Recommendations

Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used."

Here are the various tools I use to plan, build and execute online marketing campaigns for both personal and client projects or have researched from other colleagues.  I hope this will be a helpful resource for anyone starting a new blog or looking for new tools to help them scale their own online business.  

This page will be updated periodically to include new tools I've used, reviewed and/or added to my toolbox.  I will also be writing comprehensive tutorials for each of the tools on the list.

Table Of Contents

Content Management Systems (CMS)


If you are considering starting a blog or online business, then a content management system or CMS is what you need.  A CMS will provide structure and content management features to store documents, images, video and any other online content you need to express your creativity or point of view.  The days of having to hand code HTML pages and designing with CSS is over.  And the ease of installing a CMS is basically down to one-click depending on which hosting company you use.  And in my opinion there is only one.  According to Built With,  Wordpress accounts for 38% of all websites on the internet.  That's 17 million compared to the closest competitor Drupal at just under 693 thousand.  My recommendation and what I use is WordPress.

WordPress

Most of your most popular hosting companies offer one-click or easy installation of WordPress.

Special Note: Remember the new standards for 2017 that could affect your website visitors.  Make sure you consider SSL and page speed when choosing your web hosting company.  The top three companies are listed below.

Hosting Companies


There are many hosting company options out there. The one you choose depends on where you are with your business. If you're just starting out, a cheap shared hosting provider alternative will be just fine. If you're making money and traffic is increasing, you should consider a dedicated hosting solution.  The following alternatives below are ranked from 1st to 3rd based on hostingfacts.com

Note: Google has just put out important information about SSL security site requirements.  If you are a new blogger or thinking about starting your own website, then read this article.  Hosting companies like Hostgator and Bluehost are fantastic for new websites.  However, per the article linked above, Google will possibly mark your website as "Not Secure" if you do not have a SSL certificate.  SEO might not be impacted, but site visitors could be impacted with this kind of warning label on your website.

HostGator - Cloud

I use HostGator for every single one of my websites. Why? Because it's incredibly easy to use with 1-click automatic WordPress installation. The customer service is excellent too - both phone and chat support. There has never been a time when I could not give them a 5 star rating on customer service.  Hostgator will handle your email hosting and you can use the same hosting account for multiple domains if you plan on creating multiple websites. This is a great cost-effective shared hosting solution for smaller websites.  And when you start getting all of that profitable traffic, they can easily migrate you over to a dedicated server.

Starts from $4.95/month plus yearly domain name registration.  This is a 36 month plan and renews at $8.95/month after the three year plan expires.  Click Here For Info - (this is an affiliate link - thanks)

Offers SSL certificates at a yearly rate.

Their support staff is available 24/7/365 to assist you via Telephone, LiveChat, or Email with any hosting-related issues.

Try their services at no risk! If you're not completely satisfied, you can cancel within 45 days for a complete refund.

The availability of your website is our top priority. They stand by that fact with their 99.9% uptime guarantee!


A2 Hostings

While they do not have the brand name like Hostgator and Bluehost, A2 Hosting has plenty of stats to backup their claims of being 20x faster.  According to Hostingfacts.com, A2 Hosting is 2nd overall, coming in at 1st in speed and 2nd in uptime.  That's a pretty good way to get your name cemented in the affordable hosting niche.  It is also rated 10 out of 10 on customer service and A2 provides a preventative measure to keeping hackers out of your site called HackScan.  This is a free service including dual web hosting firewall, virus scanning, 24/7 security monitoring and brute force defense.  

Starts from $4.95/month plus yearly domain registration. This is a 24 month plan. Click Here For Info - (this is an affiliate link - thanks)

Offers SSL Certificate at yearly rate of $49.95 per year - Must get the Turbo plan for 20x speeds

Give your site a boost! Host on our fine-tuned, blazing fast Turbo Server option.

Our team of friendly experts are here around the clock if you have any questions!

Depend on A2 Hosting! Your account is backed by our 99.9% Uptime Guarantee.


SiteGround

Siteground has three basic plans: The StartUp Plan gives you the essential hosting features you business will need to accommodate a "just getting started" website or an existing average-size blog or business website.  If you need more resources and premium features then the GrowBig Plan is your choice. This plan is designed to accommodate either a single more heavily-trafficked websites. If you have a really heavily-visited or resource-intensive website then the GoGeek plan is your best option. This plan is great for average-sized e-commerce websites because it can accommodate a much larger product line and also includes server PCI compliance!

