My Marketing Toolbox
I created this page to show you a virtual Toolbox of resources I use for my websites and my business. I'm always learning new things, so I'll keep adding more resources as I go. If I reference a tool in a blog post, you can come back here to find it listed for your reference. So, I would recommend bookmarking this page for your convenience.
Many of my websites are hosted by BlueHost. They have an easy to use cPanel, helpful customer service every time I call with questions, offer 1-click WordPress installation. I highly recommend them for your first site.
Please note that some of the links within this Resources Page are affiliate links to products or services for which I’ll earn a referral commission. But rest assured, they’re only on this page if I use them in my business, I approve of them, and I feel they would be helpful in your business. They are not on this page simply for the commissions I may earn by referring you to them.
- Your Website
- Marketing Tools
- Membership Site Management
- Testing & Tracking
- Outsourcing Your Work
- Office & Technology
- Productivity & Communication
- My Favorite Books
- BlueHost: My niche affiliate websites are hosted by BlueHost. They have an easy to use cPanel, helpful customer service every time I call with questions, offer 1-click WordPress installation. I highly recommend them for your first site.
- WP Engine: Not necessary if you’re just beginning your website and business, but when your established site has a larger flow of traffic, and you have consistent revenue/profits, you may consider upgrading your website hosting to WP Engine, where they specialize in hosting WordPress websites. With increased traffic to your site, comes challenges like site loading time, increased attacks from hackers and bots, and just keeping up with changes in WordPress, plugins, and such. WP Engine offers the solution to all of those issues.
- WordPress: The Most Popular Blog Platform. It’s open source, so it’s free and can easily be customized. WordPress comes standard as a 1-Click Install in Bluehost, and WP Engine specializes in ONLY WordPress, having it installed “out of the box”, so it’s super simple to get set up on your website with either of my above recommendations.
- WordPress Plug-ins: Search for and download any kind of widget, plug-in, or other elements to help customize your WordPress website.
- OptimizePress: A great WordPress theme that also lets you quickly build squeeze pages, sales letters, and membership sites.
- Pop Up Domination: An excellent WordPress plugin that creates pop up boxes that allow you to build your email list by enticing the visitor with a reward for entering their contact info. Has worked wonders on some of my pages, getting readers to join my list!
- Depositphotos: You want to make sure you have the right to post all the pictures on your website. You can’t just go to Google Images and copy and use whatever photos you want, you can get sued for that! Depositphotos is my favorite place to go for super high quality photos, illustrations, graphics, and videos. And you know for sure you can use them on your blog!
- Disqus: I use this for blog comments on my sites. It has built in features such as social login (FB, G+, Twitter, etc.), great spam control, and threaded discussions. As an admin, you can access the comments from a single dashboard…if you have multiple sites you manage, this can be really handy!
- Instapage: The key to building your business online is building your email list of followers who are interested in what you have to offer, and the simplest way to get people onto your list is by creating lead capture pages. You could spend hundreds of dollars to have a web designer create them for you, or get a service like Instapage that lets you create all sorts of pages quickly and easily…with simple drag-and-drop functions, you can have a lead capture page up in minutes ready to start collecting subscriber emails from your website or paid advertising.
- GetResponse: As I just mentioned, building your personal list of subscribers/followers is key to your success online…once you’ve got a capture page setup to collect leads, you need a service to store the list and send emails to it. For that, I use GetResponse’s auto-responder email system to keep in contact with readers of all of my websites. They offer great tools for sending out emails to specific sets of people within your list, tracking results of emails, and setting up email campaigns to support your designed sales funnel.
Membership Site Management:
- MemberMouse: This is the membership management tool I currently use on one of my membership sites. I really like the ease of setup and integration with 3rd party tools like GetResponse and payment processing with Stripe, PayPal, etc. It is offered through a monthly subscription, which provides ongoing support, updates, and more.
- WishList: Great WordPress plugin perfectly integrates your sales pages with online shopping carts and sets up membership accounts for customers, then connecting on through to your membership site. Very quick and easy to get a basic membership site set up. It’s offered via a one-time fee, but they also have a monthly subscription for extras, extensions, forums, and support.
- Zaxaa: A simpler tool to use than WishList for selling your products and setting up a membership site. The advantage of WishList is all the content and user info is all stored within your site’s admin area. Zaxaa hosts and controls a lot of that, not a big deal for most, but for some it is. Otherwise, it makes the process of selling your own products very simple! And, it gives you a lot of really great statistics and charts.
Testing & Tracking:
- Google Analytics: Google’s free website analysis tool. Nobody running a website should go without using this.
- Google Website Optimizer: Another free tool from Google, it allows you to test different versions of the same content, lead capture, or sales page, discovering which converts better, and optimizing your results.
- Clicky: Another option, besides Google Analytics, for website traffic analytics. I actually have both installed on a couple websites. With Clicky’s Premium level, you can get much more customized stats and detailed information about visitors, along with heatmaps, alerts, and more.
- Hotjar: I use Hotjar for their heatmaps and visitor screen recordings. These are an incredible research tool to see exactly how visitors interact with your website, such as where they pause, what things may distract them, cause them to leave your site, and gives you great insight on how to improve the design of your site to encourage visitors to stay on your site longer and click on what you want them to click on. The heatmaps show where a set of visitors move their cursor most, where they click the most, and what percentage scroll down to different depths of your pages/posts. The screen recordings are videos of what each individual visitor is seeing, scrolling, and clicking on as they view your site. Truly invaluable insight.
Outsourcing Your Work:
- Upwork: A great source to find programmers, designers, and developers for your various online projects…and not just technology outsourcing, but just about any job you can imagine, somebody will do it here.
