In order to run a successful online business, including your own blog, it requires a lot of hard work and the utilization of helpful tools and resources. That’s the reason we decided to put this page together. We share with you the exact tools and resources we are using on ProfitBlog.com and have used on many of our other websites. These marketing tools and resources have helped us grow tremendously, and in fact, the majority of them we couldn’t go on without. If you are new to internet marketing and /or blogging and don’t quite know where to start, these resources will surely put you on the right track.
Our Recommended Tools & Resources:
WordPress has become the blogging platform of choice among top bloggers for many different reasons. The main reason is that WordPress has transformed over the years into a highly customizable website building tool. With the various themes, plugins, and customization abilities, it has become the #1 go-to software for building blogs as well as other types of websites. The flexibility it allows is simply unbelievable. You can download their self-hosted blogging software at http://www.wordpress.org . Yes, this means that you will need your own domain name and hosting account, but the advantages are incredible. They do have a free hosted version at http://www.wordpress.com if you want to play around with it, but ultimately, you’re going to want to use the self hosted version. We wrote more about the importance of a self hosted blog in the following blog post found HERE.
WordPress is the only blogging platform that we recommend.
There are literally hundreds of places online where you can register your domain names. Two of the most popular sites are Godaddy.com and NameCheap.com. We have used both of these services throughout the years, and have decided that NameCheap.com is by far the best choice for a couple reasons. First of all, NameCheap.com is generally cheaper, and offers free whois guard (privacy) for all your domain names. They run coupon codes every month, and sometimes have $3.99 domain transfers!
GoDaddy on the other hand, can get rather expensive in the long run, and they have more upsells than I can count during the checkout process. It takes 20 minutes just to register a domain name at GoDaddy vs. just 2 minutes on NameCheap. Also, the admin panel is much easier on NameCheap than on GoDaddy. It’s actually pretty difficult to navigate Godaddy’s back end, especially since they seem to change it around quite often. Some people swear by GoDaddy.com, and they are a trusted service, but so is NameCheap.com, and we recommend it 100% as our domain registrar of choice.
Our #1 shared hosting solution is by far HostGator.com. Their customer service is top notch, and it’s among the cheapest reliable hosting services available. You can also host unlimited domain names (websites) on one hosting account. This is a big advantage if you are running more than one website, and/or are planning to build more sites in the future, because you won’t have to spend any money on another hosting plan. Hostgator also works perfect for starting your own WordPress blog, because it comes with cPanel, the most widely used Site configuration and management software application in the world! Within cPanel are many different tools to help you out, one of which is called fantastico. the great thing about Fantastico, is that it allows you to install a new WordPress blog with just a couple of clicks! No technical nonsense or learning curve involved at all!
Similar pricing and packages as HostGator but on a completely different range of IP’s if you know what I mean 😉
VPS (Virtual Private Server)
When your sites begin to grow and receive more and more traffic, it may be time to step up to a VPS or dedicated server. The company I’ve been using for my VPS servers for about 5 years now, and the current host of ProfitBlog.com is Beyond Hosting.
The Beyond Hosting VPS servers allow you to scale up or scale down your service depending on your needs. They give you full root access to configure your server and when combined with their Exceptional Support and Management services their Virtual Private Servers (VPS) are truly an unbeatable value.
Before you start adding content to your website, it is essential that you know what people in your chosen niche are searching for. This way you will be able to craft your content in a way that attracts the most visitors. They you do this is through keyword research. There are several different tools out there for this purpose. Some tools are free, and some cost money. Below are the two keyword research tools that we recommend the most. this is due to the effectiveness, as well as the cost of both.
The first one is 100% free, and is called the Google Keyword Tool. You can find it here: https://adwords.google.com/select/KeywordToolExternal . This tool is really useful, mainly because it uses data directly from Google searches (which makes perfect sense), and it’s free!
The other tool that we HIGHLY recommend is Market Samurai. This tool is awesome. Not only does it help you find the right keywords to focus on for your website, but it also helps you spy on your competition (sites similar to yours), check your rankings for specific keywords over a period of time, and monitor your backlinks in detail. There are too many features to list here, but we have a full Market Samurai Review that we recommend you read before purchasing. Yes, it does cost money, but unlike other advanced keyword tools, Market Samurai is not on a month-to-month basis, but rather a small one-time fee which easily pays for itself. If you have the extra money, this should be the first tool you put in your arsenal PERIOD.
There are tons of audio/video tools and software available, but here are the ones that we have used, and recommend for anyone running an online business.
Camtasia Studio is one of the most powerful tools available for creating videos. You can import your own media (images, audio, video, etc..) and rework it into an amazing video, or you can record your screen and make walk-through style tutorial videos. There are lots of options that go much further than something like windows movie maker.
Get the best price on Camtasia Studio Here
Another option is a software made by the same company as Camtasia Studio (Techsmith). They have a toned down version of a similar software called Jing. The great thing about Jing is that it’s 100% free! the downside, is it doesn’t have half the features that Camtasia Studio does, and you can only record 5 minutes of video at a time. But if you’re just getting started, and on a budget, go for it!
