In building a full time income online, I've gone through my share of trial, error and tribulations.
I've tried dozens of tools, systems and educational courses and find that 90% of the time they are complete rubbish. There are, however, a few tools and resources that I am still using to this day to build my business and this page is where you can learn what I use.
This page only contains the tools and software... If you are curious about the courses and educational resources I recommend, click here.
Full disclosure... The links below are most likely affiliate links, meaning I receive compensation if you click them and order. With that said, the only reason I am promoting these items is because these are the exact tools and resources I use to grow my business! You pay the same price, whether you sign up from my link or direct with the company.
Lets get to it...
The basics of growing your business online are simple. you need a website where you're able to publish great content that can attract visitors and also host your opt in pages and funnels.
For this you need web hosting, a theme, a landing page builder, and email service provider. advanced users who are selling their own products will need a shopping cart.
These are the tools I use and recommend:
WordPress is an open source content management system that allows you to build beautiful websites, blogs, e-commerce stores, marketing funnels, etc. To run your own WordPress site you need web hosting and a domain name which you can get here.
During checkout they offer some "upgrades" which are optional. You do not need any of the upgrades to get started and if you ever find that you need them, you can always send their support a quick email and add them on later. if you can afford turbo hosting, your site will be faster which is better… But if you can't afford it just go with the basic WordPress hosting which is going to get you started for as little as $5 per month!
Click here for a video that walks you through the process of getting started with WordPress hosting and your theme... Note their checkout options have changed a little bit since (you now get a free SSL!).
WordPress is a theme or template driven content management system that third-party developers are able to build on. You need a theme that has an active development team who will continue to make your themes secure an updated… While also creating the lead generation tools you need like the landing page builder.
There is only one theme I use and recommend on my websites and that is the full Thrive membership available here. you need the full membership because it includes the themes, the landing page builder (Architect) the optimize tool (for split testing) plus the quiz builder and the countdown timer and more…
for a video tutorial on how to get this theme up and running on your WordPress hosting, click here and watch this video.
Aweber is the must have an email autoresponder that allows you to easily build a list of prospects and customers. Plus, they must have a great relationship with the email service providers (like Gmail) so that your emails reach the inbox.
Aweber is the easiest to setup and most reliable autoresponder for new marketers. - Click here to get a 30 day free trial, now!
Once you have your email marketing system in place and you are ready to set up your autoresponder, watch this video for the step-by-step "how to" tutorial!
Whether you are growing your audience and business on the side while holding down a day job… Or you are full time with your online business... Time spent inside of the WordPress dashboard is time wasted that could be better allocated on other projects!
We are all limited by 24 hours in the day and hour traffic, audience growth, email list growth and ultimately revenue are based on how much high quality content we are creating and publishing. You can leverage the WPpublishPro team to manage the layout and publishing of the content that your writing.
This allows you to stay focused on writing, you send them your finished Google doc, answer a few quick questions and they handle all of the layout and design for you. You go right back to writing more great content that will attract more traffic and leads.
I personally use this team to publish all of my blog posts here at milesbeckler.com and personally have helped create the system, the dashboard, the training that this team of outsourcers have leveraged to become excellent at publishing.
When you are ready to start charging for access to your video courses, your e-books, coaching, etc.… You need a shopping cart and possibly a content delivery plug-in. What you need will vary based on your business and how advanced of a tool you desire.
Below I will list three options to cover the beginner options and expert options both.
The eStore plugin is the simplest shopping cart for WordPress that is completely beginner friendly and is a low cost one time fee!
You can sell digital products (and protect their download pages), you can sell virtual products (like coaching sessions) or even ongoing monthly membership products. You can also configure it to accept PayPal and credit cards both! They have several add-ons to this plug-in that allow it to perform advanced functions as needed, so it can grow with you and your business.
Melanie and I used this exact plug-in for many years in the early growth of our business and sold hundreds of thousands of dollars of PDFs, MP3s, video courses, and one on one sessions with this plug-in!
They have great documentation and support, too! This was the PERFECT launching pad for our business in the early days and is a great option for beginners on a total budget.
Thrive Cart is a fully featured shopping cart system that allows you to easily create and test bump offers, one-click upsells and advanced funnel configurations. This is an advanced tool for marketers ready to optimize their funnel for maximum revenue.
When I created my membership program for the Content and Conversion Inner Circle in September of 2018, I chose this as my shopping cart because it is a one time fee, it is simple to use, and it offers advanced integrations with form software, autoresponders, etc.
ThriveCart Professional setup option: at this level in business, odds are that your time is better spent crafting your offer then it is setting up your tech… I personally used Dave with IntegratePro.com to build out and configure my entire membership site, plus many other advanced marketing automations.
SamCart is the Rolls-Royce of shopping carts for digital entrepreneurs. I use this on my largest website (based on my wife's brand) that drives tens-of-thousands of transactions per year.
Their checkout pages are infinitely customizable, which is where Thrive cart falls short. if branding, design, and the user experience of your checkout process is a key factor, the monthly cost is worth it.
Plus they are the only shopping cart system that allows you to run split tests on the layout and design of your check out pages while allowing you to split test upsell offers and downsell offers at the same time.
This is seriously advanced geek-ery for conversion focused entrepreneurs.
Finally, the last thing you can do with Sam cart that no other shopping cart system allows is what they call their "1 page funnel" which you can learn more about from this free webinar here. this one page funnel system and increase the results from Facebook advertising plus it offers high ticket coaches and consultants the ability to create high-converting offers that generate revenue, fast... With zero tech!
My team and I are testing a new method where we run our Facebook ads directly to the one page funnel with the goal of increasing conversions on our Evergreen products so we can scale our Facebook ad spend.
This is the professional level tool for advanced marketers who value the ability to split test everything including checkout pages, up-sells, down-sells, and bump offers.