The Best Resources For Building An Online Presence

Instead of keeping all the goods to myself (that would be selfish wouldn’t it?) I decided that it would be cool to share a lot of the tools and resources that I use or have used in the past in my day-to-work. So today I announce a new section of MikeZiarko.com (above) simply called “Resources” or it’s longer form The Resources and Tools For Building An Online Presence, which is my master list of the best stuff I’ve gathered over the years in a variety of areas that have helped build my business online and those of my clients. From Hosting and Email Marketing to my favorite business books, it’s all here. This post will be a permanent addition to MikeZiarko.com from now on to you can refer back to the Resources page whenever you need.

Note: As always I only recommended products and services that I have tried and personally used. You may find some affiliate links which is testament to how proud of am of the quality and high standard that I hold to everything that’s listed here.

Hosting & Email Marketing

BlueHost – As someone who’s been on the internet since 1996 I can honestly say they are by far the best in the business, and I’ve been through plenty. They’re customer service is excellent, they’re back-end is simple and intuitive yet packs a ton of features. (See my post on GoDaddy vs. BlueHost for a comparison)

Aweber – I’ve used Aweber on a recent project and can honestly say the quality of this product is top-notch. I’ve tried several mailing list providers and none come even close to this feature-rich newsletter and mailing list provider. If you have any kind of business and you’re not building a list of potential customers you’re leaving a lot of money on the table. Bonus they have a 1-month free trial too. I’m in the process of switching my own blog to this service.

Search Engine Optimization

Search engine optimization isn’t something you pickup overnight. It can take a long time to understand how it works and how it can benefit your business. I always encourage my customers and clients to learn as much as possible about the services that I offer.

Google Keyword Tool - A very basic yet powerful tool for understanding what search terms are applicable to  your business area, and more importantly the number of searches those keywords get to you can be sure you optimize for the right terms.

SEO School – A journey into internet business can’t be taken unless you have a fundamental understanding of how the internet works. You have to understand how Search Engine Optimization works if you ever hope to get traffic to your website. Naomi Dunford puts in layman’s terms while keeping the jargon to a minimum. This is one of the best introductions to unleashing the power of search engine optimization.

SEO – Frequently Asked Questions – If you don’t mind the extensive read, this is a fantastic comprehensive read on the subject. A must for anyone wanting to learn beyond the basics of SEO.

Blog Building

WordPress – The defacto standard blogging platform. Sure there’s plenty out there (Blogger, TypePad, etc.) but nothing beats the robustness, ease-of-use, and flexibility of this outstanding content management system.

Elegant Themes - Some of the finest looking WordPress themes available on the internet. They’ve won numerous awards and are even fortunate enough to have been used by yours truly several times on this website.

The Basic Blog Install - Let’s face it, setting up a blog for the first time can be daunting experience. Don’t want to go through the hassle? Web expert Johnny B. Truant does it all for much less than the cost of getting it done anywhere else. Check it out over at Johnny B. Truant

Blog Profit Blueprint - If you’re serious about getting into internet business and using a blog as the foundation of your business then no entrepreneur should take a step further without reading this fantastic quick read from internet marketer and entrepreneur Yaro Starak. It’s all available over at Entrepreneurs-Journey.com

ProBlogger by Darren Rowse. The definitive authority on blogs since blogging was even called blogging. Its not only a great book about blogging, its a great book about business. Even if you don’t want to become a pro blogger, the vast amount of information derived from this one resource will pay back in spades.

Recommended Reading

These are some of the most influential books I’ve ever read, some of them are so dog-earned I should probably do myself a favor and get a fresh copy and retire the old. Everyone has a bookshelf of they’re favorite books that inspire them and keep them going, and I keep my favorites right above my desk.

Crush It – Cash In On Your Passion by Gary Vaynerchuk. Probably the first book you should read if you’ve ever want to build an on online business. Gary took his passion for wine and built a multi-million dollar a year business using the internet to promote his product, but above all, he was passionate about what he was doing.

Get Smarter by Seymour Schulich – A quick read from the renounced Canadian business that on the service appears just to be another business book, it’s actually packed full of solid advice for the aspiring entrepreneur.

Delivering Happiness by Tony Hsieh – A recent book I got a chance to read over the summer and it’s one of those books you can’t help but feel inspired by. From his humble beginnings selling mail-order catalogue products to building an eCommerce empire Tony not only is an incredible businessman but is a powerful teacher who created a company build on the foundation of making customer service and company culture paramount above anything else.

Monster Careers: How To Land the Job of Your Life by Jeff TaylorFrom the subject of my blog you’d think I wouldn’t advocate a traditional line of work. On the contrary, this book got me my first job and without that experience I would have never become the person I’ve become.

Think and Grow Rich by Napolean Hill – So much of entrepreneurship and business is about mindset. We often get lost in the numbers or the tasks and we forget that putting yourself in the right mindset is a key ingredient for success. Fantastic read.

The Four Hour Workweek by Tim Ferriss – He left the corporate world to build an online supplements company or to realize that he was making 30k a month and had zero time to live the life he wanted.  He designed himself a new lifestyle by streamlining everything about his business and his life, and wrote about it in his best selling book. One of my all-time favorites.

The Art Of Non-Comformity - Set Your Own Rules, Live The Life You Want, and Change the World by Chris Guillebeau – It’s rare that a book like this comes along that can energize and inspires you to take action with your own goals. Chris has a wealth of life and work experience and with that comes this book that packs more profound insight on a variety of topics, from creating the life you want, become a travel ninja to building your army.

Working for Yourself – The Unconventional Guide eBook by Chris Guillebeau This was one one of the first premium products I picked up on the internet and it’s what motivated me to get started on my business ideas. In this 50+ page guide you get tons of ideas and insight to get started with earning an income for yourself instead of “for the man”.

Overcoming Fear And Uncertainty membership program by Sean Ogle – Sean’s one of those guys who carries a lot of respect in the blogosphere because he managed to make something great after his life took a turn for the worse. He took it upon himself to smash the fear and uncertainty of a change in life and work direction and built a fantastic program to help others do that same.

The Unconventional Guide To Freelancing - by Charlie Gilkey and Chris Guillebeau – In my review of this guide I wrote why this is such a great book on freelancing. Charlie has an incredible sense for helping us unleash the pragmatic entrepreneur in every creative person and he does so with precision and skill, and provides a thorough and concisive guide on how freelancers can maximize their effectiveness. It’s what really got me started down the freelancing path.

Escape from Cubical Nation by Pam Slim. A former corporate consultant, she had an idea pop into her head one day while out for a walk with her baby and bolted home to write this post on her then unknown-blog – Open letter to CEOs COOs CIOs and CFOs across the corporate world.  It became an internet sensation and launched her career as an author and small business coach.  She wrote about taking the leap in her book. That Open letter post still speaks to me like no other.

Online Business

The Empire Building KitChris Guillebeau’s finest ‘lifestyle business’ product yet. He’s a serial entrepreneur, blogger, world traveller and all around nice guy who’s now build a fantastic program to enable you to build a sustainable lifestyle business by doing a different thing every day. I’ve personally gone through and can easily say this is one of the best I’ve seen out there. I wrote a review of it back in June and am a proud affiliate. Check it out and see for yourself.

Niche Profit Classroom - If you aspire to learn about internet marketing and building a profit generating business then you need to look no further, because Adam Short brings you a step-by-step program to teach you everything you need to know and get you up and running in a very short period of time. As a member and proud “graduate” I can attribute a lot of what I’ve learned about affiliate marketing from this program.