Start from $3.95/month plus $14.95 setup.  Yearly domain registration is free and is always free as long as your account is active. This reflects 60% discount and renews at $9.95/month after your initial term. Click Here For Info - (this is an affiliate link - thanks)​

FREE SSL Basic Certificate and FREE Domain Name

It takes just 3 clicks to set up a new site with us, and we even call to guide you through it.

With our simple drag and drop website builder you can create a beautiful website in no time.

Our experts will migrate one existing website quickly, seamlessly and free of charge.

Email Marketing Software


This is the email marketing system that I use personally.  You can build beautiful email newsletters with MailerLite drag-and-drop editor, use their HTML editor for custom designs or use the rich text editor to make sure your newsletters are always readable on any device.  And that's the tip of the iceberg - you can also setup automated emails like welcome messages, birthday greetings, and other date-based campaigns.

MailerLite

Features

  • Drag-n-drop editor
  • Custom HTML editor
  • Rich text editor
  • Free newsletter templates
  • Built in photo editor
  • Email autoresponders
  • And many more...

Visit MailerLite

Up to 1000 subscribers - Free Plan

All Features Included - Upgrade Only When You Need To


Convertkit

ConvertKit is built by bloggers, for bloggers. With your unique needs in mind, we’ve created a tool that gives you the power to earn more from your email list while keeping the human element in something as personal as email.

Visit Convertkit

Up to 1000 subscribers - $29/month

Pinterest Tools


Pinterest is becoming a HOT commodity these days. And if you are starting out a new online business with a limited budget to market, it can be a big equalizer. Here are a few tools that I use and would recommend.

Board Booster

Okay, the very best thing about using Board Booster is that they are actually using the native Pinterest Boards. Functionally what happens is that they make a matching secret board with the “-” sign in front of it. So when you find something cool to pin you just add it to the secret boards with the “-” sign and then they post it out for you over time.  Here's a fantastic tutorial i curated from Rosiemarie of The Busy Budgeter.

Features

  • Schedule Pins
  • Streamline Group Board Contributions
  • Improve Pin Quality
  • Clean Up Your Boards
  • Host Top Quality Pin Boards
  • Optimize Your Strategy

This software only works with Pinterest.  But gives more flexibility than Tailwind.

Tailwind

Feature

  • Save time with bulk image loading and drag-n-drop calendar scheduling
  • Maximize your reach by automatically optimizing your Pinterest and Instagram schedules on audience engagement
  • Measure success with deep analytics and insights
  • Schedule like a Pro with their browser extension
  • Be more efficient with one tool to post seamlessly to your Pinterest and Instagram accounts

This software app works with Pinterest and Instagram.  Two tools in one application.

Visual Editor / Landing Page / Lead Generation / Themes


This is my favorite of all. Thrive theme not only saves me time with designing and formatting of my content, but it also saves me money by not having to purchase a separate landing page software. It also has a highly functioning and scalable lead generation component.  With its simple drag-n-drop editor and built in add-ons to make lead generation, to name a few, easy as pie!  Basically 8 tools in one.

Thrive Theme

Features

  • Thrive Themes
  • Thrive Leads
  • Content Builder
  • Landing Pages
  • Clever Widgets
  • Headline Optimizer
  • Thrive Ultimatum
  • Thrive Ovation

SEO Tools


LongTailPro is an extremely powerful tool that will help you scale your keyword research and unearth thousands of profitable long tail keywords. The tool will find up to 800 keywords per seed keyword entered. Find out how many people are searching for long tail keyword variations each month, analyze the top 10 results in Google for each keyword, look at SERP data like keyword usage in Title and meta tags, domain and page authority, Moz rank, # of backlinks and the amount people are bidding on each keyword on platforms such as Google AdWords

Long Tail Pro

Features

  • Score Keyword Competitiveness
  • Custom Difficulty Targets
  • Determine Metrics
  • Calculate Keyword Profitability
  • Sort & Track
  • Export Results
  • Real Time Filtering
  • Adwords Data