In my opinion, I think you could–simply because I do not doubt the unlimited potential of the human mind–however, I don’t think most people would.
On the other hand, give someone the tools necessary, or the right coach/mentor and they can build and learn just about anything. The same goes for building an online business.
With the right tools and the right mentor or guide, you can build a successful online business. I know this has been true for me. And, so I’ve put this page together to display a list of the people, books, and tools that have helped me get to where I am.
Some of the links on this page are, in fact, affiliate links where if you click on them and purchase the product or service, I will earn a commission for that sale. However, I make no recommendation without first trying a product or service and none of the links below will cost you anything extra.
If you’re just getting started in your pursuit of creating a successful online business, then you don’t need to go all out and spend a ton of money per month on your website hosting. Because of this, for new sites I recommend that you use a cheap hosting service to minimize your initial startup costs. Once your business grows, then you can definitely look into upgrading to a dedicated server for your site(s).
HostGator: HostGator is one of the more popular hosting companies out there. And, it is the hosting company I originally started with. While HostGator isn’t without its issues, they have incredibly cheap hosting plans that start as low as ~$5 per month. They also offer 1-click WordPress installation which makes setting up your site/blog incredibly easy. I’ve also found their customer service to be excellent, especially since I can get on a live chat with them within 2-3 minutes. Ultimately, you can use HostGator until your business grows to the point to where it makes sense to spend more on hosting.
BlueHost: While I am much more familiar with HostGator and it’s platform, if it wasn’t for the fact that I started with HostGator and am more comfortable with their setup, I would probably tell you to flip a coin between them and BlueHost for your hosting provider. Again, if you’re just starting up there is no need to pay for a high-end hosting service as a cheap plan from HostGator or BlueHost will give you everything you need to get up and running.
Synthesis: When my online business started to grow and I needed to look elsewhere for better hosting, I went with Synthesis hosting and I am still using them today. Synthesis offers dedicated hosting for WordPress sites and delivers incredible site performance, enhanced security, built-in SEO features, and incredible customer support. Synthesis was created by people who have been successful online and have done so with WordPress sites… so it is no surprise to see that they have one of the best WordPress-dedicated hosting services on the market.
Website Design and Themes
You wouldn’t show up to an important business meaning in your sweat pants and a cut-off t-shirt you’ve had for 15 years, would you? Okay, don’t answer that… Just as your personal appearance determines what kind of impression you create on the people you meet, so, too, does the appearance create an impression on your website visitors. Having a professional-looking website design is a huge factor in whether or not people will want to buy what you are selling. These are some of the website themes, frameworks, and sites I recommend looking into when choosing a design for your website.
StudioPress: StudioPress is under the same banner as Synthesis hosting and so, just like their hosting services, their WordPress themes are top-notch. All of their themes are built on the Genesis framework which is one of the most secure and SEO-friendly frameworks available. I personally use the Genesis Framework and a few of the premium StudioPress themes running on my website and I vouch for the quality of their products and services.
WordPress Free Theme Directory: Browse through a bunch of free themes. Alternatively, you can go into your WordPress Dashboard, then go to Appearance > Themes > Add New and that will take you to the same directory of free themes.
Elegant Themes: With Elegant Themes you pay a yearly price (unless you choose the Developer option) to access their 87 different themes and plugins. They have a few different pricing plans and their themes and plugins are definitely worth the price.
Themify: Themify is similar to Elegant Themes in that they offer unlimited access to all of their themes and plugins for a yearly price. A lot of good themes here as well. They also have free themes you can browse through.
ThemeForest: ThemeForest is like an online market place for themes. They have a ton of different WordPress themes that you can choose between all ranging in price.
One of the things that significantly sets WordPress apart from its competitors is its large offering of helpful plugins. With plugins even the most technology-challenged person can turn their blog into a high-functioning website. While there are many plugins out there that are both free and paid, there are a few plugins that are essential to my online business. They are listed below…
WordPress SEO: WordPress SEO by Yoast is easily the best SEO plugin for WordPress that you can find. The plugin will create XML sitemaps for you (which are essential to help Google crawl your site), allow you to add custom post titles, add meta descriptions, and add meta keywords. It also will help you integrate your site with your social media profiles so that you can use OpenGraph data to display the correct information to Facebook. And, you can use it to setup Twitter cards for your site as well. Ultimately, I use this plugin on every site I run.
W3 Total Cache: Page speed has become a huge ranking factor for Google and perhaps no plugin can increase your site’s speed and performance more than W3 Total Cache. It’s a caching and optimization plugin that helps your site load faster and perform better. If you aren’t using it now, you should be!
SumoMe: SumoMe has quickly become one of the most popular WordPress plugins among internet marketers and rightly so. It’s designed to help you grow your website traffic by offering you a number of amazing tools, including a number of high-converting email opt-in options, better social sharing, heatmaps and analytical tools, and a bunch more. A lot of their tools are free and they also offer more powerful versions of those tools for premium subscribers. If you’re trying to build an email list, you absolutely need SumoMe.
Guides, Courses, and Helpful Websites
Neil Patel’s Guides: Neil Patel is easily one of the best internet marketing gurus. And, his content is both helpful and thorough. He has a ton of content on his site aimed at beginners and veterans alike. Some of his popular guides are his Beginner’s Guide to Online Marketing, The Advanced Guide to SEO, The Advanced Guide to Link Building, and The Complete Guide to Building Your Blog Audience. If you are ready to learn how to be successful building online businesses, then you should take advantage of Neil Patel and the free advice/content he offers.
Pat Flynn’s Guides: Another guru who has been a huge influence on me is Pat Flynn. Like Neil Patel, he has created a number of extensive guides that will help you with your online business. And, he has one of the highest rated internet marketing podcasts on the internet. Check out Smart Passive Income if you want some honest advice on how to take your online business to the next level.
Brian Dean’s Guides: If I want the latest information on what backlinking tactics are currently working, there is only one source I need: Backlinko. A lot of Brian Dean’s techniques revolve around creative outreach and networking campaigns designed to get you more backlinks. His advice on acquiring backlinks is not only sound now, but it will likely be so for the foreseeable future.
Proven Amazon Course: Earlier this year there was a ton of hooplah about a course called the Amazing Selling Machine that promised to teach you how to sell your own physical products on Amazon through the Amazon FBA program. The price of that course was thousands of dollars. I was skeptical. However, I stumbled onto the Proven Amazon Course, which taught many different variations of selling physical products on Amazon and ultimately helped me to launch two private label products that have been successful. And, it was all for a fraction of the cost… Ultimately, this course won’t fit everyone’s online goals, but if you’re looking into creating your own products and selling them on Amazon, this is definitely a much more economical and effective option than the alternative.
Having a big email list is to internet marketing what having the love and affection of every 13-year-old girl is to Justin Bieber. With a big email list, you can promote crappy products and services and someone will likely buy it. Now, that’s not my advice, but there is real power in having a huge email list… what you choose to do with it is on you. Below is the email marketing software I use to manage my newsletter.
Aweber: You have a few options when it comes to email auto-responders, including Aweber, MailChimp, and GetResponse. I personally use Aweber and it gets the job done for me. I have not used GetResponse and have only used MailChimp sparingly. I know there are those out there who swear by those services. And, I’m guessing that all of them have the basic features you need to run a newsletter. Ultimately, I use Aweber and I can vouch that it is easy-to-use and setup and will give you everything you need to build a newsletter.
This page is a work in progress. I will continue to add resources and tools to this page and reorganize it as necessary so that you always have an up-to-date and extensive list of items to help you along the way. I won’t post anything on here unless I have had first-hand experience of it.