Tools I Use and Recommend
I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for all of your web marketing needs. I’ll add to it as I learn more, but you’ll notice that in the future I will reference this page quite often. I recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience. Enjoy!
Disclosure: Many of the links below are my affiliate links to the services; meaning I make a commission if you buy it. But I will not promote something I don’t personally use, and put my professional reputation behind. Integrity means more to me than a quick buck.
- WordPress: The #1 Blog Publishing Platform. Free and easily customizable with wonderful support. All of my blogs use WordPress.
- Woo Themes: The ultimate resource for premium looking WordPress themes.
- Bluehost: 99% of my websites are hosted on Bluehost. Easy to use, 1-click automatic WordPress installation and excellent customer service. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND using Bluehost for your first site.
- Servint: This is where The Smart Passive Income Blog is now hosted, since it outgrew Bluehost. I have a dedicated server package which can better handle the amount of traffic and activity on my blog. Great customer service, and they walked me through the entire migration process from Bluehost.
Product Distribution & Shopping Carts
- E-Junkie: The shopping cart I use to sell my eBook. It’s compatible with Paypal Standard, Paypal Pro, Google Checkout, Authorize.net, TrialPay, Clickbank & 2CheckOut. Works like a charm, very low price to use. Comes with a decent affiliate program for your products.
- Clickbank: Another digital products retailer. Probably the most popular. Decently priced, but comes with an amazing affiliate program for your products.
- Paypal.com: Paypal is just ok for selling your own products through them, but you’ll need an account anyways to configure with and accept payments from the above shopping carts.
- Market Samurai: The number one tool for keyword research available, hands down. You can view my tutorial videos about Market Samurai here.
- Long Tail Pro (10% Off here ONLY): This is another top-of-the-line keyword research tool that many claim to be better and more user friendly than Market Samurai. I’ve tested it myself, and it’s hard not to agree. Unlike with Market Samurai, however, I personally know the owner, Spencer Haws, and he’s a great guy who is always looking to improve this piece of software for its users. Spencer was also kind enough to give us (SPI readers only) a $10 off discount.
- Keyword Researcher: One of the best tools to find popular long tail keywords for your niche. Watch the video on the homepage, I promise you’ll be impressed.
- Google Adwords Tool: A tool to help you decide what keywords to use for your Adwords campaigns. You can also check to see the popularity of certain keywords and the competition for ads for those keywords as well.
- Seo Book Keyword Suggestion Tool: Another fantastic keyword research tool, with even more information and numbers to compare and select the perfect keywords.
- Seo Keyword Ranking: An excellent tool to keep track of the keywords you’re working on. Excellent interface and really easy to use.
Images & Photos
- The Ultimate Guide to Finding and Using Images on Your Blog: This is a post I wrote with everything you need to know about using images on your website. You can’t just pull any ol’ image from the internet and use it – you could get in trouble! Read this to stay safe and worry free.
- iStockPhoto: This is where I purchase royalty-free images that I use on my sites.
- Flickr Creative Commons: This is where you can get free images for your website, but there are some rules that go along with it. Read the post in the first image & photo resource above to make sure you know how it all works.
Email Subscriptions & Marketing
- Aweber: The internet’s most powerful email opt-in service and email marketing/broadcasting tool. This is what I use to build my email list and newsletter. For a free step-by-step tutorial, check out The Beginner’s Guide to Starting a Newsletter.
- Google Adsense: Make money by placing relevant ads on your website that are generated from advertisers using Google Adwords. This is free to use, but you have to register for an account.
- Google Adwords: If you want to begin advertising on Google, you can select keywords and locations and you pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement.
- Google Analytics: Google’s free website tracking and analytical tool. A must have for anyone with any type of website.
- Clicky: Clicky is just like Google Analytics, except it’s easier to use, and you can view how many people are on your site (and what they are doing) in real time! Your first site is free.
- Google Optimizer: This is another free tool from google where you can test different webpages of the same content, only changing one or two things, so you can see which one works/converts best. It’s basically a website optimizer testing tool.
- Elance: Hired service for just about anything you can think of.
- Odesk: Another outsource website for freelancers, IT companies, programmers and web designers from abroad.
- 99Designs: This is a unique website that you can use if you need a logo design. It’s in a contest format. You submit the description of what you want, and designers will compete against each other to win money.
- Virtual Staff Finder: I just recently hired a full-time VA and this is where I got him. Virtual Staff Finder is the best and quickest headhunter service on the web if you’re looking for high quality VAs for anything you want done by someone else for your online business. It’s run by my buddy Chris Ducker and I highly recommend it.
- LegalZoom: Easy online incorporation or LLC creation.
- The 4-Hour Work Week by Timothy Ferriss, Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich: Pretty much the most awesome book in the entire world. I reference this quite a bit in my posts.
- ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income by Darren Rowse: The best book about blogging from the number one online blogger, Darren Rowse.
- Moonlighting on the Internet by Yanik Silver: I also own this book and it’s really what inspired me to go full time working online. I finished it in 1 day because it’s so good.
- Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson: I reference this book a lot here on the Smart Passive Income Blog because there are so many gems in this book that I model my business from.
- The $100 Startup by Chris Guillebeau: My latest book edition to my resource page, and for good reason – this book rocks! It’s a sweet blend of The 4-Hour Work Week (but more realistic), and Rework (but more actionable).
- ScreenFlow (for Mac users) – the screen capture software I’m currently using.
- Camtasia for PC (Camtasia Studio) – for screen captures
- Omnidazzle – to draw on your screen (free)
- SplashEO (for Awesome Intro and Outro Graphics): If you want professional looking intros and outros for your videos, this is the place to go. Gideon Shalwick, the owner, is a good friend and I was totally blown away from the quality and turnaround time. Check it out!
- How to Create iPhone Apps With No Programming Experience: The most extensive (and motivating!) eBook guide to getting your iPhone app ideas from your head onto an iPhone, without ever touching code! Tons of free bonuses to go along with it.