tried to reign in my spending these days to only buy software that I will actually use. It’s stupid simple, but sometimes easy to overlook when presented with so many ‘sales.’
My advice to you is to simply ask yourself this: will I absolutely use this theme/plugin/service within the next 4 months? If the answer is no or ‘maybe’, then don’t spend the money!
3. Buy Lifetime Memberships When You Can…even if it costs more
I HAAATE this whole pay per year membership thing that almost all themes, plugins, and software have moved towards. I understand that something of value needs to actually like make money so the developer can keep on supporting it. But often it’s an easy cash grab done by developers who release a product, do NOT update or add new features, and expect you to keep paying every year.
I am willing to pay MUCH more and will willingly overlook the top rated products just to buy a lifetime membership of an inferior product, if offered. With WordPress themes and plugins, you can save a shit load of money over time buy paying for a lifetime membership if offered. Usually after 2 years, you’ve PAID yourself back with a lifetime membership.
Now, before you buy ANY lifetime membership, you need to make sure the product is
a) has a history of being updated and supported by the developer
b) will stay around in the future
There’s been more than a few lifetime memberships offered that end up dying out as the developer tries to change the TOS and tries to wiggle out of it. Or the product simply is shelved and no longer supported by the developer. SO do some research on a product and the company before you buy such.
Recommended Black Friday & Cyber Monday Deals for Bloggers
Still with me? Here’s my curated list of favorite software that’s currently on sale between now (November 25th — Black Friday) and Cyber Monday (November 28th). I’m ONLY recommending software that I personally find really useful and that I’ve spend money myself on to buy. So I’ve used and own everything on this list.
Best Themes on Sale Right Now
My personal recommendations for some outstanding themes on sale right now for the Black Friday & CyberMonday.
MyThemeShop Themes ($19 per individual theme right now or a 73% discount on their yearly plan)
I particularly like theirnew Adsense theme which is highly targeted for both Adsense and Media.net. But consider buying their one year deal which gives you all their themes and plugins for a good price, IF you use more than 4 themes and a few plugins (their REVIEW plugin is outstanding). Other good MyThemeShop themes I like are Money Flow and WordX — both highly suitable for Media.net or Adsense with the layout and the color design scheme.
The Divi Theme is great for authoritative blogs that you want to customize quite a bit with visually impacting layouts). I especially love the ‘Extra’ theme addon you can install over Divi — it’s fantastic for slick looking magazine style blogs, perfect for a real authority site that you want the ability to customize everything about, something that’s hard or impossible to do with most off-the-shelf themes. If you sign up over the next 2 days, you get some extra Black Friday Bonuses, including a Free Layout Pack and a membership/tool, depending on how soon you bought the registration. And yes, I ponied out and bough the lifetime membership myself today, which costed me $180. I got the lifetime membership at a 25% discount, the free layout pack, and a free membership for CSS Hero. Not bad! I’m putting my money where my mouth is! See this:
There are other good really good themes like X Theme, Avada Theme, and niche specific themes that I also like and would recommend for some people, depending on what they need. But these don’t appear to be on sale right now, so I haven’t listed them as recommended.
Another membership site I do like, though I dislike the fact that they do not offer lifetime memberships is Thrive Themes. They make great themes and great plugins — something similar to Elegant Themes (they cover some of the same areas) but are more specialized for marketers with very targeted lead page designs aimed at getting CONVERSIONS. With Thrive products, the goal is to make MONEY with them, not to impress with fancy visual designs, ala Elegant Themes style. But there’s, no Black Friday sales offered by the company.
ThemeForest is also offering a special deal on some of their Themes and templates. I’ve never seen a 50% deal offered by these guys. Non of my favorite ThemeForest themes are being marked down, but if you are looking for a specific niche-style WordPress theme, it’s worth looking at what’s on sale.
More Theme Membership Recommendations
Ah, the good old ‘Theme Memberships’ that abound right now. There’s more theme memberships than you can shake a digital stick at. And most of them are pure crap. The reason is that the developers end up churning out new theme after theme to the point where they can’t maintain to old themes anymore. So you end up with a stack of themes with the older themes abandoned. If you’ve used an old theme then you are shit out of luck when WordPress is updated or there is a plugin incompatibility or you upgrade your PHP to a newer version.
