My Top Online Business Tools and Resources
Here I’ve put together a bunch of tools and resources for you to use to jump start your business and get on the fast track to earning cash from the comfort of your own home. Most of the stuff I’m listing is free or very inexpensive. In some cases there may be better paid tools out there than ones I’ve listed but these ones I believe are great for getting started quickly and easily and also ones I use.
And just heads up that for a few of them I used my affiliate link but you don’t have to use it if you don’t want to.
Also, I will continue to update and improve this page as I discover new things.
OK, so first things first. To be able to get anything done online you’re going to need a website for people to go to, plain and simple. You’ll likely be setting up various types of sites such as your own personal blog, niche blogs, squeeze pages, a sales pages etc. so you’ll have to go somewhere to purchase your domain name and you’ll also need a place to host your site on and a way to install WordPress. Not to mention receive money and make sales!
Domain Names, Hosting, WordPress and PayPal
(Get a .com for 7.99 with promo code: cjcFAT799)
Website hosting service.
Note: To install WordPress do it from within your hosting accounts cPanel.
Worlds most popular blogging platform
Paypal is the faster, safer way to send money, make an online payment, receive money or set up a merchant account.
Basic Free HTML Editor and Office Applications
Below is a link to Kompozer which is a free and pretty easy to use HTML editor with plenty of support on YouTube and on their site so you should be able to get going with it pretty quick. I personally use an older version of Microsoft Frontpage which I believe you can download as well, but I’m not exactly sure where at the moment. You may have to search a bit. Also, you can do basic HTML edits within the cPanel itself so that’s an option as well. It’s not the best editor but it works in a pinch.
Next, you’re likely going to want to use some office applications from time to time such as word documents, possibly spreadsheets etc. for various reasons in your business. If you aren’t currently using Microsoft Office or the Mac equivalent you can get Open Office for free and use that for working offline on your computer.
However, now thanks to Google, you can setup a Google account if you don’t already have one and use Google docs for most of your office needs such as creating documents, presentations, spreadsheets, forms and drawings. I absolutely love creating a shared document using Google docs when working with my software developers so we can easily work from the same document to update each other on requirements, found bugs, fixes etc.!
Another handy little text editor program for taking notes or compiling information is Notepad++. I like it because you can have multiple tabs open with it just like in your web browser these days so it’s convenient to use.
Now for a compilation of my favorite FREE graphics tools that you’ll inevitably need from time to time!
First, I want to mention Jing which is probably my favorite tool that I am not sure what I’d do without it! I’m sure there are others somewhat like it, but I don’t care because I have this. It makes taking screen shot images a breeze and gives you tools to add things like text, arrows, highlights etc. so it’s great for creating images for how to guides, info products, sales page images and more. You can also capture 5 min of screencast video with it if you want to.
Another great part is that with just a couple of clicks you can upload your images or videos to their site screencast.com and they will give you a link to access them. This comes in very handy for handling support requests where instead of typing up a long winded email trying to explain things, you can quickly talk or demonstrate in a short video and respond with the link. Trust me customers love this because it saves everyone so much time!
Second one I use all the time and often right after I’ve used Jing, is Paint.net which is a very handy, easy to use and most importantly FREE image editing program. I will often capture an image with Jing and insert it right into paint.net to do whatever else I need to do with it. The combo is perfect for blog images, sales page images, site header graphics, banner ads and more. Another great part is that there is so much support for it online all over the place especially YouTube so you’ll quickly be able to figure out anything you’re trying to do.
Next is a site for searching and downloading free icons to use on your sites. Trust me, they will come in handy for many different things so don’t forget this nice resource.
Here’s a place I usually go first when looking for stock photos to put on my blogs, sales pages etc. You can just do a Google search to find other stock photo sites to find quality images that you can legally use on your sites but I find 123rf has many quality images at a good price so you can check it out too!
Last I list here a couple places to get some different fonts to use for any reason you may want them for and also a free online signature creator for signing your name on your sales pages etc. You will certainly want to fancy up your sites and pages with different fonts whether it’s a headline or something different so it will come in handy at some point I’m sure of it!
Screen Recording Tools
I’d say the chances are good that you’ll at some point need or want to create some kind of screencast video whether it’s for a presentation, info product, tutorial, product review, sales video, short video ad or whatever. There’s many different reasons you may want to do this so there are a few different programs you can use besides Jing which I previously mentioned.
Screencast-O-Matic – Also check out this awesome free online screen recorder for instant screen capture video sharing.
If you’ve never used a mind-mapping program before, you should definitely check out either programs below and give it a try. I think my favorite these days is Xmind just because I think it’s a little more visually appealing but they both work well. They are perfect to use to plan and create products of many kinds. You can use them to organize the contents of an ebook or video course, plan sales funnels and much more, but you can also use it with your screencasting program and do a presentation straight from your mind map. I like them a lot, use them all the time and highly recommend you do too if you’re not already!
It’s pretty much inevitable if you want to have any success online that you’ll need some kind of email autoresponder to build a subscriber base that you can repeatedly market to and have a residual income. I’m sure by now you may have heard the expression “the money’s in the list” so in order to be able to best capitalize on the opportunity to market to existing customers and subscribers you’ll be best served using some kind of email autoresponder company that will allow you to easily create many different types of email optin forms for your web pages and send out scheduled broadcast emails to them and also create an email follow-up sequence that once setup will allow you to make sales on autopilot while you sleep!
