Niche Site Resources – Tools of the Trade
I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for essential blogging and niche website tools and information. I am always learning and as I do, I will be updating this page often. I recommend bookmarking this page for your reference and convenience.
Disclosure: Please note that some of the links below are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies or products, 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.
Education / Training
- Forever Affiliate: This is the excellent Affiliate Marketing training program that I am going through right now and I highly recommend it for anyone looking to make $$ online. It contains everything in step by step videos on exactly how to identify the right products to promote, setting up your site, bringing in free organic traffic, moving up the ranks of Google and getting your first sale.
- WordPress: The #1 blogging platform. Free and easily customizable with wonderful support. All of my niche site blogs utilize WordPress.
- The THESIS Theme: This is the WordPress theme and framework that my niche sites run on. Thesis provides out-of-box search engine optimization, faster page load times, maximum readability to engage and hold reader’s attention, point-and-click design and lots of online resources/support.
- Fiverr: Do you need a website logo or banner created? Perhaps some blog content or a YouTube video? You can find all that and lots more, all for only $5!
- MailChimp: Site to utilize for all of your email list needs. Collect email subscriptions, send out automated welcome emails for new subscribers, sends out emails for all new blog posts, etc. It is completely free up to 2,000 email subscribers and 12,000 emails/month.
- GoDaddy: Recommended for all your domain registration needs. I’ve utilized them for all of my domain names since 2003 and have never had an issue. I love the low priced deals for new domains as well as renewals.
- Web Hosting Hub: Great, inexpensive hosting. Unlimited domain names, disk space and bandwidth, 1 click WordPress installs, excellent customer service, 90 day full money back guarantee. I am a delighted customer and I personally negotiated with them to be able to offer their lowest rate anywhere, starting at $3.95 per month. No joke, I really did.
- Amazon Affiliate Program: Make money by linking to and providing reviews of products available through Amazon.com.
- ClickBank: Excellent site to find products or services to promote and receive a commission.
- Commission Junction: Another site similar to ClickBank offering additional products and services to promote.
- Market Samurai: My favorite keyword research tool, that comes with a full 14 day free trial. Check out my posts on Keyword Research and SEO Competition for step-by-step tutorials on how to set yourself up for success online utilizing Market Samurai.
- Long Tail Pro: Another very good keyword research tool that I became aware of recently. This one comes with a full 10 day free trial as well. It is similar to Market Samurai, but utilizes different metrics for analyzing competition and may be a little easier for beginners. Check out my latest post/video on how to utilize Long Tail Pro for keyword research and brainstorming.
Essential WordPress Plugins
- Optin Skin Plugin: Excellent plugin from Glen Allsopp, ViperChill blogger, that allows you to easily create opt-in email subscription and social media sharing boxes for your blog to increase your email subscriptions and drive traffic your way. Check out my full Optin Skin Plugin review for further specifics.
- Google XML Sitemaps: This plugin will generate a special XML sitemap which will help search engines like Google, Bing, Yahoo and Ask.com to better index your blog. It will also notify the search engines anytime you create a new post/page.
- All in One SEO Pack: If you utilize the Thesis Theme, you do NOT need this plugin. All of the SEO optimization is already built into the Thesis Theme. However, if you are not yet utilizing the Thesis Theme, you can utilize this plugin to help you with SEO.
- Pretty Link Lite: Great plugin for creating ‘pretty’ links which redirect to other sites, such as Amazon or other affiliate programs. Rather than having huge, ugly looking links, this helps you clean them up. You can also track the number of hits.
- Updraft Plus – Backup/Restore: A great plugin for backing up and restoring your WP site. In addition to storing your backups on your hosting account, you also have the option to upload the backups to several cloud based storage locations, such as DropBox.
- CommentLuv: Add-on to the default WordPress comment system that rewards your readers by allowing them the option to place a link to one of their recent blog posts at the end of their comment. Helps to increase the number of comments.
- Google Adsense: Make money by placing relevant ads on your website that are generated from advertisers using Google Adwords. This is free to use, but you have to register for an account.
- Google Adwords: If you want to begin advertising on Google, you can select keywords and locations and you pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement.
Website Stats and Optimization
- Google Analytics: Google’s free website tracking and analytical tool. A must have for anyone with any type of website.
- Google Optimizer: This is another free tool from google where you can test different webpages of the same content, only changing one or two things, so you can see which one works/converts best. It’s basically a website optimizer/testing tool.
- Uptime Robot: Free online tool to monitor the up/downtime and responsiveness of your web site(s). You can monitor up to 50 sites, every 5 minutes absolutely free.
For Capturing Video / Screencasts and Image Manipulation
- Camtasia Studio for PC: Excellent program for creating videos of your PC screen for use in tutorials and webinars. This is the product I utilize for all the videos you see on this site. 30 day free trial available.
- Camtasia for Mac: For Mac users. 30 day free trial available.
- CamStudio: Free open source program for creating screen capture videos on a PC. I have not actually utilized this version, but I wanted to make you aware there is a free version out there.
- Gimp 2: Free image editing software that I dare say, rivals Adobe Photoshop. I liked it so much that I actually removed Photoshop in favor of this software because it ran so much faster and did everything I utilized Photoshop for.
- Cool Text: Free Logo and Graphics Generator.
- PhotoDune: My new favorite Photo resource. They have a huge selection of high quality, inexpensive photos, most are just $1. I used several $1 photos on one of my niche sites and it made a huge difference. Well worth it.
- FreeDigitalPhotos.net: Great place to find royalty free and in most cases, completely free, images to use for your blog or website. The only catch is that you will need to provide a link to the digital artist’s portfolio and give credit similar to what I did for the image at the top of this page.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: This is the book that changed my way of thinking and got me started with online adventures. I read this book way back in 2003 and I registered my first website after reading that. It holds a special place on my bookshelf and will always be one of my all time favorites.