Resources

Last updated: June 23, 2013

This page features a dynamic collection of what I consider to be the tools needed to start and develop your muse, and anything else related to helping you make money online.  These resources will be constantly updated as I find and experience new tools online.

Most of these tools are geared toward online muses, but there will be a handful of items that will help you in any endeavor.

Note: Some of the resources below contain affiliate links for products that will earn me a commission if you purchase them.  However, I am only recommending these products because I have either experienced them or heard amazing things about them and believe that they could be of great help to you.  Because I don’t cover my main page with annoying ads, hopefully you can understand my use of affiliate links on this page.

Website Hosting & Domains

Personally, I don’t believe free hosting options will provide you with the infrastructure that you need for long term success online.  You’ll find that hosting is relatively cheap, and will really allow you to grow your business without worrying about limitations.  My switch from a free blogging platform (Blogger) to a WordPress blog on my own paid hosting account was probably the best decision I’ve made so far with respect to blogging.

  • HostGator - This is what I use to host this blog and many of my other websites.  They’re extremely reliable, and allow you to host unlimited domains on one hosting account.  If you sign up with the coupon code MY4HRWORKWEEK, you’ll receive $9.94 off the package price.
  • BlueHost – I recently started using this to host the majority of my AdSense niche sites, and it’s been great! Just as reliable as HostGator, but they have some nicer feature that allow you to mass-update WordPress installations (which is a great help when you have over 50 WordPress sites!).
  • GoDaddyI use GoDaddy to purchase all of my domains.  I love buying domains because it’s like a piece of the internet that you own.  It becomes your property, and may become valuable depending on what you do with it (or like many people do, you can later resell domains for a profit).  If you sign up with my link, you’ll be able to purchase a domain for $6.89 instead of the usual ~$10 price.  Please note that you won’t see the discount until you go through the checkout process.

Blogging, Themes, & Plug-Ins

Blogging is an excellent way to kick-start your muse and build a following.  If you can provide interesting content with your own unique spin, there’s also some good potential to make money while blogging.

  • WordPress.org - There are a lot of blogging options on the internet today, but in my mind (and in the minds of most people online), WordPress is by far the best.  Please note the distinction between WordPress.com and WordPress.org.  WordPress.com is their free blogging platform (they host your blog for you), but you’re very limited in what you can do and how you can customize your blog.  WordPress.org is also free to use, however you must use your own hosting server for your blog.  Hostgator (above) allows for very easy WordPress blog installation (pretty much a one-click installation).  I believe BlueHost offers this as well.
  • Blogger.comI used to use Blogger, and it’s a great (and free) platform to blog with, however I really don’t recommend it if you plan on making blogging an integral part of your business or muse due to its limitations.  The only reason I’m mentioning it here is to provide a free alternative to WordPress.
  • Blogger to WordPress Migration - If you’re like me and you started with Blogger but want to switch to WordPress, you want to make sure to do it right.  This was the service I used to migrate my blog, and I have to say they did an excellent job for a very reasonable price.  Within minutes of my inquiry, they went to work and completed the entire process within a few hours.
  • Woo Themes - This blog currently uses a Woo Theme, and I can honestly say that these are some of the best premium WordPress themes you’ll find.  Although most of the themes cost money, there are a handful of free themes to download as well.
  • Theme LabThis site has some pretty cool free WordPress themes.
  • The Best Free WordPress Plugins – This was an article I wrote, which highlights some of the best WordPress plugins I’ve found throughout my blogging experiences.

Keyword Research

As you may have noticed, if you’re creating content online (be it through a blog, website, or article directory), keyword research plays an extremely vital role.  Here are some tools I use to research proper keywords (that will help my content receive more traffic by ranking in search engines for keywords that people are searching for) to ensure that I’m not wasting time when I create content.

  • Market Samurai – This is by far one of my favorite tools that I use when I’m looking to create ANY type of content online.  It’s powerful software that really allows you to understand your chances of success in a niche before you even create a website or content.  I’ve written about it at length here, here, and here.  Although this software does cost money, you can download a fully functional version of the software for free for 12-days. I definitely recommend at least downloading it for the free trial.
  • Long Tail ProWhile I love to use Market Samurai to evaluate competition, Long Tail Pro is now my “go to” tool for researching new keywords.  This is a must have tool for anyone who builds niche sites, as it allows you to search hundreds of keywords at once AND will check for exact match domain availability (something that saves me a ton of time).  I wrote more about my use of Long Tail Pro here.
  • Google’s Keyword Research Tool - This is a free tool that allows you to see the monthly traffic of any keyword.  I use this tool all the time in conjunction with Market Samurai, and it’s a great starting point to get a feel for which keywords are competitive and what kind of traffic they receive.

