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Recommended Resources

Our top picks for online business builders

I’ve been earning a full-time living online since 2010.

Below are the best tools and resources I’ve come across for building and running an online business.

Most of them I’ve used personally, and we continue to use many here at eBiz Facts.

Web Hosting  |  Email Marketing  |  Courses  | Remote Job BoardsProductivity  |  Admin  |  Travel  |  Books  |  Miscellaneous

Quick disclaimer: please do your own research and due diligence before using or purchasing any of the resources listed below. Just because something has worked well for others doesn’t mean it will work well for you.

💻 Web Hosting

As a site owner and long-time web designer, I’ve had experience with several web hosts over the years.

Before I give you my recommendations, keep this in mind: no web host is perfect. Google around long enough and you’ll find positive and negative comments about every one of them.

That said, some are definitely better than others…

Dreamhost

This is the host I have the most experience with. I’ve been a paying customer since 2011 and have never run into any major problems. Their chat support has always been good to me.

I currently have several sites hosted on a Dreamhost VPS, but if you’re just getting started I recommend going with their Shared Unlimited hosting.

Pay for one year of Unlimited and you’ll have secure hosting, one free domain, and a bunch of handy extras all for less than $100.

SiteGround

If you don’t like Dreamhost for whatever reason, give SiteGround a look. 

I’ve never used them myself, but they’re recommended by people I trust and they also have an official recommendation from WordPress.org.

SiteGround’s plans work out a bit more expensive than the equivalent on Dreamhost, but they tend to score a bit better in terms of speed.

Kinsta

eBiz Facts is currently hosted on Kinsta, a premium WordPress hosting provider. They’ve been solid for us, but I’d only recommend them if you have a bigger budget and need more powerful and robust hosting.

If you’re just starting out with a new website, stick with Dreamhost or SiteGround.

📬 Email Marketing

Mailchimp

If you’re not yet serious about email marketing and just want to play around with it, sign up for a free Mailchimp account.

That allows you to have up to 2000 subscribers (or “contacts” as Mailchimp calls them), and single-step automations, which is plenty to get your feet wet.

It’s easy to upgrade to a paid Mailchimp plan later, or switch to another provider if you need better functionality.

ConvertKit

I’ve never used ConvertKit extensively myself, but I’m continually impressed by their user-friendly design and focus on helping creators. 

Many respected online entrepreneurs have switched over to ConvertKit in recent years, including the likes of Tim Ferriss and Pat Flynn.

You can use ConvertKit for free up to 1000 subscribers. Beyond that it is a little pricier than competitors – see a full price comparison here – but, if you’re serious about email marketing, it’s worth considering.

(Less expensive but still solid alternatives are Aweber and Active Campaign, both of which I’ve paid for in the past.)

Sendy

Sendy is what we use for email marketing here at eBiz Facts (subscribe to our newsletter).

It’s probably the cheapest setup you can have. We paid $59 one time for a Sendy license, and then $1 per 10,000 emails sent through Amazon SES.

For us, that works out to about $6/month after the license fee.

However, Sendy does have some notable drawbacks. The biggest is that you need to be fairly technical to handle setup and maintenance – it’s self-hosted software – and it doesn’t have all the bells and whistles of Mailchimp or ConvertKit.

I’d recommend it for tech-savvy bootstrappers, but that’s about it.

If none of the above sound right for you, check out Starter Story’s comprehensive list of email marketing services.

🎓 Courses

Here at eBiz Facts we review courses related to making money online, and pride ourselves on producing the most helpful, in-depth and objective reviews on the internet.

Here are the best courses we’ve reviewed to date…

The Authority Site System by Authority Hacker

The Authority Site System – Key Points
  About

An impressive affiliate marketing course that teaches you how to build authority websites and earn passive income.

πŸ’°  Price

$997 regular price, $599 with discount (discount info, join now)

😍  Pros

Created by respected experts with proven results. Concise, step-by-step training. Regularly updated.

😩  Cons

It generally takes several months to start earning decent money from an authority site.

  Verdict

The best affiliate marketing training I’ve seen. Highly recommended.

