I love technology and entrepreneurship, so tools for creating, running and growing a business have long been a passion of mine. Below, you’ll find my recommended tools for various purposes and stages of your business. This set of tools aren’t exclusive but I feel that you’ll need them to be productive, all for the same purpose and all chosen to work well with each other. I have found these following products to be amazing, productive, instrumental in helping me accomplish my God-given dreams, and extremely effective. This list of recommended online marketing tools will continue to grow as I continue to build.
Website Hosting is a big personal pet peeve of mine. You could have a $50,000 website, but if the hosting is horrible, it’ll be a nightmare. A website is as good as the hosting platform that it’s on. With most people, you only have one shot of them visiting your website. If the page load speeds are slow, they aren’t coming back! As precious as each visitor is coming to your site, you have to get this right. There are SO many hosting services out there talking about how low they charge. Don’t shop price! Do the research…how often is your hosting company down? What are their page load speeds? Here’s a big question – who owns them? There are two companies buying all the little guys out: Endurance International Group (EIG) and GoDaddy. They’re so big, customer service isn’t as good as the ones that have built their clientele for years with a good track record. Can you get a live voice when you need help? SiteGround Hosting gets it right. Not only is site downtime annoying, but worst of all it means lost opportunity. That isn’t something you’ll have to worry about at SiteGround Hosting thanks to their 99.9% Uptime Commitment. Their 24/7/365 support staff featuring expert system admins work hard to ensure your server runs at its peak. They use industry best practices, feature the best data centers and make sure your server has the latest security patches. That’s how they’re able to guarantee that your site will be up over 99.9% of the time.
Thrive Themes was my number one find for 2017. I was so tired of wasting money paying people to design websites that I just didn’t like when they were finished. I became convinced with the flexibility and inexpensive manner in which people were building beautiful websites with WordPress. So I began using free and paid WordPress themes. Then I ran into a huge problem, they never look like what you see in the pictures. Then another problem was that other people were using the same theme and I looked like a copycat. I began buying premium themes and finding experts load them exactly how the demo sites look. But this still wasn’t enough. I began doing research and found that those that were really into Internet Marketing wasn’t as concerned with how their site loo versus how their site functioned! Then I learned about a concept called “conversion.” The real question is, “Does your site convert?” The success is if your site converts. If you are selling something, does your site convert into sales? If you are building a mailing list, does your site convert into email addresses? Then I found Thrive Themes! The owners are obsessed with helping people master conversions through their website. Thrive Themes are conversion-focused WordPress Themes & Plugins Themes & plugins, built from the ground up to make your entire website convert more of your visitors into subscribers, customers & clients! And the best thing I like is that they teach you step-by-step how to use everything. Thrive Themes will thrust you into “beast mode!”
I believe strongly that one of the most strategic positions to be in today online is to involve a social networking platform as an integral part of that strategy. I have used one social networking platform for a couple of years but switched over to Social Engine when I found out its robustness. SocialEngine is pretty user-friendly and has an enormous amount of capabilities. I also find that the owners of the company are visionaries and look forward t the continual improvement of the platform. It is US-based and is positioning itself for bigger days.
GetReponse offers a complete suite of simple-yet-powerful solutions, scaled and customized for small and large companies. Their online marketing platform helps entrepreneurs build targeted contact lists, send high-impact newsletters, and follow-up campaigns. It offers marketing automation, CRM, webinars,responsive email design, hundreds of ready-to-use email templates, landing page creator, and useful statistical analysis tools. The cool thing about GetResponse is that they allow you to quickly deploy landing pages, build mailing lists to capture and store your contacts and a email marketing component. And the great thing is that they have a webinar component that integrates with all of these services.
