I get many questions asking about which ‘set-up’ I prefer, who is the best hosting company and which tools I use to run my online business.
This page will serve as a reference guide for anyone looking for help. It will be updated frequently and include my very latest opinions on what tools I recommend for use in your business.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links and should you decide to purchase upon my recommendation I will receive a commission. I thank you for your support and should you have any questions on any of these tools or services, please get in touch and I will do my very best to help!
WPXHosting – This blog and several of my larger sites run with these guys. To say they go above and beyond is an understatement.
I’ve had tickets raised where I assumed there was a hosting problem, turns out it wasn’t but they helped me solve the problem anyway! They also helped me get my site speed load time down to less than 1 second with their WPX Cloud CDN, which comes free with your hosting plan.
MDDHosting – My preferred choice for hosting my niche sites. I have never had any problems with downtime or SEO wise with these guys. They are one of the best in my opinion, and they start at just $9 per month.
MaxCDN – I am a huge advocate of fast websites. If you want to be taken seriously and stand a chance ranking high in Google…site speed is super important.
The guys at MaxCDN helped me get set up in less than 20 minutes and that shaved another few seconds of this blogs load time!
GeneratePress – I’ve been using GP since it was released and it’s brutally fast. This very blog is running on GeneratePress and s are all of my other money-making websites. Site speed is a crucial part of both SEO and conversion optimization, so there’s no excuse these days to have a slow loading website.
Elementor – When it comes to creating beautiful pages, neat graphics, and fancy boxes, Elementor does it all. You can build any type of website you want, landing pages, sales funnels, you name it. It has a drag and drop interface, and it’s very intuitive.
SEO, TRACKING & ANALYSIS
SERPRobot – The latest edition to my arsenal, clean and super simple to use with great graphics to easily track your SERP position. They offer a 100% free package which allows you to track 300 Keywords, their paid packages are also the best priced around and offer an additional 600 keywords.
Clicky Analytics – Clicky is an alternative to Google Analytics. I find it much faster and easier to use. They offer both free and paid options where you can track multiple sites.
The other features are heat maps, a spy tool to see exactly what people are doing on your site and a BIG SCREEN, to view stats real-time.
You can read my monster clicky review & guide here
BUILDING A NICHE SITE
How To Start a Blog – I have created an in-depth free course in how to start a blog in as little as 16-minutes! Check it out if you are new to blogging and building websites.
Keyword Research – I have created an in-depth keyword research module that covers how I go about finding those golden keywords. I also cover the tools needed and not forgetting competition research.
Competiton Research – Before starting a website in any niche, you need to understand the competition and what it will take to achieve your desired goal. Use this guide to assess the top-ranked websites and save yourself time and money.
Keyword Research Tools – A list of the very best tools out there to help you find, analyze and dominate the most sought after keywords in your niche
Aweber – The most popular in the industry by a clear mile. Most IMer’s start off using Aweber and they are a good choice. Their support is second to none and its a simple system that is easy to use when compared to others.
I have tried MailChimp earlier on in my online career but couldn’t work with it like I can with Aweber.
I made the switch from GetResponse for a number of reasons.
- Ability to ‘tag’ subscribers based on actions taken
- The easy to use email and newsletter builder
- Slick Autoresponder calendar view
- Ability to move subscribers to different lists
GetResponse – As you and your business grow, you will undoubtedly require something more from your email provider. ActiveCampaign is just the ticket.
If you want a subscriber management tool that costs the same as Aweber – that has much of the functionality of the big boys –right now this my second choice autoresponder provider after Aweber.
Jaaxy – This tool is unique in that it finds long-tail keywords that you won’t find in the Google Keyword Tool. They also have their own algorithm to calculate both monthly search volume and SEO competition.
KWFinder – This is a new tool on the block and one I am using for most of my keyword research these days. It uses it’s own algorithm to calculate an “SEO Score” which indicates how competitive a keyword is and it is a great tool to have in my arsenal.
SEMRush – This tool is my go-to tool for finding keywords that my competition is ranking for. If you think about it, it makes total sense. If your competition is targeting a keyword and doing well…you should know about it and try to grab your own slice of the pie.
You can also perform research on their advertising and what backlinks they currently have for a specific page, which is great for outreach.
Long Tail Pro – This tool from Spencer Haws is my go-to tool for keyword and competition research. You can check out my full LongTailPro Review here to see exactly how I use this tool to find my keywords.
BUILDING A TEAM
UpWork – All of my team (currently around 10) have been hired from UpWork. I have hired web developers, article writers, and everyday VA’s to perform the tasks I either cannot do or those that make no financial sense for me to do.
I interview via SKYPE before I hire, and you can find out more tips on hiring here and here.
ProBlogger Jobs – If you’re looking for niche-specific writers, I recommend starting out with the ProBlogger job boards. Many people avoid it because you have to pay to list your job – however, I often get 100+ applications for each position and find at least 3-5 that tick the boxes.
Pro Tip – Use a Google Form to collect your applications and let Google log entries to a spreadsheet that you can easily filter through. This is much quicker than using the ProBlogger platform and gives you much more flexibility.
WordPress – I really cannot vouch for any other blogging platform as I just cannot tear myself away from WordPress. The community is huge and with 19% of all websites now using WordPress, it’s hard to look elsewhere.
Don’t be fooled by the term “blogging platform”, with WordPress you can build a site just as good as anything else you have seen. There are thousands upon thousands of themes and plugins to achieve the seemingly impossible…I love it!
N.B – One last point on WordPress, ALWAYS go for the self-hosted option of WordPress, never start a blog hosted by WordPress, you never truly own the property and that’s not what you want in your online business.