There are several tools I use to help run my online business in general and this website in particular.
It’s tough to do business online without a domain name. In this case, the domain is VirtualAssistantAssistant.com, but I own several others as well. In fact, buying domains for future projects is a bad habit of mine because too many end up sitting dormant and collecting dust.
Either way, Go Daddy is my go-to spot for domain registration. They always have some coupon deals going on so your first year of registration can generally be had for a very low cost.
A word of warning: their checkout process is ugly and confusing as they try and upsell you on a bunch of garbage you don’t need. Skip all that stuff.
Once you have your domain name you’ll need someone to host it for you. Go Daddy will offer to do this, but it is considered an Internet faux pas to have your registration and hosting with the same company.
And word on the street is their hosting isn’t super awesome, either.
In the past I’ve used Bluehost, which is an extremely popular and low-cost shared hosting platform. Shared hosting means your site shares the server with dozens of other sites, which is an economical way to get started because you probably won’t have much traffic at the beginning.
However, Bluehost kept giving me trouble with CPU throttling issues and couldn’t explain what the cause was or what I could do to fix it. With my volume of traffic, it shouldn’t have been an issue, so I switched over to a company called Web Hosting Buzz.
They’re not as well known but so far I haven’t run into any of the CPU throttling issues that plagued my site before.
I can’t do it all myself, so I’m always trying to leverage virtual assistants to get better and faster results. While I’ve tested several of the virtual assistant companies on this site, I’ve had the best luck finding long-term virtual employee hires on Elance.
The review system and star-ratings on the site are powered by a premium plugin called WP Review Site. I researched several options before deciding on this one because I liked the look and feel of the best.
Email is an essential tool to communicate with your audience. The email newsletter and subscriber list for this site is set-up through AWeber, which is the most popular choice amongst online business owners. They have been around forever and have a great reputation.
The one alternative to consider when you’re starting out would be MailChimp, because they have a plan that’s free for your first 2000 subscribers. Unfortunately I didn’t have a great experience with MailChimp and their free plan does not allow for any autoresponders (automatically send pre-written emails at selected times), so I ended up making the switch to AWeber and have been really happy with their service so far.
All the videos on this site are hosted on YouTube. I use a special WordPress plugin called LeadPlayer to show clickable call-to-action links on the videos themselves.
It’s a premium plugin but it has paid for itself many times over.
There are a ton of entity formation services out there but the one I’ve used with the most success has been LegalZoom. I like their free and helpful resources and easy-to-use interface.