Don’t get it twisted…WordPress isn’t just for blogs anymore. WordPress.com is the easiest way to create a website or blog today. If you want the ultimate control over your site then WordPress is for you. WordPress started in 2003 with a single bit of code to enhance the typography of everyday writing and with fewer users than you can count on your fingers and toes. Since then it has grown to be the largest self-hosted blogging tool in the world, used on millions of sites and seen by tens of millions of people every day. It is said that they are the open source software powering 29% of the internet. WordPress is a must have! 95% of all my sites run on WordPress.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a subsidiary of Amazon.com that provides on-demand cloud computing platforms to individuals, companies, and governments, on a paid subscription basis with a free-tier option available for 12 months. The technology allows subscribers to have at their disposal a full-fledged virtual cluster of computers, available all the time, through the Internet. AWS’s version of virtual computers have most of the attributes of a real computer including hardware (CPU(s) & GPU(s) for processing, local/RAM memory, hard-disk/SSD storage); a choice of operating systems; networking; and pre-loaded application software such as web servers, databases, CRM, etc. In 2017, AWS comprised more than 90 services spanning a wide range including computing, storage, networking, database, analytics, application services, deployment, management, mobile, developer tools, and tools for the Internet of Things. Amazon markets AWS to subscribers as a way of obtaining large-scale computing capacity more quickly and cheaply than building an actual physical server farm. As of 2017, AWS owns a dominant 34% of all cloud.
Google Drive is where you can store all other files related to a business or project. Use it with the desktop app to sync your Drive folders with local files and you’ll always have your business-critical files at your fingertips, on any device, anywhere. Even if you are a solopreneur, I recommend using Google Drive, because once you start working with people, it is simply the best environment for keeping files in sync and working on documents collaboratively. It is perfect to use as a backup drive for your computer. Google provides a lot of space for free. I have several accounts and they all get used big time!
Google Analytics can be a pain. By default, it gives you some useful information, a lot of completely useless information and a simply overwhelming amount of options. It takes a lot of learning, before you really get good use out of this tool. That said, it is by far the most sophisticated analytics tool you can use for free and it’s very widely supported and integrated. You won’t fall in love with Google Analytics right away, but use it from the start. It will pay off, eventually. I use it on all my sites.
I love GIMP! This tool allows me to do things I used to have to pay for. GIMP allows you to do many things that Photoshop can do but is free! I tried learning Photoshop but the learning curve was pretty steep for me. The one favorite task I am able to perform with GIMP is to get rid of backgrounds around photos and text. I always convert my images, logos and text files into .png files. Building transparent backgrounds for this files is enormous for me (especially favicon files). Long gone are the days of always using a white background to hide the white background the images were carrying.
Canva, like GIMP, was a tool that hides my inability to learn Adobe Photoshop. I found out about this tool when I was searching to post something on Pinterest for the first time. While using it, I discovered that Canva has most of all the most popular social media site’s dimensions stored in it. I no longer had to Google the size of the Facebook cover photo vs the Twitter cover photo.
Skype was originally marketed for its’s ability to make voice calls to people around the world for free, using IP technology. Then years later, it found ways to start charging for calls. I never really used Skype to make calls. It has become invaluable for me to communicate with developers around the world through it’s text chat feaure. Not only does it make it easier for me to break the language barrier of thers, but I also have a message trail of items to keep me on task because of the logging history. I can use the voice feature, but any of my develops are in the Asia Pacific Rim and english text works so much better with our different dialects.
Nowadays, if you want to communicate with others, you have to implement a webinar strategy. GoToWebinar makes it so easy to give presentations, training sessions, webinars, and conference calls with team members. There are a lot of similar services out there now. GoToWebinar was one of the first that I knew of with quality service and capabilities. And it has the ability to be able to record all of your sessions for others to view/listen to if they missed the original session.
When I went through the hard work of building a 3-hour long online course and uploaded to Udemy, I was so excited. But that excitement turned quickly to anger when I discovered that they were selling my $49 course for a “promotional” $10 all the time. That wouldn’t pay me for the time I put in this course. That was when I discovered Teachable. Their business model is completely different. They are more entrepreneurial, allowing you to host your content with them and keep more of the sales proceeds. Combine this platform and an ability to drive traffic to your site, the financial rewards are more realistic on Teachable. Funny thing is that many of the Teachable users are former Udemytes!
