The Best Online Marketing Tools For 2018

Designed to suit any online business, no matter the niche.

Peep this: Nearly every week we are asked about the different tools and resources we simply cannot function without.

And since there are ohhhhh 629 online marketing tools (rough estimate!) we use on an on-going basis, we thought it would be easiest—and most helpful for you!—to create a mammoth list of all the tools, apps, software, and resources we cannot live without.

(We even included a few of our own wildly-helpful resources we think you might love!)

So with that being said…behold! The list of tools to end all lists of tools!

We hope they help you on your journey to taking that 9-to-5 of yours and screwing it.

Let's dive in…

The Essentials

Firstly, let's start with the must have tools to run an online business. To make online business as simple as possible, we abide by one rule, “build an audience and sell them what they want”. Based on this belief, there are only two must have paid tools you need to start and grow any type of online business:

  1.  Website
  2. Email List
After running online businesses for over 7 years, these are the current tools that are essential to our business right now…

Website Hosting & Design

SITEGROUND (starter option): Whenever we start a new online brand, we normally begin by hosting it on our GoGeek account at SiteGround. If you're just starting out, you only really need a StartUp account for $3.95/month. They're reliable, their customer support is great and in my honest opinion, they're the best affordable website hosting option available today.

WPENGINE (growth option): Once your website traffic starts to take off, you may need to upgrade to a high-performance web host like WPEngine. When we say performance, what we mainly mean is how quickly pages load on your website. Currently we use WP Engine this website and after making the switch, we tripled our performance. 

SAVE 20% WITH COUPON CODE: WPE20OFF

ELEMENTOR (WordPress page builder): Very recently did we make the decision to switch to the WordPress Page Builder, Elementor. It was becoming frustrating having to pay website developers to make even the smallest of changes. Elementor allows literally anyone to easily customize the look of their website, without having to use any code whatsoever.

Email Marketing

CONVERTKIT (starter option): By far the best email marketing option for newbie digital entrepreneurs is ConvertKit. It's simple to use, they have incredible customer support and the pricing is the most competitive on the market.

ACTIVE CAMPAIGN (growth option): For those looking to take email marketing and automation to the next level, there's Active Campaign. As your list grows, you will want to start creating more in depth marketing campaigns and for that, there is no better option than Active Campaign.

Website Hosting & Registrars

Let's face it, there are A LOT of options to choose from when it comes to website hosting and like most things, you get what you pay for. In the last 7 years, we have tried more than 10 different website hosting companies and from that list, we can honestly say, the following ones were the highest performing and had the best customer support.

NAMECHEAP: Whenever we look to register a new domain name, we always turn to Namecheap. At $10.69 a year to register domains, it's a no brainer. I also WAY prefer their account management system and customer support over GoDaddy.com.

SITEGROUND: We still use SiteGround today for some of our smaller online brands like nootrohacker.com. They're affordable, easy-to-use and have great customer support. Everything you need from a website host when you're just starting out and looking to grow. Plans start from #3.95/month.

WPENGINE: Once your website traffic starts to take off, you may need to upgrade to a high-performance web host like WPEngine. When we say performance, what we mainly mean is how quickly pages load on your website. Currently WP Engine is only being used for screwtheninetofive.com and when we made the switch from SiteGround, we managed to triple the performance of our website.

WordPress Themes

Before you can use a page builder like Elementor Pro, you first need to install a WordPress theme. For this, you're best off using something that is really fast and secondly easy to customize (if you don't want to use Elementor)

WP ASTRA (freemium): This website runs on WP Astra. We chose this theme because, firstly, it's free and secondly it's really, really fast! There is a pro option, however if you're looking to use a page builder like Elementor Pro, then the free option for WP Astra will work.

GENERATE PRESS (freemium): The other option that is similar to WP Astra in terms of performance and customization is Generate Press. Again there is a free and paid option. Our opinion is that if you don't want to use a page builder, then Generate Press is better because it's a bit easier to customize than WP Astra.

GENESIS ESSENCE PRO (paid): The previous theme we were using was on the Genesis Framework by StudioPress and we went with the Essence Pro child theme. It's a good option for anyone who was a simple plug and play theme that takes less than a day to get up and running. We used the Essence Pro child theme because it was well suited for a personal brand style website like screwtheninetofive.com.

Website & Page Builders

WordPress themes are great for those just looking to build a simple blog, however, what if you need to create other things like opt in pages, sales pages and checkout pages? Or, what if you want to customize the entire look of your website, without having to pay a developer to code it up for you? For that, you'll need a page builder.

ELEMENTOR PRO (freemium): This entire website was built by Josh in less than a week using the Elementor Pro page builder for WordPress. It's incredibly intuitive and allows you to create and assign templates to multiple pages and posts based on categories, tags and much more. There's also is a free option and the paid version starts at just $49 (one time payment).

CLICKFUNNELS: We also have an account at ClickFunnels which we use for certain promotions. Unlike Elementor, this is a standalone platform that you pay for month to month and the reason for this is because you also get access to other features like: built in email marketing, membership site builder and eCommerce features.

LEADPAGES: If you're looking for a more affordable option than ClickFunnels and you don't want to use WordPress for your website, then LeadPages may be a good fit for you. It's perfect for coaches, consultants, online course creators or service providers who are looking to create simple and effective landing pages to build leads and generate customers.

Email Marketing Providers

Growing an email list is one of the most important things you can do for your online business and so going with the right provider for your business is something you should take VERY seriously from the start. If you make the wrong decision and then later decide to change providers, it can cost you a lot of time and energy. Trust us, we should know because we have changed 3 times so far and it's never pretty!

CONVERTKIT (coaches/authors/creatives): We use ConvertKit because we generate all of our revenue by receiving commissions for providing trusted recommendations to our audience. We did look at using Active Campaign, however for what we needed, it just didn't make sense to pay the extra money. We really like ConvertKit and can't see us making a change any time in the near future.

ACTIVE CAMPAIGN (eCommerce/course creators/coaches/service providers): For those looking to take email marketing and automation to the next level, there's Active Campaign. We have an account at Active Campaign as well as ConvertKit, which we use it to keep on top of any new updates they release. After testing out most of their features, I can honestly say that if you're looking to scale up BIG in the areas of eCommerce, selling online courses or you have an online service that is going places, then this is the best option for you.

Graphics Design

Visual marketing is really hot right now and is only getting bigger with Instagram taking off and video continuing to look like the future of online media. In the past, you would have had to hire a graphics designer full time to create your images, however, now there are online tools that can help you do all of this for a lot less money.

ADOBE SPARK (freemium): Because we have a Creative Cloud account with Adobe, we also get free access to the premium version of Adobe Spark. It's actually a lot simpler to use than Canva and if you already have a Creative Cloud account, then this will be a great option for you.

Canva (freemium): No matter what you're looking to design, from blog post images to video thumbnails for Youtube and even custom images for Instagram, Canva can do it all for you. It's free to use with a paid upgrade option available which you will probably eventually end up using because it's only $10 a month.