Within the context of Classic, the method most frequently proposed is to re-tune bosses to make them harder. Rather than copying the numbers, re-create the relative difficulty. Kind of like, when you first start working out, you use small weights. When you get stronger, you lift bigger weights. The WoW community is more knowledgeable, more experienced, has better hardware, etc. We're "stronger." So give us tougher bosses. There are a lot of forms that could take. Bosses were constantly re-tuned during vanilla anyway, so if Ragnaros does 10% more damage or something, is that really a problem? I don't think it is. What about resistance gear? back in the day, collecting resist gear was a thing people did. But the numbers and strategies are so well known today that only the tank really needs it anymore. Bosses could be re-tuned with more resistible elemental damage so that's important for entire raids to gear appropriately. That would be entirely keeping with the spirit of vanilla even if the actually numbers sitting in a database somewhere were different than they were ~13 years ago. If you want to go a little farther, a few people have proposed adding new abilities to old bosses, adjusting their timing, etc.
Picking up herbalism and mining is the best professions to have while leveling. Not only will you earn gold as you level, but you will also get extra XP. At level 20 you will get over 500 XP for picking up a ore or a herb while killing a mob only gives a little over 100 XP. Don’t go out of your way to pick herbs if you are trying to level quickly, but pick the ones that are on your way. Leveling from 110 to 120 can be done pretty quickly just by doing this. There are a few items that will help you if you decide to use professions while leveling: