These are some of my favorite resources for all things online. With full disclosure, I am an affiliate for some of these tools and if you purchase, I may receive a small commission, which does not add any additional cost to you. But, I will tell you that I do NOT recommend anything that I do not use in my own business, have used successfully in my business, or for my clients.
Online Courses or Training that I Recommend
90 Day Year – The one course that I can truly say has had the biggest and most positive impact on my business. Read Todd’s blog post “The 5 Stages of Business”. The program is only open for enrollment twice a year, so I would recommend that you get on the waiting list to find out when Todd Herman’s free training videos will be available next.
Webinars that Convert – Amy Porterfield’s complete course on how to create a 5 figure webinar, step by step
Business and Productivity Tools
Teamwork – Project Management. I LOVE TeamworkProject for project management! I have used Teamwork in my business since 2012 and I have been blown away by the additional services that they are offering now, like TeamworkChat for team communication and TeamworkDesk for customer support. Their support team is first rate!
Slack – Team Communication – If you have distributed teams, or even you need to chat with someone down the hall, Slack is a great tool for communication and file sharing. I have used it with team members all over the world and I love it because it cuts down on emails!
Dropbox – File sharing. Dropbox is a must-have for me. I initially used it just so I could work on a document on my desktop, but later have access to it through my laptop. But, for my business, it’s a way for clients to deliver content through a shared folder that we both can access.
LastPass – Password management. How many passwords do YOU have to remember? Way too many, huh? And which ones are case sensitive, requires punctuation, etc? It’s enough to drive you crazy. LastPass not only keeps your passwords in a vault, so all you need to remember is the LastPass password.
Evernote – Note-taking, File storage. Evernote can easily become like your second brain. You can save notes, web pages, audio, video, and you can share notebooks with others. And it syncs across all your devices!
Domain Registration & Website Hosting
BlueHost – This is my recommended hosting solution for most small business owners. Of all the low cost hosting providers, I have been most impressed with their customer service. I have recorded a video on how to set up your hosting account on BlueHost and you can find that right here.
Flywheel – For managed WordPress hosting, I recommend Flywheel and, in fact, this website is hosted with them. They are experts in helping with WordPress issues and their reps are the best.
WP-Engine – comes highly recommended for WordPress Managed Hosting
Go Daddy – While I use Go Daddy for domain registration, sorry, I just CANNOT recommend them for hosting. Yes, they have good customer service, but I have encountered too many issues with clients who have hosted with them. Register your domains, yes! Hosting? Try BlueHost first.
Tools for Creating Your WordPress Website
StudioPress – the Genesis Framework – I have been using the themes from Studio Press for years. In fact, this website is built and customized using the Minimum Pro theme. They are the basis of all our custom website development, as well as my new DIY Website Incubator packages. These themes are stable, SEO and mobile-friendly, easy to use and customize. I highly recommend theme!
Thrive Themes – I have also built sites using Thrive themes. Great selection and they work perfectly with the Thrive Content Builder and Thrive Leads, to help you become a lead generation powerhouse!
Elegant Themes – Great selection of themes and plugins, such as Bloom (an email opt in plugin for WordPress) and Monarch (“Better social sharing for WordPress”). They are best known for the incredibly easy to use, drag ‘n drop theme called Divi. Divi is an extremely flexible theme and great to be able to start with a pre-made layout, but then make it your own. Check it out now!
Beaver Builder – Beaver Builder is another great theme and plugin combination to allow you to modify an existing theme or create your entire website with their easy drag n’drop builder. While this website is created using the Minimum Pro theme from Studio Press, my home page was modified using Beaver Builder to add in widget areas that did not come with the standard theme. No coding required!!
Keeping Your Website Secure
It’s an unfortunate fact of life these days that there are destructive people out there who have nothing better to do than try to hack websites.
Limit Login Attempts – This free plugin allows you to set a minimum number of unsuccessful attempts to log into your website and automatically lock out the IP address (the computer location trying to access your site) after that number of tries.
Backup Buddy – My #1 plugin installed on every site that I build. Simply the best backup plugin to automatically copy your website files and transfer them to a cloud storage location of your choice (Amazon S3, your Dropbox account, or iThemes own cloud storage service called “Stash“). We use this tool also to quickly and easily move websites between hosting accounts. There are free backup plugins, but none as versatile and useful as BackupBuddy.
Sucuri – Sucuri is THE name in taking care of hacking and malware on WordPress websites. There is the free plugin, that helps you to identify any problems on your own site. BUT, if the worst happens and your site is hacked, they are the go-to resource to get your site cleaned up and back online, FAST. Plus they will “harden” your site (making it much less vulnerable to any future attacks) and monitor the site on a daily basis. Cheap insurance and lots of peace of mind.
Getting Your Business Found Online
All the free Google Tools that you need are right here:
Google Analytics – Monitoring your website traffic – A free tool from Google that is a must-have for any website owner. Tracks more than just how many “hits’ your website gets.
Google Webmaster Tools – Tool to increase your site’s visibility on the web. Often overlooked, but, in some ways an even more powerful tools and resource than Google Analytics!
Google AdWords – Google’s pay-per-click advertising platform. It also contains a Keyword Planner tool to help you determine the right keywords to use in your ads. Watch your snail mail and email, as Google and some hosting companies frequently offer promotional offers to get you started.
Google My Business – For any business serving a local market, especially if you have a “brick and mortar” type business where customers come to your location, you need Google My Business.
I will continually add to this list as there are more and more great sites cropping up every day. Here are some of my current favorites:
Picjumbo – my current favorite! Do sign up for their emails, so you can see as they add new photos
Death to Stock Photo – their photo packs are great to collect photos on specific themes
Canva – A great tool for creating and editing anything from images online to offline
Stencil – Over 600,000 free images to use to create your social media images, Facebook ads and more.
Pic Monkey – another photo and editing tool
Placeit.net – want a picture of your website or course image to appear in a photo of a computer, tablet or mobile phone? Placeit will place it for you! Super easy to use.
Creative Market – an actual “market” of designer products such as custom fonts, website tools, presentation templates, icons and more. They have monthly specials where you can get a “bundle” of tools for a super low price.
Email Marketing & Automation
Hatchbuck – I love Hatchbuck and their great customer service! I think Hatchbuck is perfect for more “brick and mortar” businesses. It not only is email marketing, but marketing automation tools, a CRM and a deal tracker. Want to see it in action? Check out my You Tube Channel to see my demo.
Constant Contact – I think Constant Contact is great for people just starting out with email marketing.
Tools to Build Your List
Thrive Leads – the ultimate list building plugin for WordPress
Thrive Landing pages – create more conversions by using Thrive’s landing page builder. Perfect for any business.
Beacon – looking to create a fast and easy lead magnet? Use Beacon to assemble an eBook using a series of blog posts from your website. Professional looking templates!
Popup Ally – The “polite” popup. Popups are every controversial, but they DO convert. Try this one!
Tools for Creating Membership Sites, Training Programs & Courses
Rainmaker – an all-in-one platform for your website, course and/or membership site, host your podcast and more. Based upon and using themes from Studio Press and Genesis, it eliminates the need to try to piece together all the different components of a website, membership plugin, email marketing, podcast hosting, shopping cart, etc.
WishList Member – WordPress plugin to make your website a protected membership site
WP-Courseware – a Learning Management System (LMS) to help you and your students navigate through your courses.
Go to Webinar – your platform for presenting your training and hosting webinars
Camtasia – For screen capture and video editing.