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> Tools

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Here you will find the tools I love. Many of them my team and I are using daily. 

Some, we are planning to use in the near future because they were recommended to me by my mentors, partners and friends who work in the marketing industry and who I believe are the best in what they do.

For some of them I am an affiliate and for some I am not. I have decided to create this page, so that everybody wins – you, providers and me.

Whilst, I want to help you, first and foremost, I also want to note that I do this for a living and just like anyone else including you, I desire to see the fruits of my efforts.

With that being said, I will never put my commercial interests ahead of interests of my community. So, here are the tools that will help you build a better more efficient business, improve your productivity and save time.

 

Creating Your Blog

WordPressWant to create a blog? Start with WordPress. It has become the industry standard. Most large web hosts already have WordPress available for installation from within your hosting account. But you can do it yourself by downloading it from http://wordpress.org/. It’s customized to support a range of functions as your blog grows you can set up a good-looking site without knowing how to code.

 

Optimising Your Blog for SEO

All in One SEO – If you have created a fair bit of content on your site, gained enough traffic, page views and links for Google to notice your blog consistently by now. We recommend All-in-One SEO plugin to optimise the content on your site. 

 

Domain Names

Crazy Domains – is our favorite cheap domain registrar. There’s no good reason to pay more. We recommend you don’t purchase your domain name through your web hosting company either because if you decide to switch web hosts later, which is likely, it can be more complicated.

Namecheap – is another really awesome and extremely affordable domain name registrar. What makes Namecheap stand above all others is the fact that they are the lowest on the market. 

 

Hosting

Hostgator– is your one stop-shop for all things web hosting. They guarantee 99.9% uptime for your site because they know how important the availability of your site is. They have 24/7/365 days online support service available, which means that if you have questions – you can get answers right when you need them.

Siteground – is another really great web hosting company from Bulgaria. They too offer 24/7 online support service and considering the feedback from many web-designers I worked with, they are very very good. 

 

Payment Gateway

Paypal has been around since 1998. Simply set up a free account, link it to your bank and then you’re off and running. You can accept payments via email or through creating email links directly to a PayPal checkout page. Or, you can embed simple `Buy Now’ or `Add to Cart’ buttons on your site or blog. With a free Pro Account you can then offer recurring payments (great for memberships or group programs) or subscriptions and free trial periods.

 

Social Media Management Tool 

Hootsuite is a great tool to monitor different social media networks in one place. You can schedule your posts to be sent to your various media accounts, set up columns for keyword searches plus see and track mentions of your twitter handle or you blogs so that you can easily respond back to those people.

You can also use it to follow leaders in your industry and plus much more. There is a free plan available for those who want to try it out. However, I do recommend getting a paid option eventually, as there is so much more you can do with a paid Hootsuite account.

Buffer – you should know by now where your peeps hang out on social media, so use a free Buffer account to schedule links to useful and relevant content from other bloggers, quotes, tips and links to your guest posts and blog posts.

Edgar – is a really awesome social media management and scheduling tool. It can help you build your audience on Social Media faster and with far greater outcomes from your time spent on creating your Social Media campaigns, which means that by using this tool you will massively increase your productivity.  

 

Social Media Listening Tool

Feedly is a free replacement for Google Reader that you can use for tracking posts from the blogs you’re following in your niche. Set it up with folders by topic or by size or by influence, whatever works best for you, then use it to generate ideas, keep up with current trends and keep an eyes on your competitors all at once. 

 

Adding Pages to Your Blog or Creating Funnels

Optimize Press is a really awesome tool for creating additional pages either for your funnel or a website. Optimize Press is really great for creating landing, sales and membership pages either as stand alone (theme) or used on your website (plugin). I recommend it and use it myself simply because unlike Lead Pages (which is another drag and drop builder) – it doesn’t require monthly payments, which makes it really good especially for those who are just starting out.

Lead Pages is a drag and drop landing page building tool. It has its priorities properly set. Leadpages integrate with ESPs (Email Service Providers) to capture leads for further lead nurturing. It is simple, takes less time to load and helps you create really awesome highly converting landing pages. 

Click Funnels is considered to be the best for funnel building. It might be somewhat similar to Leadpages and Optimize Press regarding landing page designing, but it has features far beyond what Lead Pages and Optimize Press offer. You can create various funnels, like one for webinar registration, one for Thank You page or one based on value ad pages, and so on. The best part you ask? You can even have the billing part (if you need one) covered for you. Sales will be seamless with this tool.  

