This is a list of my my favorite must-haves! I’m a proud affiliate for most of these!
WordPress: The #1 blog publishing platform online. I run all of my blogs on WordPress. It’s free and extremely customizable. WordPress also works well for hosting your own products and membership sites.
Physical Books on Blogging:
WordPress For Dummies – A great starter book for those just beginning with WordPress. Lisa does a great job of guiding you through the basics. I’ve seen her speak at WordCamp and she’s a treat for the beginners!
BuddyPress For Dummies – Another great book by Lisa. BuddyPress turns WordPress into a social platform and can be confusing at times! This book helps the whole platform change thing make a lot more sense.
WordPress Bible – I actually haven’t read this one myself, but quite a few at WordCamp mentioned it as ones they had used, so I’m including it for you.
Digging Into WordPress – Love this book and its available in print and pdf version. A lot of code blocks and moderate to advanced stuff you can change, alter, configure in WordPress.
Professional WordPress – Another high-end, big book on WordPress with a lot of advanced topics. Ranks 5 stars on Amazon.
Hostgator: This is hands-down my favorite web hosting company online. I’ve tried a number of different hosting services and this one has been my favorite by far. They allow you to quickly and easily install WordPress with just a few clicks of the mouse and they have an amazing customer support team.
Bluehost & HostMonster: These are technically the same company but doing business as different sites. Good teams, reliable hosting, stable enough to handle driving lots of traffic to those squeeze pages. I prefer Hostgator’s support however, and these guys have a backup file rule that makes several of the WordPress backup plugins be risky there. Still they are consistently reliable and head and shoulders above the rest of the competition.
Amazon S3: The Amazon Simple Storage Service. I use this service to store and publish almost all of my videos. They have extremely reliable internet storage, which is great for hosting large files like videos and podcasts. Using Amazon S3 you’ll never have to worry about running into bandwith problems. This can be extremely helpful – especially when you’re running a product launch.
EZS3 – Ok, so now you have your files uploaded to Amazon S3 but how do you publish those files and create video players that you can post to your website? That’s where EZS3 comes in.
EZS3 takes the technical side out of it – allowing you to quickly and easily upload your files, create video players, mp3 players, and then upload your media onto your website. Plus, they also have a complete stats program to show you exactly how many people viewed your video, listened to your podcast, or read your pdf.
Pretty cool! And a must-have for anyone who really doesn’t like to mess with the tech stuff.
FileZilla – Free FTP software
Survey Monkey – Create custom surveys in minutes in order to get feedback from your subscribers.
Poll Daddy – My favorite tool for custom polls and surveys. They have a great Facebook application for use on your pages too. Their support has been awesome. I do a lot more with Poll Daddy than I have with Survey Monkey but both are well known companies.
YouConvertIt.com – A Free online conversion tool that allows you to convert a nearly unlimited type of media file formats, including documents, images, audio, videos, etc… Convert your files to different formats quickly and easily.
Clickbank – #1 Digital product marketplace online. Clickbank makes it super simple to start selling your very own product and start recruiting affiliates.
PayDotCom – Similar to Clickbank. Policies are slightly different but useful for finding even more affiliate products to promote.
Tips & Tricks HQ WP eStore – WordPress plugin – integrates with their affiliate plugin and membership control plugin. Keeps all of the control in your hands and no monthly fees. Love this little plugin stack and will be using it on speed2trust.info
Rapid Action Profits – The RAP platform has many of the same plug-and-play features of Clickbank but with a TON more flexibility and features. The downside behing that clickbank is searched more often for products and likely to pick up some affiliates that will not find you on a stand-alone system. (I’ve not actually tested this, only aware it exists)
InfusionSoft – Infusionsoft is one of the premier shopping cart solutions available online. This is what you’ll want to go to once you’ve reached a certain level of scale online. It allows you to create a complete sales process with one-click upsells, downsells, order-page bumps and more. It also comes with a very powerful affiliate program which allows for lifetime lead tracking – which means your affiliates not only get credit for the first sale but also for any of the backend sales.
Nanacast – Nanacast offers many of the same features as InfusionSoft but it’s MUCH easier to set up. Much less technical hassle. Definitely one of the shopping cart solutions you should take a close look at.
PayPal - PayPal has become one of the easiest and most convenient ways to pay online. If you’re looking for a very simple way to accept payments on your website, PayPal will definitely do the trick.
Aweber – Aweber has long been known for outstanding email deliverability rates and top-notch service. You definitely can’t go wrong with Aweber. Check out their $1 30-day trial. This is the preferred auto-responder of many big named marketers because it offers the best deliverability and the easiest to use tools in the industry. (I use Aweber & AutoResponse Plus both due to personal & JV work)
MailChimp – While certainly not my favorite autoresponder, and certainly not having the nicest looking optin forms available, MailChimp is a useful starting point for the business that is just getting started online due to being free for the first thousand subscribers.
AutoResponse Plus – Rather than a service, this is a piece of software that you install that provides mailing services. Many marketers like it but you will likely need help getting it installed. I LOVE not having to pay rent on something. However, its not got HALF the bells and whistles of Aweber by a long shot. My primary list is on ARP and I will continue to use it but many of my marketing campaigns are done on Aweber and then imported into ARP.
