I’ve been getting a lot of questions about the tools I use to run my online business, so I decided to gather everything in one place and create this resource page.
Below you’ll find the tools that I use, have used, or highly recommend for people wanting to take the same path as I have.
Note: many of the links below are affiliate links, which means I get a small commission if you buy. However, I do not make any recommendations just to make money. These are services I use and love, and would recommend even without an affiliate link.
How to Start a Blog Guide: If you’re completely new to blogging, and want to get started, I recommend you read this guide. You’ll learn everything you need to get a blog up and running, and avoid some costly mistakes.
WordPress: This blog runs on WordPress, which has always been very smooth. I don’t love the technical stuff, but wordpress is the best out there when it comes to blogging.
Thesis: I use the Thesis theme for WordPress on most of my sites. It’s a fantastic theme, but I don’t use it on Wake Up Cloud. I use Genesis.
Genesis: The Genesis Framework is created by the folks over at StudioPress. It’s the premium theme I use and recommend to my clients, because they have a lot of great templates (child themes) to choose from that will make your site look professional.
Charfish Design: Charlie from Charfish Design is the guy I go to for most of my design work. He designed the cover for Passionate Living (he also did the header image on that page). He also designed Wake Up Cloud.
WP Unboxed: Wake Up Cloud runs on WP Unboxed. They keep your site updated, backed up and safe from hackers. They also help get your blog up and running with a premium WordPress theme to boot. It’s the best way to get a good looking site, fast.
Web Hosting Hub: Web Hosting Hub is what I use to host many of my sites, and it’s what I recommend to my customers and clients. They have great support, great uptime, and I’ve gotten a special discount for Wake Up Cloud readers, so if you’re just starting out, check them out.
HostGator (Get 30% OFF with Coupon: WAKEUP30): A great host if you want to pay monthly. They’ve had some problems in the past, but they’re still a great option. I have multiple sites hosted on HostGator, and I personally am happy with their service.
Long Tail Pro ($20 OFF Link): It doesn’t matter whether you’re building a niche site, or an authority blog, finding the right keywords can help you get found, build an audience, and bring in more income. I’ve used many different keyword tools in the past, but I’ve settled on one that I truly like, which is Long Tail Pro. It’s easy to use, fast, and gets the job done. If you go through my link, you get a sweet discount. You can also grab a free 10-day trial to test it out.
Aweber: The best e-mail list service available on the planet today. If there’s anything you need when starting out, it’s an e-mail list. Don’t put it off or you will regret it. You can read more about email marketing here.
Payment Processors & Shopping Carts
FastSpring: This is what I currently use to accept payments and sell all of my products. FastSpring is primarily focused on software, so I don’t know if they are accepting new people that aren’t involved in software.
E-Junkie: E-Junkie is a great, simple shopping cart. They give you a free trial and then it’s only $5/month. It integrates seamlessly with your PayPal account.
PayPal: PayPal also allows you to accept payments and act as a shopping cart, so there are many ways you can go with this.
ClickBank: Last, but not least, ClickBank is great if you plan to work with affiliates. They take a bigger cut out of your earnings, but they handle and pay affiliates.
iStockPhoto: I use iStockPhoto to get pictures when I really need high-quality images, such as for ebooks or other important pages on my posts. They are excellent, but somewhat expensive if you’re just starting out.
Fotolia: This is another great place to get high-quality stock photos. Fotolia is somewhat cheaper compared to iStockPhoto, so might be worth a look.
SXC: You can find a lot of free stock images over at sxc.hu. I’ve found that it’s a bit more difficult to find images at sxc than flickr creative commons, but I’ve found some great pictures there.
Flickr Creative Commons: Flickr has a huge community of photographers, and if you filter for Creative Commons, which means you can use the pictures on your blog, you’ll get more than enough to choose from. This is what I use for 99% of my blog posts.
Power of Now: The book that found me in Thailand, and that practically changed my life. If you only read one book in your life, let it be this one. I’ve already read it 5 times.
Way of the Peaceful Warrior: An excellent novel that introduces spirituality in a naturally appealing way. I loved it, and so did my girlfriend!
Accidental Genius: Use your writing to generate your best ideas, insight, and content. This is the bible of freewriting, and I highly recommend it if you are having trouble getting your writing to flow.
The Magic of Thinking Big: I love this book. It talks about the way you need to think to become successful. It’s simple, yet profound. Recommended reading for any budding entrepreneur.
If you feel there’s something I’ve missed, or if you have any questions about the above services, please do send me an e-mail.