During the almost 20 years I have been working online, I’ve lost track of the number of services, tools, software, and resources that I have bought and tried. I can’t even imagine the amount of money I could have saved if somebody with the appropriate experience would have pointed me towards a list of proven resources and shared with me why I should use them.
On this page, you will find all of my favorite “must-have” tools and resources that make my online business run like a well-oiled machine. You can always read the marketing a company puts out, but there is nothing like having a personal explanation and recommendation from someone with proven credibility and honesty.
- One of the online-business income streams I have is “affiliate marketing.” Affiliate marketing is discussed on this blog and in my books but a definition here is helpful: affiliate marketing is when you sign up to recommend a product or service and you receive a commission for doing so when a sale is made. Many of the resources below are affiliate programs that I am involved in. By including this page on the blog, not only am I giving you a great list of fantastic tools, I am also showing you (in a real-world example) how to use affiliate marketing.
I do not recommend products and services that I am not willing to back up with my reputation.
It is common to see books or blogs that are built specifically for promoting affiliate marketing, with no regard to whether not there is a true personal recommendation or any experience with that product. It is basically just advertising; sometimes the advertising is even backed up with dishonest claims.
Everything I have listed on this page is a resource I recommend wholeheartedly. The last thing I want to do as an online business mentor and expert is to influence people to waste their money on junk, gimmicks, scams, or get-rich-quick nonsense. Of course, I cannot guarantee a perfect experience between you and another company or service, but I can give you confident recommendations based on my experience, expertise, and two decades of fine-tuning my business.
If you have any questions that you would like me to answer before you consider purchasing or using anything recommended, feel free to contact me anytime.
The best way for you to find out about the Ninja Affiliate software is to watch their video at their website.
Let me say this loud and clear: GET THIS SOFTWARE FOR YOUR BLOG. It is truly a “must” have. All my books and blogs benefit from this software; however, the software is far too involved for me to explain it all in a couple of paragraphs.
All of my blogs and websites are hosted on Arvixe. I have numerous hosting accounts and three servers that house the “Linky” family of sites.
Arvixe has stellar customer service. They have never failed to quickly and effectively respond to any issues I have brought to them. All hosting companies have hiccups… the question is: how fast do they respond and fix things?
Arvixe is the best blog- and website-hosting you can get. They offer every kind of hosting for any type of business need; but, if you are reading this blog, you probably want WordPress blog hosting. Click here to get WordPress hosting from Arvixe for about $4/month.
Aweber is the serious blogger’s choice of email-list subscriber management and broadcast tools. Ten years ago, there wasn’t even another serious option. There are some other good email-marketing companies out there now, but Aweber is still among the best.
With Aweber, you can manage your subscriptions, do email-marketing campaigns, setup new-user campaigns, automatically monitor your blog for new content and then email it your list, do split testing, and a whole lot more.
Aweber is a fantastic service that I have relied on and recommended for many years.
CreateSpace is Amazon’s on-demand print service. On-demand printing is the ability to publish a book, and it is only printed one at a time when they are ordered. You do not have to keep an inventory.
The best way I know how to share the benefits of CreateSpace with you is to provide the list of features from their own home page:
- Free and Easy Tools
Do-it-yourself and finish fast with tools like Interior Reviewer, Cover Creator, Preview, and Image Gallery.
- Higher Royalties
Place more in your pocket with some of the best economics in the industry. View Earning Royalties video.
- Comprehensive Book Services
Get the help you need to complete your book with our affordable design, editing, and marketing services.
- Always Available
Your work is manufactured to meet demand, so your title is always in stock. There are no upfront costs and no need to carry inventory.
- Wide Distribution Options
Expand your book’s availability through Amazon.com, Amazon Europe, your own eStore, and Kindle. Plus, reach more readers with the Expanded Distribution option.
- Help when you need it
Get answers fast over the phone, by e-mail, or join our Community and discuss your ideas, questions, and more with folks just like you.
There are lots of stock images and clipart services. The truth is: you get what you pay for. iStock.com is a world- class stock-image and clipart provider.
I use them almost every single day. I’m a graphic designer at heart and by trade. I know good images and art. You can’t beat iStock. This is not the least expensive option, but what you get is well worth the investment.
There is just no excuse for an ugly blog today. There are an abundance of high-quality, stunning WordPress themes available. Elegant Themes is one of my two favorite sources and I have used many of their themes on my own work and for clients. From the website:
Design is our art and our passion. We craft WordPress Themes with a pixel-perfect eye for detail and a high standard for aesthetic excellence. Let us help you make your website amazingly simple, beautiful and professional.
Our plethora of Shortcodes, Page Templates, and Theme Options give you full control over your website. Manage your site like never before by using the countless powerful features that come packaged with all of our themes.
We put a ton of effort into providing top-notch WordPress tech support to all of our customers. With our dedicated support staff, you can be sure that you will have your blog up and running without a hitch regardless of your experience level.
This is my other favorite theme provider. WPZoom concentrates on professional WordPress themes with tons of features and functionality. If you are looking for a function-specific theme (like a magazine blog, or a portfolio or video-centric blog), WPZoom has some incredible choices. From their website:
- Professional & Impressive WordPress Themes
- We provide top quality premium WordPress themes at amazing prices with excellent lifetime support included.
- Professional Support & Documentation
- Flexible & SEO Optimized Code
- Advanced Theme Options Panel
Optin Skin is a WordPress plug-in for creating and tracking the best, highest converting sign-up forms. From their website:
#1 Split-Test Your Way to Higher Conversion Rates
#2 Fully Customize Our 18 Default Designs
#3 Draw Attention to Your Opt-in Forms with ‘Fade’
#4 Impressions Only Count If Your Form is Seen
#5 OptinSkin Can Power Your Custom Designs
#6 Place Skins Anywhere On Your Blog with One Click
#7 Make More Money With an (Optional) Affiliate Link
#8 Works with All Email Marketing Services
This is a full featured, comprehensive online sales management system. This is not cheap but worth every penny. I couldn’t run Linky Tools without it! This is definetely “next level” stuff, but when you ready to get really serious about your online business and blog, Infusionsoft is THE choice. Contact me if you want to talk about it more. Their website says, and I agree: The ONLY all-in-one sales and marketing software built for small business.
We’ve built everything you need—CRM, e-commerce, social media and email marketing—into a single, powerful system that automatically converts leads into new customers and grows sales from existing ones. So you can focus on your business or your life. Or both. Imagine that.