Just wanted to give you a big heads up about the following list…over the years I have used many of the resources listed on this page. Some were great when I was starting out, others I evolved into as my needs and capabilities increased. For you, this list is a buffet. Take what you need and leave the rest. But please don’t have “Glazed Doughnut Syndrome” where all of it looks good and you just want to have it all…now.
The way this works is that some of these recommendations I may get a small affiliate commission for if you click through them and end up buying the product. I hope that the information I have shared on this site will help you and if you’d be so kind as to come through this page when you’re ready to buy, that would be awesome. But not always necessary.
This site is a labour of love for me and I hope that you like it and have learned from it and if you want to support the site then please feel free to go through these links. As always, I appreciate your support and your emails. If there is anything I can help you with please feel free to ask.
Bluehost: I have used Bluehost for a number of websites over the years. Great company. Very cost effective if you are just starting out. Many of my internet marketing friends and mentors have used Bluehost for a very long time. If you are on a budget and you’d like something quick and easy you can’t go wrong working with Bluehost.
Godaddy: I have been hosting websites with Godaddy for fifteen years. Before I ran blogs and had old school websites, GoDaddy was the place. (Not to mention I really liked those commercials with Danica Patrick 🙂 What I love best about GoDaddy? The support. Hands down GoDaddy has the best support. In the late nineteen-nineties many high profile internet marketers who were doing pretty spammy hosting tricks didn’t like GoDaddy and it got a bad rap. But now that Google has rendered those days as gone, I like GoDaddy even more. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been working ultra late or early morning and have gotton some super-happy, well-trained customer support. Best ever for those starting out.
WPEngine: When you are ready to take your online efforts to the next level, you’re going to want to consider upgrading to dedicated hosting. And when you do, WPEngine.com is the place to go. This is for WordPress hosting exclusively and I can’t begin to tell you how screaming fast my websites went from when I made the switch to WPEngine.com If your’e just getting started this may not be the best option for you. But if you want screaming fast WordPress hosting? Go here…
WordPress.com: The absolute gold standard for creating websites you love. No need to be captive to some “website guy”. You can do it all yourself with WordPress and the infinite number of great looking themes and plugins that are available. I cringe when I talk to business owners who had “some website guy” create a website for them for $3000-$5000 and now they don’t know their login and can’t find the guy. No need to be held captive. Go WordPress.
Leadpages.net: When you’re ready for some more advanced page creating and website marketing, you’ll want to check out Leadpages. This is the company I use when I want to create landing pages, or squeeze pages that convert visitors into email subscribers and email subscribers into customers. Not to mention that Clay Collins, the owner, is ‘da Man. Optimizepress.com: Another resource for creating pages and other website goodies. If you are using Leadpages you probably don’t need Optimizepress. I use them both. (Because I like to keep my life complicated. jk)
StudioPress.com The gang at StudioPress is awesome. Don’t really know where to start but I’ll start by saying this…your WordPress site is like a house. These guys created a special foundation that has all the plumbing and heating and electrical already built into it. So you go to Studiopress.com to soup up your WordPress site by investing in the Genesis Framework foundation, and then you put in the curtains, trim and paint colors with one of their very cool themes. Genesis Framework: See Studiopress.com
I use Divi by ElegantThemes.com for all of my websites now. It is easily the most flexible theme on the planet and I really like recommending it to people who are going to do it themselves because you can start out and make a site that’s functional and pretty, and then you can make it look freaking fantastic as you get more skilled. Check it out here: Divi
Wishlist Member: If you have a product that needs to be delivered digitally and you need to created a place for people to pay to have access…this is it. I’ve used Wishlist Member for years and it syncs with my Shoppingcart which makes it all very easy. You can also drip feed information to your clients as necessary on whatever time schedule you’d like it to. Highly recommended if you need a membership site.
