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Domains, Hosting and Email
Let's start with the basics to get your domain, website and email up & running
Essential WordPress Plugins
Some of my favorite WordPress plugins for creating websites that sell. Themes, membership sites, affiliate marketing, SEO, caching ... (see Other Cool Stuff at the page bottom for more).
This fully functional affiliate program comes free with the MemberPress membership plugin, so you can reward affiliates for promoting your products and services. It's straightforward to use too.
Stop comment spam on your WordPress website in its tracks. Has a small monthly fee.
If you have a WordPress website, you need this plugin and theme! Forget Studiopress. Forget Thesis. Forget Thrive Themes. They're all good, but can't touch the Beaver! JFDI.
The problem with playing video's on your website is that the call to action is usually somewhere else. With ConvertPlayer the call to action is controlled by you on the video. It's awesome!
If you need a contact form (++), I've found Gravity Forms to be the most reliable way to capture user input and populate it where ever you need it - like your Marketing Automation system.
If you plan on content upgrades, digital courses or any type of membership system, Memberpress is the best I've found so far - in fact, I'd go so far as to say it's awesome, especially when you get Affiliate Royale for free too.
Website load speed is an issue that Big G is focusing on, especially mobile load speed. W3 Total Cache increases load speed and comes free with Websynthesis web hosting plans.
The Yoast premium SEO plugin is a MUST HAVE for any website that wants to get ranked highly by search engines.
Marketing & Automation
Is your campaign profitable? Sure?
Marketing and automation tools are at the heart of every lead generation campaign and launch strategy, here's a list of some of the main ones I use.
In my opinion the best Email Service Provider (ESP) on the market today. It has some basic CRM functionality too. Integrates with most other products including MemberPress. Don't forget the Chrome extension.
If you're planning any type of SEO, you'll be needing ahrefs to research keywords, competitors, and backlinks. It's an essential piece of SEO kit.
Don't waste time jumping between different SEO tools. BrightLocal has all your Local SEO reporting and citation needs covered in one package! Free 14-Day trial too.
Once you start planning your social media campaigns, Buffer is a great tool to help you schedule and manage your content calendars. In fact, without a tool like Buffer, you're really going to struggle.
I know, it's pricey, but if you gotta have webinars, make sure you use one which is reliable and has solid tech behind it, not one that's been created by a marketer in his back room!
Grammarly is working away now as I write this. If you are going to be writing content for your website, it pays to get the basics write ... I mean right 😉
Grasshopper lets us entrepreneurs take a call anywhere with a single number that follows you where ever you are. Redirect calls to your mobile phone when you are traveling, or the office phone when you are static.
Big G's Frankenstein creation. It's big and it's ugly, but you need it, boy do you need it. Learn it, learn it some more, then some more again.
It's the cheaper alternative to Zen help desk. As you start growing, you'll be needing customer support helpdesk to capture all your customer interactions, no matter what channel they use. Integrates with Olark and Grasshopper.
Who says you need a website? Maybe you just need a Squeeze Page? With Leadpages, an email service provider like ActiveCampaign, and a good product or service, you can pretty much rule.
More than chat. Find out what your visitors are looking at and what's in their shopping cart. Yes, big brother is definitely watching you. You'll want a Trillian account for your smartphone to take website chats on the move too.
OptinMonster is one of my favorite pop-ups, but just don't go mad with it, especially on mobile devices. Word has it Big G is going to start penalizing websites on mobile with in-your-face pop-ups. Be warned.
Create interactive calculators and viral quizzes with OutGrow and start growing your leads exponentially when you integrate them with a social media ad campaign from Facebook!
Pretty Link Pro is a Plugin for WordPress that will enable you to shrink, cloak, track, organize, share and test all of your links on your own domain and server. It's awesome!
Used sparingly, this is a great way to get timely message directly to your website subscribers. Like I said when used sparingly. If you go mad with this technology, you'll soon find out what it's like to be Bobby or Belinda no mates.
Maybe you've already used ScheduleOnce on my website to organize a call? If you take bookings for your services then ScheduleOnce is a prayer answered! (the only issue is I wish it were a tad faster).
Rankings, backlinks, link-building outreach, on-page SEO. 4 desktop SEO tools and 4x the power! If you are serious about SEO, it's a must.
Drive more leads. Convert them to sales. Optimize your marketing. The rock that I build all my website and email Marketing Automations on. It's powerful. Affordable. For Everyone.
Sumo just seems to get better and better - there're more tools in here than an electrician's toolbox. From welcome mat's to pop-ups to heat maps, it seems to have every angle covered. Just use the pop-ups sparingly.
Typeform is a great find. If you want to survey or quiz your customers in style, try Typeform. SurveyMonkey is soo naughties.
If you're doing Local SEO of any kind, Whitespark are great people to know. With a range of services from citation builder to local rank tracking, they are the number 1 place to go.
Managing AdWords, Bing and Facebook PPC campaigns can be a real pain in the b**t unless you are dedicated, or can afford someone on it for you. Wordstream, takes the pain away by automating and customizing campaigns for you. You'll know when you need it.
Connecting your marketing stack of apps and services together used to mean expensive development time. These days there's Zapier. You'll be pleasantly surprised how many apps and services have interfaces to workflow between.
Graphics & Sound
No digital marketing resources list would be complete without image editing, video screen recording, stock photo's, and stock audio ... Everything you need to put on a great show.
