Below is an ever growing list of tools, software, websites, and apps that I use to help get stuff done.
I’m a pretty frugal dude and try to bootstrap as much as I can. You’ll find most of these resources will be free or very low cost. I’m looking out for boostrappers all over the world. 🙂
Disclaimer: Just a little note that some of the links are affiliate links. All this means that the product company compensates me with a small “finder’s fee” (at no cost to you) if you go through my link. So if you’re going to use the resource, please consider going through my link – totally not required, but extremely appreciated. 🙂
Here goes the mega list resources to keep your online empire running.
Content Creation / Outsourcing:
- TextBroker – great place to find all ranges of writing. I usually aim for 3 star articles for my other sites and they 95% turn out great.
- Fiverr – people doing all kinds of awesome stuff for $5. I used them for cheapo articles, logos, ebook covers, SEO audits, and even resume reviews. At the end of the day, hey, it’s only $5.
- Amazon Mechanical Turk – micro-tasks done in bulk. I’ve used them for audio transcription for ~$0.20 per audio minute. They do much more than just this. Crazy un-user-friendly website, but valuable services.
Hosting / Domains:
- iPage – great service, great control panel, amazing customer service, and pretty dang affordable, too. SideWages is hosted with iPage.
- InmotionHosting – have a bunch of niche sites here as well as my personal development authority site. Pretty solid service with good customer service.
- NameCheap – great place to pick up domain names. Good interface, free privacy protection, great tools.
- Dynadot – not sure what all they do, but I know (and use) there bulk domain name lookup tool. Look up thousands of domains at a time.
- Bust-A-Name – very cool domain name brainstorming. I use this before ordering all of my domains to see what all’s available and for any ideas I might have missed.
Mailing List / eMail Marketing:
- MailChimp – not only is the email marketing too free to use for up to 2,000 subscribers (2,000!), it’s slick, clean, very tough on the bad guys, and fun to use. You’ve heard it once, and I’ll say it, too. START YOUR EMAIL LIST AS SOON AS POSSIBLE!
Revenue Sharing Sites:
- InfoBarrel – this is primarily and article directory that allows you another outlet for your content. I like them because they are pretty tough on newbies (which weeds out the spammers) and are consistently trying to get your more money for your articles. Oh did I mention you get money for the articles you submit? 🙂 Also a nice way to link to your other content.
- RedGage – this is an interesting site I am using as an experiment. They allow you to post pictures, articles, videos, and links and then share the revenue you gain from your uploads. So far, the money is TINY. BUT, I can share my InfoBarrel article links, my blog post links, and others links to get some spreading love. I’ve been getting 40+ views per link on upload and a few pennies to boot. Interesting site!
- OneLoad – formerly TubeMogul, still the same “submit video once, leverage it out to many” site. Interface (and integration) can be clunky, but it helps me turn 1 video upload into 4-5 other-site uploads with ease.
- IFTTT – stands for “if this then that” – great way to automate a few of your tasks. I can’t begin to explain how much you can do here… you just have to check it out.
- BufferApp – I don’t use “the Twitter” as much as I probably should, but when I do I can get a little out of hand. BufferApp helps me spread out my tweets in a more “digestible manner” and I think this makes the world a better place.
Publishing / Shopping Cart:
- e-Junkie – don’t know where I’d be without these guys. You host ANY file here for $5 / month. They handle the sale, delivery, and depositing the money in your PayPal. Start to finish shopping cart.
- TradeBit – only made a few sales here, BUT this is an idea treasure trove. It’s also a great place to host your “smoke test” or experimental products at no cost. Testing grounds.
- Easy Digital Downloads – completely free shopping cart plugin for WordPress that allows you to host your own files and sell them right on your site. Takes a little bit of setup, but you get secure download links and 100% of your sales (). Great for testing product interest.
Internet Ninja Tools:
- Google AdWords Keyword Tool – where it all began in my keyword researching education. It’s free, it’s Google, and it’s necessary if you don’t have a better tool available. Make sure you login to get more results.
- Long Tail Pro – I used to use the Google AdWords Keyword Tool exclusively for researching keywords. I only ever use long tail pro now just in the time it saves me to have a list of 50-100 (or more if you don’t filter as heavy as I do) keywords to sift through on simple posts to new niche sites.
