Table of Contents
However, there are some things I could not do without.
This page sets out what I use.
Please assume that each link on this page is an affiliate link. This means if you click a link and purchase something, I’ll receive a commission. If you do choose to buy via my links, thank you very much.
A. Website Tools
Without a doubt, the Eleven40 theme on the Genesis Framework is an indispensable tool for my $1 million dollar niche site. I use the Genesis Framework for this website as well. Read why this is such a great theme here (it’s not just because I like the look of it – it offers specific features that make it ideal for display ads).
UPDATE: In January 2016 I switched my biggest B2C site to WordX theme by MyThemeShop (read my My Theme Shop review here). It’s working well and so I’m sticking with it. I like it because the mobile menu is excellent, it loads fast and it accommodates 728px wide ads out-of-the-box.
I started my $1 million dollar site on shared hosting with Bluehost. It’s a low-cost way to get started. It’s my preferred shared hosting service.
3. Synthesis (Hosting)
Once I hit 500,000 monthly page views, I migrated hosting from Bluehost to Synthesis. WebSynthesis does a great job and specializes with WordPress sites.
If you need high-powered hosting for WordPress website, get Synthesis. Read my full Synthesis review here.
4. WPEngine (Hosting)
In November 2015 I centralized all of my sites with WPEngine. I needed a large hosting plan with a premium WP hosting service and opted for WPEngine. So far the service is excellent. I still recommend Synthesis for another premium WP hosting service and Bluehost for small sites to keep costs low.
Read my full WPEngine vs. Synthesis comparison review here where I set out performance data with both hosting services plus compare other features.
5. WP Curve
WP Curve is a great service when you can’t figure out how do something on your WordPress website. I hired them to help with installing my SSL certificate. They did a great job and made all elements on my site secure.
They also helped with custom coding some navigation features on my site.
If you need help with anything pertaining to your WordPress site other than design, hire WP Curve.
In 2016 I launched an affiliate product store with the Flatsome Woocommerce theme. You can read all about it here.
B. SEO and User Experience Tools
1. SEMRush: I started using SEMRush in mid 2015 and love this SEO software. My favorite feature is using it to see which keywords I’m ranking for in the top 20 spots in Google search. I can then choose valuable keywords to work on improving rankings. It’s often easier to improve rankings for keywords one is already ranking for than starting from scratch.
2. Audience Bloom: (link-building service: mention “Jon Dykstra” for 10% discount): This service does a really nice job getting links from real websites. They write great articles and have relationships with many top tier sites.
3. Elf Links: This nifty piece of software conceals affiliate links. I don’t use it for every site I publish, but I find it’s very good for pages on which I have a lot of affiliate links such as product comparison pages (which can pre-sell very well).
4. Content.ad Related Content Widget: This is my favorite related content plugin. It’s free. Be sure to select 0% for displaying sponsored links (unless you want to display sponsored ads.
5. Ubersuggest.org: A great long tail keyword research website. It spits out the auto-suggest search phrases based on the seed word or phrase you input.
6. SECockpit: Great keyword software for finding keywords you won’t discover so easily with Google Keyword Planner.
1. Ezoic: I’m currently using Ezoic extensively right now for a few sites. Ezoic is comprehensive ad testing and monetization platform. Most sites accepted. Extensive testing – either manually or automated. Worth trying. Read my Ezoic review here.
2. Sortable: I’ve used Sortable a good bit over the last year. They can generate some decent revenue. If you’re looking for ad optimization, they’re worth trying.
3. Media.net: If you use your own Adsense ads, adding Media.net ads can be excellent incremental revenue. I used Media.net extensively before switching to Sortable.
4. GumGum Ads: If you use images on your site, GumGum image overlay ads are a great source of incremental revenue. I use GumGum ads in conjunction with Sortable.
5. The Blogger Network: In February 2016 I started testing these ads. They’re fantastic. They pay on a per page view basis instead per click. Perfect for monetizing sidebars and footers. Read full review of The Blogger Network here.
6. Datafeedr: I use Datafeedr to create my affiliate store. It’s only good if you’re promoting a lot of products. Also, I use it on a noindexed subdomain because it’s all duplicate content. I stopped the datafeeds on my affiliate store and am custom writing all product descriptions. Read about the birth of my affiliate store here. 7. Woozone: I use the Woozone plugin for importing Amazon products into my affiliate store (again, on a noindexed subdomain). I stopped the datafeeds on my affiliate store and am custom writing all product descriptions.
D. Social Media and User Engagement
1. SumoMe: This is the only plugin you’ll need for social sharing. I especially like the social sharing hover buttons you can activate over images.
2. Monarch Plugin: While I love SumoMe for image sharing, when image sharing isn’t important, I prefer Monarch social sharing buttons, which I use on Fat Stacks and other non-image centric sites.
3. Ajax Search Pro: I love this search form, although it can be buggy. I use it on several sites, including Fat Stacks. The search results quality is excellent and the drop down auto-suggest feature is fantastic.
4. WP Review: This is by far the best review plugin I’ve used. It’s easy to use, creates beautiful review charts and you have the option to let visitors rate in the comments.