I have always used Aweber and you can get the first month free to try it out!
Email marketing software and autoresponder
Analytics and Split-Testing
Most people don’t really want to bother with looking at traffic stats or setting up two versions of a page to see which one might get the best conversions etc. but in reality when you ignore these things you will likely be leaving a lot of money on the table over time so it’s something you should consider sooner than later to develop the good habits and reap the benefits much faster than most!
Statcounter.com – Free and recommended
Amazon Simple Storage Services (Amazon S3)
Once you get going with your online business you will likely realize that you may need a better method of storing files to give them the highest availability to your customers and visitors. The reason is that when you use Hostgator or any other hosting provider’s shared hosting, it may not give the best performance and availability so things like video streaming, or large downloads may become slow if and when you get a decent volume of people trying to access them.
Trust me, that’s pretty much the last thing you want because it will frustrate people! Amazon S3 and their enhanced Cloudfront service is a very inexpensive alternative for a place to store your large files and have them distributed all over the world on Amazons network so your files will always be served up to your visitors by the Amazon servers that are closest to the visitors location and give them much better and reliable performance!
Again, not necessary right away if you’re just getting started but check it out if you think it will help!
Online Workplace and Outsourcing
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The world’s largest online workplace, where savvy business hire, manage, and pay a talented workforce of on-demand professionals.
The #1 Internet Marketing Forum and Marketplace
Get all kinds of great stuff done for you all starting at $5
Online Affiliate Market Places
Internet’s leading retailer of digital products. Whether you’re looking to sell, promote, or shop for digital goods.
Fastest growing online marketplace for Warriors
Most well-known tool to sell on the Warrior Forum
Affiliate market place
Awesome WordPress Stuff
Here’s my current short-list of themes I’m currently using or have recently used in my business.
Easily & Quickly Create Profitable Landing Pages & Membership Sites – In Minutes!
Ultimate Design and Template Manager for WordPress
The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress.
Now onto a shortlist of cool plugins I put together that I’m sure you’ll find useful in different ways.
All in One SEO
WordPress SEO plugin to automatically optimize your WordPress blog for Search Engines.
Google XML Sitemaps
This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog.
Automatic Backup for all sites.
W3 Total Cache
Easy Web Performance Optimization (WPO) using caching: browser, page, object, database, minify and content delivery network support.
WP Super Cache
A very fast caching engine for WordPress that produces static html files.
Better WP Security
The easiest, most effective way to secure WordPress. Improve the security of any WordPress site in seconds.
Add Link to Facebook
Automatically add links to published posts or pages to your Facebook wall, pages or groups and more
Contact Form 7
Just another contact form plugin. Simple but flexible.
The most popular WordPress gallery plugin and one of the most popular plugins of all time with over 7.5 million downloads.
Fast Secure Contact Form
An easy and powerful form builder that lets your visitors send you email. Blocks all automated spammers. No templates to mess with.
Advanced Custom Fields
Fully customize WordPress edit screens with powerful fields. Boasting a professional interface and a powerful API, it’s a must have for any web dev.
Wordfence Security is a free enterprise class security plugin that includes a firewall, virus scanning, real-time traffic with geolocation and more.
TablePress enables you to create and manage tables, without having to write HTML code, and it adds valuable functions for your visitors.
Google Analytics for WordPress
Track your WordPress site easily and with lots of metadata: views per author & category, automatic tracking of outbound clicks and pageviews.
Integrate a fancy slideshow in just five steps. – Rainbows. Rainbows everywhere.
Share Buttons by AddToAny
Share buttons for WordPress including AddToAny’s universal sharing button, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon and many more.
Congrats for joining the leader in the sharing space of WordPress plugins. “Sociable” is totally FREE, has over 1.7 million downloads
WP SlimStat – A powerful real-time web analytics plugin for WordPress.
Supercharge your WordPress theme with mega pack of shortcodes
WordPress Website Security Protection. Website security protection against: XSS, RFI, CRLF, CSRF, Base64, Code Injection and SQL Injection hacking…
Adds a more advanced paging navigation interface.
Adds an AJAX poll system to your WordPress blog. You can also easily add a poll into your WordPress’s blog post/page.
Improve your WordPress SEO: Write better content and have a fully optimized WordPress site using Yoast’s WordPress SEO plugin.
Generates a preview or “teaser” of a post for the main, archive and category pages, with a link underneath to go to the full post page. It includes features to generate a word count, image count, and an estimated reading time.
Automatically add links on your posts, pages and RSS feed to your favorite social bookmarking sites.
WP Advertize It
A plugin to place adsense blocks on your site
Shrink, beautify, track, manage and share any URL on or off of your WordPress website. Create links that look how you want using your own domain name!
Other Random Cool Stuff
WP Theme detector
Enter the URL of any WordPress site and discover what theme they are using and what plugins are installed.
Word Count Tool
A free online tool to count the number of words from block text. A free word counter!
Password manager and web form filler that completely automates password entering and form filling.