One of the questions I hear over and over again is what products I use in my business. To avoid repeating myself, the following is a list of the tools and products I use and recommend:
Common Sense Marketing Products
The following are the free reports or longer info products I’ve put together for you to expand on topics I can’t fully cover in posts:
- Guide to Internet Business Models. This chart provides an overview of what I consider to be the major internet business models online today. Use it to help narrow down the business model that’s right for you and use the “Next Steps” section of each model to put together your own plan for success.
- How to Start an Article Writing Service. In this series of three super-long posts, I share pretty much everything that went into turning a single freelance writing contract into a five-figure article writing agency with a staff of seven writers. Check it out!
If you don’t know how to code in HTML, don’t worry – most of what we’re going to do as affiliate marketers can be done using a host of simple-to-use tools:
- WordPress. I’m going to talk about it more on this blog, but I am 100% in love with WordPress. Seriously – this is the best, easiest way out there to get a website up and running, and the SEO benefits are great. Spend some time on their support forum to learn more about how you can use this awesome, free tool to its best advantage.
- ElegantThemes. While WordPress has a ton of free themes, they aren’t always professional enough for what I want to do with them. I highly recommend ElegantThemes (you might notice that this site is built on one of their templates…) as the best value for your money.
- Artisteer. Artisteer is a program that lets you build custom templates for WordPress using a simple “point-and-click” interface. I use it a lot for minisites when I have something specific in mind and don’t want to spend hours searching through WordPress’s database of free templates.
- xHeader. The free version of this program provides you with plenty of simple header graphics that you can stick right into Artisteer.
Web Hosting & Domain Registrars
Your web host is like your landlord – they’re the ones that give you the space you need to get your website up and running. A domain registrar is like any offline business naming authority – they’re who you’ll by your ‘www.mysite.com’ name from. Here are the companies I recommend:
- Namecheap. I register all of my domains through Namecheap. They’re very reasonably priced (do a search for their coupon code of the month to save even more!), and I’ve never had an issue with reliability.
- DowntownHost. I currently have a reseller hosting package through DowntownHost, and the uptime and customer service have always been fantastic. Highly recommended!
- Bluehost and Hostgator are two other great hosts I’ve used in the past. The one that’s right for you depends on your specific needs – ie. how many sites you plan to host, how large your sites will be, etc. To choose the host that’s right for you, please read the following post: How to Choose the Right Web Host.
**Just a note here – I recommend that you stay away from Godaddy. They’re one of the cheapest hosts/domain registrars out there, but I’ve heard some awful fishy things from some of my past clients who have sites hosted with them. Do yourself a favor and stick with a provider that’s known to be legit.
An autoresponder allows you to collect email addresses and send out regularly scheduled, automated messages to all of your email subscribers. Working with a legitimate provider is a must, since deliverability will suffer significantly with discount autoresponders. I use the two below, and both offer free/low cost trials so that you can get a feel for their services:
- Aweber. Aweber is the king of the internet marketing autoresponders. Deliverability is top notch, and they have tons of cool training videos on email marketing for you to watch. This is the autoresponder service I use, and I highly recommend it!
- ConstantContact. ConstantContact is another top autoresponder provider, but their major advantage is in the detailed, visually appealing HTML email templates they utilize. This isn’t necessary for most internet marketers (and they’re a little more difficult to work with), but if you run a store than sells physical products, it’s a must.
Keyword Research and Competitive Analysis Tools
I’ll be talking a lot on this site about how I use keyword research in my affiliate marketing business, but to summarize for now – it’s pretty darn important! The following are the exact tools I use when prepping to launch a new site:
- Google Adword’s External Keyword Tool. Nothing like getting keyword info straight from the horse’s mouth! Google’s keyword tool offers tons of great information for free, but it does have a few weaknesses, which is why I supplement it with two other tools.
- Market Samurai – If you’ve been around the site for a bit, you know that I used to use Keyword Elite and Micro Niche Finder for my niche and keyword research. Unfortunately, I ran into a few snags with both programs, and – as a result – wound up moving over to Market Samurai. But dude, what a change for the best! Market Samurai offers a ton more features than either of the other two programs, and it’s absolutely the best investment I’ve made in awhile. Best of all – if you click the link above, you can try it free to see if you love it as much as I do 🙂
- Warrior Forum. The Warrior Forum is an amazing free resource on everything related to internet marketing – I owe a lot of my success to the advice I’ve received there and the relationships I’ve formed.
- Corbett Barr’s “Affiliate Marketing for Beginners”. There are literally tons of affiliate marketing training guides out there, but Corbett’s is where I recommend most people start. It’s pretty basic, but it teaches the fundamentals you need to know to start your own internet marketing business without a bunch of fluff and filler.
- Laura Burke’s “Affiliate Marketing Schoolbook”. Once you’ve finished Corbett’s course and are ready to take your business to the next level, I recommend checking out the Affiliate Marketing Schoolbook. The course includes 55 affiliate marketing lessons on more advanced topics, like on-page and off-page SEO, interlinking and testing different affiliate products.
**Please note – Some of the above links are affiliate links, which means that I’ll receive a small referral fee if you buy a product I recommend. However, please rest assured that I only promote products I’ve used myself and find to be an integral part of my affiliate marketing business. Each of the products linked to in the above Resources section has the Common Sense Marketing “Seal of Approval”!