This page is devoted to the tools and resources we use ourselves as a blog and a business. Many of our readers write in with questions about the best services to use email management, website hosting, blog designing, blog pictures etc. Since we also encourage our readers to constantly start their own business online, it made sense to also share the tools we use ourselves to succeed.
So we decided to create this section where we will let you know the resources that we use ourselves, have used in the past, which ones we prefer and why. We hope that this this will help you in making the right choice for yourself.
GetResponse – Email Marketing and Management
The first resource in line is one of the most important tools that any blogger, or anyone marketing anything online needs to use. The tool is ‘email management’.
We use a company called GetResponse to do this for us. GetResponse allows us to add subscriber forms to our website and have interested people sign up to receive our newsletters and emails.
You can use GetResponse to send out emails weekly, monthly or even daily. You can send offers, promotions or just the latest updates to the people who subscribe to your blog with their email. By using GetResponse we can create good-looking emails using their beautiful templates.
You can automate the whole process by setting up auto-responders, i.e. a certain set of email goes out automatically to all subscribers. You can decide the days and the time you want your subscribers to receive the emails and you can also decide to send emails based on various other conditions, like one someone clicks a particular link in the email. This feature makes GetResponse one of the most versatile and powerful email management tool as compared to others.
GetResponse also lets us make landing pages. Landing pages are pages that are specifically designed and created to capture customer leads via their email address or phone numbers.
GetResponse has dozens of, some of the best beautifully designed, ready-made templates that we have seen. You can, of course, alter the landing pages as you like. Landing pages are a great way to boost your subscriptions rate many times over and GetResponse allows you to create one landing page for no extra charge.
All in all there are many other well-known email marketing companies. And we have tried our fair share of them. We settled down on GetResponse because we felt it offered some obvious advantages or others. They have great templates, features, is simple to use and the emails is sends are mobile devices friendly.
This is not a post about the importance of email marketing, nor is it about why GetResponse is better than other email management services. This is simply let you know that GetResponse is our choice for handling our emails and newsletter. Some of the companies we have tried apart from good response include Aweber and MailChimp.
StudioPress WordPress Themes
If you are going to run a WordPress blog, you are definitely going to need a good theme for your blog. The theme that you choose will determine how your blog looks. Blog themes control things like the layout of the website, the colours, website elements, functionality and all the major design elements.
By using different themes you can give your blog just the kind of look you want. For us, any wordpress theme needs to have 2 important features. It should have good design and are a very stable framework on which it is built.
We have already explained how the theme controls the design of a blog. The framework of the theme is the entire coding and the software platform that the theme runs on. The framework also decides what all features and options available to you in your dashboard. The more options you have, the more you can customise your blog with a few clicks. If you want to make changes to your blog without having to alter the code, you need to find a Framework like StudioPress that gives you a lot of features and options in your theme panel.
The framework of a WordPress theme determines how stable your blog is. It also affects other factors like speed with which the blog loads. A blog with a good framework will perform well even on shared hosting, whereas a poor theme will make your blog sluggish and even result in more downtime.
Because StudioPress has some stunning templates to begin with, and on top of that gives you a framework with a stellar performance, we recommend it for you. StudioPress will allow you to make the kind of blog that you want.
Blog and Website Hosting
Believe us when we tell you, choosing the right web host is one the most important decisions you will make when it comes to starting your own blog. Thankfully, although it is an important decision, it is not a difficult one to make.
There are half a dozen web hosts that we have worked with in the past decade. They are also all very well known names and you will probably come across them while looking for a hosting service for your blog. Out of these names, we only want to recommend two. After all we did not stick with the others for a reason. The two hosting services we recommend our Yahoo Web Hosting and DreamHost.
Yahoo Web Hosting
We used Yahoo Web Hosting initially when we first started our blog. We were using shared hosting them. The shared hosting with Yahoo is one of the most amazing and trouble-free hosting packages you will ever come across. The speed and the memory allocation to each shared customer is just amazing. You will never have issues like downtime owing to overload, like you will with almost any other shared hosting.
Yahoo! is a multinational and a multibillion dollar corporation. The kind of hardware and resources that they put behind their hosting is almost unmatched by any other hosting service.
Most of the other shared hosting services tend to severely restrict their shared web hosting customers, simple because the do have the resources to give you more. The problems we constantly faced were periodic downtime and errors every time we were updating and making changes.
If you are looking for a shared hosting service, Yahoo is the only one we recommend to you. It is the only shared web hosting that actually lives up to its 99.9% promise of site uptime.
Yahoo also has an e-commerce hosting allows you to set up a store and start selling with a great deal of ease. In all our years with Yahoo, it was as good as having our own server.
Did we mention that yahoo also has the best priced shared hosting you will find? Because you can trust this company, you can save even more money by signing up for a long term hosting package like 1 year, 2 years and 5 years.
The second web hosting company we use is DreamHost. We started using DreamHost for advanced hosting needs like private server, cloud back-up, multiple domain hosting, SSL encryption etc. DreamHost also provides a wonderful dedicated WordPress hosting called Dreampress. This dedicated WordPress hosting takes care of all the backend processes like backup and catching and delivers great speed and stability to your website.
Another reason why we are in favour of these two web hosting companies is that their control panels are extremely user-friendly and easy to use. This is helpful specially for the first time user. Most of the other hosting companies use are third-party Control Panel that goes by the name of cPanel, cPanel has a lot of features, depending on how many the web-hosting company choses to make available to you, but is also complicated to use, specially for the beginner. Even after using the cPanel for quite some time we were still not sure ratings were every time we logged on.
Shopify – Online Ecommerce Store
If you are looking to build an online store you simply must consider Shopify. There is perhaps no easier way to create a swankier store for your products. Just about all aspects of selling online are taken care of by Shopify. All you need to do is concentrate on creating your products and uploading them online. If you have stuff to sell and look at Shopify as the way to do it. The only other ready-made option we would recommend is the yahoo e-commerce hosting which allows you to set up an e-commerce store in with a great deal of ease.
Courses We Recommend
One of the best ways to make earn online is by making one or many affiliate website. An affiliate website is where you promote a product that has been created by someone else. Every time you sell this product, you get a commission. There are many popular networks where you can join affiliate programs from thousands of other businesses, like Clickbank. The reason why affiliate marketing is popular because you do not have to create your own products, you can sell as many products as you wish, and the commission are really high typically 60 – 70 percent.
If you have an area of interest that you want to blog about, you can also find a product related to that interest to sell on the blog. We highly recommend this course if you want to start making money online with affiliate marketing. It is worth every single penny it costs to join. Read it even before you take the first step towards starting your own blog. Start here.