Here is where I keep a list of the things I use on a day to day basis. That is quite different from a list of all the crap I’ve bought over the years to build and promote websites. It’s a lot shorter.
It’s similar to the kitchen. Everyone has an “appliance graveyard” where the breadmaker, and that giant mixer and all the other gadgets go to die. But a good knife and a couple of cutting boards get used everyday.
I am only going to list my knives and cutting boards here. Most of the dreck on line not only won’t really help you it will distract you, and keep you from doing actual work – which is where the money is. Some of the links below are affiliate links. I will get paid if you click on them and then buy the product or service. Harsh, I know.
You can download WordPress here (but I recommend installing through Fantastico Deluxe – part of CPanel).
Free Themes: http://wordpress.org/extend/themes/
Recommended Free Theme:
This is the new WordPress default theme, and it has many features previouls found only in premium themes. We use this theme in The Grabapple Guide to build our training site.
Recommended Premium Theme:
Make every pixel on your site do whatever you like – without writing a line of code. In addition there a a lot of free skins you can use to set up a complete design without needing any code. Excellent documentation and a very helpful forum. Legendary support. Grabapple runs on the Catalyst Theme.
Recommended E-commerce Plugin:
Simple to set up, easy to use. Nice selection of product and category displays. A steal at the price, and there’s even a free version that you can use as long as you like. We use it to sell both digital and physical products.
Huge selection of add-0ns and utilities. The de-facto standard for web developers – but it gets slow after it’s open for a while. I still use it for some things, but for basic browsing I go Chrome.
From your friends at Google. Fast as lightning. Not as big a selection of add-ons and tools as Firefox, but that is changing.
From Apple. I use it for one feature: Under the gear symbol is the tools / optins menu. In that menu is this gem: “Reset Safari”. Hit it, enable “Private browsing” and do Google searches with personalization removed, while you stay logged into Gmail on your main browser. Great for looking at the SERPs without the “Google skew” affecting your results.
Domains & Hosting
Privacy is free. Prices are low.
The big dog. Pretty girls on the Home page.
Get a BabyGator account and host multiple sites for only 9.95 per month.
You can use this coupon code to get $9.94 off: GRABAPPLE994
Hosted Store Systems
They host over 50,000 stores at last count, including 3 of mine. Rock solid – I have had one down day since 2004. Huge network of developers and utility providers.
One of the fastest growing companies in the US. Huge set of ready to roll store templates and easy to set up. Best bargain online in terms of bang for the buck. Cutting edge software.
The Keyword Academy
Step by step training in basic SEO and passive income models. This is where I first learned to make money outside of e-commerce. They have a large and supportive membership, including more than a few people making 6 figure incomes. The forum is female friendly and civil. This is where you want to be if you are just getting started online. You can try it for a month for free.
The Grabapple Guide to E-commerce
Comprehensive guide to basic e-commerce setup via WordPress and other free software. Detailed information and best practices for day-to-day e-commerce business operations. Includes ebook and sample site. See how a long time e-commerce pro runs things, and build a small site using the detailed step by step tutorial.
My Favorite Tools
Incredible online utility from internet marketing pro Fraser Cain. A single tool that tracks your search engine position, does keyword research, counts up your Twitter, Facebook and Google +1 mentions, suggests new terms to put into your site for easy ranking and much much more.
Online file storage with automatic syncing. I use this to keep my work files current between my Notebook and the desktop PC in my office. First 2 gigs is free forever…
Makers of Highrise and Basecamp – the two programs we run our company with. Multi-user, fast and no feature bloat. Intuitive interfaces make learning quick and easy.
The Best of the Rest
GIMP Image Editor
Free alternative to Photoshop / Photoshop Elements.
Free 30 day trial, then 12.95 per month. You can most likely get away with this (or with nothing) to start, but once the cash starts coming in, you’ll need to step up to real accounting software.
Adobe Acrobat Reader
Free download to read .pdf files. You need this or an equivalent.
Simple, easy, free. Hands down the quickest way for the graphically challenged like myself to design a website header or simple logo. The page is a little cheesy – but just scroll to the bottom and hit download. It’ll nag you to buy a bunch of pre-formatted headers when you start it, but that is a minor annoyance.
Best online note program, and free to boot. Sync notes with multiple computers, smartphones, etc. use it online, or as a program installed on your computer – either way, it always stays synced up. Snag web pages or parts of them and save them for later – with formatting and graphics.
Incredible free utility from the guys at Piriform. Completely wipes browsing & program use history from your computer, including the DNS cache. Includes better program uninstall utility than Windows 7. Registry cleaner to remove left behind junk from uninstalls. Drive wiper includes choice of wiping entire drive or free space only – and it has not only the NSA 7 pass technique, but 35 pass Gutman. If you are going to sell a PC, install this first and clean it up.
Free utility for those of us using 2 monitors. Extends the taskbar across both, so that if your Excel window is on monitor #2, it show up in the taskbar on monitor#2. A little geeky I guess but I sometime have a dozen windows open and this helps.
Just what the name implies – it grabs addresses and other contact info from most any document, web page or the clipboard and inserts them into QuickBooks, Word, Act! and many other programs. The inserted info is properly formatted, and the data is automatically placed in the correct fields.