Online Marketing Tools For a Small Business
If you’re a blogger, affiliate marketer, or small online business owner of any type, you know you need tools that’ll help you grow and earn more money. Any type of online business needs certain tools. There’s no getting away from it. With that said, which tools should you be using? Which tools should you NOT be using?
There are so many to choose from and it’s hard to work out what’s best for you. That being said, I have a list of recommended tools that I use daily and they might be just what you need.
First of all, you should have a website. Think of a website as the central hub of your online business. Because that’s exactly what it is. And then you need hosting for that website. That website needs somewhere to live, so to speak. Somewhere it can be stored on the internet. How about a theme for your website?
A theme is important. You can get lots of free themes (but they’re very basic, cumbersome, not very pretty and can be slow to load for your visitors.) And then of course there are plugins for the website. I use WordPress because it’s super simple (and actually good fun) to use.
There are oodles of plugins for a WordPress website these days. Thousands if not 10s of thousands. Many are free. Many are “freemium”, meaning you have to pay to get access to the full features of the plugin.
Once you have your website, your hosting and your theme and plugins installed, there’s other things that’ll help you grow and scale your online business. And there are of course plenty of tools to help you do this. Then we have a plethora of email marketing tools, which you may know are called autoresponders. They’re the cool things that allow you to make money while you sleep.
And there are lots of other resources like social media marketing tools. There are tools that help you convert visitors into subscribers and buyers. There’s probably about a thousand new tools released on the internet every day. But don’t get shiny object syndrome, because you only need a handful of tools if you want to be successful.
In fact, I recommend the fewer tools you’re using, the better for you it will be. Let me explain what I mean by that.
More tools = more learning = more stress = lost time = less work completed = less revenue.
If you have too many tools that you have to learn then you’re going to be losing a lot of time by learning them and implementing them in your business. Avoid this deadly mistake and your efforts will pay off sooner. I know we all like to try out new tools because they’re the latest thing, but really, you’re shooting yourself in the foot if you go overboard.
So if you’re ready, I’m going to give you a list of tools I recommend you use and to stick with them to make your life simpler in the long run. All of the tools I'm listing are ones that I currently use and stand by 100%.
My List of The Best Online Marketing Tools For a Small Business
First on my list of tools and resources is my top recommendation. If there is only ONE THING in this list that you were to choose, I would recommend this one above all else. That's because you'll get more out of it because there are multiple facets to it.
You need a domain.
You need an easy website builder.
You need somewhere to host your website.
You need to learn affiliate marketing! (this is how you make money blogging)
And you need a keyword research tool to help you target the right keywords and get traffic from the search engines.
You'll need help and advice from other entrepreneurs who're on the same journey as you.
What if you could combine all of the above in one place to get the best bang for your buck?
There are only two ways you can go about this. You can choose the hard way and pay a lot more while struggling...or you can choose the easy, more affordable way.
You can buy combined and save some money. Maybe a lot of money! Or, you can buy separately and pay top dollar for each thing then end up trying to stitch everything together. I know which option I'd rather take.
Hands Down My Top Recommended Tool: Wealthy Affiliate
Option 1 is what I will tell you about first, because it will save you money. Option 1 is also better because you can also get the training that’s necessary to help you earn money online. This option combines a website builder (which is WordPress by the way) and hosting included. It also includes tools and an entrepreneurs community.
Lots of people from all over the world, different ages, levels of experience and skillsets. All there to tap into when you need them most. So you're going to get trained up, website hosting and a website builder thrown in, plus a keyword tool to help you get ranked and also a community full of like-minded people.
As I mentioned, this option also allows you to learn how to earn online with the affiliate marketing method. Simply put, you learn how to blog for profits. Blogging on a website you own is the best way to suck in visitors to your website from Google and Bing and also from social media channels like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Back in 2014 when I first started out as a blogger I didn’t know where to begin. I bought a domain name and got shared hosting. That shared hosting was not good at all. I won't mention the name of the company here though...let's just say I found far better afterwards.
Then in mid-2015 I found my better option, the one above where you get hosting, a website, training and keyword tool access. It was a no-brainer to me to get in there. There was a free membership option (with limitations of course) so that I could take it for a test drive first before parting with my hard-earned cash.
What is this solution that I’m blabbering on about? It’s called “Wealthy Affiliate” and it’s an awesome platform for internet entrepreneurs like you and myself. Wealthy Affiliate is where I learned to make my first ever dollar online. And it's where I learned to make every dollar since. Their training works extremely well.
I highly recommend you join for free through my link because I’ve got a lot I want to teach you and show you.
Now, what was that “buy separate” option I mentioned?
Well, you could, if you wanted, buy a domain and hosting separately. There are oodles of places to buy domains like namecheap which is one of my preferred places. Then you’d have to go somewhere else and get your site hosted there. A domain shouldn’t cost much more than $15 per year (cheap as chips, right?)
