The Tools You Need to Make Your Website a Success

On this page you’ll find the best tools for growing your online business that I’ve personally used and tested out. Some of them are affiliate links which means if you use them, you’re helping me earn a commission at no extra charge to you. In fact, some of the links below will get you discounted rates for being an Ask Nick reader. If you have any questions about any resources that I’ve recommended below, send me an email at




All of my websites are hosted on Bluehost. Why? Because they make it incredibly easy to get a new site up and running with their one-click automatic WordPress Blog installation. I wrote a detailed guide on how I started on Bluehost’s easy-to-use and extremely affordable hosting platform.

You can use your Bluehost account to host multiple domains so there’s no need to pay more for hosting when you’re ready to start another website. Sign up for their Plus Plan if you want to have multiple domains on your account. Or you can start with Basic for $2.95/month and upgrade later when you’re ready.

Customer support is amazing and why Bluehost was ranked one of the top hosting companies in 2016. If you ever have any issues with your website, call Bluehost’s Customer Service number and their technical support will help resolve the problem for you.

I highly recommend using Bluehost for your first website, and you can get started now at only $2.95/month, which is an exclusive Ask Nick Foy reader deal and you’ll get a FREE domain name when you sign up for at least 12 months of hosting!

Get started here with Bluehost


#1 for Email List Building

ConvertKit is my top recommendation for building your email list and managing your email autoresponder.

ConvertKit is user friendly, making it easy to set up email lists, autoresponders, and tracking the conversion rates of your email opt-in forms. Get started with ConvertKit today.

optinmonster lead generation

#1 for Lead Capture Forms

OptinMonster is my top recommendation for building powerful lead capture forms and exit pop-ups to convert exiting visitors into email subscribers.

Since creating forms and pop-ups with OptinMonster, I’ve seen my email list double in subscribers and an increase in opt-in conversion rates.

genesis theme framework wordpress

#1 Recommended Pro Theme

Genesis is the #1 recommended theme for WordPress websites.

The Genesis Framework is a professional theme packed with powerful features, beautiful designs, lots of layout options, and is very user friendly. Many of the top bloggers run their website on the Genesis theme framework.

Tools by Category 

Click the orange link to learn more about each resource below.

Hosting & Domain URL

Bluehost*: you’ll need a hosting company to store your website files and database for you and give you access to space on the internet. Bluehost is my hosting company and the industry leader when it comes to ease of use, customer service, and 1 click WordPress installation.

Namecheap: is where you can purchase a custom URL known as a domain name for people to find your website. was purchased on Namecheap for $10/year. Watch this tutorial on how to use Namecheap.

Website Platform

WordPress: is the most commonly used content managing system. Its platform is easy to use to create and design a website on. Once you’ve acquired hosting from Bluehost or whichever hosting company you’re using, you simply install WordPress, log-in to your WordPress dashboard, and begin selecting themes, creating pages, and writing posts for your website. WordPress is user friendly and beginners need no website coding knowledge to use this software. Visit our YouTube channel for tutorials on using WordPress.

Professionally Designed Website Themes

Genesis*: A lot of my online connections and fellow bloggers run their websites on the Genesis Framework. A professionally designed theme is important to giving your brand a good rep with your customers and audience. I’m not a coder by any stretch of the imagination and I wouldn’t expect you to be either. Genesis is user friendly and isn’t hard to figure things out on your own. There’s also a helpful community forum for asking questions and documentation that will show you how to do just about anything you need to do.

Thesis Theme for WordPress*: Another option for purchasing a professional theme is DIY Themes who came up with the Thesis Theme framework. They have a great selection of themes for your blog or website that will make your site come across professional and give you credibility to your viewers. The Thesis Theme is considered the top theme by many online entrepreneurs.

ThemeForest*: is a massive marketplace where you can find hundreds of professionally designed paid themes web designers have built and are selling on the Envato Marketplace. I bought the Avada theme from ThemeForest which is the most purchased professional theme all time in the marketplace due to it’s ease of customization and abundance of features. uses the Avada theme.

Elementor: is a popular page builder plugin. It makes designing a new website beginner friendly with drag & drop boxes and easy to customize settings. Learn more about Elementor Pro and the widgets that come with it!

