This is my compilation of the absolute best online business and marketing tools, courses, books, blogs and other resources that I’ve come across and personally benefited from during my 9+ years of experience with making money online that can very well help you too.
Many of these tools and resources are free, but some aren’t, and I just want to be upfront and let you know that those that aren’t free are affiliate links meaning that I get paid a commission when you buy through my links below (at no additional cost to you). So if you buy something through my link – thank you, I appreciate the support.
But don’t worry I’m all about integrity and I would never include a product recommendation on this page (or anywhere on my blog for that matter) just to earn commissions.
This is an exclusive list and I ONLY include the very best, highest-quality resources that I’ve used myself and that I believe in 100%.
If you have any questions about whether you should buy a certain product or not, feel free to contact me and I’ll try to steer you in the right direction.
Hosting and Domain Names
- Bluehost (recommended budget host) – I’ve used a range of different hosts over the years but Bluehost is what I now use the most and what I’d recommend for the majority of new sites out there. They have great prices, and their service and support has yet to let me down.
- Namecheap (recommended domain name provider) – This is where I register new domain names. Keep in mind that when joining Bluehost for the first time you get a free domain so I’d take advantage of that if you choose Bluehost to host a new site.
- WPEngine (recommended high-end host) – If you’re willing to pay more for the best specialized WordPress hosting you can get your hands on, this is what I’d recommend and what I personally use. The extra cost is worth it in my opinion if you want the best security, speed and support, but I’d only recommend them for large or high-traffic sites.
WordPress Themes and Plugins
- Genesis – The premium WordPress theme framework I use for some of my sites. Note that Genesis is the framework, and you’ll need to choose one of their “child themes” of which there are many awesome options. If you want the very best for your site or blog, I recommend Genesis because it’s high quality, easy to use, has great features and lots of support including many tutorials on the net. But this is just what I personally use and there are many other great themes out there.
- WordPress SEO – A great plugin that I use on every single one of my WordPress sites. It makes SEO a LOT simpler.
- WP Super Cache – Very popular free plugin that speeds up your site. A must have (unless you host with WPEngine or another super-fast host).
- Contact Form 7 – Another extremely popular free plugin that I use to easily add contact forms to my sites.
- Backup Buddy – A reliable plugin to easily schedule automatic site backups. It’s not free but I personally think it’s worth it for peace of mind.
- Limit Login Attempts – A handy little plugin that increases your WordPress site’s security, totally free.
- TablePress – The free plugin I use to quickly and easily add tables to my sites without any coding.
- WP Smush It – A useful plugin I use to automatically reduce the size of my images (without losing quality) to speed up your site. I’d recommend it if you have many large images on your site.
- Google Keyword Planner – Google’s free tool to do basic keyword research. You need to have a Google Adwords account to use it (create one for free if you don’t have an account already).
- Long Tail Pro – A paid keyword tool that allows you to do more thorough research on which exact, narrow keywords you should target with your content so you can maximize search engine traffic.
- Wordtracker – Another good quality keyword tool I use from time to time.
- Google Analytics – Google’s free service to track and analyze your traffic in detail. Absolutely vital for any website.
- Alexa Toolbar – A free browser add-on that shows you the Alexa ranking of a site, which is an estimate of how popular (ie how much traffic) a certain website is. Don’t get caught up with Alexa rankings though as they aren’t that accurate (especially with low-traffic sites) and should be used to only get a rough estimate of traffic/popularity and to compare competing sites.
- SEO Quake – A free browser add-on that I use occasionally to conveniently analyze sites in Google for metrics such as backlinks, ranking, social shares etc.
- Ahrefs – The tool I use to analyze, in detail, the backlink profile of any site. There are free and paid versions available.
- Aweber – The most popular email list service in the world and for good reason.
- Mailchimp – Another good email list service that I’ve used. It’s free for your first 2000 subscribers.
- Google Adsense – Earn money by placing these targeted ads on your site whenever visitors click on them. I use these ads sparingly on some of my sites to supplement my income.
- Google Adwords – This is where you buy paid traffic AKA ads in Google. I’d only suggest this for certain types of businesses.