Want something designed and the attention of 25 designers? This is the place to go.
Need a background music track for your latest training video? Here's where you'll find it.
Great set of image manipulation tools for making your social media or blog images pop. Mac only.
Need a bespoke music sting for your next Podcast or video? Here's where the best go to get theirs made.
If you need a book cover fast, like for an eBook lead magnet, MyECoverMaker might just be able to sort you out, provided it doesn't crash, which it does, frequently, but even then ...
A core part of my image processing workflow to squeeze every last excess bit out of images before uploading them to my website. If you have a Mac, this is the bomb and amazingly, it's free.
If Photoshop's complexity gets you down, try Pixelmator. It costs less, has less functionality and takes less time to master. Believe me, all three of those things are good! I use it almost every day for resizing images for posts. You'll need a Mac.
Stock photo's for every day. Nothing more to say really.
Awesome screen video recording. If you are in the business of making digital products, like courses, this is the app to buy. It's a breeze to use too compared to many other video editing products.
I must use this app 100x a day, maybe more when I'm creating anything that requires screen shot clips. It's my go-to app for screen capture.
Chrome Browser Extensions
You don't use Chrome? See what you are missing out on with these time saving extensions ...
You'll need the ActiveCampaign email service for this to work.
You'll need a Buffer subscription for this to work. It's worth it.
Buzzsumo is a great tool for checking out what content is working and the influencers that are amplifying it. Even a free Buzzsumo account will give you some insights.
I love this extension! Download it and run it on this page. If you find a broken or invalid link, let me know! Also, great for broken link building SEO strategies.
Like the colors on some other businesses web page? Get ColorZilla to find out precisely what they are. I use this extension a lot.
Gives you information about your Facebook Pixel, like whether it's working or not. Useful if you are remarketing via Facebook to check everything is working.
Checks everything I do as I write it in the browser, it's impressive (not that it or I'm right all the time mind you). You'll need a Grammarly account of course.
Great for checking to see if the website you are on is legit or not. Tells you whether there's Malware, Phishing or it's got a valid SSL. Download it and check out this site ... clean as a whistle!
Big G's analytics extension, gives you instant online page analytics. Need I say anymore?
Quickly loads the Sumo app. You'll need a Sumo account.
Add various web developer tools to the browser, from code inspectors to on-page rulers and guidelines, an essential extension for the developer and designer.
Man! I must use this extension 100 times a day when I'm researching a new website checking out what font everyone else is using!
Other Cool Stuff
More plugins, tools, marketing books, platforms, and services.
More WordPress Plugins:
Don't settle for a single sidebar for your whole site when you can tailor a targetted one for each blog post, making your lead magnets super-conversion focused.
If you're using MemberPress membership plugin, you'll be needing this too. it's getting a bit old now. Let's hope the author keeps working on it!
It's amazing how the smallest things can be the biggest time savers. This plugin provides a button to duplicate a blog post. Sounds simple, until you realize standard WordPress doesn't have that functionality. Great for generating test data.
If you are planning an Amazon affiliate website, this plugin is essential. It localizes affiliate links so visitors from around the world get directed to the right Amazon store to buy (and you get the commission).
Think moving your website to SSL is just about buying a certificate and getting it installed on your server hosting? Think again! Especially if your website has been around a while. Rumors of Big G making SSL a ranking factor means you might want to take the plunge - if you do, this plugin may help.
When you start writing your epic 3,000-word blog posts (cornerstones, 10x content, power pages) to rank highly in Google, you'll be needing an auto-generated table of contents, won't you?
The Wordfence plugin stops your website getting hacked through its firewalls, scanning software and blocked intrusion attempts.
Platforms and Services:
Executive summaries (in text and audio) of 1000's of the world's most important business books ever written. If you want to read 4 books a day, this is the way to do it.
McAfee SECURE certification increases sales and conversions by reminding visitors that your site is part of the SECURE web from search to sale. Noticed the M badge at the bottom right of this web page?
Shopify is the 800lb gorilla of e-commerce. It doesn't matter what size your shop is, Shopify can handle it. It has a thriving development community too. If you're selling B2C this is the solution.
Use this website to find out whether your web page is secure (even though you installed the SSL certificate ... doh!).
If you're a CSS hacker (like me) or end up inspecting CSS elements then copying and pasting them somewhere else, this CSS Beautifier can be a God-send.
Style and then automatically create the CSS for buttons for your website.
Design great looking buttons for your next email campaign.
Business of Belief
"Belief is what humans do. Our personal beliefs define our choices, shape our lives and, collectively, determine our futures. Nothing is more important than belief".
The Copywriter's Handbook
From headlines to body text, if you need your website to sell, you need copywriting skills. This is my go-to book to learn from.
The Hero with a Thousand Faces
If you want to know where "story marketing" originated, it was with this book. JC discovered mankind's global mono-myth and the rest is history.
Cialdini's masterpiece is awesome and not surprisingly the basis for just about every digital marketing campaign ever implemented.
Although this is a serious book, I found it absolutely hilarious reading because I've worked with these types of characters in the past. Having said that, if you need to pitch for money, there's some good advice here.
Principles of Marketing
If you want to know everything there is to know about marketing, this 700+ page book is the perfect bedtime reading! Great if you're a digital marketer (without having ever studied the "marketer" bit).