Have a team you need to communicate with frequently on a project? Is it easier to collaborate online than at an office location? Then Basecamp is your answer. You can assign tasks on this tool and allow each member of the team update their progress. Questions and answers can be recorded. And completed and uncompleted tasks are easily seen by everyone who logs in. Everyone’s notetaking abilities are different. Mine are pretty good. But Basecamp makes them…Excellent!
When I first used this free tool, I was amazed! All of my current sites got a failing grade for site load speeds. But like a good teacher, it tells you exactly why your site got the grade it deserves and a detailed action plan of how to improve it. I love this tool. GTmetrix gives you insight into how well your site loads and provides actionable recommendations on how to optimize it. GTmetrix tells you a lot about your website performance. Their report gives you the full picture of how your site loads and helps you detect where bottlenecks are. Take advantage of all the features GTmetrix has to offer and make your site the fastest it can be! A quarter of a million tests are performed a day. Analyze your site now and see how well it performs!
Today, video is everything. And with the growth rate of everything today being viewed on a mobile device, you have to story tell with something visual. When I would create a video, I would like how I looked or how I sounded. Or the video was too long or too short. Or I would have to wait two weeks for my son to edit it. Then along came ContentSamurai. This unique tool allows you to import what you want to say (in text form) and it automatically divides your speech up into different segments. Then it allows you to read each segment, one-by-one. After you have read each segment, this application miraculously smoothly aligns your voice together. You are able to add images and music tracks (which they supply) to the audio that you have recorded! In the end, ContentSamurai creatively merges all the parts together and produces a superior video for your online use. This is great for informational video, company intros, etc. And you save time and money. Need a video? You need to check ContentSamurai out! They offer a free-run of the software.
Audacity is free, open source, cross-platform audio software, and an easy-to-use, multi-track audio editor and recorder for Windows, Mac OS X, GNU/Linux and other operating systems. It is great to edit tracks and especially handy when editing audion, online, for podcasts.
Movavi is a free online tool that allows you to capture screenshots to create video. I also find it to be a handy video editor. This is convenient when you want to make and edit video content that includes you capturing online examples. If you need to give a demo of a new software program or online creation, Movavi is the perfect tool. It'll allow you to record your voice as a narrator while you capture online examples or a presentation.
Blue Yeti is a professional, quality mic. It has a quality build and an excellent sound pattern, with the only difference is that it’s being connected through USB unlike most high-end recording devices. For those who never held professional mics before, without exaggerating, this will be a sensation. The good news is it also has a very moderate price tag, comparable to more like computer accessories rather than a professional studio-recording device. The best price for the quality is what most believe makes Blue Yeti a rock start! Whether for a conference call, webinar, podcast, or online recordings, the Blue Yeti will be your go to mic.
Despite what you have heard or believed, no one makes it on their own, in isolation. Everyone learns from someone or from many. The question is, “Who speaks into your life? Who do you allow to speak into the inner core of your being? Who mentors you? Who teaches you?” We are mentored by the books we read. We are taught by the videos we watch. With today’s technologies, you can consume the materials of those you desire to mentor you through podcasts, video, mp3 files, etc. I allow the following individuals to impart what they have into my life for growth and change.
Dr. Creflo Dollar is the founder and senior pastor of World Changers Church International (WCCI) in College Park, Georgia. He is also a prolific author, international speaker, and former athlete. He is an amazing individual who is wise and kind-hearted. I have personally been mentored and taught by him for nearly a decade and have gleaned a strong business acumen from him, as well as relationship strategies, leadership in the home, as well as my community, and how to dominate in life and especially in the marketplace. By the way, Dr. Dollar and his wife, Taffi, are my family and my personal spiritual leaders. Often the victim of attacks of false commentary, (“fake news”) he has humbly continued to strive to help people all around the world and build the lives and character of everyone he comes in contact with. I just love this guy! I credit Dr. Dollar as playing a vital role in my personal success, through mentoring and teaching.
