This page is a fully curated and tested list of those tools and resources which I personally recommend. Every single item on this page is something I have personally used in my own business.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links and I will earn a commission should you purchase. There is no additional cost to you. My promise to you, however, is that I only recommend those products that I use personally and have fully vetted. I also encourage you to do your homework and not make a purchase until you feel that solution is what you need and will help you grow your business. You can read my full disclaimer here.
My Top Recommendation
For anybody doing marketing with Wordpress, Thrive Themes is absolutely my top recommendation on a variety of fronts.
This doesn't mention the powerful split-testing tools, their quiz builder, and all their various themes. I personally use and recommend their Thrive Membership as it gives you full access to every single tool they make. And given what most of these tools would cost you separately from other providers, I continue to believe that Thrive Themes is one of the smartest, no-brainer investments any blog marketer can possibly make.
Aweber is the service I recommend to my students who are first starting out. I personally used Aweber for YEARS. They are a solid company with a stellar reputation. Everything integrates with it. If you don't need a full marketing automation platform for your email marketing, then Aweber is where I recommend you go.
Lots of "gurus" out there recommend Bluehost. And they're OK. But trust me when I say Siteground is better. I personally had a site hacked on Bluehost and their support was lackluster. Siteground is a better run operation, their support is stellar, and it is a higher value for your dollar.
Drip is an email marketing automation platform which doesn't make you go cross-eyed. The power and flexibility that Drip has is simply amazing. It integrates with everything, sports a beautiful graphical automation builder (called workflows), and forms the foundation of the email machine here at the Blog Marketing Academy.
WPEngine is my primary web host and while they're not the cheapest game in town I find their feature set to be totally worth it for something as fundamental to my business as hosting. Simply put, WPEngine makes my life much easier and they've removed a lot of the technical hassles of dealing with Wordpress installs, performance and more.
Ecommerce & Product Delivery
The entire membership portion of Blog Marketing Academy is built on top of the MemberMouse platform. This is simply the most robust membership plug-in for Wordpress I've seen and used.
I've been with EasyWebinar for a few years (after ditching GotoWebinar). And it has matured into quite the powerful platform. It does both live and evergreen webinars, integrates with everything, and has all the essential features needed for effective marketing.
After trying several different support desk solutions, Helpscout is where I landed. What I like about it is that it has all the powerful features of a help desk, but it feels as simple as using regular email.
I wouldn't bother to mention some run-of-the-bill forms plug-in, but Gravity Forms is much more than that. Put simple, this is the most robust forms plug-in for Wordpress. Truly enterprise level. It goes way beyond simple contact forms. It integrates with everything. And, every single form on this site (including all member forms) are powered by Gravity Forms.
A great social media plug-in for Wordpress. Powers the buttons, of course. But, also allows you to tweak how every piece of content looks on social media. Also makes tweetable quotes easy.
While Wordpress has custom field capability, it is difficult to use. ACF gives you COMPLETE control and allows you to customize Wordpress to your needs.
Calling this a list organizer doesn't really do it justice. I am literally inside of Dynalist every day. If I could figure out how to marry a piece of software, this would be my wife.
Smart Podcast Player is the cleanest, most professional looking way to display a podcast on your blog. It won't manage your podcast feed for you (I use Libsyn or that), but it displays your podcast beautifully.
I use Libsyn for my podcast hosting. It manages... everything. No need to use a Wordpress podcast plug-in if you use Libsyn hosting. The interface is rather funky, but it's extremely powerful.
The Heil PR40 is the microphone I use for all my podcasts, webinars, etc. It is considered the gold standard in microphones by many. You will need a mixer for it (I use the Xenyx 1002).
I use Vimeo Pro to host all of my training videos for The Lab (and some marketing videos). It provides powerful video management and analytics. It's like Wistia, only reasonably priced.
While I have a Canon T4i DSLR for when I need to make fancier videos, truth is I use the C920 webcam for most on-camera work. This (and the slightly newer C930) are considered one of the top webcams on the market.
I use Screenflow for all screencasts, yes. But, it makes for one hell of a video editor as well. I even use it to put my podcast together. Screenflow is, by far, one of the most useful programs on my Mac.