Resources

Welcome to the resources section of the Smart Online Fortune blog. This section lists all of the tools and resources you need to build and optimize your online business. Many of the resources listed on this page are crucial to starting and running a successful online business. I have tested every single recommendation on this page and I would never recommend something that I haven't tested myself.

Please note that the links below may be affiliate links. This means that if you choose to make a purchase through the links below, I may earn a commission from the company you purchase from. This adds no additional cost to you, but will help keep the Smart Online Fortune blog running. Please understand that I recommend these products/services because they are useful to the success of your online business and not because of the commission I may receive if you decide to purchase through my affiliate link.

If you decide to purchase these products/services through my affiliate links, thank you so much for your support. If not, that's fine too. These resources are still amazing and I highly recommend them to all of my readers. If you have any questions about any of these products/services, feel free to contact me.


Web Hosting Service Provider

A successful online business starts with a great web hosting service provider. Without a web host, you can't really have an online business. Suffice it to say, a web hosting service provider is necessary to develop a web presence. A few things you may want to consider when choosing the right web host for your website is the speed of the server, the cost, and the customer service of the web hosting service provider.

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SiteGround

I made the switch from Hostgator to SiteGround after a troubling experience with Hostgator's slow loading servers. SiteGround migrated my website to their servers for free and their was absolutely no downtime during the migration process. SiteGround's customer service team helped me every step of the way and were really quick to respond to my support tickets. After switching to SiteGround, my website became lightening fast and my bounce rate (defined as the percentage of website visitors who come to my website and then leave without viewing any other page) declined. The speed of your website has a major impact on the search engine optimization of your website and the user experience of your website visitors. For this reason, it is important to choose a web host that is built for speed, such as SiteGround.


WordPress Themes

There are a ton of marketplaces for WordPress themes. These themes make it super easy to setup your WordPress website. With a little bit of coding knowledge, you can customize your website any way you'd like. When choosing a WordPress theme for your website, you want to choose one that is easy to customize, user friendly, secure, search engine optimized, and built for speed.

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Elegant Themes

My very first website was created with the Divi theme. The Divi theme is the most popular theme offered by Elegant Themes. An Elegant Themes' membership also comes with 87 other WordPress themes and 7 great WordPress plugins. The best part about using Elegant Themes is that it also comes with a visual website builder (called the Divi Builder) so that you can build your website live. The Divi theme comes with an endless amount of documentation to help you learn the ins and outs of creating your website with the Divi Builder. Creating a website has never been easier and I highly recommend the lifetime access membership for Elegant Themes if you are new to website design. You can also read my full Elegant Themes Review here: Elegant Themes Review 2017.

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Thrive Themes

My current website is built with the FocusBlog Theme by Thrive Themes. If you want a more conversion optimized website, I highly suggest signing up for a Thrive Themes' membership. A Thrive Themes' membership comes with 7 great WordPress plugins and 10 great WordPress themes. My favorite plugin by Thrive Themes is Thrive Architect, which is a visual builder that allows you to create 100% conversion optimized landing pages. Thrive Architect also comes with 173 landing page templates to help you create opt-in pages, sales pages, webinar pages, and more. Thrive Themes comes with everything you need to create beautiful websites that convert well.


Keyword Research Tool

Keyword research is probably the first and most important step to any successful search engine optimization strategy. If you want your website to rank in search engines, keyword research is a step that you just cannot skip out on. If you don't perform keyword research, you might be trying to rank for keywords that nobody is searching for. Without proper keyword research, you might also be trying to rank for keywords that have a ton of competition. No matter how great your content, how solid your on-page SEO, or how many backlinks you have, you'll struggle to see results and grow your traffic organically if you don't perform proper keyword research. Performing proper keyword research is as simple as investing in the right keyword research tool.

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SEMrush

SEMrush is the best keyword research tool on the market today. Not only does SEMrush allow you to perform keyword research for your website, but it's also a great tool to help you spy on your competitors keywords. SEMrush will give you a better understanding of your competitors keywords and the keywords they use to rank on the first page of Google. SEMrush allows you to estimate the value of a certain keyword based on traffic, search volume, estimate of CPC, competition, the number of search results, and trend. Now, you can beat your competition and rank just as well or better.


Email Marketing

If you want to monetize your website, building an email list of subscribers is a must. The biggest mistake I made when I first started blogging is that I didn't start creating an email list until after my first year of blogging. Don't make the same mistake I made. Email marketing is key to a successful online business. Many newbie bloggers miss out on their chances of monetization because they didn't invest in an email marketing automation platform.

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ConvertKit

I switched from MailChimp to ConvertKit and I have absolutely no regrets. ConvertKit is the best email marketing automation platform for bloggers and online entrepreneurs. Not only does ConvertKit allow you to send professional emails, but it also allows you to create opt-in landing pages and forms that you can embed onto your website so that you can start collecting emails right away. ConvertKit allows you to schedule email sequences that go out to your subscribers after they perform a specific action, such as opting-in to your email list or purchasing a digital product from you. ConvertKit also allows you to schedule broadcast emails months in advance. If you're serious about email marketing or want to take your email marketing efforts to the next level, ConvertKit is the email marketing automation platform you need.


WordPress Theme Customization

WordPress designers put a lot of effort into how their websites look, but not everybody has the skills to customize the look of their WordPress theme. We all want our websites to look pretty. After all, what your visitors see when they visit your website will make them decide whether they want to stick around or not. Your website visitors are more likely to stick around and become paying customers if the design of your website is eye catching. Lucky for you, there's a WordPress plugin that can help you customize your WordPress website, even if you're a newbie WordPress Designer. 

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CSS Hero

CSS Hero is a WordPress plugin that allows you to easily customize the way your WordPress theme and plugins look on your webpage. You can also make device-specific customizations, whether that's changing something on the mobile version, tablet version, or desktop version of your website. CSS Hero allows you to change the fonts, colors, paddings, margins, and so much more. You can even add special effects to the elements on your website, such as a hovering effect, shadow effect, and so much more,  This is accomplished with CSS Hero's easy to use and intuitive point and click interface.


Stock Images

You can find a ton of images by doing a simple Google search, but the problem with using Google images is that you could potentially be infringing on somebody else's copyrighted material. If you use copyrighted images on your website without the permission of the owner, you could get sued for copyright infringement. This is where stock images come into play. These stock image websites force you to pay a monthly fee to use their images, but at least you know you won't be dealing with any legal issues if you just play it safe and use images stock images.

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Deposit Photos

If you don't own a digital camera, don't have the time to take your own images, or just aren't skilled enough to take and edit your own images, Deposit Photos is for you. Deposit Photos has images for pretty much anything and it is available to you at a very reasonable price. When you purchase your images through Deposit Photos, you don't have to give any attribution to their photos because you bought them. You can now go ahead and use their images on your website without having to worry about any copyright issues.

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Styled Stock Society

If you want gorgeous images that can elevate your brand, you need a stylish stock photo membership. I personally use images from Styled Stock Society to create amazing Pinterest pins. If you want to explode your Pinterest traffic, it all starts with creating images that get higher repin rates and higher share rates. Images are a critical element to any successful social media marketing strategy (and not just for Pinterest). You can easily customize these images with text and colors that fit your brand using a free graphic design tool, such as Canva.