Kajabi: Also another fantastic membership site option. Used by guys like Brendon Burchard, Bill and Steve Harrison, and myself, Kajabi has a beautiful interface, but also adds Stripe. Kajabi is evolving into a complete platform to run…well…everything for your online empire. So while you may just be looking for a membership site option, the New Kajabi could possibly be your answer for…well…everything. Check it out here: The New Kajabi.
Newsletter Creation and List Building. Customer Relationship Management:
Very quickly you’re going to want to graduate from sending out emails onesy-twosy to your mom, cat, and your two friends to having an automated list building service where people can come to your website and they can opt-in to your newsletter. The following four resources can help you do that
Constant Contact: For beginners, Constant Contact is an excellent choice. Create opt-in forms with easy. Put them on your website. I used Constant Contact early on in my career and it has evolved nicely with more features and more usability. These companies are always improving so you can’t really go wrong with Constant Contact.
Aweber: Currently I use Aweber and Ontraport. While I could move everything over to Ontraport, I’m a little lazy here and don’t want to take on the task of migrating everything. The good news is that Aweber and Ontraport talk to each other. But…if you are not using Ontraport yet, Aweber will serve you just fine. It will create beautiful forms. You can create an unlimited number of lists depending on where you are capturing emails etc. Solid choice and a product I still use today.
Ontraport: When you are ready for advanced choices Ontraport will be your thing. First off…the support with Ontraport is fantastic. Even better than dealing with GoDaddy. The customer service crew has to be the happiest bunch of employees on the internet. Ontraport can replace Aweber and Constant Contact. You can do everything under the Ontraport roof, plus you can tag contacts and sequences which is pretty advanced but can be super helpful as your business grows. Can’t recommend it enough. And check out their Ontrapalooza every fall in Santa Barbara.
OptinSkin: When you’re ready to to some cool extra’s with your WordPress blog, Optinskin is a cool little “bells and whistly” type addon. Creates cool little forms to capture emails from prospects. Does not send emails so you will still need an Autoresponder of some sort like Aweber or Ontraport.
Managing Projects For Yourself and With a Team:
I’ve settled on Smartsheet.com for now. But I find that many of these Project Management Tools are each, individually, awesome in their own right it just comes down to your personal thinking style. Many of them have visual components to them and if you’re brain’s not in tune with how it’s laid out you’ll either like it, or you won’t like it. Here are some of the more popular ones that my friends and colleagues recommend.
TeamWorkPM at www.Teamwork.com. Possibly one of the cleanest project management tools around I’ve always loved the layout. Samantha Riley really loves this one and you can check out her interview about it here.
I’ve used a number of shopping carts over the years but I’ve taken down my recommendations for now because I just don’t have one I feel absolutely fantastic about. I used 1shoppingcart.com for years and then dropped it as I felt the $179 a month I was paying for it was a bit absurd for the project it was on. Used MoonClerk.com actually. Paywhirl.com was quite fun but a little cumbersome. I will update this section in the near future.
1Shoppingcart.com When you start to sell products you will need a shoppingcart. This is a bit of hosted software that will take orders and speak to a merchant account that will capture funds. I’ve used 1Shoppingcart since the early two-thousands. My only complaint is that when I call customer service I feel like I’ve just walked into a Microsoft convention full of computer “guys” looking down their nose at me. They are always super helpful but I don’t always get the warm and fuzzy feeling I’m hoping for when I need support. 1Shopingcart will do everything for you and it’s a well respected brand in this often sketchy merchant account world.
Nanacast: All of my Australian buddies swear by Nanacast. I do not personally have experience with it but some people who I take seriously are very serious about Nanacast.
Support to Keep The Whole Thing Running:
WPCurve: Dan Norris and the boys at WPCurve are my goto guys for having someone who can just get things done with your WordPress site. There may be a time you just need someone to look at yourself and get something fixed. Maybe a plugin isn’t working. Maybe things are running a little slow. Whatever it is, just send them an email and in half a day they will have it fixed. And since they are in Australia, it most likely will get done while you are sleeping. Super cool. Wake up. Done.
