Here is a list of some of the tools & services I use in my own business:
Services I Pay For or Have Purchased:
When you are building a business presence online, it is easy to get overwhelmed by information overload as you try to determine where to start and what to do next. Below is a list of trusted sources that I have either used, or reputable sources that I feel good recommending to you because I know who they are. I have separated them into specific topics to make it easier for you to find what you are looking for. There are both paid and free sources listed below. Go through each one, and determine which sources are most useful to you.
All businesses, even brick and mortar ones, should have an online presence. One of the best ways to do this is with your own website. If you are just starting to develop an online presence for your existing offline business or you are starting solely an online business, this is where you need to start. You can either hire someone to build your website or you can do it yourself. In either case, make sure that it is built using WordPress.
(1.) Learn how to build your own website – WordPress is one of the best platforms with which to build your website, as it is easy to go behind the scenes and update your site. If you want to learn how to use WordPress to build your own website, this course will teach you that and much more.
(2.) Make a website in a weekend – This course doesn’t have everything that the one listed above has, but it is a bit less expensive and it may be all that you need to get started. Only you know how much help or support you may need. Compare the two, and see which one better fits your needs.
(3.) Free Webinar on how to make a living with wordpress – Give 45 minutes of your time to learn three ways to make money with WordPress.
(4.) Instabuilder Sales Pages – This is what I use to build my wordpress sales pages and sales funnels. You do not need to know any coding as it’s all drag and drop technology. You can even integrate this with selling platforms like JV Zoo. What is great is that you can export your templates so that once you create a template, you can use it over and over again for future products that you plan to sell.
(5.) Namecheap – This is the company that I use to buy my domain names for my websites.
(6.) Hostgator – This is who I use for my domain hosting. Use the following Coupon Code for $9.94 Discount: ToolsIUseDiscount
Updating Your Existing WordPress Website:
If your wordpress website already exists, but you do not know how to update it and do things behind the scenes, this can be very frustrating as you have to wait for someone else to have to do it for you. It can also get very expensive if you have to hire someone every time you need to make a minor change to your site. This is why it is important to know how to do some of the behind-the-scenes work yourself from time to time. The course listed below will teach you how to use wordpress.
(1.) Learn how to use wordpress – (I will let you know when I hear of a good course)
Choosing a Shopping Cart:
If you are selling products digitally on your site, you need to use a shopping cart that ensures that only those who have purchased the product get access. My suggestion is to find a shopping cart that also supports an affiliate program. You will find more below about setting up your affiliate program.
(1.) Amember (This is what I use on my sites; it acts as a shopping cart and has an affiliate program. You can also use it for membership sites.)
Learn about Amember under “Setting up your Affiliate Program” below. I also previously wrote a post about all the shopping carts that I have used.
Setting up your Affiliate Program:
Set up an affiliate program so that others will want to spread the word about your business and grow your business.
(1.) Course to teach you how to set up your affiliate program – I am currently looking for a quality program to recommend to you.
(2.) Amember – As I mentioned above, Amember is the script I use as a “cart” to sell my digital products securely (i.e. prevents theft of your products by people who haven’t purchased your product) and to run my affiliate program. I also use Amember to deliver products that I sell on JV Zoo.com. You need to purchase the Amember script. They will install it for you on your domain, but then you need to set it all up yourself. I love everything that I can do with Amember, but the documentation for set-up is not very good.
Fortunately, there is a separate course that can be purchased that teaches you how to use Amember. Of course, you could always hire a Virtual Assistant to do all the set-up and then teach you how to use Amember, and that is certainly an option. No matter what though, you will want to know how to use Amember to some degree so that you don’t have to wait on someone else to make minor changes for you from time to time.
Here is a link to the Amember course that will teach you how to set it up and use it to add and sell your digital products securely. I own this course too, and it’s all broken up into bite-size videos showing you what to do.
(3.) 10 Ways to Recognize a Good Affiliate Program – Free Slideshare report that I wrote. This will give you ideas for affiliate programs you join, as well as what kind of affiliate program you want to set up.
Creating an Email List using Autoresponders:
You’ve probably heard that “the money is in the list.” Well, it’s true. You need to begin building a list sooner than later. There are a few options for autoresponders. If you decide to use Amember mentioned above, it has a built-in autoresponder service, and the Amember course teaches you how to set it up using SMTP (such as Mandrill). The advantage of this is that there can be much lower monthly costs.
