All of the tools and services I use can be found on this page. These tools will allow you to achieve the same results without having to spend months learning about web design, graphic design or programming; yes these skills would be advantageous to have, but they are by no means essential.
Some of the tools on this page are free to use and some are paid services; it is true that every paid service I use has a free alternative but can be extremely time consuming and monotonous to use.
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links which means I would gain a commission from the sale but will not cost you anything extra. Only buy something if you think it is essential and do not feel pressured in to spending. I have wasted money on products in the past and it is not a great feeling. I will do my best to guide you in the right direction but the decision is yours.
WordPress – Originally designed for blogging, WordPress is a Content Management System which makes web design extremely easy. Create a site in Minutes and begin your online journey
Shopperpress WordPress Theme - Shopperpress is a very cool WordPress theme which allows you to create a shopping cart with extreme ease. It is a premium theme and will cost you around £45 to buy. There are many tools I use which has a free alternative but I assure you, this is not one of them. My Martial Arts Equipment website has been created using Shopperpress and without it I would have never have gotten the project off the ground.
Directorypress WordPress Theme - Similar to Shopperpress, Directorypress allows you to create a great looking, well optimised directory listings site. The UKMA Finder has been created using this theme. Directorypress is a very cool theme with excellent subscription features which makes E-commerce very simple.
ClickBump - A pretty simplistic WordPress theme with a lot of advantages. Clickbump comes with several advertising optimised templates to ensure each of your sites contain a degree of individuality. Easy to learn and implement. Again, this is a premium theme which will cost around £60 to buy. More expensive than shopperpress but in theory it could be the only theme you ever need to buy.
Blogolife WordPress Theme – Finally something for free! The SEO Experiment is created using this theme and is completely free to use. Search within the “Install Themes” area of WordPress and get started straight away. I used a free theme intentionally to demonstrate that you do not have to spend money to create a blog. I think mine looks OK and yours could too!
Confidence in your hosting is essential. You need to know that your website will be online and able to process transactions. It is equally important that your hosting company supports your chosen technology, be it WordPress or Drupal etc. I have hosting packages with the following companies and I have no complaints with any of my WordPress driven websites:
www.1and1.co.uk - 1&1 are very reliable and has no problem hosting WordPress. The majority of my websites are hosted on 1&1 and hosting packages start out at £2.49 per month. Check out the website yourself as they regulalry have promotions
Bluehost - Bluehost are a US based hosting company which I heard about through Pat Flynn’s Blog, Smart Passive Income. They are very reliable extremely cheap. Bluehost supports WordPress and runs it extremely well. I think it is a good idea to spread your sites across multiple hosting companies to avoid single points of failure and vary the source of inbound links.
Affiliate / Monetisation Programmes
Amazon Associates – One of the most popular Affiliate programmes on the internet. Free to join and home to almost every product you can think of. Commission rates are lower than other programmes out there ranging from between 5-9% dependant on volume of sales. One good thing about Amazon is that you get a commission on any uplift sale made as a result of customers arriving via your links.
Clickbank - Clickbank is a US based programme which is well known for it’s high commission rates; up to 75% in some cases and home to literally thousands of products. This may not be the programme for you but it is free to join so what harm can it do?
Google AdSense – Not much of an introduction needed for this one. Everyone has seen the advertisements which are displayed alongside all searches performed on Google. You can host these Ads on your own site and make a profit each time they are clicked. Frequent misuse has made it much harder to get an account within AdSense and has some pretty tough guidelines once excepted. Not to be taken lightly but a great way to generates some online income.
Keyword research is an integral element of the whole niche building process. Knowing which words to target can be the difference between success and failure so it is important to have the right tools. I will be honest on this one; I went out and bought WebCEO, feel free to check it out along with my WebCEO video tutorials, it is a great product and you will find value within. I would be lying if I said it was a “must have product” for the beginner because it is not. More of a luxury than a necessity but a great tool nonetheless.
Google Keyword Tool - Free, Easy to use and incredibly effective. Excellent for determining traffic and providing ideas for potential keywords. You will need to sign up for an AdWords account but it is free to do so and well worth the effort. The Google keyword tool does not have many of the great features of WebCEO but is more than enough to get you started.
Photographs & Imagery
Using Images on your Website - My guide to sourcing imagery from the internet, as with everything on this page, some are free and some are paid tools.
www.istockphoto.com - Literally thousands upon thousands of high quality photographs, images and illustrations. I have never been unable to find an image on this site and have nothing but great things to say about it. Excellent for isolated (White background) photos and graphics
By far the best photo editing and image creation software on the market! (in my opinion) Being able to create visually appealing images is vital. I cannot stress this enough, I have said it many time before, If content is king, Presentation is queen” and becoming proficient with this tool will make all the difference. There are free alternatives such as GIMP but there is no substitute for this product. The following links are Amazon affiliate links:
Adobe Photoshop Elements 11 (PC/Mac) - Scaled down version of the main product but exceptionally powerful and great for beginners. At £69.99 it is affordable but like I said earlier, only spend if you have to!
Adobe Photoshop CS6 (PC) - The Godfather of Image editing software. Ridiculously powerful, tremendously rewarding to work with. I adore this product! At circa. £600 to buy, not a decision to be taken lightly and if I am honest, you do not really need it when starting out. Having said that, It is amazing!
Google AdWords - Create an Ad, set your cost per click and be seen on the first page of Google by anyone in the world. Simple!
Organic SEO – Optimise your pages to rank naturally for any given keyword. I learnt this skill using the following book: The Art of SEO, The skills you will learn in this book will last you throughout your entire online career, just remember to implement them, so many forget even the most simple of things.(Myself included from time to time)
View The SEO Experiment on YouTube. All videos have been created using the following tools.
Camtasia Studio 8 (PC) - Record your screen and narrate your actions with this great video editing and creation software. This product will cost you about £200 to buy. Again, be careful spending money but if you want to start creating video tutorials then this would be my weapon of choice.
Wacom Intuos5 Pen and Touch Medium Graphics Tablet - Almost a member of the family, I love this product and take it everywhere with me. Definitely a luxury item and only for the most serious graphic designers (and me!).
Get Out While You Can – Escape The Rat Race - First book to suggest a passive income lifestyle. Great read and where it all started for me
The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich - Must read for any up and coming Internet Entrepreneur, Timothy Ferris is an online legend; Fact…Just read it!
Smart Passive Income - Pat Flynn is probably the reason why I am doing this, complete inspiration to me. I am a huge fan of the Smart Passive Income blog and recommend that every Internet Marketer visits his site. I have chatted briefly with Pat on Twitter a few times so just goes to show how approachable he is
Niche Pursuits - Expert niche website and Internet Marketing advice from Spencer Haws.
Make Money on the Internet - Chris Guthrie is an Amazon affiliate wizard. I heard of Chris though the SPI and have taken great value from this site
That’s all for now folks…
I will keep adding to this page as I expand on my range of tools.
I cannot stress enough to you that you should be careful when spending money on your project. Only do it if it is completely necessary and always shop around for Promo codes…My links are affiliate links so I will get a commission but by all means, go and find them cheaper elsewhere if you can.
Good Luck Guys!