GetResponse – A long time favorite of many that is quickly falling out of style as the have fallen substantially behind Aweber in development lately. Decent deliverability but trumped by Aweber in toolset.
Testing & Tracking:
Google Analytics – Track all of your incoming traffic for free. Google Analytics
provides you with an enterprise-class web analytics solution at no cost to you. Gotta love Google’s business model
Google Website Optimizer – GWO allows you to quickly and easily split-test your squeeze pages, sales letters, etc… This is definitely a must-have tool that EVERYONE should have in their marketing toolbox. If you’re not testing, you’re leaving a ton of money on the table.
HyperTracker – Often used in conjunction with Google Analytics and Google Website Optimizer. Hypertracker allows you to setup seperate tracking links for each of your individual traffic sources so that you can see exactly how many visitors, subscribers, and sales are being generated from each traffic source. Quickly and easily identify which traffic sources are producing the most results. If you’re not tracking you’re marketing then you’re flying blind. If you want to create a real business online you MUST track everything you do so that you know what’s working and what’s not working. You can then zone in on the high-leverage traffic sources which are producing the most results.
W3ROI – W3ROI is very similar to HyperTracker while adding some extra advantages for those who want to track their PPC campaigns.
Clicktale – Clicktale is a fascinating little tool that provides some very interesting insights into your business. Basically, Clicktale records how people navigate and interact with your website. It then creates visual reports that show where your visitors look, what parts of the page they’re clicking on, which parts they skip and how far down they scroll. This can help you optimize the designof the page for higher conversions.
99Designs.com – The #1 online marketplace for graphic design. 99designs allows you to post a graphic design contest where multiple designers compete for the winning bid. So you can get literally hundreds of people creating designs for you and you only pay the one that you decide upon. What I really like about 99designs is that you get to see lots of different approaches and variations on your graphic design project. So instead of just having one designer create a single design for you. You have multiple graphic designers coming up with LOTS of different variations and you get to choose the one you like best.
http://www.minisitegraphics.com/ – One of the best in the business. Sean has
created designs for Ewen Chia, Jimmy D. Brown, Michael Rasmussen, Russell
Brunson, and many others…
http://wowminisites.com/ – WowMiniSites creates GREAT looking graphics at a great price.
Camtasia Studio – I use Camtasia for ALL of my video creation. It allows you to create professional videos and screen captures with ease.
WebSupportTeam.com – Outsource your techie stuff for just $99 per month. The WebSupportTeam will upload your websites, setup squeeze pages, setup opt-in forms, add PayPal payment buttons, install scripts, add Aweber follow up messages, configure Aweber settings, integrate Aweber with 1ShoppingCart, and much, much more! Don’t let the tech stuff get in the way of growing your business. The WebSupportTeam has a large team of people who can get it done quickly and affordably.
http://www.shieffservices.com/ – Outsource your customer support.
HeroDesk.com – Another great place to outsource your customer support.
InternetTranscribers.com – This is one of the VERY best transcribers online.
PLR (Private Label Rights) and MRR (Master Resell Rights):
Melissa Ingold (Special Report Club) – Melissa’s stuff is absolutely my favorite source of high-end. She’s got this straight forward way of writing that is simple and to the point. She gives me a lot of tools in the bigger packages that make my life SO much easier. I always have a standing list of things I’m wanting to buy from her!
Nicole Dean (Easy PLR) – Another fantastic source of high-end PLR. Nicole’s stuff is solid all around!
Alice Seba (DIY PLR), Tiffany Dow (PLR Mini Mart) – Alice’s PLR is interesting because its a lot of screenshots, checklists and “resources” around which you can write your own copy. There’s very little pre-written stuff on her site but if you’re wanting to put something together and not spend days taking screenshots, you’ve GOT to check her out!
Alice Seba & Mila Sidman (allprivatelabelcontent) – Alice & Mila team up for another great PLR site.
master-resale-rights.com – This site has a huge selection of relatively good PLR in a TON of niches. Probably the most niche-diverse site for lots of PLR selection I’ve visited. Be VERY careful to double-check the license on each individual item though since they come from different authors many of them are not fully licensed. Read carefully. A very useful site!
https://www.theplrstore.com – Another useful site with a lot of topics, by a lot of authors. Like master-resale-rights.com, I’ve gotten a lot of stuff from here. These multi-author sites are nice for selection and speed but they do not have the consistency of quality that purchasing from someone like Melissa does.
and lastly tradebit.com – I use tradebit quite a lot because its CHEAP – but somedays it feels like the cesspool of the PLR world. Lots of stuff eventually arrives here, having passed through a lot of different authors, revisions, etc. Quite a few of the items I’ve picked up from there were not actually accurately licensed so always do a Google search and see what other places (particularly the original author if you can find it) have it licensed as. However, still incredibly useful for stuff on the cheap particularly if you’re going to rip them apart and build a different product out of them.
IntuitiveMarketingServices.org – SEO services , technical setup, graphic design and more all from an affordable VA team. Definitely worth checking out