Welcome to the Resources section, a curated list of the tools and websites I strongly recommend for building and optimizing your business.
I have tested every recommendation on this page. Many of the resources listed here are crucial to running my business (or were crucial to developing my business to where it is today).
Before digging into the awesome resources I know and trust, an important disclosure:
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Bluehost – I’ve started three businesses dating back to 2005 using websites run by Bluehost. Why? Because they make it incredibly easy and cheap to get a new site up and running. Even ScottAlanTurner.com started on Bluehost’s easy-to-use and extremely affordable hosting platform.
You can use your Bluehost account to host multiple domains, so there’s no need to pay more for hosting when you’re ready to start another website. Also, they provide outstanding customer service!
I highly recommend using Bluehost for your first website, and you can get started now at only $2.95/month, which is an exclusive reader deal!
WPEngine – Yep, my website has got so much traffic now I had to graduate to bigger servers. WPEngine specializes in WordPress installs with large amounts of traffic. Plus I also run my other business blog NRFA.org on it too. Growing traffic is a good problem to have.
Blog Promotion Tools
SumoMe – Providing easy to use buttons on your blog to share your articles on social is a must-have. The SumoMe basic tools are all free which is a great way to get started.
MailChimp – One of the best email management tools. The best part is you can sign up for free and not be charged a penny until your list size has grown to 2,000. That’s a deal!
Social Warfare – These are the sharing buttons I use on my website. While there are many social sharing tools for free, I found these allow the customization and the look I prefer.
Grow Your Email List
LeadPages – LeadPages is a tool for creating landing pages quickly. The new drag and drop builder is simply amazing. You can check out one page I created here. Let’s be clear – Leadpages is expensive. If you can swing it or once your business is making money, it’s a worthwhile investment.
Optin Monster – The popup windows I use to stay connected with visitors are powered by Optin Monster. I think they have the best-looking popups around and the price is right.
SumoMe – SumoMe has list building tools as well. All the basic one are free. I like them but right now I’m with Optin Monster. SumoMe saved my bacon when I launched my book. With 48 hours before my big launch, I was missing some important landing pages on my website. I built one using SumoMe Welcome Mat in less than an hour.
SumoMe saved my bacon when I launched my book. With 48 hours before my big launch, I was missing some important landing pages on my website. I built one using SumoMe Welcome Mat in less than an hour.
Make Your Site Look Awesome
Theme Forest – Themes are what make your website look amazing.
Don’t overpay! You can find themes out there that will cost $100 and up by including a bunch of add-ons you don’t need (and can get for free). There are great looking themes for $30.
If you want to get the same exact theme I use for my website it’s the Herald Theme by Meks.
Adobe Stock Photography – This site used to be Dollar Photo Club until Adobe bought them. $1 per royalty-free image is a good deal.
Adobe Creative Cloud – I’ve been using Adobe products for the past 15 years. While I will never understand Photoshop (why can’t you just select something with the mouse?), I’ve had success with all of their other products (Illustrator, InDesign, Audition, Fireworks, Dreamweaver, Acrobat).
Long Tail Pro – If you want to rank in the top three search results in Google (which combined get 80% of clicks) you’re going to want to do keyword research. Long Tail Pro is the tool I use when I want an article to rank high in Google.
What I Don’t Use
Huh? Why would anyone tell which products they don’t use?
I have a simple business philosophy – you saving money is priority number one. I know if I can save money – even if it costs me now – I will make a lifelong friend of my business. I value people over profit. Over the long haul, a company will have more success following that simple rule (Don’t you wish cable companies functioned like this?)
That said, here are products I’ve tried, bought, used, and would not recommend to my mom:
AWeber – A similar email platform to MailChimp. I started with AWeber before switching to MailChimp. MailChimp is easier to use in my opinion. Many people recommend AWeber but I think it’s because they have an affiliate program and MailChimp does not. If you sign up for MailChimp, I don’t make a penny.
Thesis / Genesis – Frameworks for WordPress that are used to add additional functionality and customization. I used to use Thesis but now find it completely unnecessary with my new theme.
Frameworks are bloatware – they make your website slower. Anything you can do to improve the visitor experience will increase your website traffic. A visitor that doesn’t stick around waiting for your slow-butt website to load never has the chance to become a loyal follower (or customer).
Free Stock Photography – Using images illegally can get you into copyright trouble (big fines!). Many free photo sites have a few free pictures but not an extensive library. I save time by paying $1 for images I know I can use legally.