My Recommended Resources
It's easier and cheaper than ever to build a powerful online presence. I'll give you the complete toolkit I've used to build my own business online.
In addition to the tools I list below, I also currently use MailChimp for email list management and delivery. It's pretty good, but I can't say it's the best on the market, as there are plenty of other good platforms out there. MailChimp also has a few peculiar features that I find I work around.
This is an easy recommendation! I have used Thrive Themes since their early days, and the product line-up just keeps getting better and better. Thrive Architect is, in my view, the easiest and yet most flexible webpage designer out there, and they recently added Thrive Theme Builder, which is the WordPress designer's dream come true! Every site I work on today uses the Thrive suite of tools. They also back up their powerful and affordable product suite with thorough video tutorials. Bottom line: If you want a professional web site, WordPress x Thrive is the way to go!
I selected AMember Pro for my first online course back in 2011, and have gone back to it to use on multiple membership sites (including this one). I would not say it is the easiest platform to configure... BUT their support team will install it for you and provide very good, responsive support when you need it. The two great benefits of AMember are 1) There's only a single payment of around $149 (whereas most competitors charge monthly), and 2) It's super-powerful! AMember will integrate with WordPress, forums, all kinds of content, and includes a sophisticated affiliate platform out of the box.
I have used more web hosts than I care to remember, but since I tried Green Geeks, I have never looked back. Their main selling point is that they are carbon-negative, i.e. they offset 3x more carbon than their servers use, but I have been even more impressed with the reliability of their service and their super-efficient support. I have never had a single disappointment. In my experience, only the far more expensive WPEngine performs as well as these guys. They have reseller options and everything else you would hope for from a host.
* Links above are affiliate links.