My preference, however, is to use a paid autoresponder service as my list is important to me, and I don’t want to lose it. The two autoresponder options I have used and recommend are:
(1.) Get Response – The autoresponder that I use. I like the stats I get within Get Response much better, as well as the fact that you can use their webinar service (you can do that with Aweber too, but you have to integrate with Go-To webinar, which is very expensive).
I find that at first view, it appears that Aweber has a nicer interface/dashboard within and is the one most people usually speak about. I initially started out with Get Response, and then moved over to Aweber on the recommendation of others, but have since returned to Get Response. Get Response has better prices (especially when you start and are growing your list to your first 1000 subscribers) and better hours (24/7 live chat). Compare both sites for prices, and ease of use before deciding which one you like better. Both Aweber and Get Response also integrate with the Amember script I discuss above.
Content for your Business –
Depending what type of business you have, you might need content for your website, your autoresponder emails, pamphlets, books that you are putting together for sale, videos that want to upload to You Tube to advertise your business, and so forth. If you do this all by yourself, it’s going to take A LOT of your time. You need a shortcut. The least expensive way to do this is to use private label rights (PLR) content.
Here is a list of other quality PLR providers, with other topics that may not be on my site.
(2.) PLR to Profits course – Learn how to use PLR and monetize it to build your business.
(3.) Is your blog too quiet? – Learn about content curation to boost your blog’s visibility and get more traffic.
(4.) Information Product Creation – Read this interview I did with another PLR provider (free).
(5.) Write & Sell Small Reports – Your guide on how to make money creating & selling 7-15 page small reports.
(1.) Fiverr.com – If you need to have occasional graphics made, and it’s not a good use of your time to learn how to make your own graphics, then Fiverr is a good place to search for someone to hire to make graphics for you. It is free to join there. You just need to pay the contractor for the services you need. You can also find people on Odesk, Elance, and other freelancing sites.
(2.) How to Make your Own Graphics – (More Information coming in the future – course has changed). If you need to make graphics quickly and don’t want to wait for someone else to do it all the time, then you may want to invest in a course to learn how. You could even make graphics for others, and earn an income doing so.
(3.) Pic Monkey – I use the free version of this program (it’s pretty easy to use). It also has some nice paid features, and the price is very reasonable if you do want to upgrade.
(4.) Canva – Again, this is another free program. You will only have to pay a small price ($1) if you want to use one of their stock images, but you don’t need to. Here is a brief video I did demonstrating Canva.
(5.) Image Monthly – This subscription provides you with monthly images and training on use of images for your business.
(6.) The Logo Creator – This is something else that I own, and it works really well. It is what I used to create my Itunes cover and my affiliate graphics. There are some people that make online businesses simply creating graphics for others using this software. It is not photoshop, but it also doesn’t come with the frustrations of learning photoshop.
(7.) Dough Boy Graphics – At only $5, this is a steal. I use these graphics all the time.
(8.) Product Creator – I use this. Use this for professional-looking documents in minutes. No need to learn Photoshop! Great for all authors, including Kindle authors. You also get a free trial.
(9.) Ecover Creator – I own this tool, and it is useful for creating ebook covers, especially if you use PLR.
(10.) Ecover Authority – This is another tool that I own. It’s quite quick to use. People who previously used Box Shot King, say that it is as good as Box Shot King without the extra price.
(11.) Pixel Studio – Not only is this great for creating your ecover graphics, you can use it to find jobs to bid on if you want to earn a living creating graphics for others.
Screen Capture/Video Software:
If you buy PLR PowerPoint slides, this is a must to turn the PowerPoint into a video. It is also necessary if you plan to make videos of your computer screen for publishing on You Tube, etc.
(1.) Screencast-o-matic – Don’t waste your money on Camtasia. You can use the free version of Screencast-o-matic or get the premium version for only $15/year. I started with the free version, but now I use the premium version as I can then record longer videos, upload them directly to You Tube, make edits, and there is no Screencast-o-matic watermark logo on my videos, etc.
(2.) Jing – This is made by the makers of Camtasia. I have a free version of Jing installed on my computer, but I use it mainly for screenshots. You can also use it for recording your screen.
More tools will be added as I come across or use them, so check back periodically.
Are you looking for something that I have not included? Please contact me with your questions.
Disclosure: I am an affiliate for some of the tools and services listed above. If you decide to purchase because of my recommendation, I do earn an affiliate commission. Please note that I only recommend products that I personally use or have used, and would only recommend to a dear friend. You never pay more by purchasing products or services through my links. In fact, you may even pay less, if I have been able to secure a discount for you.