Hosting will be a little bit more expensive than that, though. You can expect to pay anywhere from $5 a month for cheap hosting or you could end up paying to $25 a month or more, depending on what type of hosting you want. You get what you pay for. It's just like when you buy a car or a house.
If you’re really serious about your online business and you want decent “managed” WordPress hosting then I would highly recommend “WPX Hosting”, which for me has been incredible for over 2 years. The support there is practically instant, and they know their stuff. I’ve never encountered a problem they cannot fix in a few minutes. And those problems? 10 times out of 10 I was the dummy who caused them. Not to worry, they had my back.
Check out WPX Hosting here and put yourself in their hands. By the way, you can now also buy domains at WPX, which is cool because you don’t have to migrate your domain from namecheap which can be a pain in the butt if you’re a beginner. And WPX will help you migrate if that’s the route you want to go. Personally, to save the bother, I just buy my domains now at WPX and they appear instantly in my WPX Hosting account and then I can install a fresh installation of WordPress on there. I’m up and running with a brand new website in minutes.
There’s a cheaper option for hosting that you could use, such as Bluehost. It is shared hosting, not as good as WPX though, because WPX is dedicated. That's because dedicated hosting doesn’t have too many domains crammed on to the same servers as with shared hosting. Shared hosting can be hit and miss.
Okay, so now we’ve got domains and hosting sorted, what's next?
Well, with a WordPress website you need to install a theme. A free theme is good enough for most people and you shouldn’t fall into the trap of believing a premium theme is essential. I used a free theme for over a year before I went for a better, premium theme with more features and faster loading speeds.
My premium themes provider of choice for the last 2 years has been Thrive Themes Membership.
I have access to 10 themes and 10 plugins and I can use them on all of my websites. It’s a better option for me because I have more than one site. However, at Thrive Themes you can buy individual themes and plugins if that’s what you want to do.
This site is running on Thrive. It’s super easy to use and believe me, I went through hundreds of free themes and about 10 of the other so-called “best” premium themes until I found Thrive. The only Theme provider I recommend now is Thrive Themes. It’s the easiest to use and the fastest to learn and has all the bells and whistles you need without too much useless fluff.
Make sure you take a good look at all the super useful plugins, too, as they will help your online business in terms of conversions and split testing. 2 of my favorite plugins are Architect and Thrive Leads. Architect is a page builder which makes beautiful landing pages and Thrive Leads is used for collection of email addresses from your website visitors.
Another essential tool for online businesses is an autoresponder. As with most tools, there are a gazillion, some good, some okay and some that rock. I can recommend only 2 that I use, but you only need to choose one. First, because it’s slightly cheaper to get started with, is Aweber. This is the email marketing tool I first tried because it was affordable, fairly easy to use and one of the better known ones.
Don't get me wrong, I like Aweber a lot, simply because it’s the first autoresponder I ever tried. But there’s another one, which is a little more expensive than Aweber, and that one is called Convertkit. It has many more features than Aweber, and to be honest, if I’d not tried Aweber when I first got into email marketing a couple or three years ago, I would have made it my first choice.
Sure, I’d have been paying slightly more for Convertkit than I did with Aweber but I am sure also that I’d have made my money back on the autoresponder far sooner because of all the easy to use features with convertkit. Convertkit has so many useful features that quite frankly, Aweber is lacking.
Aweber used to be one of the top autoresponders and has been going a couple of decades as of now. However, it’s not quite innovated like the newer autoresponders on the market. They’ve gone a little stale, but for the money, they’re an okay option when you’re starting out.
If I had a time machine I’d go back 3 years and get straight into Convertkit. This way I wouldn’t have had to learn Aweber then learn Convertkit. I’d have saved myself time and effort in the long run.
You can give Aweber a test drive using the link below.
or you can trial Convertkit using the link below
Next on my essentials tools list is Clickfunnels.
While most of the stuff you can do in Clickfunnels can be put together in Thrive Themes, it’s nice to have a tool that saves time and effort in doing the same things. Clickfunnels is a funnel creation software that makes creating sales funnels for your online business more of a breeze. For example, I can put together a sales funnel in Clickfunnels in less than 30 minutes. But with Thrive, it can take a few hours.
I still highly recommend both of them if you can add them to your tool belt. They’ll work hand in hand with each other. Use your blog to gain traffic from search engines and other sources and drive your visitors to your funnels, be they on your own website or through Clickfunnels.
Not so much tools, the next ones, but very useful to anyone wanting to earn more money online.
Russell Brunson has two amazing books that’ll help you a great deal with your online business efforts.
DotCom Secrets and Expert Secrets Books.
These two books will change the way you go about your business in so many ways it’s not even funny. After reading them a couple of times you’ll be kicking yourself for all the things you’ve been doing wrong. You’ll slap yourself senseless! And I do recommend you read them several times. Things will make so much more sense when you do.
By the way, these books are physical books and you'll see them on Amazon for around $19.95 each. Get them for free using the buttons above and just pay shipping & handling.
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