Someone recently asked me what kind of things I use to build some of the internet sites I am doing now and what kind of programs I participate in. I thought perhaps answering it here would help everyone to see what kind of things I have found. As an FYI for you, many of the links that are in this article are affiliate links. What that means is that if you click on it and decide to give it a try, I will earn some kind of commission on it. It’s important to me to say that up front because I am a believer in integrity and full disclosure. In that same vein, the only things I am putting here are things I am actually using.

Last year, I started to think about how to have my own website and blog. It was an idea I toyed with for a long time, as I had a domain name but never used it for anything but the email account that came with it. In September, I happened upon Squidoo, where you can put together web pages, called lenses, for free. I have become quite active in the Squidoo community and am learning that if you are good and you put up good content, and if you learn how to optimize it well for the internet search engines, people will come. Squidoo is a great community of people, created by Seth Godin. I have been a long time reader of his books and have always found them insightful. People who build lenses are called lensmasters, and the opportunity exists for them to make some money on the lenses they create using some of the modules available. Having just gotten started there, I haven’t seen much in income, although I did see a jump last month and I know there are lensmasters on Squidoo who make over $1,000 a month from their lenses. One of the things that most impresses me about the site is they donate a portion of all of their revenue to charities. Seth Godin really gets the idea of building a tribe and of giving back to the community. You can see some of the lenses I have created by clicking on the link here to that site. If you happen to join Squidoo, I’d love it if you remember me when you sign up as put me down as someone who referred you there. My user name for Squidoo is KNicholls.

One Week Marketing
While on Squidoo and studying all of the “how to” lenses people have built, I came across a lensmaster named PotPieGirl. I loved her stuff because she was a lot like me. She didn’t have a technical background, she just wanted to figure out how to do what she heard so many others doing, building websites and making money online. She’s also a believer in doing things with little to no money to invest because when she started she did have it. As she figured it out, she chose to write a program called One Week Marketing. It is a step by step program that teaches you how to build an online presence, how to search for keywords, how to set up sites, how to become an affiliate, which means you can sell products for someone else and collect a commission on them. And, she’s made it work. All of her income now comes from her online activity. I love it when someone down to earth is able to do that, and I figured it was a program worth purchasing for the small price she charges. I’ve learned a lot from it. I can’t tell you that I’m making money yet, but that’s not the fault of the program. There have been so many changes in my life in the last three months that I got myself stuck in that age old “paralysis by analysis.” Slowly, but surely, that is changing and I’m learning to take action on those things I have learned! Stay tuned for updates on this as we go along.

Go Daddy
When I first began to look at getting a domain name (I now have over 40, which I know isn’t a lot for those who are really serious about that, but I’m just getting started), I found that Go Daddy offered some pretty good prices. So, I bought my domain names from them. It’s an easy process to search for a domain name and if the one you want isn’t there, you can purchase it! Be sure when you’re doing this that you give some thought to the message you want to convey with the name. I did not choose to host my domains with Go Daddy as I found a better option for what I needed.

Host Gator
Okay, now I have domain names, but what do I do with them? My first thought was to use the services where I got the domains. Then I found Host Gator. I can’t even remember how I found them, but they have given me really great customer service. Their pricing is really good as well, and now I have all of my domains in one place on one hosting site. They are also set up to easily install WordPress, which is what I use to build sites, so that makes it even better.

In the late fall, I took a course on what is called Inbound Marketing. I wrote a post about that toward the end of last year. After taking the course, I took and passed the certification exam offered by HubSpot (the sponsor of the course) and am now a Certified Inbound Marketing Professional. That was a highlight for me as it meant I really had absorbed all of that new information. We learned how marketing has changed, we learned how to do search engine optimization, we learned how to do some good things that drive traffic to your website and build a community. One thing I learned there was the importance of having an option for people to sign up for your mailing list. It really does streamline things when you are doing things online.

When I opened my sites for MT Tools Online, I decided it was time to think about a mailing list. My first thought was “not a problem, I can do it in Excel and just work with it that way.” I then found AWeber through another blog and am so glad I did. They offer a service where you can set up your mailing list and manage it all in one place, for a low monthly fee. What I love about their service is that you can connect it all together. They also require an “opt-in” response, meaning you cannot just send to anyone. Someone has to sign up for your mailing list and then confirm that they signed up. That assures me that my emails don’t go to people who haven’t expressed an interest in getting them in the first place. I hate opening my email box to find that someone has just sent me something that I didn’t ask for, I’m too busy for that and I know you are as well!

Those are my basic tools. I could do an entire post about using WordPress or what tracking tools I use, and perhaps I will in the future. This is already longer than I planned, so for now, that’s it! And I bet when you saw the title of this post, you thought you were going to be reading about medical transcription books! My world is changing and I am learning new things!

What tools do you use? Do you have a website? A blog? What do you find most useful? I look forward to your responses.

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Filed under: Personal Development

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