As such, I’m not a fan out side of a couple theme memberships (elegant themes and mythemeshop) which seem to have avoided this problem so far.
Anyways, there are a ton of theme memberships on sale for the next few days, if you want to look around. Usually discounts of 30-70 percent, depending. I haven’t recommended these because I have never used these themes myself. From what I’ve seen, I’d rather go with one of the recommendations I’ve given you over buying and using SOME of these, though I would consider a few for specific niche sites perhaps. Buy these with caution..
Telsa Themes – 50 percent off (I don’t own any)
Magazine 3- 50 percent off (I have a few of theses themes. They look good, but I don’t recommend them as the developer has stopped updating and supporting the themes at this point)
ChurchThemes – 30 percent off (don’t own any)
ThemeFuse – 40 percent off (don’t own any)
aThemes – 50 percent off (I don’t own any)
ThemeIsle – 35 percent off (I don’t own any)
Best Plugins on Sale Right Now
I have an addiction to buying plugins. I’ve probably spent over $3000 the past 5 years on plugins. I probably would have spent a third of that had I waited until Black Friday deals to buy them.
Some of the best plugins that I use on nearly every site are on sale right now. Have a good look at these.
Best Newsletter Plugin
OptinMonster (35 percent off) – I own this (read my review of optinmonster)
Runner Up:Bloom by Elegant Themes. This is also a pretty good newsletter alternative to OptinMonster…and significantly cheaper, especially if you’ve got the lifetime membership. OptinMonster has more features overall, but Bloom is a pretty good runner up. Another great value newsletter plugin is the newsletter plugin offered by Thrive Themes. It offers most of the same, but is more affordable. If you are really locking to go cheap, then consider WP Subscribe Pro by MyThemeShop. It’s decent and it’s only 19 bucks on sale right now.
I own this (read my review of WPForms). There are some other good WP Forms such as Gravity Forms and Formidable. Those are on sale as well. However, right now, WPForms is my favorite and I think has a good chance of beating Gravity Forms in time. It’s being updated all the time by the developer.
Though you might think this expensive, it’s so worth it. I run this on EVERY single website I own. I paid $200 for the unlimited domain option (which is the one you need if you have more than 3 domains). It’s pricey, but after 1 year you can renew for 50% off. But WP Rocket will boost the shit out of your page loading speeds. It’s way better than w3 cache, wp super cache, and any of the free plugins. It’s always updated. I can’t recommend this enough. Read my review of it.
Runner Up: Easy Social Share Buttons (no sale ... but it’s just $19 for liftime on ThemeForest) and Sumo Me (30 percent off).
Best Review Plugin
WP Review Pro by MyThemeShop (on sale for $19, regular price $39)
There are a lot of review plugins out there you can find, some free, some freemium, some pay. If you review anything, you’ll want a good review plugin as it will help give your review better visibility in the search engines with STAR ratings and extra meta info. It also makes your review more reader friendly as well. I use WP Review Pro on my review sites and I feel it’s the best one out there so far. Note that if you get the 1 year membership, you can get WP Review Pro plugin, any other plugin, and every Theme. So if you plan on buying more than 2 themes and more than 2 plugins by MyThemeShop, it’s a better deal to spring for the 1 year membership, which I did myself.
Best Plugin ‘Packs’
These are memberships sites that sell useful plugins that you’ll actually want to use. I use plugins by both of these. These memberships are a good deal to spring for if you need Themes + plugins. You can save a boat load of money with a membership rather than purchasing the plugin one by one.
You can get a ton of different plugins from Elegant themes. However, if you spend the money, get their lifetime subscription which gives you all their themes, the pretty awesome DIVI theme, and all their plugins with updates for life. Otherwise, you pay $100 per year or such.
I personally really like a couple of the Elegant Theme plugins, which stand as some of the best in their class:
Monarch — the best, if not one of the best, social sharing plugins
There are a shit ton more plugins out there, but you can find ‘better’ versions of those in the premium plugins offered by other companies. For example, you can get Ad Inserter which is better than the WP In-Post Ads plugin. BackupBuddy which is way better than the My WP Backup Pro, and so on. Still, if you are broke and you want…every type of plugin for cheap, then you can find ALL the plugins you need with MyThemeShop and a membership to make it financially worth it.
