SOME OF MY FAVORITE RESOURCES AND TOOLS FOR RUNNING AN ONLINE BUSINESS
On any given day, I’m asked for recommendations for products, courses, or other resources. In fact, I get so many questions, that I decided to create a resource page as a quick guide to some of my most common recommendations.
Many of the resources outlined here are products or courses I personally use on a regular basis. But even if they are not part of my daily routine, please know that I only recommend things I have personally tested or used, and, therefore can stand behind.
In many instances, the links here will bring you to a sales page associated with my affiliate account. That means if you click the link here, and then buy whatever is at the other end, I may be compensated for the referral.
So, in no particular order, here are the resources I’m like liking and recommending right now:
ESSENTIAL ONLINE BUSINESS TRAINING
NAMS (Novice to Advanced Marketing System) is an online learning community, ideal for consultative professionals (attorneys, accountants, coaches, financial planners, etc.), educators, authors, and other entrepreneurs who want to build online revenue channels in their information or service based businesses. Training covers all essential topics you might want to learn about, from email marketing to online traffic to joint ventures and affiliate marketing, and much more. I’ve been a member since 2014 and cannot recommend NAMS highly enough!
SOCIAL MARKETING CONTENT CREATION & SCHEDULING
PROMOREPUBLIC is similar to Post Planner, but, instead of helping you find other people’s popular content to share, PromoRepublic provides you with original, visually engaging, industry specific content that you can customize and schedule to post across multiple social platforms.
HARMONIZELY – If you regularly meet with other people as part of your business routine, either in-person or virtually, you probably have had to deal with the annoying back-and-forth of trying to find a mutually-available time to meet. There are a great many tools I’ve encountered to help make appointment scheduling easier – but none of them has worked for me as well as Harmonizely. It’s a simple, clean interface, and enables you to schedule all kinds of different appointment types, including paid appointments and team meetings. And it seamlessly integrates with Google Calendar, making it simple to schedule around your current availability.
Like many website owners, I have moved hosting companies regularly, thinking they are pretty much all the same. You know the big name guys… I’ve been with almost all of them. But after being burned by bait-and-switch schemes, poor customer service, and unexpected server failures that cost me both time and money, I’m thrilled to have found A2 HOSTING. Their shared servers run at lightning speed, and they are highly responsive and easy to work with.
If you are looking for an enterprise level solution, you might want to check out LIQUID WEB. They are one of the best operations out there for handling big sites and lots of data. I take customer support very seriously, and so do both of these companies.
WORDPRESS MARKETING THEME & CONTENT PAGE BUILDERS
“I want to build my own website for marketing and selling my stuff… but I’m not a designer. Got any suggestions?” Yup – whenever I’m asked this (which is more often than you’d expect) I send people to THRIVE ARCHITECT, a visual site composer for WordPress that is easy to use and can do some really amazing stuff. It’s part of a suite of tools, which you can subscribe to for an annual fee.
THRIVE LANDING PAGES is a WordPress plugin that enables you to build drag-and-drop landing pages, squeeze pages, sales pages and more. It comes with multiple templates to cover just about all your needs, and, unlike many landing page builders, doesn’t require a monthly fee… there’s just a one-time payment.
LEAD CAPTURE & LIST BUILDING
NOTE: These are some awesome tools, but you don’t need them all. If you need help determining which one(s) may be right for you, feel free to get in touch with me for some guidance.
WISHLOOP is a suite of list building tools to help you grow your email list really effectively using pop-ups, welcome mats, stand-alone landing pages, and call-to-action overlays on third-party websites. It may be one of the most powerful and sophisticated, yet easy-to-use list builders I have ever seen.
UPVIRAL is an extreme list-building platform that can help you explode the pace of list building and the size of your list through intelligent viral sharing
DUBB is a VIDEO page builder, that enables you to create landing pages using video and call-to-action buttons. But the part I like the most is that you can build custom campaigns via email or social media with teaser images that drive traffic to these landing pages better than anything else I’ve seen. Plus, you can create videos and landing pages on-the-fly using their mobile app. It’s a genius way to customize outreach emails or post-meeting “thank you” emails, for example.
EMAIL SERVICE PROVIDER
GET RESPONSE and AWEBER both provide the greatest flexibility, best integration with external platforms, and to have world-class tutorials and support. They are pretty darn sophisticated, reasonably easy to use, and, unlike MailChimp (which I also like a lot), they allow affiliate promotions on their systems.
