Academy Toolkit

A "behind the scenes" look at every single tool used to run the Blog Marketing Academy.

Everything from this website, to backend operations, to productivity. If it's on this page, we use it.

The purpose of this page is to show you every single tool I use to run my business. I've been through a LOT of tools in my years - and these are the ones I'm using. So, I hope that says something about what I think about them. I have an affiliate relationship with some of these tools, which means I will earn a small commission if you buy the item. It will cost you absolutely nothing - and I would obviously appreciate the support. :)

Also, if you buy a tool I'm very familiar with (and if its on this page, I am), then I'm more able to help you with issues that come up with it.

Web Hosting

WPEngine

The Blog Marketing Academy is hosted with WPEngine. I really love these guys because they just make my life easier. They remove a lot of the tech hassles from using WordPress and making it operate at peak performance.

Bluehost

I use Bluehost for a few of my other sites (not the Academy itself). For example, I have a custom-built member tracking system which is hosted with Bluehost. They're a great company, with great support. And I highly recommend that any reader of mine who is just starting out begin with Bluehost.

Also:

  • NameCheap. Namecheap is my choice for managing all my domains. I used to use GoDaddy, but then... ugh.
  • CloudFlare. I run DNS through CloudFlare for additional site security and to reduce robot load on WPEngine.

Wordpress Themes

StudioPress

The primary theme here at the Academy is using StudioPress (based on the Genesis Framework). The child theme is custom built, although it originally got its start using the Education child theme, available for StudioPress.

OptimizePress

OptimizePress is an absolutely incredible system for creating very professional landing pages, squeeze pages - or pretty much just any kind of page, on top of WordPress. All of my on-site landing pages are built with OptimizePress. In fact, this very page was built with OptimizePress.

Also:

  • Elegant Themes. Truth is, I don't use Elegant Themes anymore personally, however I used them for years before I switched to StudioPress. Their themes are beautiful, and the deal they give you is awesome. So, I still hold them as a viable option for my readers.

Membership and Training

MemberMouse

All member management, the purchasing of courses, and access control is ALL controlled by MemberMouse. Really solid membership plug-in. The most robust I've ever used and it felt like Christmas when I came across it.

WP Courseware

The organization of courses, including member progress tracking, is all controlled by WP Courseware. This is a learning management system specifically for WordPress. Also contains quiz functionality and other things I'm not currently using.

Also:

  • To Do List Member. The Action Plans inside the Academy are built on top of a HEAVILY customized version of this plug-in.
  • Wishlist Member. While I'm no longer using Wishlist Member, I did use it for a few years successfully. It isn't as robust as MemberMouse, but it is a nice plug-in and will serve most first-time membership site owners well.

Email Marketing

Ontraport

Ontraport is my email list host and CRM. It is quite robust, allowing me to run a much more segmented list than I was able to do with Aweber. Ontraport is really the guts of the business machine which sits behind this website.

Aweber

I used Aweber for well over 10 years before I switched the Academy over to Ontraport. Aweber is an awesome company and my absolute first-level recommendation for any Academy member (or reader) whose business is not yet at a point where a full CRM is required.

Landing Pages / Opt-Ins

I use OptimizePress for a lot of my landing pages due to its flexibility. However, I do use some other options for different applications...

LeadPages

LeadPages is great because it is so easy to use - and I find myself using it sometimes when I'm just in a hurry. The tradeoff for that is that it is pretty inflexible. This is why I don't use it more than I do. But, if you're not very technical, LeadPages is a good option. And their LeadBox functionality is super convenient.

Ten Minute Funnels

Not nearly as well-known as LeadPages, but I hope they will be. Ten Minute Funnels is a full funnel builder which has a lot of the simplicity of LeadPages, but with none of the strict confines of LeadPages. I'm good friends with the owner as well. Definitely watch this one. Its good.

Wordpress Plug-Ins

Third Party Services

  • Fuzed. I use FuzedApp.com to integrate Membermouse activities into Ontraport and make the two "talk" to each other. I will also soon be using it to integrate GotoWebinar and Wistia activity into Ontraport for automated followup.
  • GotoWebinar. For obvious reasons.
  • Visual Website Optimizer. For split testing and other conversion optimization.
  • PollDaddy. I maintain an account with PollDaddy for doing surveys and polls.

E-Commerce

  • Stripe. I use Stripe for all credit card processing here at the Academy. They're truly awesome and have the most robust feature set I've seen. Very easy to get up and running with.
  • Paypal. I don't use Paypal as much for public orders because it isn't very good for recurring billing. However, like everybody else, I do use Paypal. :)
  • PowerPay. I have a merchant account set up through PowerPay. They're a good company and they "get" how online marketing works.

Social Media

  • MeetEdgar. This tool by Laura Roeder's team allows us to keep our social media accounts updated automatically to spark conversation.
  • Hootsuite.

Podcasting

  • Blubrry PowerPress. I use PowerPress to run the podcast right off of WordPress. Highly robust plug-in.
  • Smart Podcast Player. I use SPP to display podcast episodes here on the blog. Nice and clean in how it works.
  • LibSyn. I host all podcast episodes on Libsyn.

Podcasting Hardware & Software

Videos

  • Vimeo PRO. All of the Academy training videos are hosted on a Vimeo PRO account. These guys are great.
  • Wistia. I use Wistia primarily for marketing videos because they have great tracking capabilities plus I can integrate it into my CRM using FuzedApp for automated followups or to track whether certain people have watched the video or not.

Video Hardware & Software

Backend Operations

  • Trello. Internal project management. I've tried a bunch of them and this one just seems to "click" with me the best.
  • Slack. Internal team communication. Beats the CRAP out of email. Seriously awesome.
  • Evernote. I use the hell out of Evernote, but we also use it as a data repository between myself and VAs.
  • LastPass. I use this to share logins with virtual staff.
  • HelpScout. This is what we use for our customer support. Really clean. I tried ZenDesk and just found it cumbersome. Helpscout fits the bill nicely.
  • ScheduleOnce. Whenever clients need to schedule a call with me, I use ScheduleOnce. Just cuts back on the back-and-forth emails looking for availability, especially across timezones.
  • Quickbooks Online. OK, I can't claim any love for Intuit. Truthfully, the company is annoying. However, QBO offers the best balance of what I personally need for business accounting, and pricing.
  • Google Apps. Company emails are run through Google Apps, mapped to the blogmarketingacademy.com domain.
  • Google Analytics. For website tracking, obviously.

Productivity

  • Dropbox
  • Workflowy. I use Workflowy every day. I freakin' love this tool.
  • Google Play. Damn straight, my streaming music is a productivity tool. ;)