Tool #1 – GetResponseI’ve used several mail marketing providers (heck, very long time ago my company built a simple mass-mailing tool), and after trying several ones, I settled for the past few years on GetResponse. Not without a flaw, just like any other provider, I am so happy with GetResponse because it pays for itself each year! How can I not renew my yearly contract with them? Don’t get me wrong, I am tempted, in particular, because one of the largest email marketing providers in the world is my client! Email marketing + Landing pages + Marketing automation + Webinars? In short, this is why I signed up for GetResponse in the first place. I was using a different email marketing provider (Mailchimp and Sendgrid) and was looking for a “landing pages” builder solution. I was also using Unbounce, but even with their smallest plan at $79 month, it was a bit steep for me. Not that $79 per month is a lot, but when you also need email marketing AND you would like to try out marketing automation, it quickly ads up! And who knows, maybe I could try webinars in the future as well?
Marketing automationIf you are passionate about growing your business like I am, you are probably going to want to do anything and everything within your power to make it happen. At the time, marketing automation was becoming a thing, and I wanted to integrate it into our digital marketing grind. I liked the idea of creating email messages tailored based on the response my users were making. For example, once they signed up for my SaaS business, I wanted to help them to start using the services. Based on their actions afterward (opens email, clicks) I would send them different messages. I say I, but I really mean GetResponse. We also used the autoresponder sequence for everybody that signed up to use our service. Initially, we cooked up something in-house, but it’s better if you can have everything in the same place. Naturally, you want to follow up as much as possible, and as much the receiver will allow it. If you are seeing this marketing automation example for the first time, I know it looks complicated. First of all, it seems more complex than it really is. Second, there are ways around that. You can start off with a very simple workflow AND, GetResponse support can assist you via chat WHILE you are creating your workflow! They can literally log into your workflow while you are creating it, and help you. This DOESN’T mean they will create it for you. But if you are stuck on attaching a message, or a tag or other action, you have someone to rely on.
The day I knew GetResponse was a keeperI signed up for GetResponse for a year and paid around $500. We set everything up, my developer hooked up to their API, and we were adding people that signed up for WhoAPI. (That’s my SAAS company). After a month of automatic following up, one of the users replied, and quickly upgraded to our $499 / month plan. Truth be told, he canceled the subscription after the 3rd month, but we made more than enough money from that sequence. You may be thinking, how this client would have upgraded on his own without the marketing automation. But, are you prepared to gamble and leave it to chance? I am not. Just ask yourself this. What business stands a better chance. The one that emails 1000 potential clients three times (sending 3000 messages), or the one that doesn’t email potential clients at all (sending 0 messages)? Can you even email 1000 potential clients with this $500 GetResponse package? Here’s what you get for $482.16 ($40.18 / month on the yearly plan) — Autoresponders, landing pages, webinars for up to 100 attendees, and marketing automation. Your list size can be up to 5000 emails. You can email those people as much as you want (the expense will not increase if you email them more often). You can also create as many landing pages as you want, and send as much traffic as you would like to them. Furthermore, these landing pages have an SSL certificate by default, and we all know how important that is. Now that I am thinking about, I see how this can turn into a giant “How to make money with GetResponse” post. So, in short, that’s it about GetResponse, off to the next tool!
Tool #2 – Great web hosting providerObviously, if you are going to make money with websites, you need a stable web hosting company to cater to your needs. Since I ran a small web hosting company for five years, I suppose I know a thing or two about web hosting. I’ve seen a lot of people recommend Bluehost, HostGator and GoDaddy (because of their fantastic affiliate commissions). I’ve seen enough bad reviews for these companies, and haven’t used them, so I can’t recommend them. Which web hosting services am I using? Since I am more advanced of a user, I have a dedicated server that one of my team members is taking care of. We use hetzner.com, and I am happy with this company since I am using their services for almost a decade. Yes, that long. But I suppose, many of you won’t need a dedicated server at first, nor do you have the skills to manage it.