Other Plugins of Note
WP Background Takeover Advertisement (50% off)
This is an interesting plugin that I like. It lest you set an entire background on your blog as an advertisment. When the user moves the mouse outside of the body content and click (the background is an ad), they end up going to the ad. Great if you sell ad space on your sites, as I do for a few of mine. You can get 50 percent of the yearly price right now.
If you fiddle around with customizing the colors, font size, and other minor adjustments for your theme, CSS Hero is a very good little program to have. It makes tinkering with the CSS of your blog theme, easy easy. No need to find the css stylesheet in the theme directory and tinker with the code (this can be time consuming and frustrating – I know because I do this all the time myself for every theme I use).
This is an alternative to CSS Hero and, from what I’ve seen, seems to be nearly as good, if not as good. Even better, it has lifetime updates. CSS Hero charges you yearly for new updates, a model that I absolutely detest at this point.
Best Hosting Services on Sale Right Now
I give my picks for the best deal hosting services to snap up some 1-3 year hosting for. Now, I don’t consider these anywhere near ‘THE BEST’ in terms of hosting. Especially if you go cheap like me and get the minimum hosting tier. The ‘best’ hosting is always a smaller company who actually cares about their clients, not these mega hosting corps. And the best hosting is NOT shared hosting, but a dedicated server, hands down.
But if you are looking for some IP diversity for multiple domains and or you have some smaller traffic websites, it’s a good idea to snap up 2-5 different hosting services to spread you support sites / small sites on. Keep your money making, big traffic sites on a DEDICATED server if you can.
I actually dislike bluehost and I find they have the WORST interface when it comes to trying to make changes to your domains via the dashboard panel…but it’s cheap if you buy 2-3 years for a black friday / cybermonday deal. Worth it to scatter some of your smaller websites on for IP diversity
Hostgator can be a bitch if you max out your usage (i.e. you put a site or two on there that get too much traffic). I’ve personally been kicked off by them about 3 or 4 times now, the most recent a few months ago when I put two websites that were each getting about 2000 visitors a day. Those sites, under my account, ate up too much resources on the Baby Account and the sites were promptly disabled by the nice support team.
Don’t put heavy usages sites. You can get away with a single site that gets UNDER 2000 visitors a day or a combination of sites that reach about that amount. If you get MORE visitors then this on all your sites or a single site, you may have resource problems.
Not owned by Hostgator & Bluehost parent company. Similar in cost and performance though.
MaxCDN (25% off)
MaxCDN is my favorite CDN. It can really boost your page load speeds. I am signed up to MaxCDN myself and I use it with CloudFlare for extra zippy speeds.
You can get a couple months free if you buy this for a year or save a few bucks on your first month. I have NOT used WPEngine yet, but based on their pricing scheme, I would pay a lot more money than just using a dedicated server. So there is no benefit for me. But if you have a MONEY making blog and you are getting a decent amount of traffic (2000+ visitors a day) and you want the fastest wordpress blog possible without having to get your hands dirty, technically, then it’s a service to consider.
Because it’s expensive, I don’t recommend it unless you are pulling in decent money from your blog.
For multiple sites that get lots of traffic, you are best off renting your own dedicated server.
Domain Name Registration Deals Right now
There are some wicked steals on domain registration for the Black Friday / Cyber Monday. If you want to register a few domains, it’s the time to do it.
Namecheap Domain Name Sale (8.88 USD knocked down from 10.69/year)
BenK has been around blogging in the SEO/Internet Marketing sphere since 2010 when he quit his job to pursue a self employed career of making a crazy online income with the dream of doing absolutely nothing to make good money.
However, he soon found that dream was a lie; making an online living took a lot of hard work — more work than he spent at his 9 to 5.
In the 5 years he’s been an Internet Marketer, he’s:
*made a full time income at nearly 20k a month, lost it, then work his way back up *been banned from adsense twice, regained it, then banned again *had hundreds of sites deindexed *rebuilt everything from scratch in two years *moved to Thailand where he now lives on a beach, living off of websites and blogging about internet marketing the RIGHT way.
AuthorityIncome.com is his new blog where he shares his strategies, thoughts, and opinions on making a LONG TERM income through websites.