Below, you’ll find links to apps we use to power our businesseses, and other pieces of software that we think are best in their cattegory.
Full disclosure: There are some affiliate links on this page, which means if you click on some of these links below and sign up for any of these products, we’ll get a small commission. It’s a win for you, for the software companies, and for us. You get free recommendations to the best software, the software companies get exposure, and we get small commissions that allow us to keep putting out free, useful, tech-related content for you. Wins all around.
There are literally dozens upon dozens of web hosts out there. I’ve used many of them myself for various sites and businesses over the years. For inexpensive, solid website hosting for self-hosted WordPress sites, Bluehost is our #1 recommendation. They’ve got great support, a great server environment for WordPress, and have a handy one-click installation process to get a WordPress website up and running in about 10 minutes. You can read our in-depth review of Bluehost and get a detailed, easy-t0-follow, step-by-step tutorial on how to install WordPress on a Bluehost account in 10 minutes, right over here.
Looking for a bit more power, speed, and dedication to running a WordPress website? WP Engine is my favorite managed Wordpress host. It’s a little more expensive than Bluehost, but you get a lot more for the extra dollars per month. I built my wife’s business site on WP Engine, and in all the speed tests I’ve done, it comes out with amazing scores, meaning, it loads incredibly fast. Their live chat support is stellar, with near instant response times, and sharp, friendly support agents.
Rainmaker is a very powerful, all-in-one website, membership site, blog, and podcasting platform. The site you’re looking at now is powered by Rainmaker. I’ve been in the business of selling information and studying online marketing for the last 9 years, and in that time have spent a lot of time daydreaming of building the ultimate platform to run the kind of business that uses content marketing to sell information products. The crew at Rainmaker beat me to it and made the app I was dreaming of building myself. You can catch our full, honest review of the Rainmaker platform right here.
Kajabi does two things amazingly well: 1) It makes running a video-based product launch a synch, and 2) it allows you to create a full featured membership site for people who buy your online program after they go through your product launch series of free content. Using Kajabi and Infusionsoft, I launched an online program that made 6 figures in 11 months. Kajabi is incredibly solid, and their support staff are extremely helpful (and available 24/7).
We’ve used most of the major email marketing platforms out there in real-world use cases, meaning, we’ve used them to run the email marketing for multiple businesses, and so far, Active Campaign is our favorite. It’s got all of the features you’d need to do both basic and advanced marketing approaches on your site, and nothing extra that you won’t use. Plus, the experience of using it is awesome. They have thought through the design of this app deeply, and the result is that it’s incredibly easy to use.
Project Management Software
When you build and run an online business of any kind, the amount of to-dos and email conversations you’ll end up with is staggering. Basecamp makes managing the projects of your business organized and easy, which, for us, greatly reduces the stress of keeping track of everything, and getting things done. We’ve used Basecamp for the last 10 years, and it just continues to get better and better. We’d even recommend it if you’re just starting out and are running solo right now. It’s that useful. Once you get a team of people helping you run your business, Basecamp becomes even more indispensable.
Customer Support Software
If you sell anything online, you are going to see a good amount of customer support emails come in. I’m pretty sure this is now a fundamental law of the universe. There’s just no way around it. The one thing you don’t want to do is try to handle them all in your Gmail account. What you need is a simple, easy-to-use, shared inbox that you and your customer support team can use to collaborate on taking care of your customers. Help Scout does just that, and it gives your customers the simplest experience of getting help that we’ve ever seen any help desk software create. Read our in-depth review of Help Scout here.
Other apps we can’t live without
We’ve used G Suite (also known as Google Apps), for our own business email addresses, as well as for collaborating on documents, spreadsheets, and calendars, for the last 7 years. I honestly don’t know how we’d run our business without it.
I’ve been using 1 Password, which is a password manager app, every single day for the last 5 or 6 years. It’s invaluable. It saves all your passwords for any site you need to login to, then allows you to login to any of those sites with just two clicks. No more memorizing the same password and using it for every single site (which is really unsafe to do.) Manage all your passwords and easily create super strong, iron-clad new passwords for each new site you need an account for, with 1Password. You’ll be happier for it.
I can’t live without Grammarly. Every piece of content I write for this site, and every email that goes out, gets analyzed by Grammarly. I then make changes to my writing based on its suggestions, and my writing ends up at a whole new level. It’s like having a personal editor and proofreader (and it makes me look smarter.)
I’ve built a number of websites for clients over the years (including my wife) and the first place I always go to look for a gorgeous, well-coded WordPress theme is Elegant Themes. For $69 a year, you get access to ALL of their themes, which is great for folks like me who take a long time to decide which theme to use for a new website. Their support is fantastic and their themes are some of the most bug free themes I’ve ever seen (and did I mention that they’re designs are gorgeous?)