Email Marketing & List Growth

ConvertKit*: I made the switch to ConvertKit and absolutely love it. I wish I had switched sooner because they offer so many amazing features to make email marketing easy on you. ConvertKit is a must have tool as an online entrepreneur. It allows you to create professional optin forms to capture email optins, set up automated email sequences to send to your list, and has advanced features such as tagging that allow you to categorize your list and target specific members with specific emails. The developer really new what was lacking in other email marketing companies and designed a great product for us all to use to build our email lists to market to.

Landing Page Email List Builders

OptinMonster*: is the best resource for designing engaging optin forms and landing pages to increase your conversion rates and grow your email list. They have exit-intent capability to show a pop-up to visitors who are about to exit your website as well as many other amazing features. You can create multiple forms and then use their analytic tracking to see which forms are performing best and make tweaks as necessary to increase conversions. OptinMonster syncs easily with ConvertKit as well as the other email marketing companies.

Keyword Research

Market Samurai*: One of the top keyword research tools out there to discover keywords you can rank for in Google when you write blog articles. If you want to save time with keyword research which includes: search volume, competitor analysis, your page rank, your keyword rank, and more, then this is definitely worth checking out.

Longtail Pro*: Also considered to be one of the top keyword research tools and some consider it easier to use than Market Samurai but either one is great for making keyword research easy on you. It’s just a one time payment of $97 to purchase the software and you are all set to dive into keyword research.

Google Adwords Keyword Planner Tool: This is a great free tool that you can use to get search volume estimates for keywords as well as keyword groups if you need ideas of more words that relate to your keyword. You’ll need to create a free Google adwords account first to get access to this tool.

Analytics & Traffic Monitoring

Google Analytics: Track how many unique visitors your site gets each month as well as page views, bounce rate, and more. Analytics are important to understanding what kinds of traffic your site is receiving, where from, and helps you see growth from month to month.

Google Webmaster Tools: Another resource for analyzing data and diagnostics of your website and gives you tools to ensure a healthy Google-friendly website.

Clicky*: Just like Google Analytics and it allows you to see how many people are on your site real time. Your first website is free to use Clicky.

WordPress Plugins I Recommend Installing

You can search these plugins within WordPress in the Plugins Page or you can download them directly using the links below and then upload and install them in WordPress. Here are plugins I deem “MUST HAVE” when setting up a website.

(#1) Yoast SEO: is the top plugin for optimizing your blog posts and website for search engines to help improve your ranking in Google. Watch a tutorial on YouTube for learning all their features.

(#2) W3 Total Cache: Speed-enhancing website cache-ing plugin. Seek a YouTube tutorial though for help with all the millions of settings it contains during the set-up phase. I used a tutorial, set it up, and saw my web page load time speed up 2 seconds!

(#3) WordFence Security: Keep your website secured from tampering and hacking. You’ll be notified immediately of any suspicious activity. WordFence can lock out people trying to log in to your website too many times or who use specific usernames as well as many other features.

(#4) Askimetimportant for protecting your blog from spam commenting and trackback spam

(#5) Pretty Link Lite: cleans up links so you can remember the URL that you custom set for the destination you are trying to link out to. You can also re-direct, create, and track links from your website to see how many hits they are getting from traffic.

(#6) SumoMe: This is an amazing resource, filled with tools to help you grow your website and your email list. There are tools to capture email addresses, increase social sharing, understand your site analytics, and more. It integrates with all the major email providers. Try out one tool or use them all it’s a great plugin.

Video Equipment

Video will be an important part of your online business. Today’s world is moving more and more to video to consume content and learn. Videos are more engaging to your audience, when done professionally. To create professional videos, I’ve listed several resources below under each sub-category. You will need a recording device, microphone equipment, and a video studio set up for recording your videos. Once recorded, you will need video editing software to produce the video. You can then upload it to YouTube for free or a paid video hosting platform such as Wistia if you are going to distribute the videos as paid content to people who purchase access to them.

Video Recording Devices

Professional Camera: Canon 70D – 1080px, HD video camera, amazing quality, auto-focus during video, and more. Great for filming outside and inside. Offers a large variety of lenses that you can choose from to fit your needs. Has wireless features with the Canon Connect App so you can take great photos and transfer them to your phone easily to post on social media.

Pocket Camcorder for on the Go: Canon VIXIA HF R62 – smaller camcorder that is great for when you are on the go and need to shoot footage. Has the side pop-out screen so you can see yourself filming for ease of taking a selfie video.  32 GB HDD, great zoom range without losing quality, and great battery life.

iPhone 6 or 6 Plus: The recent smart phones made by Apple have great cameras on them you can use to take photos or record video. The quality is as good I would say as most video cameras but you can argue they still lag high end professional video cameras in quality.