5. Superfly Mobile Menu: One of the best mobile responsive menu plugins for WordPress sites. I use it on Fat Stacks and another large site I own. 6. Sendible: Sendible is a feature-rich, easy-to-use social media posting service. I love how it queues and schedules as well as bulk upload posts that can be posted to Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Tumblr and many other social media channels.
7. Opinion Stage: Creates beautiful polls, quizzes and lists with decent sharing options. You can also monetize your polls as well.
8. Qwaya: If you create a lot of Facebook adsets targeting different audiences, Qwaya is a must-have tool. I find it’s best feature is the ability to split target audiences which saves hours of time creating ads and adsets.
9. Table of Contents Plus plugin: Creates great tables of contents for posts and pages.
10. Shortcodes Ultimate: Great shortcodes plugin for buttons, tabbed sections, headings, boxes and many other nifty features to dress up posts and articles.
12. WP Post Navigation: Adds previous/next to the bottom of every post. It’s a good feature for any blog to increase page views per visitor.
E. Email Marketing
1. AWeber: I’ve used AWeber for my email autoresponder for years. I like how easy it is to use.
2. Instapage: I love using Instapage to create squeeze pages (as well as sales pages, custom home pages… anything that requires a great design).
3. OptinMonster: OptinMonster, for the money, provides an excellent exit intent opt in form. I use this on my niche sites for which I offer an email newsletter.
4. Plugmatter: This plugin creates a site-wide feature opt in form at the top of a WordPress website. It’s very effective at attracting email newsletter subscribers. I’ve been looking for an email opt in tool like this for a long time. It’s on this site. It’s ideal if your primary objective is to attract subscribers. I also think it enhances a site’s design.
5. Thrive Leads: Great plugin that pretty much offers every type of email sign up form you’ll need except for a feature box created by Plugmatter. If you’re going to get one email form sign up platform, Thrive Leads is the one to get. It even makes great landing pages.
1. WriterAccess.com (get a $25 bonus with a $50 deposit with my link): I’ve used a lot of writing agencies, but WriterAccess.com is one I continue to go back to over and over (in addition to my writing team at LongerDays).
3. Flickr / Google Images: You can also look for free images doing the advanced searches at Flickr and Google Images. Please read the licensing policies regarding commercial use. When I use images from these sites, I only choose images that are free to use for commercial purposes.
4. PicMonkey: I love Picmonkey. I have Photoshop, yet use Picmonkey more. I use Picmonkey to resize and crop images for my site and social media posts. It’s fast and free.
5. Dragon Naturally Speaking Voice Dictation Software: Speak instead of type. It’s faster and a lot more relaxing. I love this software. V.13 is insanely accurate.
G. Video Production
1. Animoto Pro: If you need slideshow videos, Animoto is great. It’s fast and the templates are great. However, Animoto is only really good for slideshow style videos. Don’t expect to be able to customize it too much.
1. LongerDays: This is a fantastic outsourcing service. They’re based in the USA. You get a project manager who can handle pretty much everything. They handle about 95% of my B2C niche sites.
I. App Development
1. GoodBarber: In 2015 I started creating app versions of my websites, including my B2C sites. For this, I use GoodBarber. It’s a robust platform with a lot of customization options; however, it’s still drag and drop so it’s easy to use. Read my GoodBarber review and tutorial here.
J. Courses I Like:
Authority Hacker Pro
Authority Hacker Pro provides loads of instruction, materials and a private FB community to help you launch and grow authority websites in many niches. Since I’m a niche publisher, I like any course that offers great instruction and tips on building out awesome niche sites.
Yes, I have this course and am in the FB community.
FYI, Mark and Gael (creators of Authority Hacker Pro) actually publish real niche sites that earn 5 figures per month. They don’t just blog about it.
Extreme Review is becoming a more and more important guide for my niche sites as I continue incorporating Amazon promotion throughout my sites.
If you’re interested in publishing profitable Amazon promotion websites, this guide is a must-read. It doesn’t just cover how to create profitable Amazon review websites; it teaches how to publish highly profitable Amazon promotion websites… real sites that visitors love, yet still generate Amazon commissions very effectively.
This guide provides a lot of smart ways to promote Amazon on almost any niche site.
Click here for Extreme Review.
RankXL is by Chris Lee and it’s a course based on how he earns more than $10,000 per month with Adsense. The course focuses on teaching how he does this with Google search traffic only.
The reason I like this course by Chris is he teaches white hat SEO methods that work.
If you like the idea of building up profitable niche authority sites that gets a lot of free organic search traffic, check out his course.
Yes, I have it and implemented several of the methods he teaches. It’s a great guide.
Click here for RankXL.
I’d be remiss not to list my own guides and course. Obviously these aren’t resources I use, but they are resources you can use to help you launch and publish highly profitable niche sites.
1. Niche Tycoon
This guide explains in step-by-step detail how I launched a niche site and within 8 months hit 1.1 million monthly visitors generating $20,000 to $40,000+ net profit per month. Click here to learn more.
2. Niche Sniper
This blogging concept has earned me thousands every month for many months like clockwork. Each month my income goes up. It’s a simple, yet brilliant blogging concept. Click here to learn more.