- Xenu Link Sleuth – free software that does some freaking amazing link checking and following. I’ve only used this to find super huge lists of expired domains and it was an indispensable part of the process. Caution – it will totally own your traffic while it runs… and the creator’s website is… interesting.
Podcasts (Listen and Listing):
- Stitcher – I use this app daily for keeping up with all my favorite podcasts. Not everyone has made the switch so you might still have to use iTunes or direct downloads, but this app rocks.
Design / UX:
- Color Picker – I used this to grab the hex color code for whatever color I am trying to come up with when messing around on my sites. Simple, quick, easy.
- Color Scheme Designer – awesome tool for helping narrow down your website’s color theme / scheme. Great interface, too.
- Pearsonified’s Golden Ratio Typography – get technical with your typography. I use this to figure out line-spacing vs. font size vs. website width when I have no idea where to start.
Audio (Royalty free)
- Incompetech – free, music, always, awesome, and tons of it. Support this dude – YouTube would be background-music-less without Kevin MacLeod. Seriously.
- ccMixter – both free and paid music. A bit of a mess and you really have to keep your eyes peeled for the license information, but can be a good source.
Images (Royalty free)
- Microsoft Office Clipart Gallery – so much more than just clipart now. There’s some pretty high quality stuff here and it’s all absolutely free. Watch out for over-used images though.
- Flickr Creative Commons – be extra careful here. There are some good photos but you absolutely have to check the license information and if the image is legitimately attributed to the person that posted it. Something like TinEye can help here.
- BG Patterns – nice, quick, and simple site for creating some repeatable tiled backgrounds all for free.
- Icon Finder Free – this site is an icon aggregator so you have to really pay attention to the license information, but it’s a nice starting point for finding free images and icons.
- Vector Silhouettes – used it a few times to find some nice, free, vector silhouettes. I think there are tons of ads but I’m blind to them now.
Video (Royalty free)
- YouTube – they have videos! hehe, but seriously, when you search for something you can filter for those videos listed as Creative Commons (CC). Again, exercise caution as some folks will upload stuff that isn’t theirs and list it as CC when it’s actually not.
Phone Apps / Websites / Desktop Synced Stuff:
- Dropbox – file storage in the cloud. And I used to HATE this idea with a passion. But man… I made the switch to SSD storage on my laptop, backed everything up, put my workable files on DropBox, use the desktop app, and the android app… let me tell you it’s amazing to have everything ready at the tip of your fingers.
- Google Analytics – data from the traffic that hits your websites. And by ‘data’ I mean a metric boat-load of data. Not all of it is necessary, but some of it is essential. I’ve tried the other analytics apps and I keep coming back to this one.
- 1Tap Cleaner – great little app for cleaning up some of the junk that’s just laying around on your phone.
- Dolphin Browser Mini – fast, simple, and makes you smile when you surf the web on your phone.
- ES File Explorer – simple, quick, super-robust, comes with a media player / gallery / text editor / more, and can be a ‘root explorer’ if your phone’s rooted.
- GTasks – great little todo app that works nicely with Google Calendar task lists.
- Google Reader – for reading the 100’s of blog post headlines I go through daily in search of the 1 or 2 golden nuggets. This is the reader I keep coming back to.
- K-9 Mail – quick, very robust, and it has a freaking quiet time feature so the little blips and bloops don’t wake me up. Have it checking 7+ accounts all day long.
- OMM writer (Ver 1 is Free)
- Adobe Premiere Elements
- Adobe Photoshop Elements
- Paint.NET (Free)
- Notepad++ (Free)
- Filezilla FTP (Free)
- 7-Zip (Free)
- Audacity (Free)
- Sony SoundForge
- Avira Antivirus (Free)
- Bulk Rename Utility (Free)
- FastStone Photo Resizer (Free)
- Irfan View (Free)
- Malwarebytes Anti-Malware (Free)
- MP3Gain (Free)
- MP3Tag (Free)
- PrimoPDF (Free)
- Office 2010
- VLC Media Player (Free)
Got any Hints for Me?
Leave a comment below if you’d like to recommend a site, resource, product, or tool. Thank you!