- Freelancer: Another great source, much like Upwork, for finding help in all kinds of specialized skills and tasks.
- 99Designs: This site offers a unique approach to giving results. If you need a logo design, or some other graphics work, post the job, and designers will compete against each other, and you just pay the designer who creates the best one!
- Camtasia (PC or Mac): Great screen capture program, from TechSmith, allows you to record whatever is happening on your computer screen, whether a PowerPoint, giving a demonstration, or anything else.
- Jing: This is the free version of software that TechSmith offers, with fewer features than Camtasia, but great for quick screen grabs, short videos, and marking up and drawing on them.
- Kodak Zi8: The camera I have used for recording of video outside…nothing super expensive and fancy, but for the price, gives the great quality video, and it’s waterproof. Admittedly, I use my iPhone 90% of the time these days because the quality has gotten so good and I have my phone on me already, so it’s more convenient…but I’ll still keep the Zi8 around for some uses.
- Easy Video Suite: My favorite tool for embedding video on websites, blogs, and sales pages.
- Wacom Bamboo Tablet: I use my bamboo tablet to draw on the screen in webinars, or during screen recordings that I’m turning into information, how-to, educational type videos.
Office & Technology:
- ScanSnap: We have a paperless office. All documents, receipts, invoices & bills, etc. are all scanned and stored in Evernote. Evernote is purely amazing for secure cloud storage of documents, easily accessed from anywhere including the phone app, and has incredible OCR (optical character recognition) so every bit of text in documents and images is searchable. And to get all of our documents & receipts into Evernote, we use the Fujitsu portable ScanSnap. It scans both sides, feeds multiple documents/receipts at once, and automatically saves to Evernote. That’s my favorite part about it, that you simply push one button to scan and the rest is done for you…all that’s left is properly tagging and placing in the right notebook on Evernote.
- Varidesk Standing Desk: You likely know it’s not great for your health to always be sitting down at a desk while working. And running an online business, requires a great deal of time in front of a computer. So if you want a stand up desk, you could go buy a true standing desk to have in addition to your current desk, but that would require constantly moving computer and peripherals back and forth from one to the other. With a Varidesk, you can use one space as both a regular sitting desk, or raise it up to standing position…no need for moving computer and accessories around.
- TopoMat: One downfall of a standing desk working situation is you get a bit “fidgety” and restless of standing in one position after some time. The TopoMat provides a solution to this problem with its various contours formed into the heavy rubber mat, that you can rest your feet on in different positions and angles. Check out their website to see it in action.
Productivity & Communication:
- Asana: I’ve been using this for a couple of years now as my tool for planning, creating and organizing tasks, and collaborating with team members on projects. It’s free to use, has a mobile app, and can be used by your entire team or company. Tasks can be viewed in list or calendar form. You can easily sort tasks by project, by due date, by assignee, and much more. It’s helped me tremendously with completing projects and getting more done in less time in my online business.
- Slack: Forget emailing team members, outsourcers, or colleagues back and forth. Slack has delivered an awesome platform for team communication. They’ve eliminated distractions like you would have in messaging on some platform like Facebook, for example, while also providing all kinds of integrations with third party productivity, communication, and business services. It’s a central place for you to discuss projects, ideas, and tasks, in a very organized way, with “channels”. So, if you have team members in different time zones around the world, you can post something in a channel relevant to the topic, and know it won’t get lost by the time someone halfway around the world gets online to check messages. It’s all searchable too, which is useful for finding previous, older topics or conversations. Additionally, Slack has a mobile app that works quite well. If you can make a concerted effort to keep all team communications within Slack (not in email, FB, etc.), you’ll see much improved and efficient communication.
- Voxer: While not essential to my business, I love using Voxer to communicate with friends & colleagues…it’s best for those times you’re too busy to be interrupted by a phone call & lengthy conversation, but you have more to say than is easily typed in a text message. It works much like a walkie-talkie, where you hold down a button on the screen to record your voice as you speak to the person you’re messaging, and the person will be alerted of the incoming message, but can listen to it at their convenience.
- Evernote: We operate with a paperless office – both for home/personal life and business – every paper document gets scanned (with the Fujitsu ScanSnap mentioned above) and saved in Evernote. I create Notes when I have ideas and thoughts, that are saved to the Evernote cloud. Images, recipes, receipts, future ideas, you name it, it gets saved to Evernote.But the best part is, nothing gets put there, archived away, and lost forever. With their incredible OCR (optical character recognition) feature, every bit of text, even in scanned receipts or inside images, for example, is searchable. So any number, text, or thought you have can be pulled up in an instant.
- Google Drive: While I use Evernote for storing all receipts, documents, paperwork, etc., I use Google Drive to back up all other data, like images, videos, website backups, etc. I have the plan that provides 100GB of storage for just $1.99 per month…which is peanuts for the piece of mind I get know all of it is safely backed up and available for me to access at any time from any location. Their free version provides 15GB of space.
My Favorite Books
- Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
- Who Stole the American Dream by Burke Hedges
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie
- The Power of Positive Thinking by Dr. Norman Vincent Peale
- As A Man Thinketh by James Allen
- The Magic of Thinking Big by David J. Schwartz
- The Richest Man in Babylon by George S. Clason
- The Greatest Salesman in the World by Og Mandino
- 7 Strategies For Wealth & Happiness by Jim Rohn
- Swim With The Sharks Without Being Eaten Alive by Harvey B. Mackay
- Go For No! by Richard Fenton & Andrea Waltz
- The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson
- The One Thing by Gary Keller
- The Business School For People Who Like Helping People by Robert T. Kiyosaki
- The Business of The 21st Century by Robert T. Kiyosaki