E-Mail Subscriptions

You’ll constantly hear that if you want to really create a steady and reliable stream of income online, one of the best ways to do it is to build and maintain an e-mail list of people (who want to be a part of the list).  This isn’t to spam your subscribers – it’s an effective way to build a relationship with your followers and keep them connected to your blog or business.

  • AweberThis is what I use for my muse creation newsletter, and it’s really a powerful e-mail subscription/marketing tool.  Right now, you can try out the service and only pay $1 for your first month (and you can cancel after the first month if you don’t like it).

Outsourcing

Ultimately, you should aim to outsource as much work as possible with respect to your muse creation and online passive income projects.  It may not be something you can do right away, but you should be working to free up your own time by outsourcing certain tasks to those who can perform them at a relatively inexpensive rate.

  • Elance - This is currently my preferred source of virtual assistants who have helped me with various online tasks.  They have a great review and rating system so that you can see how each freelancer has performed on past projects.  I highly recommend using Elance and getting experience with outsourcing (even if it’s for something as simple as writing one article).
  • ODesk - This is a lot like Elance – also a great service.
  • Virtual Staff Finder – This is a service provided by a blogger/entrepreneur who I respect and follow, Chris Ducker.  Basically, this service takes all the pain out of hiring a virtual assistant.  You pay them a one-time fee, and they find you the best VA for whatever it is you’re working on.
  • MicroWorkers – This is a great site for outsourcing very simple tasks.  You can read more about it in the review I wrote.

Advertising

Sometimes search engine optimization and word-of-mouth advertising only takes you so far (especially when you’re starting out).  Here are some advertising resources I’ve used, and strongly recommend.

  • Google AdWords – You’re probably familiar with this one, as it’s the most prevalent form of advertising on the internet today.  Build an ad for your website, and gain exposure on not only Google’s search results, but also the millions of websites that display Google ads through their AdSense service.
  • 7 Search – This is a much lesser known advertising platform that shows your ads similar to Google Adwords, except that they’re displayed on some of the lesser known search engines.  I’ve used this before, and the best thing about it is that you can bid on competitive keywords for a fraction of what it costs at Google Adwords.  This will never be your only means of advertising, but it’s a great one to add to your list of advertising platforms.
  • Facebook – You’re well aware of Facebook as a social networking platform, but did you know that it’s one of the best places to advertise?  The primary benefit of advertising with Facebook is that you can have laser-targeted ads due to the fact that Facebook will let you target very specific people (remember, Facebook has a TON of information about its users).

Logo Design

  • 48 Hours Logo – This site allows you post a project for a logo with your own customized specifications, and a bunch of graphic designers will compete for your business.  Within hours, they will post their designs of your logos, and the one you choose will be the designer who gets paid.  You can get professional logos designed for as little as $79, but you get to set how much money you want to pay (higher amounts yield more designers competing to give you the best logo possible).  Use the code ERIC with your set price, and you’ll receive an automatic $10 discount.  For example, if you’re setting up a project with a price of $79, you’ll type in 79ERIC where is says “Set your project award.”

Forums

  • The 4-Hour Workweek Forum – If you’re looking for like-minded individuals who are fans of the 4-Hour Workweek and want to implement some of the ideas that Tim Ferriss discusses, here’s a great forum to start with.  Stop by and join the discussions!

I’m still working on this resources page, so check back often as I will periodically update it.

15 Responses to “Resources”

  1. What follows is entirely personal opinion, so take it as you will.

    I was interested in 48hourslogo (thinking about outsourcing, but thought I might throw my hat in the ring as a designer), great concept, great idea – could genuinely work as a win-win type site for designers and clients.

    However after having a crack at a few logos and making it through to the finalist stage, I was a little disappointed at the culture of stealing/copying (both from other peoples designs and from copyrighted images online) and cheating (people flooding contests with many of their own designs) that seems entrenched in that community.

    I am not sure if this site is alone in this respect or if competitor sites suffer from the same problems. After a quick look through the forums, I was shocked to find the sheer number of logos reported for copying other designers’ work, or even more concerning, stealing copyrighted images from around the web. (And they were just the ones picked up by keen-eyed members of the community!). Furthermore, the ‘rules’ there seem loosely defined (they are in forum posts rather than any sort of FAQ/page that designers must Im not sure I’d be entirely confident as a client that I am getting a legal, original logo for my money.