By the way, no coding knowledge required for using any of these tools. 

 

Images for Your Blog

Pixabay – is a great image resource we really love. Everyone has a favorite stock photo site, and ours is Pixabay. The prices are inexpensive for small photos, which are the right size and resolution for blog post images. Searching for appropriate images to illustrate a blog post can become a huge time suck, so limit yourself to one or two stock sites.

 

For All Your Outsourcing Needs

As you build a reader and subscriber base and tweak your blog angle, you may find your theme doesn’t have the look or features you need or there are tasks you need to outsource to save yourself some time.

99Designs – is a great platform where you can find high quality graphic designers competing for your project giving you their best ideas on how to make your site, business card or book cover more appealing. Check it out!

99Designs uses a contest model rather than a fee per hour model. You determine what you’re willing to pay and the design requirements. Designers who are interested to respond with samples for you to choose from and you choose the winner. But keep in mind that to create a buzz around your project – you will need to invite graphic designers personally. Just go through the ones you can find on that platform and shoot them a quick e-mail with an invite. That’s it!

Fiverr – is one of the best marketplaces out there. Need a job done quick? No problem. Starting at 5 dollar per gig – you can find freelancers on all things web and more. Please check it out! This website has truly transformed my business and it will transform yours too.

Odesk – You can find a lot of talent on Odesk, if you take the time to search carefully, using the competency scores and feedback from previous clients as gauges. I used it a lot in the past and I found this site extremely useful.

Upwork – is great resource for finding freelancers and freelance jobs. It is one of the world’s largest online workplace where savvy businesses and professional freelancers find each other! Try it and I am sure you will not be disappointed. 

Freelancer – what makes Freelancer so good is its layout and quality freelancers that are available for any task you need to get done. 

 

Back Up Your Site

Dropbox – don’t wait until it happens. Back up your website or blog now. I hate to bring bad news to you. But it can happen. Just like everyone else online – your blog will be the target for hackers. And if you don’t back up your website – you will be at risk of losing your blog and then your will need to spend some time on trying to recover it to its original state.

So, don’t tempt your fate. Install a backup plugin. We use BackWPup and back up to our server, but you can back up to a DropBox or Amazon S3 account automatically.

 

A Basic Set of WordPress Plugins

With plugins, more is not always better and in fact more can slow your site down or cause code conflicts. You only need a few basic plugins to add enhanced functionality for social media sharing, email capture, analytics and site performance.

Google Analytics – Be sure to get some form of tracking or analytics code on your blog from the start. Google Analytics is free and easy to install. Later as your traffic increases you may want to invest in a paid analytics program but for the short- and mid-term Google Analytics will provide enough data to make your head spin.

Digg Digg – is a social sharing plugin. Whilst there are dozens of social sharing plugins available for WordPress, we like the free Digg Digg plugin because it floats on the side of the screen and follows the reader up or down the page as they read, so it’s always visible.

Unpop is an awesome and should I add polite popup. It slides up the screen, doesn’t annoy the reader and goes away when your reader tells it to. You can use it to get email subscribers, likes for your Facebook page and register readers for a webinar. Try it for 30 days free at GetUnpop.

WPSuperCache – is a great plugin to improve your site performance: We recommend installing WPSuperCache to maximize the speed at which your blog’s pages load for a visitor. Consider it fine-tuning for your blog’s engine; knowing the technical details at this point won’t make you a better marketer of your business but at least your platform won’t annoy your visitors due to its slow speed.

 

E-Mail Marketing Tools

Building your email list should be your primary focus as a blogger from the day you start. Relying on RSS or other email collection programs to maintain your list is silly. You should aim to collect emails from day one. 

Get Response – We recommend you start with the free version of Get Response. It has a clean, easy-to-use dashboard and you can create multiple lists from the get go. One key thing you can’t do with the free version though is creating a series of auto-responder emails that will be sent out automatically when a visitor signs up to your list. So, you’ll need to upgrade eventually.

We recommend Get Response simply because we love 24/7/365 days support service they offer. It feels great to know that you have support anytime you need it.

 

On a Final Note…

Ok. We are not finished yet! Once again this resource guide will evolve, as our business grows, as we require different tools and as new tools are introduced. We will add more tools to this page and we have added it as a tab at the top of the blog so you can find this guide easily. Most importantly, we will keep you posted on the changes.

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