Overall Rating
4.6/5

Read our full Authority Hacker review Β»

The Complete Copywriting Course

The Complete Copywriting Course – Key Points
  About

A top-rated course on Udemy for learning copywriting.

πŸ’°  Price

$10-20 during frequent Udemy sales (check price)

😍  Pros

Taught by a pro. Concise and well-presented info. Real-world examples and assignments.

😩  Cons

Doesn’t cover how to find clients.

  Verdict

Buy it on sale and it’s ridiculously good value. An excellent way to learn a fundamental skill.

Overall Rating
4.5/5

Earn More Writing

Earn More Writing – Key Points
  About

Earn More Writing is a course for freelance writers looking to boost their income.

πŸ’°  Price

$199 (join now)

😍  Pros

Excellent credentials, realistic approach, clear and concise info.

😩  Cons

A little dated in places, no text version of video lessons.

  Verdict

We recommend Earn More Writing for people who are serious about building a freelance writing career.

Overall Rating
4.5/5

Read our full Earn More Writing review Β»

Consulting Accelerator 2.0

Sam Ovens Consulting Accelerator 2.0 – Key Points
  About

A massive online course that promises to help you build a profitable consulting business.

πŸ’°  Price

$1997 or 5 monthly payments of $597 (free trial + discount info)

😍  Pros

Tons of positive student reviews, proven results, excellent sales training, active and helpful community.

😩  Cons

Misleading marketing, some contradictions and inconsistencies, Sam’s bizarre bragging.

  Verdict

A solid investment if you’re willing to work hard and have the right expectations. But it’s not for everyone.

Overall Rating
4.3/5

Read our full Consulting Accelerator review Β»

Social Media Marketing Agency 2.0

Social Media Marketing Agency 2.0 – Key Points
  About

A video-heavy course that teaches you how to build a social media marketing agency.

πŸ’°  Price

Full price: $997. Often on sale for $197 or less. (check current price)

😍  Pros

Value packed and comprehensive training, taught by multiple experts.

😩  Cons

Poorly organized, outdated in places.

  Verdict

If you enjoy social media and are willing to work hard, this course will serve you well.

Overall Rating
4.0/5

Read our full SMMA review Β»

🏆 Best Udemy Courses 🏆

The best Udemy courses related to online business that we’ve personally reviewed:

See our all our reviews here Β»

👩‍💻 Remote Job Boards

We’ve spent 100+ hours researching and reviewing the best remote job boards.

If you want to find a great remote job fast, these sites are your best bet…

🏆 Best Remote Job Boards 🏆

Best overall

FlexJobs

Best for US-based

Virtual Vocations

Best for anywhere

Dynamite Jobs

Best for corporate jobs

FlexJobs

Best for startup jobs

AngelList

Our top 5 remote jobs sites:

Website Rating Review
FlexJobs 4.7/5 FlexJobs review
Dynamite Jobs 4.6/5 Dynamite Jobs review
Virtual Vocations 4.6/5 Virtual Vocations review
AngelList 4.4/5 AngelList review
Remote.co 4.2/5 Remote.co review
See all the remote jobs websites we've reviewed Β»

✔︎ Productivity

Teamwork

This is the tool we use for project management here at eBiz Facts. As a small team, it’s great for keeping all our tasks and communication in one place.

I’ve also used it successfully for client projects in the past.

They have a free version available, so you can give it a good test run before you buy.

(I’ve also heard good things about Asana, which seems similar in terms of pricing and functionality.)

TIPP10

If you’re going to work online, learning to type quickly and efficiently is a must.

TIPP10 is the free software I used to learn touch typing at the ripe old age of 30. Before that I was just pecking at the keyboard, and it really slowed me down.

I set aside 30 minutes per day to practice with TIPP10, and within a couple of weeks I was comfortably typing 50 words per minute, and nowadays type ~65 wpm.

(If you want to test your typing speed, TypingTest.com does the job.)

aText

aText helps speed up your typing.

For example, I have it set so every time I type em1 my full email address appears instead, saving me from having to type out the whole thing.

You can set up a bunch of shortcuts like that with aText.

