For an online business, tools and technology are just part of the landscape. Starting a blog obviously means things like themes, plugins and making things work. It can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you're not the techie type.
Fun fact about me: My first blog-based business was a technology blog. I have a long history of explaining techie stuff in plain English. So naturally, part of what I do here at the Blog Marketing Academy is to test out different tools, help you make choices, and help you make the most of them.
After 6 years with WPEngine hosting, I have made the move to WPX Hosting. Here’s why I switched… and my decision-making process along the way.
After being a Thrive Themes member for multiple years, here is my no-BS review of their plugin suite, how the cost stacks up, and how it compares to the competition.
Reviews & Comparisons
I check out various tools and give you my full evaluation on whether it is worth your time or money. Plain-English reviews based on real world usage.
Selecting the right tools for you is half the battle. The other is learning how to use them and figure out the best practices. Part of my job here is to show you how to get things done using the tools we have.
Online Marketing Tools: Blessing And A Curse
I got started in this business way back in 1998. I clearly remember the days where everything we did was manual. I remember having to hand-code my own pages in HTML. A lot of things we do today were literally impossible then.
The tools we have today are awesome. Even a total newbie can today build a beautiful website with functionality that would have required a large programming team to pull off.
It comes at a cost, however. There are now so many tools available that do so many cool things that it is overwhelming. It can easily lead to a paralysis where you can spend so much time evaluating different tools that you forget to actually DO anything with them. It feels like important work. It feels like forward progress. But, reality is that it doesn't move the needle on your business one bit.
These tools are great, but we need to choose them wisely and fast. Then, we can get on with growing our business. We need to avoid the shiny object syndrome.
Here's how I aim to help...
What I Do And How
I don't do normal product reviews. I don't think they're very useful. There are far too many sites out there that just look at the feature charts and do very shallow comparisons. Often with the private goal to have an excuse to put affiliate links all over the place.
That kind of thing isn't that useful. It doesn't help make real decisions because their desire to hopefully make a commission means they don't want to say anything bad. Comparisons often boil down to "hey, they're both good, so your choice depends." How is that helpful?
So, here's how I choose to do things:
- When I discuss a tool, I will tell you the good and the bad. I have used a vast array of tools over two decades in this business. I don't fall for hype easily. So, I get in there and evaluate a tool based on real-word usage.
- I will provide tutorials on how to accomplish certain things with the tools. Tools are useless unless you apply them to your business. Sometimes people will buy a cool software solution, only to barely break the surface of what it can do out of confusion or a kind of "blank slate syndrome". I want to help break that ice.
I don't even try to cover every tool out there. There are too many. And it isn't even important. I spend my time covering the tools that I think are most worthy of your time.
My Promise To You
I get asked to look at and promote certain tools all the time. And I always turn them down. I have never, or will never, use my position here at Blog Marketing Academy to pimp tools at you merely for compensation.
I will also tell it to you straight. Always. I will tell you exactly what I think about any tool I am discussing. The good and the bad.
When I cover a tool, I may use affiliate links to link to it. That has never influenced what I say about a tool, however. Commissions are nice, but it isn't my main source of income. My main focus is the training inside the LAB membership. Commissions are just a bonus. This affords me the ability to be quite brutal in my evaluations of different tools. I am not incentivized to say good things about something if I don't actually believe it.