Bishop T.D. Jakes, one of the world’s most revered masterminds, leverages his pioneering vision and instinct to serve others in areas extending beyond the church. In order to help lead people to their destiny, you have to meet people where they are in life. It is with this earnest approach that Bishop Jakes has been able to reach millions of people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, races, nationalities, and creeds. Digital media, film, and television, among others, have been instrumental in helping Bishop Jakes meet the disparate needs of countless individuals. He's an amazing orator, author, and businessman. I just love this guy! I am amzed with his profound use of the english venacular. His teachings will change your life - very relevant for today's times.
Gary Vaynerchuk (Gary V) is my motivator. When I discovered this dude online, I teared up. I finally found someone from my tribe. His thoughts, his dialect, and his giving nature told me that we were from the same stock. Gary V is not just talented. He is not just unique. This dude is special. Gary V will go down in history as the one who not only modeled what true entrepreneurism was all about, but he was also the one who changed the paradigm of the people who were always charging the masses for information to get ahead in life. While everyone was pimping you for strategies that didn’t work, Gary V showed on the scene and freely gave out strategies that worked for everyone. And he is a blessed man for it. He’s everywhere on the internet – dominating it! Even though he often uses profanity in his presentations, he’s an expert communicator (he’s getting better, kids listen to Gary V now). Gary V’s success and dominance prove that it is better to give than to receive! I credit Gary V as playing a vital role in my personal success, through mentoring and teaching.
Miles Beckler helps entrepreneurs tap into the abundance and lifestyle freedom and internet marketers increase leads and conversions through efficient sales funnels, pay per click and strategic internet marketing ideas. Miles has a knack for teaching strategies and methodologies in a clear, concise, no-holds direct way that makes it easy for you to learn and easy to follow. He is one of the first dudes online that just provides tons of value for the listener, way before he even attempts to sell you any product. He shares what allowed him to go from being $50,000 in debt to being a millionaire by implement strategies that he leaned online. This is one of my online marketing rock stars!
I respect the power of a book. There are some good books and there are some bad books. There are some books that you could read and it through you off the course of your life. And then there are some great books ones that could change the course of your life (for the better)! I have consumed many books over the years but some stick out as being very pivotal in my life at the time. It was the message within those pages that had the power to answer current questions, steer current longings, and direct me in future travels. It is these books I highly recommend below.
I am not kidding, I think this is the best business book ever written. It’s a shame so many have read the Bible like it’s a novel. It’s far from being a novel, a suspense story, a thriller, or even a mystery. It is actually an owner’s manual for a creation called, “mankind.” Manufacturers take great pride in their creations. But before they allow it to be placed out for public use, it packages it and includes an owner’s manual that gives explicit instructions on how to operate it. I recommend this version, the Amplified Bible because it’s translated into more of our every day modern language.
I first read this book it one sitting. This book is a classic. It really helped me in the area of brokenness. How should we respond when we’re treated unfairly by people close to us? Find answers—and encouragement—in this powerful retelling of the biblical story of Saul, David, and Absalom! Persecuted first by a mad king and then by a vengeful son, David resolutely trusted God. Learn how we can follow his example! For the many people who have experienced pain, loss, and heartache at the hands of other people, this compelling story offers comfort, healing, and hope.
When governments collapse, human philosophies fail, and your life is crashing down around you, Rediscovering the Kingdom will become your guide through the treacherous storms of the 21st century. All of the past ideologies have failed-humanism, communism, totalitarianism, fascism, socialism and even democracy. As Dr. Myles Munroe unveils that even “Religion” is not our answer!
Kingdom Principles (2nd of the series) helps you learn to think and act like a Kingdom resident and ruler–the person God intended you to be. Knowing these principles will infuse your life with a new sense of excitement and purpose! Drawing great parallels to the modern day Monarchy, Dr. Myles Munroe argues that we can not enjoy Kingdom benefits until we understand kingdom living.
