We thought it would be nice to create a resource page where you can see what we’re using for both our personal financial planning as well as internal tools we use to make this blog explode. The first section reviews some of the tools we use personally (you’ll find more reviews about tools throughout the blog) and the second section reviews what we use internally.
If you’re an individual looking for what Average Joe and The Other Guy use on a daily basis to make their lives easier, look through the first section.
If you’re a blogger trying to avoid all the walls we’ve hit along the way, look in the second.
Disclosure: Some of the links below are affiliate links and we will earn a commission if you purchase through them (at no extra cost to you). These are all tool that we use personally and think that they have been beneficial for us either individually or as bloggers. Please don’t spend any money unless you think it’s worth it and it will help you reach your goals.
Section 1 – Personal Finance Things Average Joe and The Other Guy Use
Mint.com - Mint is a financial “aggregator” meaning they take all of your financial life and put it in one nice neat little report. They track your spending, email you when a bill is due (or past due…ugh.), and tell you how your investments are doing. And they do this all for the monthly cost of exactly zero dollars. That’s right $0. Zip. Nada. Nothing. Now, they do make money, presumably from the ads they show on their site, but overall very worthwhile. And their security is tight. If you have accounts all over the place, a 401k here, an IRA there, a bank account over there and a credit card way over there…then Mint is right for you.
Bigcharts.com - One of the biggest challenges we face when writing an article is “what price was XXXX stock trading at on July 15th, 1998?” Bigcharts has an awesome historical charting tool alongside the normal cadre of functions you’d find everywhere else.
Upromise – Upromise is another “aggregator” type of site, but they instead turn your spending into savings for college. What could be easier than savings by spending, right? Very simple to set up, you create a user name and password, link your debit card (or grocery card, gas card, credit card, etc.) to the site and go shop. After a couple months, come back and you’ll see that Upromise scours your accounts to find eligible purchases and POOF puts money in your account. You can withdrawal it or move it to a 529 plan – heck you can even get your friends and family saving for your kid’s college. Pretty cool.
Section 2 – Things for Blogging That Have Helped our “Meteoric” Rise
We’ve made some unbelievable progress toward our goal of being one of the top financial advice providers on the internet. However, it’s been a challenging ride. We’re two guys with lots of life and financial planning experience, but little blogging expertise. Some people have asked how we did it so quickly – frankly, we’re pretty shocked ourselves. In any event, we’ve used a number of valuable resources (and still use to this day) to help our Google and Bing search rankings improve…here are a couple of ‘em.
The Best Spinner – this is a tool that allows us to re-write an article and/or blog post so that we can use it on other sites as well. For example, let’s say we write about “Mutual Funds” and we want to post that article on other web pages. Unfortunately, the search engine robots will penalize us if we just use the same article. This tool allows us to “re-purpose” an article and submit elsewhere – providing valuable backlinks.
Market Samurai – This tool is simply amazing. It searches the major search engines in real time to help you identify keywords for SEO optimization. I wish we would’ve used this from day 1. However, when we began combining The Best Spinner and Market Samurai – well, let’s just say the results speak for themselves. Give them a look, too, if you’re interested in how to optimize key words in or on your website.
Blue Host – This is where we set up our domain. They host our site. Quite simply, it’s the world’s easiest set up process. In fact, I once saw a video of a guy setting up a site and posting his first blog post in under 4 minutes. It’s simple and they have many “pro” tools available for free. Update 02-02-2012: We now have 7 sites up and running all from Blue Host. Easiest tool out there.
Elegant Themes – Sort of goes with Blue Host, but Elegant Themes has proven to be one of the best investments we’ve made. Since we did our site re-design in mid-January, our visits have doubled. That’s enough proof for me. Since Nick and his team have new themes coming out almost every month, you’re sure to find something that fits your needs. Installation is a breeze and customization is very easy to understand. On top of all that, if you have a question you can simply post it in the member’s area and usually get a reply within 12 hours.
Aweber - Aweber is the “go-to” email marketing service. They have compelling dialogue boxes and set up is a breeze. We highly recommend them. The follow-up campaign is what did it for me. There are several other email service providers, but none of them have the ease and the simplicity of the follow-up set up. At $19/mo it’s awesome, plus you can try them for 30 days for only $1.
Build My Rank – This is another SEO-type tool that helps improve rank. We just started using it recently, but it’s been doing it’s job, to say the least. Basically what happens here is that we write an original article and embed keywords that we’re trying to rank for within the piece, upload to BMR, and they distribute to the world – giving us valuable SEO juice in return. Take a look. I know that as of today, they have a 15 day free trial with 10 free links – no questions asked. Give ‘em a look.