Tools

toolsTo help you get the most out of your online and offline ventures, I have created this resource page detailing all the products and information I have personally used to create a passive income online, better my health, enrich my life and more!

As I grow, learn and experiment with different products and information I will add those that I deem worthy to the list below.  So, I recommend that you bookmark this page for future reference.  I hope you enjoy!

Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click on them and purchase a product or service.  Rest assured, these are ALL resources that I have personally used and have experience with.  I trust these companies and I feel they will help you which is why I am linking to them, not just to earn a quick buck.  Please don’t spend your hard earned money on a product or service unless you really need it.

Blogging Tools

  • WordPress: By far the best blogging platform out there.  It’s free and easy to customize.  I use it for ALL of my websites, including this one.
  • Thesis Themes: In my opinion, Thesis is the best WordPress theme out there.  It makes customizing a website so easy that my grandma could do it.  It was created with SEO in mind and loads exceptionally fast!  It’s the theme I use on this blog.
  • CommentLuv: CommentLuv Premium is a plugin (actually like 6 plugins in one) that is designed to increase traffic and reader interaction. Plus, since the whole point of this blog is to give back, I feel that this plugin helps do just that.  If you want to see CommentLuv in action go leave a comment on one of the many posts.

Hosting

  • Bluehost: The majority of my websites are hosted on bluehost, including this one.  You can’t beat the price and the uptime is just as good.  Plus, if you plan on using WordPress, they have a convenient 1-click installation process.
  • Hostgator:  When I don’t use bluehost, I use hostgator.  I haven’t noticed much of a difference between the two, I just like to switch things up every now and then.

Keyword Research

There are literally hundreds of different keyword research tools to choose from, but these are the big three and the ones I use regularly.

  • Niche Finder: My favorite market research tool because of its simplicity – so easy to use and gives you only the information you need.  I use it extensively to find niche keywords for new sites.
  • Google Keyword Tool: A free tool that is not only used for creating Google Adwords campaigns, but can help you find popular keywords, as well.
  • SEO Book Keyword Tool:  Yet another great keyword tool from SEO mastermind Aaron Wall.

Email & Email Marketing

  • Aweber:  The industry leader in email marketing and autoresponders!  Seriously, don’t even bother with any of the others, you will just be wasting your time.  And this is a must-have since building an email list is one of the most important marketing tactics you can do.
  • Gmail: Since I have multiple websites with multiple email addresses, I use gmail as my catch-all account.  It’s nice to be able to send and receive emails from all of your accounts in one central location.
  • Rapportive: This handy little app integrates with gmail and tells you everything you need to knoe and more about the people who have emailed you.

Social Media Marketing

  • Hoot Suite: This is by far the best tool to manage your social media accounts! It has saved me tons of time and completely revolutionized how I handle my multiple Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Ping.fm accounts.  Learn how I dominate social media with Hoot Suite!

Shopping Carts

  • Paypal:  Most people already have a paypal account for buying items online, but it can also be used for accepting payments for products and services.
  • Clickbank: The most popular digital product reseller on the internet.  I sell several eBooks using clickbank and also promote a few products from the clickbank marketplace.

Backlinking

  • Link Emperor: A completely hands-off, total link building solution. Read my review of Link Emperor complete with the specific strategy I used to double one sites traffic.
  • Unique Article Wizard: This is an article marketing tools generates thousands of backlinks.  This is part of my arsenal of tools I use to get sites to the #1 spot in Google
  • Backlinks Genie: Another backlink creation tool, but this offers a full suite of backlinks – social bookmarks, articles, profile links, high PR profile links, web 2.0’s etc.
  • Article Marketing Robot: I no longer support this product. At one time it was almost too good to be true. But, as more and more people started using and abusing it, it has lost most of its effectiveness.
  • Linklicious: This isn’t a backlinking service, but rather it gets your backlinks crawled by Google.  In fact, they guarantee that every backlink you put through their system will be crawled by Google.

SERP Tracker

  • Rankerizer:  This is a free rank checking tool from Brad Callen that I use daily to track where my sites are in Google.
  • Scroogle: This is a browser based rank checker that is basically Google without cookies and search term records.

Analytics

  • Google Analytics: A very detailed and free website tracking tool.  I use it on a lot of my sites.
  • Google Optimizer: Another free tool from Google that makes split testing and web page optimizing easier.

Outsourcing

  • oDesk: I use oDesk for a lot of my outsourced work – from web design, to content creation, etc.
  • iWriter:  If you need quality articles written, and you want them quickly, then iWriter is for.  Plus, the articles are extremely cheap and you get an extra version of your article with span tags for free.
  • eLance:  Another outsourcing website that I have had good results with.

Images

  • Fotolia: I use Fotolia for most of the stock images on my sites.
  • Stock Xchange:  This is the best free image site, in my opinion, and I usually check here to see if they have a suitable stock image before I head over to Fotolia.  Why pay if you don’t have to!

iPhone Application creation

  • How To Create iPhone Apps With No Programming Experience: I bought this book because I plan on getting in the app creation biz in the future and I have to say that this book is extremely well put-together and entertaining.  A must have if you’re thinking about creating iPhone apps.

Legal Shmegal

  • Legalzoom: I have used Legalzoom in the past to set up LLC’s, which was quick and painless.  They also offer a host of other legal documents and services.

Health

I’m not particularly big on taking supplements for health, but I make the exception for the 3 below.  And actually, I’m not even sure I would classify them as “supplements”, but rather “food products”.

  • ON Protein Powder:  The absolute best tasting and most affordable protein powder on the market.  I use protein powder a lot in my smoothies and recipes.
  • Green Vibrance: This powdered greens supplement contains 71 organic vegetables per serving!!  Great for energy and health!
  • Fish Oil Pills:  The only reason I take fish oil pills is because I can’t stand the taste of fish, so I supplement with pills to get my omega 3’s.  If you eat fish regularly then these pills aren’t necessary.

Books

  • Tom Venuto’s Holy Grail Body Transformation:  I absolutely love Tom Venuto’s books and his scientific approach to nutrition and fitness.  This particular book is designed to help people gain lean muscle while burning fat.
  • Tom Venuto’s Burn The Fat, feed The Muscle:  Another book from Tom which focuses on fat loss.  No fluff, all science based facts.
  • 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss (NOT The 4 Hour Body!): I like Tim Ferris when it comes to time saving techniques and all around lifestyle tips, but I was not impressed with his 4 Hour Body book.  If you want nutrition and fitness tips then look up Tom Venuto or Alan Aragon, two of the smartest guys on the planet when it comes to that stuff.  If you want some unique lifestyle tips and to learn how to quit your 9-5 and travel the world, then definitely check out the 4 Hour Work Week by Tim Ferriss – that’s where his specialty lies.

Other

  • ING: I’ve had an ING bank account for many years and at one time they offered a 4%, I believe interest rate on their savings accounts.  It’s lower now, but I still use it extensively to save money.  One of the features I like best is you can have several different savings account within your account, so I can keep my vacation fund separate from my Christmas present fund.  And you can have money auto deposited into each separate account.  Good stuff!