In Applying the Kingdom, the third book in his Kingdom series, Dr. Myles Munroe makes the case that the key to abundant living is found in establishing priorities in one’s life and living by them. Topping his list is the priority, Kingdom First! This book gives more step by step applications of how to step in this realm of living and to dominate in your sphere of living. Want to dominate?
This was the book that shattered my “stinking thinking!” Rich Dad Poor Dad is the author’s story of growing up with two dads — his real father and the father of his best friend, his rich dad — and the ways in which both men shaped his thoughts about money and investing. The book dispels the myth that you need to earn a high income to be rich and explains the difference between working for money and having your money work for you. Now published more than 20 years, Rich Dad Poor Dad has since become the #1 Personal Finance book of all time… translated into dozens of languages and sold around the world.
This book was given to me by my first female manager ever! Most people are fearful of change, personally and professionally, because they don’t have any control over how or when it happens to them. Since change happens to everyone the book uses a deceptively simple story to show that when it comes to living in a rapidly changing world, what matters most is your attitude. Exploring a simple way to take the fear and anxiety out of managing the future, it helps you discover how to anticipate, acknowledge, and accept change in order to have a positive impact on your job, your relationships, and every aspect of your life.
Thanks to massive change and proliferation in social media platforms, the winning combination of jabs and right hooks is different now. Gary V shows that while communication is still key, context matters more than ever. It’s not just about developing high-quality content, but developing high-quality content perfectly adapted to specific social media platforms and mobile devices—content tailor-made for Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr. This book is a blueprint for social media marketing strategies that really work.
In Crush It! Gary V shows you how to use the power of the Internet to turn your real interests into real businesses. Gary spent years building his family business from a local wine shop into a national industry leader. Then one day he turned on a video camera, and by using the secrets revealed here, transformed his entire life and earning potential by building his personal brand. By the end of this book, readers will have learned how to harness the power of the Internet to make their entrepreneurial dreams come true. Step by step, Crush It! is the ultimate driver’s manual for modern business.
Struggling with getting traffic to your website or converting that traffic when it shows up? You may think you’ve got a traffic or conversion problem. In the author’s experience, after working with thousands of businesses, he has found that’s rarely the case. Low traffic and weak conversion numbers are just symptoms of a much greater problem, a problem that’s a little harder to see (that’s the bad news), but a lot easier to fix (that’s the good news). DotComSecrets will give you the marketing funnels and the sales scripts you need to turn on a flood of new leads into your business.
While most people operate with only three degrees of action-no action, retreat, or normal action-if you’re after big goals, you don’t want to settle for the ordinary. To reach the next level, you must understand the coveted 4th degree of action. This 4th degree, also known as the 10 X Rule, is that level of action that guarantees companies and individuals realize their goals and dreams. The 10 X Rule unveils the principle of “Massive Action,” allowing you to blast through business cliches and risk-aversion while taking concrete steps to reach your dreams. A must-read for entrepreneurs.
Whether it’s selling your company’s product in the boardroom or selling yourself on eating healthy, everything in life can and should be treated as a sale. And as the author explains, knowing the principles of selling is a prerequisite for the success of any kind. In Sell or Be Sold, Cardone breaks down the techniques and approaches necessary to master the art of selling in any avenue. You will learn how to handle rejection, turn around negative situations, shorten sales cycles, and guarantee yourself greatness. He will also teach you about selling in a bad economy
During economic contractions, it becomes much more difficult to sell your products, maintain your customer base, and gain market share. Mistakes become more costly, and failure becomes a real possibility for all those who are not able to make the transition. This book is about how to sell your products and services—despite the economy—and provides the reader with ways to capitalize regardless of their product, service, or idea. Cardone shares strategies that will allow you to not just continue to sell, but create new products, increase margins, gain market share and much more.