UPDATED AS OF Jan. 22, 2018
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.) WordPress Beginner – Free program to help you get your WordPress website set up. Unlike the creator of this site though, my recommendations (that I use) for my domain names and web hosting are listed immediately below.
(2.) Namecheap – This is the company that I use to buy my domain names for my websites.
(3.) Mom Webs – I ditched Hostgator a year ago, and I have not regretted it one bit! The support I receive from Mom Webs, is phenomenal, and it was the smartest move I made when I decided to change my hosting provider.
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 first course listed below will teach you how to use wordpress, and the second one will enhance your current website.
The Amazing Website Masterclass – Learn:
#1: WordPress Walkthrough
We’ll take you through every area of WordPress to familiarize you with the software. You’ll feel so much more comfortable knowing where everything is when you need it! (This session’s replay is instantly available when you sign up!)
#2: Themes + Plugins We Love
There are so many themes & plugins to choose from and I’m going to take away overwhelm by sharing my favorites and providing explanation on what they do.
#3: Content That Makes You Look Ahmazing!
I’ll show you how to format your site content so that people WANT to read what you’ve written and WANT to share it with others.
#4: Starting & Growing Your Mailing List
The MOST important part of your new website is providing a way for your visitors to subscribe and stay in touch with you!
#5: Making Money With Your Site
We may not all be focused on making money, but I’ll open your eyes to smart profit points that it’d be a shame to ignore in the long run.
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. There is full documentation with the product, but if you need more hand-holding to help you with set-up, keep reading….
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.
If you are already using Amember, then I highly recommend this plugin. It will make your life much easier when adding a new product. Watch the video at that link to see what I’m talking about.
(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.
(1.) PLR Providers – I have one main PLR site, Buy Health PLR .
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).
(1.) Pic Monkey – This is my most FAVORITE program. Pic Monkey is my go-to image program, as I use it many times/week.It used to have a free version, which I used all the time. However, you can only use it now with a paid subscription. It has so many features, and the price is very reasonable if you do decide to purchase it. Paid subscriptions (there are 2 types) allow you to save your images and come back and edit them again later, if needed. That is a huge benefit of the new paid subscription, in my opinion (not to mention all the other features that it has). Once you get used to it, it is very easy to use. Best of all, you can trial it for free first.
(2.) 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 Upwork, Guru, and other freelancing sites.
(3.) Canva – You can use their 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. I personally still find #1. above easier to use.
(4.)The Logo Creator – This is something else that I own, and it works really well. I just don’t use it as often anymore. 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.
(5.) Dough Boy Graphics – At only $5, this is a steal. I use these graphics all the time.
(6.) 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.
(7.) Ecover Creator – I own this tool, and it is useful for creating ebook covers, especially if you use PLR.
Here’s a video of me giving a demonstration of its use: https://youtu.be/W__ExMvS6Ms
(8.) 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!
(9.) 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.
(10.) Photoshop Course – This course is perfect if you want to create a business out of creating graphics for others using editable, photoshop files.
Graphics, Fonts, Templates:
(1.) Check this out if you are looking for some amazing freebies, $1 deals, as well as graphics, fonts, and templates.
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.) Pro Recorder – Don’t waste your money on Camtasia. You can use the free version of this or get the premium version for only $18/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 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 (up to 5 minutes only, I believe).
Outsourcing/Virtual Assistant Help:
(1.) Hand these off to your virtual assistant – Each Month You’ll Receive a Brand New Project Kit Filled with Templates + Checklists+ To-Do’s for a Specific Marketing Channel – from Social Media to Book Launches – All in One Neat Package Ready to be Customized and Sent Off to Your Assistant.
(1.) How to Price Your Offerings – Too many people underprice their offerings, simply be looking at what the competition is doing. Don’t get caught in this trap.
(1.) Roboform – Don’t try to remember all your passwords. Even worse, do NOT use the same username and passwords for all your accounts as you stand a huge risk of getting hacked. This password manager will safely store and manage all your usernames and passwords. I’ve been using it for around 7 years. It syncs with all of your computers, even your smartphone.
Sync Your Computer Files and BackUp Your Computer Files:
My newest discovery! – I have always used Dropbox (and still do for some files) to store my files, and sync them between computers, but the price is higher and adds up when you have a number of subscriptions every year. I wanted a service that would give me more syncing space without a higher cost. Plus, I wanted a way to back up some of my computer files, and to store my photos. I chose this. The installation was pretty easy to set up.
Backup Your WordPress Sites:
Backup – I use this backup plugin for all my wordpress websites. If your website gets hacked or you lose it for some other reason, you want to have a way to restore it easily and without excessive financial losses. The backups can be sent to Amazon S3, and dropbox, for example.
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.