This page contains links to all the stuff I like to use. I add to it when I try new things that I like, and remove things if I stop using them. Some of these links are affiliate links so if you want to help me out, you can go through them when you buy. If not, no worries! I still hope that this page helps you in one way or another.

Hosting

  • Bluehost: I trust these guys and use them for all of my sites except one (it’s on a dedicated server). They have 24/7 customer service via phone or chat. For your first site, I would definitely use them.
  • Rackspace Cloud: I have a site that’s too big for Bluehost, and I host it on Rackspace. This host is really fast and handles everything we can throw at it. If you’re outgrowing your first hosting account, I recommend using them.

Blogging

  • WordPress: It’s the best. Seriously. Even if you’re starting your first site, use it. Most web hosts make it super easy to set up.
  • Blogger: I am still using Blogger on some of my niche blogs. Would I use it for my first site? No way. It’s too hard to work with and ultimately will hold you back. I mostly use Blogger for test blogs.
  • Thesis: This site runs on Thesis so I am obviously a fan. It’s a fast framework and it doesn’t break.

Keyword Research

  • Google Adwords Tool: This is a great tool for checking out keywords. I use it mainly to see the number of searches keywords get each month. I highly recommend looking at keywords before you hit publish on your blog post.

Guest Blogging

  • PostRunner: The best platform for finding sites to guest post on. You pick a site to send a guest post to, create the post, and send it away. If the site you picked doesn’t want the post, you can make two clicks and send it to someone else. Very streamlined.

Blogging Courses I’ve Taken

  • Become A Blogger: I took this course because the guy who runs it (Leslie Samuel) is completely infectious. He has an awesome personality and I just wanted to see what he had to offer. I really enjoyed it. My favorite part of this course was the ‘Harder But More Effective Ways Of Getting A Flood Of Traffic in the Traffic Generation module.

Design

  • 99 Designs: I’ve used this service twice to get uniquely designed themes for my WordPress sites. Many different designers create concepts and you provide feedback on them. In the end, you pick the one you like the most. I think I had 77 concepts the last time I used it.
  • OnlineJobs.ph: I used this site to hire a full time graphic designer from the Philippines. He designs my book covers, post-header graphics, and pretty much everything else. He’s the man and worth every penny.

Images

  • iStock: I use iStock to get images for many of my posts. My graphic designer also uses them to get the stock images that he uses in the designs he does for me.

Email

  • Mail Chimp: Until you have 2,000 subscribers, Mail Chimp is free. Because of that, it’s a great place to start. I use them on my biggest campaigns and get awesome deliverability. Highly recommended.
  • Optin Skin: I use this to design custom opt-in forms, like the one you can see on my Blog Post SEO Checklist page. For me, using the tool makes it much easier than hard-coding the form from scratch.

Book Covers

  • PSDCovers.com: This wonderful site gives you free actions that you can use in Photoshop to create 3D book covers out of 2D images. I used HARDCOVER003 to create the 3D image that I use for my SEO For Creative Bloggers™ e-book.
  • OnlineJobs.ph: My full-time graphic designer does the design work on my book covers. I found him on this site and honestly couldn’t be happier with his work.

Kindle Book Creation And Formatting

I am in the process of creating my first book that’s going to be published on the Amazon Kindle. The book is already written and is almost ready to go on Amazon. I’m stoked with how it turned out. These are the tools I used to create the book:

  • Pages for Mac: I love how easy it is to design professional-looking books in Pages. I found a couple fonts that I really liked and Pages did the rest of the heavy lifting. I also published the book as a free PDF download so if you’re interested in looking at it, you can read it here: SEO For Creative Bloggers™. With pages you can export directly to a PDF file.
  • Lis’s Kindle Formatting Service: ‘Lissie’ is a friend of mine and when I decided that I didn’t want to format my book myself, I turned to her. I saved a .doc version in Pages and sent it to Lis. She did super-professional formatting and had it back to me in literally one day. The cost of her service depends on the size of your book. It cost me about $50 – well worth not having to do it myself.

Kindle Consulting

Right now I’m working on learning how the Kindle platform works so I can sell as many books as possible. I’m a huge believer in talking to people who are already successful in the areas I’m trying to learn.

  • Lee Mellott has been super helpful in learning this process. If you are interested in increasing your Kindle book sales or want to learn how to market using the platform, I would highly recommend talking to her. She has sold a LOT of Kindle books, has a reasonable hourly rate, and is one of the most helpful people I’ve come across: leemellott@ymail.com.