There are lots of great tools and services that will help you build a successful online business, and there are lots of over-priced, inferior and even harmful ones too.
On this page, we’ll tell you about the tools that we use ourselves and believe are the best available.
Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means that if you click them and buy something, we might get a commission. You won’t pay any extra.
We only recommend products that we believe in, and would never recommend something inferior just for the commission – your trust is much more important to us. Many of the tools on this page pay no commission – and we’re happy to recommend them anyway.
For the first few years of its life, this website was hosted by SiteGround, and they’re the host we recommend when you’re just starting out.
We found their service very reliable and great value for money (especially as we locked-in their introductory offer for three years by paying up-front).
On the couple of occasions when we contacted tech support we were impressed – they have knowledgeable support people who sorted things out quickly.
Once your site becomes successful and starts making lots of money it may be worth paying more for a more premium hosting service – but until then SiteGround offers excellent hosting and great value for money.
Our Go-To tool for keyword research, Ahrefs is actually a suite of SEO tools, giving you access to what we think is the best keyword, backlink and competitive research data available.
There’s a bit of a learning curve because Ahrefs is so powerful – but a well designed user interface really helps.
The main downside is that it isn’t cheap at $99 for a month’s access.
Ok, so this one’s not a huge surprise, but most of our websites (including this one) are powered by WordPress.
WordPress now powers 35% of the web, so there’s a huge ecosystem of themes and tools built around it, and there are lots of expert developers who can help you customise your site or fix any problems you encounter.
And don’t forget, WordPress is free – what an amazing deal!
This site uses the Elementor page-builder. We’ve tried other page-builders in the past but Elementor gives us more flexibility to get things looking just the way we want. We’ve found it easy to learn and intuitive to use, so we can publish more great-looking content more quickly.
We started with the fast and basic “Hello” theme available free from Elementor, and built the design up from there.
We use the Pro version of Elementor which allows you to customise your theme design, but there’s also a free version which is a good way to try it out before buying the Pro version.
We use GetResponse to manage our mailing list, and deliver our content-packed newsletter to subscribers.
We haven’t used a ton of advanced features, but it works well for what we need.
There’s a free 30 day trial with no credit card required – so you can evaluate GetResponse for yourself.
We’ve been gradually moving all our domains to Namecheap as they come up for renewal, and we’re very happy with their service.
Their system makes it easy to manage your domains and renew them either manually or automatically.
On a couple of occasions where we’ve needed to contact support they’ve been very helpful. And like the name suggests – they’re cheap. What more could you ask?
The current Pinterest algorithm favors fresh content – in other words, lots of unique pins. Our favorite tool for creating these is Stencil.
Stencil makes it easy to design attractive pins, and produce lots of unique variations quickly thanks to its integrated library of more than 1m stock images. It’s great for other social media images too.
When we’re recording a course we need to capture and edit screen-capture videos and add voiceovers and graphics.
We use Screenflow to capture and edit these videos – it’s easy to use and produces great results.
Screenflow is only available for Apple Mac computers – and a free trial is available.
Doodly makes it easy to create those “whiteboard style” videos that look like someone is drawing them.
We’ve created a few of these for our YouTube channel, and they’re a great way to explain things in a visually interesting way.
We’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible with Doodly, but it’s worth checking out if making videos is part of your plans.
Our online backups are handled by Crashplan, so we’re protected even if disaster strikes and our on-site backups are destroyed.
It’s easy to create a backup job that runs in the background, continuously protecting our files, which are encrypted before they leave our computers.
I’ve needed to restore a file on a couple of occasions, and that’s worked fine – so Crashplan has been well worth having.
Similar to Dropbox but less expensive, we use a Sync folder for files that we want to share within the office, while also having a copy in the cloud to protect the files and make them available on other devices.
Files are encrypted before they leave our computers for security.
Sync has a free version available with a capacity of 5GB, so you can give it a try for free.