Shared web hosting provider – GreenGeeksBack in 2013, U.S. data centers consumed an estimated 91 billion kilowatt-hours of electricity, equivalent to the annual output of 34 large (500-megawatt) coal-fired power plants (source). That’s just the US, and that was six years ago. Globally, datacenter greenhouse gas emissions are larger than those of the entire airline industry. Furthermore, as you can see by this 2017 Greenpeace research, many of the most popular tech companies, websites and service providers are not Earth-friendly! You could be saying; green Internet doesn’t matter, it’s a small portion of the problem. Going vegan or at least eating more plant-based wouldn’t matter that much either. If I don’t recycle my trash, nobody will notice. Well, the buck has to stop somewhere! GreenGeeks is a great web hosting provider! They will transfer your website for free. They are more than affordable, and at the moment of this writing, they are running a massive discount! If you sign up for three years, it will cost you only $106.20! Depending on the size of your projects, this could potentially take care of all your web hosting needs. For this price, you can host unlimited domain names, and you get unlimited SSD disk. Software is updated regularly (for example PHP 7 at the moment, which is excellent for sites that are running on WordPress). As a bonus, you also get one free domain name registration.
Any limitations?One of the very few limitations that you have is the number of files. For example, you can upload 150,000 files on this package. Again, depending on the size of your project, but for an average WordPress website, that’s a lot. To give you an example, I’ve already uploaded two of my websites. And, when I say me, I really mean GreenGeeks, because they did all the work. With two websites, I am now at 27,000 files, out of 150,000. It looks like I will upload more websites to this web hosting account (that I paid 100 dollars for three years). And when I say I will upload, I really mean… Well, you get the picture. And they will migrate the website for free! And don’t forget, GreenGeeks is one of the greenest web hosting providers out there! So if you intend to build an Internet Empire, as you should, be mindful of the Planet we are sharing with everybody else. If you want to learn more about GreenGeeks, you can read my review here.
Get your web hosting account at GreenGeeks.Making money online is not a one-trick pony. You could be doing it with a content website built on WordPress, selling ebooks, digital products like illustrations, and many other avenues. But what if you need more power, and you are building a SaaS company? Shared web hosting just won’t cut it. That’s why Webmaster.ninja and its infrastructure aren’t hosted on shared hosting. For our bigger need, we use Digital Ocean. I’ve met all the founders, and interviewed one of them. They are the real deal, and so is their company. Digital Ocean lets you create virtual private servers so quickly, it’s ridiculous. For as low as $5 / month, you can spin a droplet, and you are on your way. Not as revolutionary as when they started, the SSD disk makes them incredibly fast, and the entire industry noticed this and jumped on the bandwagon. All of a sudden, no-one wants a non-SSD virtual private server.
Get your virtual private server at Digital Ocean.
Tool #3 a great domain registrarIf you are going to build your internet empire, you are going to need a provider that’s going to take care of you. I’ve written about this earlier, so if you want to know more behind my decision to support these companies, please read that article. Here, I will go rather swiftly and mention two companies that I use. One thing before I proceed. I was a bit hesitant talking about domain registrars (because I keep my domain names there, and they are worth a great deal to me). I didn’t want to give anyone any bright ideas. But after activating two-factor authentication I felt a bit more secure when it comes to breaking into my account. So both providers that I recommend (for different reasons) have two-factor authentication, and you should activate it!
Namebright charges $8.03 for a .com domain nameNone of the domain registrars are perfect, but this one is the most affordable. This is the single biggest factor why I use them (especially for four-letter .com domain names that I own, and that don’t generate any income).
50 domain names X 10 years X $11 USD = $5,500 50 domain names X 10 years X $8.03 = $4,015I probably don’t have to explain that I plan to have domain names longer than 10 years. Imagine how this feels if you have 100 domains or 200 domains? On the other hand, if you don’t really care about the $3 difference, but would like to see:
- Beautifully designed dashboard
- Many new domain extensions such as cafe, camp, club, tattoo, villas, ninja and many other
- Free whois privacy
- Advanced features
Get your domain name over at Uniregistry.Com domain names are $10.88 (including renewals), and they have a VERY large selection of new gTLDs. Here it is in their own words.
Snap a .photo, maybe you have a .tattoo story you want to share, or perhaps you’re raving about a new .diet. With the new extensions you can really express yourself in ways you’ve never thought about. Welcome to the new wave—we’re Uniregistry.