…but if you want something that’s cheap, powerful, and easy to use, then I highly recommend you sign up for BIRDSEND. It’s an email platform from the Indonesia-based team behind the shopping cart and affiliate management platform, ZAXAA.
FORM BUILDER (WITH SUPERPOWERS)
PAPERFORM is my choice (over Typeform, which I used previously) for a lot more than just building “contact” forms. For example, I use it to take payments for services and subscriptions, generate custom auto-response emails to people who request information, notify me “real-time” when a lead comes in, integrate with other tools thru Zapier, build stand-alone landing pages, and use conditional logic to ask relevant follow-up questions. And you know it’s good, because I use it for my clients too! Just saying.
SALES FUNNEL & PAGE BUILDER
CONVERTRI is cloud-based landing page and funnel builder. At first, I didn’t think I needed ANOTHER landing page builder. But then I saw the sophistication of this platform and the speed which pages loaded… and I was sold. I’m now moving almost all my landing, sales, and other custom pages to Convertri.
THRIVECART is easily the smartest shopping cart system I’ve used online. With it, you can build checkout pages and one-click upsells, add bump offers, recurring payments, and a whole lot more. Plus, it gives you the ability to add affiliates to any of your products.
ZAXAA is a perfect platform for building out the sales and delivery process for your digital products and recruiting and managing affiliates and even managing your email list. It’s a top-quality, all-in-one solution.
MEMBERSHIP SITE MANAGEMENT
PRODUCT DYNO is a cloud-based platform that allows you to create full membership sites (like the other two options I’ve listed here). But you can also use it to protect content or documents on any page you manage online (provided you can add a line of code to that page). If you sell (or plan to sell) any kind of digital content, anything from ebooks and training, to plugins, desktop tools or web-based, software services this is worth your consideration.
AMEMBER is a VERY sophisticated WordPress add-on to manage your own membership (protected access to your products) as well as affiliate program. It has a lot more features than those, but they’re the main reason I recommend Amember instead of a typical “plugin.” Incidentally, this is kinda technical, so they even provide free installation as part of your purchase.
WEBINAR NINJA and DEMIO are my personal choices for webinar platforms. They are both built for ease-of-use. Neither has the bells and whistles you’ll find on “marketing” focused webinar platforms (which, for the average business, is just fine. Of course, if you’re looking to sell on your webinars, you might want to have a look at WEBINAR JAM.
FACEBOOK MESSENGER CHATBOT
MOBILE MONKEY came to the party a few years after competitors like ManyChat and Chatfuel, and, in doing so has been able to skip ahead on the learning curve and innovate in the area of chatbots for marketing, while its competitors are still overly technical (and intimidating) for most users. Facebook’s Messenger is a marketing channel that both B2C and B2B businesses cannot ignore, and this tool will help them get more out of it, through automation and integrations with their existing marketing activities.
CONTENT FOR YOUR WEBSITE
CONTENT STUDIO – Not too keen on creating lots of original content, but still want to benefit from the authority (and search engine rankings) that great content can bring you? The answer is content curation, and this tool is the top of the line when it comes to finding, formatting, and publishing exceptional curated content for both your website as well as content to share on social media.
SCRIPTED is a membership service that provides businesses a marketplace connecting businesses with highly-skilled and vetted content writers who can produce everything from blog posts to emails to infographics (and a ton more).
DONE-FOR-YOU CONTENT FOR COACHING & TRAINING
COACH GLUE & CONTENT SPARKS are two terrific sources of done-for-you content. There are a great many content, Private Label Rights, and template providers out there who produce some pretty mediocre stuff – but that’s definitely not the case with these two sites, which create done-for-you programs, courses, presentations and more for, with an emphasis on materials for coaches, trainers, and business consultants.
PLR ME offers a similar range of high-quality done-for-you content, but is focussed mainly in the self-help and personal finance niches.
IDPLR is a repository of general content that you can use for lead magnets, website content, email content, and lots more (they even have PLR software) on just about any subject you can think of.
GRAPHICS & IMAGE CREATION TOOLS
YOUZIGN has completely and totally replaced any need for Photoshop for me. This cloud-based design and image editing software is so simple to use, and comes with the added bonus of being able to share with, and use, designs that others have created as well.
STENCIL is a super-simple, yet dramatically eye-catching way to create social share images, blog post images, and other banners. I seem to use it almost every day.
GRAPHICS TOOLKIT is my own simple-to-use image and graphic creation tool, which I sell for a one-time fee.