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Every web publisher has his or her set of favorite tools and services that they use for running their online business. I’ll be sharing mine on this page.
I’m going to share all of my tools – or at least everything that I can think of. Some of the links will be affiliate links, so thanks in advance for signing up using my code.
Courses and tutorials
I’ve bought three courses so far and plan on buying more in the future. If you’re after creating a content website that’s similar to mine, I can recommend Jon Dykstra’s courses.
I started following Jon’s blog a couple of years ago and it was a source of advice and inspiration. I’ve tried all of his courses (some I paid for, and a few he was gracious enough to share with me for testing) – and they’re perfect for the beginner or advanced web publisher. These short concise courses are where you’ll find step-by-step recipes for techniques and strategies that work for Jon.
One of the most interesting courses under the Fat Stacks umbrella is the recent Content Renaissance course by Tony Hill. Tony is pretty much my go-to expert when it comes to updating content. He really knows his stuff and I love both his extensive use of AI tools and how he scales his content updating solutions.
I can also recommend the Passive Income Geek course. Like Jon and myself, Morten Storgaard uses a similar approach that focuses on creating quality content with no link building. He is also another all-around great guy.
Last, but not least, for those who are further down their web publishing journey, or are looking to flip site, I have tried out both of these –
The Website Flipping Course by Mushfiq Sarker – Mushfiq has purchased, improved and sold (i.e. flipped) hundreds of websites. He’s a great guy all around and knows what he’s doing. I took this course recently to assess the potential of selling some of our sites. I’ll publish a detailed review soon.
The Easy Wins database – Also by Mushfiq Sarker, this is a handy cheat sheet that lists hundreds of ways in which you can improve traffic, revenue or both.
AI Writing and Content Production
An exciting new section to this page!
Koala – I use both KoalaWriter and KoalaChat, so happy to recommend it here. It’s the best tool I found for generating high-level AI-generated articles. It does the heavy lifting of prompting and styling.
The Bulk Publishing System by Arielle Phoenix – I’m going through this one now. Arielle is pretty amazing in general and does a great job with this system. You can also get the system together with her blueprint for topical authority acceleration.
Project and task management
This is my current setup in 2021 –
- 15+ niche/content websites
- 7 VA’s
- 3 editors
- 80+ freelance writers
- 500+ posts published each month
It’s quite a challenge to manage everything! Especially since I have ADD and I can’t take Ritalin for medical reasons. This is where I rely on Clikcup.
I’ve tried Trello, Toodledo, and Asana as well but Clickup gave me the best value for money. I do use the paid version for the premium features but I only started paying about a year into using the platform. The free version of Clickup works very well. It’s robust and feature-rich.
WordPress is pretty much the industry standard. It’s free, open-source and has every plugin you can imagine. And if you’re still missing something, it’s fairly easy to get a coder to fix you the right plugin. Some of the plugins are mentioned down the page, in the context of how I use them.
I’ve tried so many themes over the years. These days, we use the following themes for websites in our portfolio –
Mediavine’s Trellis (paid theme)
OceanWP (both free and paid versions)
Blocksy (free version)
I use various methods to come up with topics for my sites. I don’t have any silver bullets when it comes to this (or anything else).
All of the methods that I use are covered in Jon Dykstra’s course.
As for keyword research tools, I’ve tried several over the years. They all have their pros and cons and I wouldn’t rely on any of them 100%.
While I do have an ahrefs account, these days Low Fruits is my favorite keyword tool to quickly find underserved queries.
We use Strevio to analyze our Facebook traffic, as well as find what works for competitors. It’s not cheap but very effective when used the right way. You can read more about the strategy we utilize here –How to grow your facebook traffic blog post
My current hosting setup isn’t suitable for beginners. It’s ideal if you know how to manage a server without Cpanel, or are technical enough to learn how to do that. It’s very cheap for the quality of super-cheap hosting that you get. I also love that it’s very scalable. When I started out, it was costing me $5 a month. Now I’m at just over $80 a month. That’s for as many sites as you need to host – calculated by overall bandwidth and storage needs.
That $40 currently covers about 4 million monthly pageviews. Not bad at all, considering how robust this solution is. I’ve been using Digital Ocean for several years now.
At this point, I’m also using AdminGeekz to manage the server, paying them an hourly rate of $100 an hour. They’re very expensive but they are the best. I’ve known the owner since he was 12 and he’s pretty amazing. Anyway, other than setting up a new site once a quarter, I don’t usually need their help, but it’s good to have them in case something ever happens.
Nothing exciting here. I use Godaddy. I have been with them for more than 20 years now and it works. They’re not the cheapest but I’ve used their support more than once and they’ve always been helpful.
Our server admin takes care of creating full backups. I still have a few options that I’m using on top of that (just because I already set them up).
I’ve been using Blog Vault for several years now for several of the largest sites. Currently, I’m using the basic plan for small businesses. That means full backups for up to five sites which I use for my largest and most active sites. Daily backups that are easy to restore (I tested it once).
I also use the UpdraftPlus plugin to create free daily backups of some of the sites on my Google Drive. It’s easy to set up and free, so why not.
Publishing ~1000 posts a month means we need a constant stream of quality images. Pixabay and other free sites just won’t do because I also prefer to stay away from copyright issues. I buy the annual mega subscriptions from the services listed above.
Stock photos come in the form of large files. While our VAs know how to reduce file size prior to upload, it’s always a good idea to run the images through a file size reducer. ShortPixel is very easy to use and has a “pay as you go” model where you can buy tokens to be used across websites. Very convenient and effective.
I use Convertkit for the Yeys newsletter, as well as mailing lists for some of my sites.
My go-to service is OnlineJobs.ph. I’ve used them numerous times and still do whenever I need to hire in the Phillippines.
I’ll be adding to this page as I come across more tools and services that I use. If you have any questions on any of the above or would like to ask me about another function that I may have missed out on, just leave me a comment!
Executive Assistants Service
In addition to the VAs that we have in our company, I also outsource some tasks to executive assistants through TimeETC. It’s a great way to buy me, well, time! Whenever I can outsource a task to someone, why not do that? And it’s a company expense, so that’s nice too.
I use them for personal tasks, such as finding and scheduling services for our house or managing my personal appointments at various places. I wouldn’t feel comfortable having a regular company employee do that for me, so having a service outside the company for that works for me.