Tool #4 WordPressThere are a ton of options on how you can build a website. You can read my review on Top 5 website builders here. I even wrote a head-to-head comparison between Squarespace and WordPress. So, as you can see, I’ve already given some thought to this. Why? Well, first of all, back in the day my company built more than 100 websites for various clients. And now, two of the largest website builders are using my SaaS. But, as much as I am tempted to use them, there’s a place for them, just as I explain in the article I just shared with you. For me personally, the best solution is WordPress. Mostly because it gives me the freedom to create both simple and complex websites while keeping the budget low. And also, the amount off plugins and developer support is really high. If your concern is security, there are plenty of plugins that can help with that. I also take it a step further and task my team with upgrading our game. Besides, this whole game never ends, so you have to stay on top of your toes, there’s no workaround.
Tool #5 Grammarly PremiumSome of you probably noticed that English is not my first language. And I bet for the majority of the world it isn’t either. So, when we write (or check what our writers send us) we need help! I used to hire professional help via Fiverr and UpWork. Until I found Grammarly. Grammarly works both on PC and a Mac. You can also install it inside your Chrome and Firefox browser. If you are writing a new blog post, an ebook, whitepaper, social media update or anything else, check it automatically with Grammarly. At $139.95 per year, it is definitely worth every penny! It’s like having a personal assistant that keeps correcting you! The only mistake I made here, is not installing this tool earlier. I would have saved myself from a ton of embarrassment. Just because English is not your first language, it doesn’t mean you are ignorant, rude or inexperienced in writing. It also doesn’t mean you have to spend a fortune each time you want to publish a blog post (or wait for the translator, proofreader to finish her job). There is a free version of Grammarly that you can install. But, the premium version includes plagiarism detector, vocabulary suggestions, and advanced checks among other features. Either way, sign up below and improve your writing overnight.
Tool #6 KWFinderHow do you pick a niche for a good website? How do you check if a website, that you are considering for purchase, is ranking for some keywords in some countries (and if there are some hidden keyword opportunities)? And finally, how do you pick a keyword for your next blog post title? One answer is behind all those questions, and more! You do it by keyword research, and by finding keywords that are high in demand, with low competition. To test the tool you can use the search below. Here in Webmaster.Ninja I wrote only about on-page optimization as if keyword research and other off-site SEO tactics are not necessary. Far from it. Find low competition keywords, and create content around those! One word of advice before you write an ebook based on one tool’s metric. These are not 100% accurate, and some experts consider them a waste of money. I think the truth is somewhere in the middle. As website investors, webmasters or whatever you want to call us, we need some guidance and metrics. This is just one of them. For a great KWFinder alternative, you can check out Long Tail Pro. Customers receive a 39% discount for a lifetime on any Long Tail Pro Annually Billed Plan. They are a pioneer in this field, and you can read an interview with their founder Spencer Haws here on Webmaster.ninja. On the other hand, if you like KWFinder pricing (or their combination with their other tools) better, check them out here, or with a search below.
Tool #7 Bitrix24Back in 2013 when my startup was falling apart and I had to cut down on pretty much everything, I decided I would stick to my guns no matter what. My productivity kicked into high gear, and in that process, I was looking for a Gantt chart tool. I found one, and I was already prepared to swipe my credit card when my productivity mode kicked in once again! I asked myself if there was a free alternative. So I googled “tool-name free alternative” and found Bitrix24. I quickly realized that Bitrix24 had so much more than a Gantt chart tool! I couldn’t believe this tool was free. So I started adding my tasks in there and loved it. My business showed little growth, and I agreed to take an angel investment. So I hired some help and added them to my Bitrix24 account. Inside we set tasks, chat, share files in an organized way. We rarely, if ever exchange emails. My team is distributed and consists of freelancers, partners, and a couple of full-time employees. Some of us log in every day and some every week, depending on the size of the work. Since recently, even my accountant has access! I’ve been using Bitrix24 since 2013, and I love it. It’s a free tool that helped me grow my business. P.S. Just one thing though. Bitrix24 is enterprise-class software with so much functionality your head could spin when you sign up for the first time.