- Facebook Ads – Advertising on Facebook is one of the best ways to grow an audience these days in a vast range of niches.
Images and Graphics
- iStockphoto – This is where I get a lot of quality stock photos to use for my businesses.
- FreeImages.com – A decent selection of quality free images you can use on your site.
- PicJumbo – Another place to look for free images.
- Canva – A game-changing free tool that makes creating high quality images, logos, text, and other graphic elements very easy.
Outsourcing / Virtual Assistants
- Elance – A great marketplace to find freelancers for any type of online task imaginable.
- Upwork– Another excellent place similar to Elance to find good freelancers (formerly known as Odesk).
- Fiverr – A handy site where you can get all sorts of odd-jobs done for only 5 bucks. You can find some great deals here, but of course due to the low price there are many offers you want to avoid because the quality won’t be that great.
- 99 Designs – Another good place to get quality designs done. They have an interesting concept that works well – you tell them what you’re after, and then a bunch of talented designers will create your design within a certain period of time. You then you pick the one that you like.
My Favourite Business YouTube Channels
- Gary Vaynerchuck – A wealth of knowledge regarding online business, especially when it comes to social media marketing and all things tech. Entertaining to watch and he has a no BS “tough love” approach which energizes and motivates me.
- Tai Lopez – Tai shares a ton of very insightful ideas on business and life and he walks the walk. I’ve also bought his “67 steps” program and it’s great – highly recommended.
- Stefan Pylarinos – Another great source of inspiration and knowledge, Stefan is a successful blogger, internet marketer and life coach who shares a lot of gold regarding online business and also all other aspects of life. He’s genuine and transparent which I love.
My Favourite Business Podcasts
The Tim Ferriss Show – Another excellent podcast I listen to that doesn’t just include online business but all aspects of life. Tim brings on some very interesting high-level guests too.
Business Books for Beginners
- The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich – The book that started the whole “lifestyle design” movement by Tim Ferris that has some good ideas on productivity and inspiration on pursuing the laptop lifestyle of freedom. Don’t take the title too literally though – don’t expect to build a successful business with a 4 hour work week.
- Think and Grow Rich – An all-time classic that will instill in you the mindset needed to achieve success as an entrepreneur. I’ve read it multiple times and will continue to do so because it is truly powerful.
- The Millionaire Fastlane: Crack the Code to Wealth and Live Rich for a Lifetime. – Don’t be fooled by the kinda get-rich-quick scammy title – it’s a great book with a lot of solid ideas and advice from a guy who walks the walk and has achieved success with online business.
- Secrets of the Millionaire Mind: Mastering the Inner Game of Wealth – A small gem that covers what it really takes to become successful in business and in life from Harv Eker who is a popular life coach and entrepreneur. It’s all about mindset which is key.
- Rich Dad Poor Dad: What The Rich Teach Their Kids About Money That the Poor and Middle Class Do Not! – A classic on personal finances and how to actually build wealth that initially changed my thinking many years ago when I first read it.
Other Valuable Blogs
- Quick Sprout – This is Neil Patel’s marketing blog which is a goldmine of actionable, data-backed information on growing online businesses. The guy knows what he’s talking about and I’ve learned a lot from him.
- Niche Pursuits – A good source of knowledge on building profitable sites written by Spencer Haws who has also been building niche sites for a long time and is the creator of the great keyword research tool Long Tail Pro.
- Entrepreneurs Journey – Yaro Starak’s blog which I’ve also learned a lot from. He also has a valuable podcast where he interviews online entrepreneurs in all sorts of industries and reveals some of their secrets.
- Freedom Business Blog – The blog of Timothy Marc, a fellow Australian online entrepreneur who has done very well for himself and shares a lot of great stuff about living the “freedom lifestyle of freedom fun and adventure” as he loves to say. I’m part of his private mastermind group, the Secret Society Mastermind, which has been a worthwhile investment and something I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to beginners and experienced entrepreneurs alike.
- WP Beginner – A quality goldmine of information on WordPress that has helped me quite often over the years.