A few of the product, tools, and online resources I recommend for starting and running a successful online business.

 

Website Setup

Host Monster: A web host that I have used for many years. They offer unlimited domain hosting, with unlimited bandwidth at a very reasonable price.

WordPress: Originally created as a blogging platform, WordPress is now used quite often as a CMS (content managment system) for basic websites. It is very user friendly and easily customized. It has a very large user community, which has led to many unique themes, plugins, and widgets that can allow you to easily create any type of basic content website you can imagine.

Elegant Themes: A collection of, well, Elegant Themes. Elegant WordPress themes to me more precise. I’ve always been hesitant to buy “Premium” wordpress themes because there are so many free WordPress themes out there. But I eventually got tired of wading through all the mostly decent, but often mediocre free themes every time I wanted a new theme, that I finally ended up buying a membership to Elegant Themes so I could choose from a portfolio only superb themes. For only $39 for a whole year of unlimited access to all the themes (currently 67) I think its a great deal!

 

Research

Micro Niche Finder: My favorite keyword research tool. It helps you collect and organize keyword data from a variety of sources. Has saved me hundreds of hours. Well worth it.

Traffic Travis: Very cool piece of SEO software that has several function; keyword research, rank checking, backlink checker, competitor analysis, on page seo analysis, etc. I use it primarily just for the rank checking, backlink checker, and competitor analysis, but I do use the other features as well from time to time.

SpyFu: A great PPC Keyword and market research tool. Lets you see a lot of data about your competitors.

 

Content Creation

Need An Article: A an article writing service that I use pretty often. It is a whole lot easier than trying to find freelance writers who fit your needs, and the prices are really good. The service requires a monthly subscription so it works best if you need articles regularly, but the prices for both the subscription and individual articles are pretty low so its a pretty good deal all around.

The Content Authority:  Similar to Need An Article, but a little more expensive. You allows for a little more control over the quality and length of your articles, though . So, it works well for non-standard article lengths and higher quality writing, if you are willing to pay more. It’s still fairly low cost compared to many other places online, though.

 

LinkBuilding

Article Trader: An article submission service that I use from time to time. They also offer a link building service, which I haven’t tried yet.

WL Marketing: Offers a wide variety of basic link building services for reasonable prices.

 

Analytics, Tracking & Testing

SEOBook Rank Checker: Great firefox plugin for checking website search engine rankings. I use it very often.

Google Analytics: Free Web Analytics from Google.  Allows you track visitors to your website.

Google Webmaster Tools: Offers a lot of data on how Google and its users view your website, such as crawl rate,

Website Optimizer: Another great tool from Google that allows you to test the effectiveness of different versions of a web page against each other.

 

Other

Aweber: My preferred Email Autoresponder. Just $1 for your first month.

Odesk: A very useful freelance/outsourcing website. Allows you to hire hourly or fixed price. The hourly billing aspect of it is what makes it unique from other similar websites. Providers you hire hourly have to log into a remote monitoring program, that tracks their time, gives memos of what they are working on and takes periodic screenshots. You only pay for the hours they work, which you can review and verify based on the memos and screenshots. I started out using it to outsource several tasks and projects, but I actually ended up finding a lot of freelance jobs for myself too. I now use it for both outsourcing and finding freelance/consulting clients. So whether you want to hire someone or find a job yourself its a great website.

Mailbox Forwarding: A remote mailbox and forwarding service. Useful if you don’t want to use your home address as your business address, if you move a lot, or travel a lot, or even just an easy way to cut down on the clutter from mail. It allows you to manage your snail mail just like your email, all online from anywhere in the world. Each piece of mail you receive will be scanned (just the envelope initially). You can then log into your online account and choose to either have them open and scan the contents (which can be read online), forward to your home, shred and throw out, or just have them hold it for you until you decide.