Tripod for Camera: tripods are important for setting up your video camera to film on it’s own or for steady shots where you don’t want the camera to move at all. I used a tripod for filming my real estate investing lessons as well as when I’m in front of the backdrop screens.

Video Camera Bundle Package: Get a video camera, memory card, case, tripod, and more as one bundle package. Search for the bundle that suits you if the one I’ve linked to isn’t for you.

Video Editing Software

Camtasia Studios: this software makes it easy to record your computer screen for filming tutorials and offers lots of video editing features to make professional and engaging videos.

ScreenFlow: a powerful screen recording and video editing software for Mac users. Record what you do on your computer and edit it into a tutorial for uploading to YouTube or selling as an eCourse.

Windows Movie Maker: Comes free with most windows based computers and laptops. Has only your basic features such as splitting film, adding music, and adding some animation effects. If you’re looking for professional editing software with lots of cool features and editing options, this won’t be your software.

Video Effects & Add Ons

Omnidazzle: for Mac users and it allows you to draw on your screen as well as other video enhancements such as tracking the location of your mouse on the screen.

SplashEO: If you want professional looking intros and outros for your videos, SplashEO is the go to resource. An intro is a professional 3-10 second clip your viewer sees prior to starting the video alerting them of your brand or logo. You see these commonly on YouTube. An outro is an exit clip the viewer sees pointing them to other videos you have, social media, or links you want them to click next. Intros and outros can also have music built into them to add effect.

Bamboo Pen & Tablet: It’s hard to write with a mouse cursor so the bamboo pen and tablet solves this problem. It puts a pen in your hand to draw on the tablet and hooks up to your laptop or computer to relay your drawing onto the computer screen.

Wista: provides professional video hosting with amazing viewer analytics, HD video delivery, and marketing tools to help understand your visitors. Use Wistia when you need to store videos somewhere until users pay to get access to them, similarly to eBook distribution shopping carts that deliver people an eBook after they purchase it.

SpeechPad: if you want to transcribe your videos, this company will do it for $1 per minute of audio. I gladly pay someone $5 to transcribe 5 minutes of video so that I don’t have to do the tedious work myself of replaying the video in slow motion writing out every word I said. Try out this company if you want to outsource and save the headaches.

Studio Set-Up

Backdrop Kit: Have you seen videos where they appear to be contrasted against a white or black background? That’s the result of having a backdrop kit. You can purchase white or black or even green screen backdrop to stand in front of and then you’ll use lighting to give the effects you desire in your video.

Lighting Kit: the 3 point lighting technique is most common. You’ll have two face lights shining on you to get rid of shadows and then a back light placed behind you shining on the back of you to create that contrast effect so you don’t blend in with the background. Lighting can make you pop out in your videos, giving a cool visual effect.

Audio Equipment

Recording Microphones: See this list of microphones and select one to purchase to use in your office. Using a recording microphone to record your podcast or audio content will clean out all the noise and unnecessary sounds that are present from normal recording into a laptop speaker. Quality is way better with a microphone.

Wireless Mic: Clip on a wireless mic for easy recording of any conversation you have while outside your home or for when you aren’t nearby your laptop. Traditional recording mics plug into a laptop so a wireless mic gives you range and mobility to be away from your studio or desk.

Podcast Hosting:

Libsyn: the most recommended podcast hosting platform to upload your show and episodes to. Just like a website has to have hosting, so does a podcast. You can then integrate your libsyn links and account info into plugins and iTunes for streaming your episodes to an audience. As you upload each new episode to LibSyn it will automatically update your iTunes and Plugins feed. Find a tutorial on YouTube for help in setting up the iTunes and website integration.

Blubrry PowerPress: A plugin for your WordPress Website to stream your podcast episodes once you’ve uploaded them to your hosting platform.

Smart Podcast Player: Designed by Pat Flynn, this is an amazing plugin you can download to display your podcast episodes as a feed for easy viewing, downloading, and sharing by your audience.

Photo Editing

PicMonkey*: editing photos is easy with PicMonkey, add effects, borders, frames, filters, text, and more.

Canva: free online photo editor that offers lots of free images, backgrounds, and templates. I use Canva to create my blog post featured images.