I’ve put together a personal experience resource list to use for your online ventures. I add exceptional resources as I find them. I recommend bookmarking it for reference. Enjoy!
Website Hosting & Site Tools
Godaddy – I’ve been a customer since 2006 when I first started out on the internet. This site is hosted on their Managed WordPress hosting with SSL and I’ve personally tested it against several services and found it to be just as fast. It’s reliable and you get the most service for your money when compared to the competition. They’re offering 40% off the managed hosting and up to 10 years price lock.
Siteground – My second choice and the WordPress community highly recommends them. Site ground offers a fully managed WordPress hosting platform and they have the best customer service I’ve ever worked with. They’re even offering 50% off right now!
Bluehost– Many clients I’ve worked with use Bluehost. It’s economical, provides decent support and overall I recommend it as a good starting point for ‘standard’ hosting when your just getting started. If you plan to use WordPress I recommend a managed hosting plan from GoDaddy or Siteground.
StudioPress – I’ve used hundreds of substandard WordPress themes before I found and purchased the Genesis framework in 2012. Hands down StudioPress themes are the best; powered by the Genesis framework, search engine optimized, responsive HTML 5 designs, airtight security, and easily customizable. This site runs on the Remobile theme!
WordPress – An amazing product, respect to Matt Mullenweg and team! A web software you can use to create a beautiful website or blog. The WordPress crew like to say that it is both free and priceless at the same time. If memory serves me I started using WordPress in May 2007 and I’ve been content and happy ever since.
Gravity Forms – I started my relationship with Gravity forms August 2013 when I purchased the developer license after more or less getting tired of Contact Form 7 plugin limitations. I really love this product and with over 1 million sites using it I can say safely that I’m not alone. You really can build simple to complex forms in just minutes! I use Gravity Forms for my contact page and the signup form with the MailChimp add-on for my subscribe page.
Grammarly – #1 Rated Grammar, Checking Tool. Trusted by over 4 Million Users! This is my go-to tool for checking my grammar in every article I post on this site.
Evernote – The king of note collecting tools available on the web, iPad, iPhone virtually everywhere you need to take a note. I love this product loads and use it often!
Dropbox – Your stuff, anywhere. This file sharing tool is the greatest, giving you access to your files no matter what device you choose. If you’re looking for the most reliable quickest way to share documents, this is it. I use it, use it, use it and love it daily.
Net Nanny – It’s mostly known for great parental controls for both desktop and for iOS (Apple) devices. The time management controls are an excellent way to get your personal out-of-control web surfing in check.
Affiliates & Ad Networks
Google Adsense – I’m sure an introduction for this big online player isn’t needed. It’s everywhere from large sites to small sites! For most it’s second on the list to do after starting a site. Simply put AdSense is a great way to earn money from clicks with targeted ads next to your content online. Approval is pretty straight forward but don’t break their rules as you will be kicked to the curb fast.
Chitika – I signed up for this awesome Adsense alternative back in 2007 when I first learned about it from John Chow. It’s very similar to Adsense, but it displays advertisements that are driven by the visitor’s search query, not directly by the content on a given page. You get paid based on ad clicks and they have a great referral program! Approval is Fast, Easy, and Free!
Shareasale – I first learned about this great affiliate program back in 2013 when I purchased the Pro Plus Theme package from StudioPress. They have an extensive list of 3900+ merchants to choose products from. The process to setup an account is a simple 5 step process for approval and once signed in you have to apply for approval from each Shareasale merchant.
Amazon Associates – I’m an avid Amazon shopper and prime member, so this program was a win for me! I use it to promote products that I’ve purchased and love. They are currently the most popular e-commerce site in the entire world, with thousands and thousands of products to choose from to advertise on your site. The approval rates into the program are pretty high, as long as you meet their guidelines.
CJ Affiliate – Formerly known as Commission Junction and currently #1 for affiliate marketing network. They work with twice as many Internet Retailer 500 companies compared to the competitors, so as a publisher you have access to the top brands and offers under one account. The approval process should be automatic and once you’re signed in you have to apply for approval from the company that has the product you wish to promote.
Product Sells & Shopping Carts
E-junkie – Works with Paypal and most all other online payment merchants. Works well, low fees and has an ok affiliate program.
Clickbank – The go to shopping cart for ebook product sells. Seriously works great, low price to use and an excellent affiliate program for your products.
Paypal – There are not many people that haven’t heard of this online powerhouse! I use Paypal for all my online payments for both personal and business.
Stripe – It’s a great way to accept payments online and in mobile apps. They handle billions of dollars every year for forward-thinking businesses around the world.
Email Marketing & Lists
MailChimp – Very easy to use, so it is perfect for the beginning email marketer and it’s free up to 2,000 subscribers! I currently use it and everyone that’s anyone started with MailChimp, including every blogger I personally know. Join more than 7 million people who use MailChimp to design and send 500 million emails every day.
aWeber – Another excellent email list service! aWeber is truly great, the Internet’s most dominant opt-in email marketing service used by over 120,000+ small businesses, bloggers and entrepreneurs around the globe. Their web-based tools help businesses grow by staying in touch with customers and prospects through email.
Optinskin – Every site needs an opt-in solution for easy, hassle-free control, and Glen Allsop created this super tool to help embed email opt-in forms into your websites. Don’t wait to start adding gorgeous opt-in forms and social share boxes to your site in seconds!
Infusionsoft – When you’ve hit the big time online it’s time to sign into Infusionsoft! It’s an e-mail, contact management/CRM, marketing automation, sales automation and eCommerce product all bundled into one. There’s no comparison when you’re ready to take advantage of the marketing automation.
SumoMe – Tools to grow your website’s traffic! And yes, they work on any website. Over 100,000 blogs (and counting!) use these free tools, including mine.
99Designs – My personal favorite and in my opinion it’s the #1 go to place for your design needs with close to million designers. Even Tim Ferriss the #1 New York Times bestselling author of 4-Hour Work Week trusts 99Designs! (Tim’s Project)
DesignCrowd – Another great custom design marketplace to check out with over 400K designers waiting to design almost anything you have in mind.
I have a podcast in the works and Chris Ducker highly recommended the Audio Technica AT2020 USB Mic that he uses personally for his podcasts and says it’s easy to speak into and makes you sound like James Earl. I’m sold! My setup will also include; the Samson Shockmount, On Stage Desk Microphone Stand and Neewer Studio Microphone Filter.
Video Software & Services
Screenflow – (for Mac) the screen capture software I’m currently using. I haven’t looked into a comparable solution for PC users, so maybe it’s time to think about coming over to our side.
Google Analytics – It’s free! Install it now! Google Analytics helps you analyze visitor traffic and paint a complete picture of your audience and their needs, wherever they are along the path to purchase. Real time insights you can turn into real results: from choosing the right benchmarks and content to testing channel and campaign performance. And it’s easy to share what you learn with everyone in your team.
Amazon – Is my place of business for almost everything I buy online! I’ve been a prime member since it was born. How can you go wrong with super conveniences, the speed of light shipping and blow the bricks and mortar shops down prices. Love you Amazon !