This is a summary of which software I use and the basic services you need to get into the business of earning passive income online.
Some of this software it is free – some not. I pay for some software which saves me a lot of time – its called investing in your business, but if you can’t afford to don’t worry, and don’t got into debt to buy it, try using the free tools first.
I’ve also ordered this page from beginners to more advanced. Some of the paid software includes affiliate links – you can tell by the odd code in the url. If you use the affiliate link then I will get paid a commission. Or you can hack the url and remove my code – and then I won’t get paid – its up to you really!
Browser: Firefox is essential Its free, its fast to load and because its open source there are lot of additional plug-ins which make somethings much easier – for example checking on the oppositions Page Rank and backlinks!
Email: I don’t use an email client – I keep everything centralized in a freee gmail account its not that I don’t have other email addresses – I just forward them all to gmail.
Writing / Office Productivity. I’ve been using OpenOffice for years – it does everything Microsoft Office does – for free, plus its one click to create a pdf of your file, or to create a file that the client will think you wrote using Word 🙂
If however I am writing a short piece that will be uploaded to a web form such as WordPress or HubPages – then I use a text editor to avoid any formatting issues but to still allow myself to see word count – Q10 is my favourite – and its free to.
FTP Software To move your files between your computer and your host you need some software called FTP – (File Transfer Protocol) – in case you are wondering. NEVER pay for this – there are dozens of free FTP’s around – I use FileZilla – it works for me, I like that I can edit files right inside it, and its free!
Every site I have has a cpanel login and a WordPress or other login. I have logins for affiliate programs, for HubPages, for my online banking, for my email etc etc. It has got pretty crazy, especially when I nearly lost the bit of paper (!) I had the password for some blogger blogs written on.
Finally there is a solution – RoboForm is a clever bit of software which has been around a while and is recommended by people such as PCWorld – it does lots of stuff but I just use it to memorize all my passwords and then I can even print out a list in case something gets corrupted or the laptop goes missing! You can try it for free – you only have to pay for it after 30 days if you want to retain more than 10 logins – and at $30 you probably will!
Domain Registration and Hosting
I use GoDaddy for registering all my domains. They are the cheapest and are reliable for registration ONLY. Their hosting services have had some really bad press but I have never used them personally.
I have used Dreamhost in the past – but it has the disadvantage of not using the industry standard of cpanel . The reason the cpanel is important is that again its open source software and there are number of add-on software which will automate some of the management of a large number of domains and hosting.
For hosting I currently use HostGator and have found them to be excellent. They are 24/7 support via online chat which is good when you live on the other side of the world – their packages start from around $5/month and their support and up time in my experience is very good.
Keyword Identification and Competition Analysis
To identify keywords I use my imagination, the advertising that comes through the mail box on a regular basis, the newspapers. They give me the basics of an idea but I then research the demand and potential value (for Adsense) of the keyword by using Google’s free kewyord tool. This tool will also give me related keywords which may be better or worse -but are at least options.
Now I could look at the competition by using FireFox with a rank checker plugin and checking to see the PR and backlinks for the top 10 or so websites which come up in a search for my keywords. I don’t do that. I use Market Samurai instead – its not free but its quicker and time is money in this business. Now this tool keeps on growing and growing (in fact it replaces for me two separate pieces of software I no longer recommend). I don’t use it all – but I use the keyword analysis and competition analysis modules a lot. They have recently added a rank checer too so that I can can check where my site is ranking for its keywords. The only thing I don’t like about the program is that there is no affiliate program!
I use self-hosted WordPress most often for sites – because its free and incredibly easy to use once you learn it. Most hosting companies will offer one-click installs of WordPress and other common software packages such as Joomla (check out the cool Joomla templates here).
I have also started using a cheap piece of software called MyStarterBlog which doesn’t require a big database like WordPress so it much easier to maintain: check out my review of MyStarterBlog
In terms of manipulating graphics I usually use Gimp which again is free and open source and will do most of the simple cropping and downsizing that I need. I also use Adobe’s Photoshop Elements – which I use to manage my photo library (I outgrew Picasa but its not bad for free either).
If you are serious about photo imaging and creating things like e-book covers you probably already know you should be using Photoshop CS and that its far from free!
No not evil bad link cloaking – sensible link cloaking which is the software which turns a meaningless affiliate links such as http://47b252e70zsw9sdoja39pbvq2r.hop.clickbank.net/ to something that looks like this http://lissowerbutts.com/recommends/PHPLinkCloaker There are lots of these around and you can do it for free if you understand the tech – but I have just always used PHPLinkCloaker because it works – it can also be used for links on sites I don’t own such as hubpages, which solutions which manipulate htaccess files will not.
Check out how I create content here.
Check out how I get backlinks to my sites here