Tool #8 YOAST SEOIn case you haven’t noticed it, I used Yoast SEO to help me write this blog post. Did you see this? Well, from the feedback I’ve got from readers, my articles improved once I started using Yoast SEO. Here’s the thing, it’s totally free, super easy to install, and instantly turns you into an SEO expert (well, almost) and a better writer. You simply have to follow the advice it gives you. I already mentioned Yoast SEO twice on webmaster.ninja blog (tips for freelance writers and On-page SEO). I think this tool is so helpful that I created a video (you can watch it below) that explain what the tool does, and how it works. Yoast SEO is entirely free, but if you want some advanced features as well it costs €79 (around $88) per website. Some of Yoast SEO advanced features are:
- keep an eye on your most important pages and warn you when these haven’t been updated for six months
- It doesn’t matter whether you know about robots.txt, .htaccess files, clean permalink URLs or sitemaps – Yoast SEO makes sure your technical configuration rolls out the red carpet for search engines.
- Get suggestions for links to other pages on your website, as you write.
- Round the clock email access to our wonderful and knowledgeable support team.
- Much more…
Tool #9 SEMRushI already wrote extensively about features and opportunities coming from SEMRush. SEMRush literally saved me thousands of dollars and, more often than not, gave me a great reason why NOT to buy a website. I am talking about doing due diligence when considering buying a website. SEMush is now a public company. Not that this news has any immediate impact on you as a SEMrush user today, but it is definitely newsworthy! SEMrush raised a total of $140 million dollars which will enable them to further grow the platform. They raised the money in an IPO, so you can buy SEMrush shares, just like those of Apple, Google or Amazon. Primary usage is checking your own websites, backlinks, keyword positions, and website health.
Tool #10 Webmaster.ninjaNo surprise I was going to put our tools on the list, but it’s really true! I use webmaster.ninja on a daily basis! Currently, I own dozens of small niche websites. And to keep track of all of their well being, it would usually cost a ton of money and time, but not with webmaster.ninja. For example, to monitor traffic I have Google Analytics installed in all my websites, and that’s not a surprise. But where Google Analytics traffic change notification falls short, I just log into webmaster.ninja. There I can quickly scroll through the list of my websites and I see if traffic is where it’s supposed to be. Most of my websites are monetized with Google AdSense. Again, without logging into Google AdSense, I just scroll through my portfolio and see the revenue. Right away I know if something is off. Accompanied by those two numbers (traffic and AdSense revenue) I can see the website screenshot and confirm that the website is loading normally. When I am not looking, I get email notifications when my domain name and SSL certificate are about to expire, even if the SSL is free. And we already know all the benefits of SSL certificate. If one of my websites goes down, I also get notified to my email. Another metric that is also very important is website speed. Inside webmaster.ninja there’s a tool that you can use to measure your speed, but also webmaster.ninja tracks your speed throughout the day, and notifies you if your website load speed slows down dramatically! Anyway, I don’t want to go overboard, but there’s a lot more behind webmaster.ninja, and it really helps me manage my portfolio of websites so that I make sure they are generating revenue that they are supposed to generate! I bought instead of building them from scratch. I’ve read a ton of books on investing, finances, online marketing, business, psychology, leadership and so on. I’ve met countless people by doing business internationally over more than a decade. The reason I am saying this is because I will be the first to admit that the tools listed here are not the final requirement for making money online. But, they will get you started.
It’s crucial to start!Now when you are done reading this post. List 3 things that you know you should do in order to start your internet empire. They don’t have to be big things or hard things. Small wins are equally powerful in getting you started. So take out a piece of paper and a pen, and list 3 things. It can be registering a domain name. Bidding on a website on some marketplace. Or perhaps optimizing your AdSense ads on one of your best performing websites. It could be reaching out to a potential writer for your blog. Anything really! Just think of 3 things that you were putting off for a while. Once you have them listed, without thinking too much about it, go ahead and execute them. One by one, cross them off, and you are on your way. That’s my final advice for you here today.
I’ve been an online entrepreneur for more than a decade. Back in 2011, I sold my first small business. 500 Startups alumni. I love to read and write in every shape or form. Founder of WhoAPI and webmaster.ninja and website investor.