Easy Video Player 2 is a software that any marketer can’t live without. Until easy Video Player 2.0, making sales videos was a major pain in the !%$#!. This software is by far the most powerful video player software we have seen, and it’s made specifically for marketers! You can embed “buy now” buttons and optin forms directly inside your videos, split test your videos to find the winner, secure your video against theft, track detailed analytics, and much more! This software is a real time saver if you plan on putting up any form of video sales letter. It’s the difference between a few hours and a few seconds!
Email marketing is essential in any growing online business. It allows you to communicate via email with your audience beyond the scope of your website. You can encourage visitors to sign up to your newsletter, and send them updates at any time. In order to properly engage in email marketing, there are some tools you will need, as well as some tools that will make things much easier (including some that are more advanced) Below are some of the tools that we use and recommend.
Aweber is a must have for email marketing. It is an autoresponder service that allows you to place opt-in forms on your website to allow your website visitors to sign up to your email list. Aweber comes with all sorts of cool features and is very reliable. Your emails will also be much more likely to pass through spam filters as compared to self-hosted email software. Aweber currently has over 100,000 other members, and is the one we use as well.
Popup Domination 3.0 allows you to place and split test multiple custom optin forms on your website. These optin forms show up in the form of a “pop-up” where you decide what pages of your blog it shows up on. It also allows you to set as how many seconds to wait before it shows up, among many other awesome features. By using the split testing capabilities of this software, you can know exactly what works and what doesn’t. If you want to grow your email subscriber list, this is a must have!
Woo themes is a premium WordPress theme framework. They have many different styles of themes for almost any type of site you may need. We are currently using one of the Woo Themes for ProfitBlog.com, and love the flexibility and ease of use it provides. We believe it is a must that you use a premium theme on your blog. For one, it gives you tons of customization abilities with little effort and virtually no technical programming knowledge needed. Another reason, is that WordPress itself is constantly changing, and you NEED to have a theme that is constantly being updated along with any updates WordPress itself puts out. If you’re using a free WordPress theme template, chances are, you’ll never get any updates. If that’s the case, when WordPress does it’s next big update, your blog could be completely out of wack! Don’t let that happen! We highly recommend and stand behind Woo themes (It’s the one we use).
NOTE: (When you buy a Woo theme, you get 2 extra woo themes for free!)
Wishlist Member is a membership site plugin that works seamlessly with WordPress. It allows you to set different levels for each of your members, and makes for a great content delivery system if you are selling digital products. This is not to mention the added security it provides. Wishlist Member also integrates with the most popular shopping cart systems such as Clickbank, Paypal, and Infusion (as well as Cydek). If you plan to sell any digital products online, this product is a life saver! You can get a 1 site license pretty cheap, but if you have multiple sites, expect to pay a bit more. However, the multi-site license comes with some really awesome bonuses.
Market Me Suite is an easy to use social media management software that allows you to keep track of and manage multiple twitter accounts as well as manage unlimited Facebook fan pages all from one central location. You can also brand your tweets with your main keyword or business name linking back to your website (very powerful). There are also many more options that make it a no-brainer. Market Me Suite used to cost $5.99 per month, but has since become a 100% FREE service! So, we recommend you sign up today, and check it out if you haven’t already.
Filezilla is an open source FTP software that is constantly improving, and allows you to transfer files between your hard drive and your server with ease. It is one of the most stable and easy to use FTP clients available, plus it’s 100% FREE!
You can download Filezilla here: http://filezilla-project.org/
Outsourcing is crucial in the world of online business, but you have to be careful where you outsource at. We’ve used dozens of outsourcing sites in the past, but lately it seems that we tend to stick with the following three sites.
Odesk.com has quickly become one of the top freelance websites in the world because of the new approach it has taken such as the hourly wage feature. Although we must admit, the hourly feature has not worked out too well for us. Some freelancers will take advantage of this, and work too long on a project. that’s why we recommend ALWAYS postins a fixed price job. We have had an awesome experience when posting fixed priced jobs on Odesk.com. Try it out for yourself and see what works best for you, but one thing is certain, there are some really talented people on Odesk.
Elance.com is a site that we have used for many years now. The quality tends to be better on Elance.com than on other sites, but is not always the case. You can expect to pay more money on Elance than on Odesk in most cases, but from our experience, it has been worth the extra cost.
Fiverr.com is one of the coolest sites ever made for outsourcing. It’s shocking what you can get done for just $5. There are jobs on Fiverr.com right now that I’ve paid $50-$100 for in the past. One of the jobs that comes to mind is voice over talent.
You can check out one of our posts on 11 things that you can outsource on fiverr to get more of an idea.
If you want to take your outsourcing to the next level, Outsourcing Simplified is the answer. This detailed course covers everything you need to know about outsourcing to be successful! Hundreds of people have now started following the methods in Outsourcing Simplified, and even more people are getting started each day!
Also, you can download our FREE outsourcing guide if you’d like to get a “crash course” . Click here to download your free copy.
When selling digital products online, it’s important to have a good payment processor. We currently only use two payment processors for all of our products.
Clickbank is a massive network of digital products and affiliates. The reason we recommend Clickbank so much is that, it is very easy to get started, and you can offer a commission for other people to sell your product for you as an affiliate.
More added soon…