Want to know what goes on behind the scenes here at Cloud Income?
I get many questions asking about which 'set-up' I prefer, who is the best hosting company and which tools I use to run my online business. This page will serve as a reference guide for anyone looking for help. It will be update frequently and include my very latest opinions on what tools I recommend for use in your business.
Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links and should you decide to purchase upon my recommendation I will receive a commission. I thank you for your support and should you have any questions on any of these tools or services, please get in touch and I will do my very best to help!
InMotionHosting – This blog and several of my larger sites run with these guys. To say they go above and beyond is an understatement.
I've had tickets raised where I assumed there was a hosting problem, turns out it wasn't but they helped me solve the problem anyway! They also helped me get my site speed load time down to less than 1 second!
Bluehost – My preferred choice for hosting my niche sites. I have never had any problems with downtime or SEO wise with these guys. They are one of the biggest and best in my opinion, and they start at just $6 per month.
MaxCDN – I am a huge advocate of fast websites. If you want to be taken seriously and stand a chance ranking high in Google…site speed is super important.
The guys at MaxCDN helped me get set up in less than 20 minutes and that shaved another few seconds of this blogs load time!
BulkBuyHosting – This service is strictly for your PBN networks. Kevin has done a great job turning what used to be a logistical nightmare into something that's super easy to set up (they do all the hard work) and also each to manage. They offer a hosting package from 5 sites up to 50 sites…all hosting on premium web hosts.
You get unique IP's, Name Servers and the piece of mind that your PBN is hosted with some of the World's largest providers.
SEO, TRACKING & ANALYSIS
SERPLab – The latest edition to my arsenal, clean and super simple to use with great graphics to easily track your SERP position. They offer a 100% free package which allows you to track 300 Keywords, their paid packages are also the best priced around and offer an additional 600 keywords.
Just 24 hours after requesting a feature the guys at SERPLab had coded, tested and implemented my request…how's that for customer service!
Clicky – Clicky is an alternative to Google Analytics. I find it much faster and easier to use. They offer both free and paid options where you can track multiple sites.
The other features are heat maps, a spy tool to see exactly what people are doing on your site and a BIG SCREEN, to view stats real time.
You can read my monster clicky review & guide here
BUILDING A NICHE SITE
How To Start a Blog – I have created an in-depth free course in how to start a blog in as little as 16-minutes! Check it out if you are new to blogging and building websites.
Keyword Research – I have created an in-depth keyword research module that covers how I go about finding those golden keywords. I also cover the tools needed and not forgetting competition research.
I made the switch from Aweber for a number of reasons.
- Ability to ‘tag' subscribers based on actions taken
- The easy to use email and newsletter builder
- Slick Autoresponder calendar view
- Ability to move subscribers to different lists
If you want a subscriber management tool that costs the same as Aweber – that has much of the functionality of the big boys – GetResponse is my choice.
Grab your 30 day free trial.
Aweber – The most popular in the industry by a clear mile. Most IMer's start off using Aweber and they are a good choice. Their support is second to none and its a simple system that is easy to use when compared to others.
I have tried MailChimp earlier on in my online career but couldn't work with it like I can with Aweber.
This is now my second choice Autoresponder provider after GetResponse.
Jaaxy – This tool is unique in that it finds long tail keywords that you won't find in the Google keyword Tool. They also have their own algorithm to calculate both monthly search volume and SEO competition.
Give Jaaxy a Try By Entering a Keyword Into The Box Below
KWFinder – This is a new tool on the block and one I am using for most of my keyword research these days. It uses it's own algorithm to calculate an “SEO Score” which indicates how competitive a keyword is and it is a great tool to have in my arsenal.
SEMRush – This tool is my go to tool for finding keywords that my competition is ranking for. If you think about it, it makes total sense. If you competition is targeting a keyword and doing well…you should know about it and try to grab you own slice of the pie.
You can also perform research on their advertising and what backlinks they currently have for a specific page, which is great for outreach.
BUILDING A TEAM
UpWork – All of my team (currently around 10) have been hired from UpWork. I have hired web developers, article writers and everyday VA's to perform the tasks I either cannot do, or those that make no financial sense for me to do.
WordPress – I really cannot vouch for any other blogging platform as I just cannot tear myself away from WordPress. The community is huge and with 19% of all websites now using wordpress it's hard to look elsewhere.
Don't be fooled by the term “blogging platform”, with WordPress you can build a site just as good as anything else you have seen. There are thousands upon thousands of themes and plugins to achieve the seemingly impossible…I love it!
N.B – One last point on WordPress, ALWAYS go for the self hosted option of WordPress, never start a blog hosted by WordPress, you never truly own the property and that's not what you want in your online business. Self hosting all the way with MDDHosting or Bluehost.
Thrive Themes – Thrive is my latest toy. When it comes to creating beautiful pages, neat graphics and fancy boxes, Thrive does it all. There are 2 main elements that make Thrive great:
- Themes – Whilst they only have around 7 themes at the time of writing, they have something for everyone. This blog is run on the FocusBlog theme, they also have Magazine themes and business/portfolio themes.
The themes are great for speed, opt-in conversion and ease of use.
- Content Builder – This is what got me hooked on Thrive. The content builder allows you to build pages (like this one) using a drag and drop platform that is very intuitive.
You can add headers, graphics, call to action boxes and opt-in forms all from your WP page editor.
OptinMonster – After just 1 week of using this software I was wondering what I ever did without it. You will see these fancy popups from time to time on this site, which were all built using the drag-and-drop interface of OptinMonster .
I also use this on my authority sites to drive opt-ins and my conversion rate has drastically improved because of it.