Once you’ve decided it’s time for you to start an online business, then it’s just a matter of putting the pieces together. People have lived before you and there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
These resources have all been tested by me. It doesn’t feel right to me to recommend something that I haven’t tried myself. These companies all get some of my money every month as a paying customer, so there’s that. I vote with my dollars.
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links. That means I will earn a commission if you purchase the product by clicking through the link and signing up. The links don’t change the cost for YOU–it’s simply a way for these companies to reward me for sending other customers to them. Even if I left a glowing endorsement for a company listed here, you shouldn’t spend any money with them if they don’t work for your business model.
I’ve been hosting dozens of websites with Bluehost for the past decade or so and they are WONDERFUL. Back in the day when I was getting started with online marketing and building websites, they had a “one click WordPress install” function. That was the hook that got me started. (It takes a few more clicks these days, but it’s still very user-friendly for non-technical folks).
The things I love the most are the price (super cheap!), I can host unlimited websites with them (which is great because I like to experiment with new website ideas all the time) and their customer service.
The customer service piece was super important to me when I was working to start an online business because I knew NOTHING about websites or hosting. I was teaching myself along the way. The customer support team at Bluehost was very patient and always helped me figure out what I needed to accomplish.
LeadPages: The best pages around for building email lists, and also for promoting products and testing new ideas. The interface is super easy to use and you have dozens of high-end, customizable templates to choose from.
I personally know a venture capitalist in Silicon Valley who uses a LeadPages site as their primary website!
You don’t need to know any code in order to use them. They have a very nice “drag and drop” interface and the templates can be tweaked in any number of ways. They’re perfect for non-techies! Having a large collection of LeadPages that do different things for you will help you grow your email list in a sustainable way.
The Sumo tools are a must have for any serious online entrepreneur. Their founder, Noah Kagan, is an impressive character. He was an early employee at Facebook, did some amazing things as the Director of Marketing for Mint and has built an enviable business at Sumo. The guy “walks the talk” if you know what I mean. He is a big fan of tacos as well, which is widely regarded as the hallmark trait of all successful people.
The Sumo suite of tools (you get all of them with your monthly subscription) is everything you need in order to grow your website on autopilot. I’m serious. They have everything, and they keep adding to the list.
ConvertKit makes email automation very easy. You DO realize that when you receive marketing emails, they are written and scheduled ahead of time, right? Well, ConvertKit does all the heavy lifting for you.
I saw the conversion rates on my website SOAR as soon as I implemented an email marketing campaign for everyone who registered on my site. Many times, customers need to hear from you more than once before they’ll be convinced to make a purchase. That’s what ConvertKit is for.
WP Engine is the tool you need when you’ve figured out how to start an online business and you start getting some major traffic on your site. It’s more expensive than Bluehost (which is why I run all my experiments on Bluehost), but well worth the price once you have a website idea that is performing well and needs more bandwidth.
They make it easy to handle things like unexpected surges in website traffic, DDOS attacks and making regular backups of your site in case something goes wrong. You can also make changes in your website in “developer” mode, so the world won’t see you experimenting with it. The customer support is top-notch as well (I like the Live Chat support function the best).
BONUS! WP Engine has offered a sweet discount for readers of The Sterling Report. If you start with the Personal Plan (recommended…it’s the cheapest and you can always upgrade later), you get 20% off if you sign up by clicking through this link:
Get 20% off all plans from WP Engine via The Sterling Report