This is a list of valuable web resources that I actually use or have used, and recommend. It contains some affiliate links, which means if you click and then decide to buy/subscribe, I get a small commission.
Ad Networks I Use
- AdThrive: once you can bring AdThrive on board (requires 100,000 monthly pageviews), you’ll never have to think about your ads again. They. Handle. Everything. in exchange for keeping the revenue from one ad slot. The ads load fast, they’re very good at keeping out icky or intrusive ads (and you can specify how intrusive you’re willing to let your ads be), and even with their commission, I doubled my ad revenue as soon as I started with them.
- ConversantMedia (formerly ValueClick): these guys have been around forever, always pay on time, and do an overall good job on things.
- Adsense: a solid way to monetize a new blog that isn’t qualified for AdThrive yet.
- Sovrn: Sovrn is a solid ad provider that will work with lower traffic blogs. It pays well, and they do well at screening out intrusive and icky ads.
Affiliate Programs I Use
- Amazon Affiliates: depending on your business model, you can earn a lot from the Amazon affiliate program, despite the modest commissions and 24-hour cookie. This is because people buy from Amazon more readily than from some lesser-known sites.
- Linkshare: this company runs the affiliate programs for a ton of companies, including Macy’s, Nordstrom’s and BestBuy. If you want to sell products for companies like that, get a LinkShare account and get started.
- Share-A-Sale: this is another company that runs affiliate programs for other companies. Their merchants tend to be smaller and hungrier than Linkshare’s, which can be very good for you. Example: TailWind, StudioPress, MailMunch.
Services I Use
- Clicky Analytics: more in-depth than Google Analytics, and very affordable.
- TigerTech hosting and domain registration: I never thought I’d trust all my hosting and domain registrations to one company, but these guys are the best. Can’t remember the last time I had even 5 minutes of downtime, the servers always run fast, and if you get a traffic spike, that’s okay. If it gets way out of hand, they contact you with options instead of just suspending your account. And their emails read like a dear friend who really wants to help.
- Genesis Themes. I bought the Pro-Plus All Theme Package that gives you access to all current and future themes. If you just want to invest in one theme, I use the Magazine Pro theme on most of my sites and recommend it.
- ActiveCampaign is my choice for email newsletters. You can manage multiple lists for multiple sites. They have a Lite version that lacks some of their more advanced features, and if it’ll do for you, it’s very affordable. If you need more advanced features, you can’t beat their more advanced versions, which are comparable in cost to other similar companies. I’ve had very good deliverability and open rates with these guys.
- MailMunch is what I use to create my top bar, pop up and embedded forms asking you to sign up for my newsletter. When I installed the free version, my signups doubled. When I installed the paid version, they doubled again. I love the stats they provide, too!
Social Media Tools I Use
- BoardBooster: this Pinterest scheduler recycles your pins in a “set it and forget it” way so you don’t have to schedule the same pins over and over yourself. It’s controversial because it’s not an official Pinterest tool, but it’s been used successfully by me, Ruth Soukup, Rosemarie Groener and many others. They have awesome stats, Tribes and group boards to join. It’s also very easy to make sure you’re following group board rules with BB.
- TailWind: this IS an official Pinterest tool, which I recommend if you’re uncomfortable with using BoardBooster. The only downside is you always need to schedule more pins and there’s no easy way to make sure you don’t pin too frequently to group boards that have rules about that.
- MeetEdgar: this scheduler is like BoardBooster for Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Once it posts everything you’ve got, it goes back and refills its own queue automatically. You can also use it to schedule posts one time, or have a seasonal post go out multiple times until a particular end date. It’s a great service I couldn’t live without, and it’s increased my following.
- iUnfollow: if you need to unfollow some people on Twitter, this tool makes it quick and easy to see who isn’t following you back.
- UnfollowStats: this Twitter unfollow tool is a little more in-depth, but can also take a little more time to use than iFollow. It lets you find inactive users (people who haven’t touched their account in the length of time you specify) and others you might want to unfollow, as well as non-followers and recent unfollowers.
- Social Warfare. This plugin puts share buttons on all your posts without slowing down pageloads. It can also collect ALL your social shares, even from old domain names, and display them in counters. It also has a sidebar widget for showing your most frequently shared posts. And under the hood, it lets you customize your social media messages and images for maximum control over how your posts look in social media.
- DepositPhotos. This is one of the more affordable paid image sites, and it’s got some great quality photos. I rely on it for most of my stock photos.
- StockUnlimited. This paid image site is even more affordable than Deposit Photos, but it has fewer photos, less variety and sometimes less quality. A lot of images look very “stock.” Still, they definitely have some good stuff.
Blogs I Learn From
- RavenTools blog
Courses I Recommend
- EliteBlogAcademy. Taking this course enabled me to boost my income by about 50%. If enrollment isn’t open, or you can’t afford it, definitely grab the free ebooks and other resources. And get added to the waitlist, just in case.
- SimplePin Tailwind Master Course. If you use Tailwind or are even thinking about it, this is a very detailed course with a lot to digest. I had to go over some of it twice. It will help you take your Pinterest/Tailwind strategy to the next level.
Forums I Visit
Once upon a time, before everyone would hang out on Facebook all day, we hung around in forums, chatting with people who shared our struggles and achievements.
- The Admin Zone – very active, with practical discussions like people’s experiences with certain ad networks
- Webmaster World – this forum used to focus mainly on SEO, but they’re branching out more. You can learn some good stuff here. Most of the posters have been doing this 10+ years.
- WebDeveloper – get into the nitty gritty of programming languages and all aspects of running websites.
- Geek Village
- SitePoint Forum
Hacking is a big business and it’s only going to get bigger. I recently switched from PC to Mac, and on both platforms, there are security apps I wouldn’t be without. Read my story about getting hit with ransomware because I made the mistake of buying one of those Lenovos that had Superfish.
- Emsisoft Anti-Virus doesn’t just try to catch viruses it knows about; it stops suspicious behavior of zero-day viruses (brand new ones) that nobody knows about yet. That’s the kind of protection you need against today’s ransomware.
- Crypto-Prevent is a small app that changes group policy settings to make it tougher for ransomware and other takeover malware to do its thing.
- Malwarebytes Premium. A lot of antiviruses shouldn’t be run side-by-side with another AV, but Malwarebytes and Emsisoft are both exceptions to this rule. Malwarebytes is relatively cheap, and it does a great job. I think it’s worth it to have both unless your computer just absolutely can’t handle the load.
Yes, Macs are pretty secure and aren’t targeted as often by malware creators. But there is malware for Macs. Why not run an AV just to be safe?
- Bitdefender. I’m using Bitdefender, which gets very high ratings. I haven’t noticed it slowing down my computer at all. I chose this one because it also blocks Windows malware, which cuts down your chance of accidentally passing an infected file to a Windows user.