Lessons Learned In Business

Resources – Tools of the Trade

There are many tools and resources I currently use, or have used in the past that I’ve found to be incredibly helpful.  As time goes by, I’ll add and remove resources and tools from this list to keep it relevant.  Some are paid, some are free, and some are just plain cool.  Check them out!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links.  If you choose to purchase these tools after clicking on the links below, I will receive a small commission for the referral.  Keep in mind, there is no additional cost to you for using the links below.  Please be aware that I personally have used each of the services / companies below, and I would recommend them even if I didn’t receive a commission.  They are that helpful.  By clicking on the links, it helps support me and the site, and allows me to keep pumping out awesome content!  If you have any questions about any of the companies / services below, feel free to contact me and I’ll help!

Hosting

Bluehost – This is my recommended choice for web hosting.  I’ve used many different web hosting providers (el cheapo ones, and some of the ‘premium’ ones), and I always seem to come back to bluehost.  This website is hosted with bluehost, as are my other sites. You can’t beat solid hosting for less than $5 per month.  In addition, you can do a 1-click automatic wordpress install.  It’s easy to use, and has great customer service.

Selling on Amazon

There are many tools that you’ll need as part of selling on Amazon.  First, you’ll need an Amazon.com Seller Account.  If you are serious about selling on Amazon, choose the professional account for $39.99 per month.  Once you sell 40 items per month, it pays for itself.

There are so many tools I recommend for selling on Amazon, I’ve created an entire post for Amazon FBA Tools and Supplies.

Keyword & Competition Research

  • Long Tail Pro – This is one of my go to tools for keyword research.  It’s quite user friendly, and allows you to find those keywords that are hidden in the rough.
  • Market Samurai – I’ve used Market Samurai for years, and it hasn’t let me down.  With this tool, you can do keyword research, check domain age, page rank, and a number of other factors that make it easy to choose keywords.  You can also find content and domains with Market Samurai.

Blogging

  • WordPress – According to a study in 2013, 19% of ALL websites use WordPress.  It’s by far the #1 blogging platform in the world.  I’ve overseen the creation of dozens of wordpress sites.  It is top notch.
  • Theme Forest – This is a top website that has many different themes and plugins for wordpress.  The theme I’m using on this site – Throne was purchased from Theme Forest.  It had some out of the box features that I really liked compared to Woo Themes.
  • Woo Themes – With the blog design business I used to own, we based almost all of our websites off of themes from Woo Themes.  They have very good looking themes out of the box and are extremely customizable.

Email Subscriptions & Marketing

  • Mail Chimp – They are a terrific email subscription service that offers a free service for up to 2,000 subscribers.  When starting out, this is an inexpensive way to build your mailing list.
  • Aweber – In my mind, Aweber is the undisputed king of email marketing.  I’ve built lists using their service for many years.  They have an impeccable record with email service providers, which ensures your emails reach their intended targets.  Start for as little as $1 for the first month.
  • Optin Skin – This is an amazing wordpress plugin that allows you to easily embed email opt-in forms on your website.  It works with all of the major email service providers such as Mail Chimp, Aweber, and Constant Contact.  I use it on this website for collecting email addresses.

Traffic Generation / Advertising

  • Google Adsense – When you are ready to start making money on your website, Google Adsense is a great place to start.  Google adsense places relevant ads on your website, paid for by advertisers in the Google Adwords network.  It is absolutely free to use once you register for an account.
  • Google Adwords – If you want to drive immediate traffic to your website and have a few dollars to spend, Google Adwords is the place to go.  You can target keywords by location and by device to drive traffic to your website.  By advertising with Google Adwords, your website can show up immediately on millions of websites across the world.
  • Google Alerts – Keep up to date on any topic you wish by using Google Alerts.  You can enter in any keyword, and Google Alerts will send you emails anytime something new comes along related to your keyword.  It works well for doing things such as monitoring your brand and competitors, finding guest post opportunities, and receiving new product alerts.  It’s a great free tool.
  • BuzzBundle – This is a terrific tool to find people and audiences that are specifically talking about the topics you are blogging about.  It surveys social networks such as twitter and facebook, blogs, forums, and Q&A sites for content related to specific keywords.  This allows you to immediately join in on the conversations people are talking about, right inside the tool.

WordPress Plugins

  • Limit Login Attempts – This free plugin is a must to prevent brute force attacks on your wordpress admin password.  It allows you to set the number of times someone can put in an incorrect password to sign in to your admin panel before they are locked out.  When hackers are attempting to gain access to your site, this will help prevent them from doing so.
  • Pretty Links – Sometimes links to websites are long, and hard to remember.  Pretty Links allows you to rename any link on your website to something you can easily remember.  It will take something like this: http://www.yourdomain.com/best-website-in-the-world/best-page-in-the-world-1937.html to this: http://www.yourdomain.com/BestPage.  It’s very useful for affiliate links, or other hard to remember links that you want people to remember.  The biggest reason I like it is because if a link changes for some reason, you’ll only need to change it once in the Pretty Link plugin, instead of the multiple times you may have used it across your website.  What a time saver.  The free version (Pretty Link Lite) is all you should need.
  • Yoast SEO – The ultimate SEO plugin for wordpress.  It allows you to fully optimize your wordpress site with one plugin, and is absolutely free.  After installing this plugin, I would recommend following Neil Patel’s recommendations at Quick Sprout for an advanced setup of the plugin.
  • Ultimate No Follow – As you build your site, you’ll want certain links to be no-followed.  The Ultimate No Follow plugin is a free plugin that allows you to set which links on your website will be no-followed.
  • Optin Monster – If you are not yet an email subscriber, and you get ready to leave this site, you’ll notice there is a lightbox popup that asks you for your email address.  This is called “exit intent” marketing.  The goal is to try and capture email addresses before the visitor leaves the site.  I use Optin Monster for this purpose.  There are other reasons to use Optin Monster, but this is the main reason I use it.
  • SEO Smart Links – Internal linking on your site is a proven SEO strategy, and is great for user experience.  I like SEO Smart Links because it will automatically link old posts and other relevant pages on new pages and posts you create.  It makes internal linking easy.

Outsourcing / Building a Team

  • Elance
  • Odesk
  • OnlineJobs.ph
  • Fiverr

Ecommerce Platforms

  • Magento
  • 3dCart
  • Shopify

Multi Channel Selling Management Software

  • Monsoon’s Stone Edge Order Manager
  • Monsoon Commerce
  • Linnworks
  • Channel Advisor
  • Etail Solutions

Organization and Planning

  • Evernote
  • Pocket
  • Trello
  • Basecamp
  • Toggl
  • Last Pass
  • Nozbe
  • Feedly
  • LucidChart

Legal / Book Keeping

  • Legal Zoom
  • Quickbooks
  • Fresh Books
  • Go Daddy Book Keeping

Tracking, and Analysis Tools

  • Google Analytics
  • Clicky
  • SEMRush
  • Google Webmaster Tools
  • BuyProxies

SEO Tools

  • GSA Search Engine Ranker
  • Ultimate Demon
  • The Best Spinner
  • ScrapeBox
  • Ahrefs
  • Moz Pro
  • Rank Cracker

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