Testing And Tracking:
Clicky: For some fun, stealthy tracking information Clicky is very cool. Personally I hate Google Analytics. It bores me to tears. But Clicky, and Crazy Egg make it fun and visual. Stats and numbers are cool, but colors are even better. Want to see where someone is from who is looking at your site? Clicky. Are they on a compute or an iphone? Clicky. Clicky = Very cool.
CrazyEgg: Probably my favorite information gathering software that I use. Wouldn’t it be great to know just where people are clicking on your site? CrazyEgg can do that. You can make changes to your website, create a new snapshot and start tracking visitors. You can change all sorts of goodies on your website and know just what’s working and what isn’t by using CrazyEgg
Google Analytics: If I must. Google Analytics. Boring as all get out and overwhelming with data. But still necessary. Ugh.
Protecting Your Website:
Securi: The internet is a wild place. Kind of like the wild west with rogue bandits and bar gunfights happening every day. Securi is my go to for keeping all of my sites safe. If a site gets hacked…Securi can help me fix it. If it’s getting hammered by a brute force attack I can get emails right to my inbox to give me the heads up and take care of things accordingly.
Limit Login Attempts: If someone’s trying to get into your site you don’t want them to have free reign and just keep hammering and hammering at your site. That is why I use Limit Login Attempts. It’s a cool little plugin for WordPress that shuts people down if they can’t remember their password. Can be a pain in the butt if YOU forget your password but a necessary protective measure if you don’t want your site to go down.
Outsourcing Tasks and Creating a Team:
ODesk.com: In the world of ODesk I’m one of the top employers. Over the years I’ve spent thousands of dollars hiring workers from all over the world. There is no need to have the headache of trying to figure out some random task. There is someone in the world who loves to do what you hate. And they will do it for less than a Starbucks coffee usually. Now called UpWork.com.
Elance.com: Elance is similar to oDesk. In fact they may be owned by the same company now. I used Elance when I first got started but then ended up with oDesk as I found better luck finding quality talent. Depending on the task Elance might be.
99Designs: Similar to oDesk.com and Elance.com, 99Designs.com stays strictly within the design niche. This is a place to get logo designs for your business in addition to everything else design-y. I’ve had logos done through 99designs which was a lot of fun. Having multiple people submit designs can be a lot more comforting that having one designer try and do what you want. Sometimes you don’t know what you want, and seeing multiple ideas is fun and liberating.
Fiverr.com Fiverr can be fun and productive or it can be a cesspool and you can get ripped off. Personally, I’ve had nothing but fun with Fiverr. But buyer beware. You can get what you pay for here. If you stay with the reputable sellers you can’t go wrong.
Books I Love:
Getting Things Done by David Allen Organize and Create Discipline by Justin Klotsky The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferris Anything by Dan Kennedy – List
Screenflow (Mac Users) Camtasia (PC Users. Really? You still use a PC?) ScreenFlow Hero
Book Publishing Resources:
IngramSpark.com: My friend has used IngramSpark to publish his books for years. Very well priced. Very flexible. Great rates and distribution to 39,000 book sellers, online retailers and libraries. Print on demand and ship anywhere in the world. They have a very cool formatting tool to organize your book as well. Definitely worth considering and comparing to CreateSpace.
CreateSpace.com: We all know that Amazon wants to rule the world. Well…this is their foray into publishing your info. It’s worth comparing closely, Createspace and IngramSpark (see above). There are benefits to both so choose wisely and don’t paint yourself into a corner.
ISBN.org: When you publish your book you’re going to want an ISBN. An ISBN is an identifier that is unique to your book and gives it a unique identity in the publishing world that can be searched globally. I highly recommend buying your ISBN from ISBN.org because it is solely yours and registered to you. Buying an ISBN through a service like CreateSpace links the ISBN to that publisher. You don’t want that. So create a Publisher name (It can be a DBA name that you use), and register those ISBN’s to you. Buy the ten pack because you’re going to need an ISBN for your book, your Kindle edition, your