It costs $5 and you can use it for Mac or Windows.

(One limitation of aText is that it looks like it’s built and maintained by one person. If you’re looking for more robust software that does pretty much the same thing, you can try TextExpander, but you’ll have to pay a monthly subscription.)

⚙️ Admin

Northwest Registered Agent

Northwest is the registered agent I use for my LLC in the United States.

They have a bunch of other services like company formation, annual report filing, virtual office, etc. Even non-US citizens can use Northwest to set up a company in the United States.

Or read this article on eBiz Facts: Business Registration And Taxes For Digital Nomads

Virtual Post Mail

This service allows me to receive old-fashioned mail in the USA without having a physical address there. 

They scan any mail received and email it to me, and can also forward along any important documents to another address I specify, anywhere in the world.

Copycall

This service gives me a US phone number so I can receive voicemail and texts via email. I researched a bunch of companies like this but Copycall delivers the best bang for the buck.

🛫 Travel

If you’re a digital nomad, you might be interested to check out our Travel Hacker’s Toolkit.

It’s a list of recommended resources for folks building an online business while traveling the world.

Highlights include…

SafetyWing

The travel insurance provider which costs me about $35/month yet covered my $4000 hospital bill in Indonesia. 

Cruise Sheet

The best site we’ve found for cheap cruises. You’ll often find cruises on there for less than $50/day. Great value for meals + transport + accommodation.

Timeshifter Jet Lag App

Put in your flight details and it creates a custom plan telling you when to sleep, when to wake up, when to drink coffee, when to stop, when to avoid bright light, etc.

For more travel-related tools and resources…

📚 Books

These are the top 3 books I recommend every online entrepreneur to read:

Deep Work
The 4-Hour Workweek
The Millionaire Fastlane

Deep Work   The 4-Hour Workweek   The Millionaire Fastlane

🗂 Miscellaneous

Ahrefs

This is my favorite SEO software. 

I use it several times a week – for keyword research, rank tracking, competitor analysis, etc. – and it’s so packed with features that I’m still only scratching the surface.

Note that Ahrefs is quite pricey and mainly for SEO professionals and serious site builders.

(Lots of pro SEOs also use and love SEMrush, which is similar to Ahrefs. And then there’s Ubersuggest, a free alternative to both which isn’t nearly as powerful but is getting better all the time.)

Dynalist

This is a simple (and free) web app that makes it easy to capture and flesh out ideas.

I use it for structuring articles before getting stuck into the writing. This very article you’re reading started out on Dynalist.

Social Media Management

We use SocialBee for scheduling and recycling social media posts.

We got lifetime access to it for only $49 via an AppSumo deal in 2019. 

The regular price is $19/month, which is about the same as SmarterQueue, which we used previously and does pretty much the same thing.

SmarterQueue is actually a better tool, IMO. SocialBee can be buggy and frustrating at times, and my few interactions with their support team have been disappointing. If not for the lifetime deal I’d be back using SmarterQueue already.

Zoom

Zoom is video-conferencing software, like an advanced version of Skype.

We use it for monthly group calls with members of Freedom Business Builder, our private community here at eBiz Facts.

What’s your #1 tool or resource for building an online business?

One rule here: please don’t recommend a tool if you’re involved in creating or marketing it.

Other than that, I’d love to hear your recommendations in the comments below.

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6 Comments

  1. Hey man, I am a huge fan of your blog. I wanna thank you and your team for all your time, effort and work that you put on this content. I just want to tell you that I miss a lot your finance tracking. I do not know for what reason you took it off from the website. I do miss it. I think you are the most credible person I have found in internet, showing your finances just adds up to that credibility.
    Again, Thank you !
    cheers,
    Santiago

  2. Loved this, thank you for taking the time to write this Niall.

    One that might be of help is Otter, voice to text recognition which is then searchable.
    Video Speed Controller – don’t video so that you can cross this morning from nation in a shorter period of time.

    1. Nice one, CiarΓ‘n. I’ve been hearing about them more and more lately. Sounds like they’re becoming the go-to guys for email marketing if you’re doing any kind of ecommerce.