    Just wondering what your thoughts were on this, and if you have encountered this problem through any other outsourcing endeavours, and if so, what you have done to overcome the problem?

    Love the blog.

    Cheers,
    Fred

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Thanks for the comment, Fred! I haven’t had the chance to use 48hourslogo yet, so I appreciate the information.

    [Reply]

  2. Hi Eric

    Just wanted to thank you for the backlink tracker free download. Very helpful and easy to use. Good Stuff.

    Ivan

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    No problem – glad to see you enjoyed it!

    [Reply]

  3. Hi Eric

    Ive recently began researching the internet marketing industry and found out that i was kind of interested in it. So first i purchased sixfigureprogram which cam with brainhost. Only to find out that i was burned by both and out $100. Then i purchased hostgator for 6 months which was $80 but came without a website. Having troubles building one and getting frustrated but will find a way to achieve the goal of being an affiliate marketer. Could you offer me any pointers or possibly help me get off the ground? I dont have a problem with paying you for your time because i just need someone to show me the way. I appreciate your time! Thanks, Corey

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hi Corey,

    Sorry for the delayed reply – this comment was caught up in my spam filter. Your struggles are not uncommon, as lots of people (including me) have difficulty finding success through affiliate marketing and other online endeavors. Here’s a post I wrote about some great ways to get started earning passive income:

    http://www.my4hrworkweek.com/the-best-sources-of-passive-income-online-my-rankings/

    Check it out and see if there’s anything you might want to try out. And of course you can feel free to send me an email via the Contact page on this site and I’d be happy to answer any questions.

    [Reply]

  4. Hi Eric,

    I have a question about HostGator. I’m using Bluehost right now and as you know, they have an awesome interface (one-click WP install, FTP File Management, Domain Management etc), but I’m finding that my sites are really slow. All of them. I hear this is a common problem for people who are on public servers, so I was wondering if you have had speed problems with HostGator. You’re the only one that I know that has used both.

    Cheers!
    Liz Seda recently posted… The Blank Out

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Hi Liz,

    I do like Bluehost’s interface more (although you can do the same exact things with HostGator). I have about half my sites with Hostgator and half with Bluehost, and to be honest, I really don’t notice a difference in speed between the two. They’re both similar “shared hosting” services, so I expect the performance to be relatively similar. Because of Bluehost’s better interface, I tend to prefer them more (all other things being equal, which I tend to find is true).

    Now of course, you can always purchase one of the more expensive hosting packages with either provider, which would probably offer more bandwidth and better performance, but you’d need to determine if that’s worth the cost.

    Sorry I couldn’t be of more help!

    [Reply]

    Liz Seda Reply:

    Hi Eric,

    Your email went to my spam folder! Gmail needs to get it together.

    That actually does help. Now I don’t feel like I need to experiment on HostGator, which saves me a lot of time and effort.

    Thanks!

    Liz
    Liz Seda recently posted… The Longer You Wait the Harder it Gets

    [Reply]

  5. You have such a helpful blog! I really found your posts on Hostgator and your tip about using CJ very helpful.

    I notice that for your Hostgator affiliate links you use your own masked affiliate links, I am a newbie to this type of thing, how would you do this for commission junction links or any other affiliate links for that matter?
    funbee recently posted… Best Point and Click Adventure Games updated Mon Jul 9 2012 8:29 am EDT

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    Very simple, actually – it’s a free WordPress plugin called Pretty Link! You can get it here: http://wordpress.org/extend/plugins/pretty-link/

    [Reply]

  6. Thanks for the quick reply! Looks like a nice plugin for novices.
    funbee recently posted… Best Point and Click Adventure Games updated Mon Jul 9 2012 8:29 am EDT

    [Reply]

  7. Great post. I had heard of Market samurai but will check our long tail pro.
    I design all my logos myself and use the free themes as I really can’t afford premium themes now.
    I tried using facebook advertising.
    The first trial I ran (without any specific targeting) gave me some lame results. Will try again after finishing the necessary research for my TG.
    Kaushal recently posted… How Much Money Will I earn Through Adsense? – The reality

    [Reply]

  8. Seems like the fourhourweekforum.com is down. Has the forum been moved?
    Don Modekali recently posted… December 2013 Traffic & Income Report

    [Reply]

    Eric G. Reply:

    I’m not sure, Don – I’m seeing an error too when I click on it. I would suggest checking back later, maybe there is a problem with the server.

    [Reply]

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