Tool Box: Recommended Resources



I thought it would be helpful to create a resource page that you can always come to for all of your fee based financial planning practice needs. I’ll add to it as I learn and test more, but you’ll notice that in the future I will reference this page quite often. I recommend bookmarking it for your reference and convenience. Enjoy!

Please note that these are all things that I have first hand experience with.  I am recommending them because they have made a difference in my practice.  They are companies that I trust and use currently.  In some cases, I have created an affiliate relationship with these companies because I feel so strongly about their products/services.

Blogging

  • WordPress: The #1 Blog Publishing Platform. Free and easily customizable with wonderful support. All of my blogs use WordPress.
  • WordPress Plugins: Download any plugins, widgets, or customizable elements for your WordPress blog.

WordPress Premium Themes

      • Profits Theme: The really, really, really easy way to create an amazing looking, easy to navigate website in a few hours.  (This whole site was made using this premium theme – it is amazingly easy – and totally worth the small fee!)
      • Woo Themes: The ultimate resource for premium looking WordPress themes.
      • Headway Themes: When I was first introduced to Headway, I was blown away.  I am not website tech savvy.  This premium theme makes you look and feel like a pro.  Headway’s not just a WordPress theme.  It’s a total website design tool.  You’re not stuck with someone else’s design, so create anything you want!  Websites, blogs, landing pages, online magazines, Headway does it all.

Web Hosting

        • Bluehost: 99% of my websites are hosted on Bluehost. Easy to use, 1-click automatic WordPress installation, and excellent customer service. Highly recommended for your first site.

Landing Page / Squeeze Page Design Templates

  • OptimizePress: Choose from over 10 tested and proven designs for your squeeze pages or landing pages to increase your optin rate and build your list fast.  These templates are awesome.  Watch the free video.

Product Distribution & Shopping Carts

        • Paypal.com: Paypal is just ok for selling your own products through them, but you’ll need an account anyways to configure with and accept payments from the above shopping carts.
        • Squareup.com: Square Register allows individuals and merchants in the United States, Canada, and Japan to accept debit and credit cards on their iOS or Android smartphone or tablet computer.

Keyword Research

        • Google Adwords Tool: A tool to help you decide what keywords to use for your Adwords campaigns. You can also check to see the popularity of certain keywords and the competition for ads for those keywords as well.
        • HitTail: An awesome long tail keyword tool that states that they guarantee it will increase your organic search traffic.  There’s a free trial and the results are instant.  Check it out…

Advertising Stuff

        • Google Adsense: Make money by placing relevant ads on your website that are generated from advertisers using Google Adwords. This is free to use, but you have to register for an account.
        • Google Adwords: If you want to begin advertising on Google, you can select keywords and locations and you pay each time someone clicks on your advertisement.

Email Subscriptions & Marketing

        • Aweber: The internet’s most powerful email opt-in service and email marketing/broadcasting tool. This is what I use to build my email list.

Testing Results

        • Google Analytics: Google’s free website tracking and analytical tool. A must have for anyone with any type of website.
        • Google Optimizer: This is another free tool from google where you can test different webpages of the same content, only changing one or two things, so you can see which one works/converts best. It’s basically a website optimizer testing tool.

Capturing Video and Screencasts

 Virtual Assistants (VA’s) – Outsourcing Work

        • Virtual Staff Finder: I hired my last virtual assistant using Chris Ducker’s service. What a great experience. I interviewed three candidates via Skype and couldn’t decide between two of them. A good problem to have. We have had a great experience with this company from day one.
        • Replacemyself.com: All the tools, tricks and procedures for finding and working with a Virtual Assistant from the Philippines.  I used this service to hire my first full-time VA.  He’s still working for me today.  This is a great place to quickly filter through thousands of resumes on the web to find high quality VAs for anything you want done by someone else for your business.

Contact Management System

        • Salesforce.com: We’ve tried them all.  And the hands down this is the industry leader in cloud-based CRM. (Get rid of those nasty, expensive servers)

Online Storage

  • Dropbox: Use this link to get a free dropbox account and an extra 1GB of Free online storage space.

Financial Planning Software

        • The Razor: I have recently migrated over to The Razor for a few reasons.  First, its retirement planning results are better than any of the solutions I have used in the past (NaviPlan, FP Solutions, etc…) but more importantly, clients are getting more from the output than ever before.  If you purchase this software, let Dave Faulkner know that you found out about it from me.

MindMapping

        • MindMeister: Not only is this one of the most amazing pieces of software I have ever used, it is also cloud based so I can access it from anywhere.  It has an iPad app, iPhone app and it works seemlessly with my Google Apps account.  Whenever I run through a mind map with someone, they always ask, “Where did you get this amazing software from?”

Social Media Management

        • SocialOomph: This program is one of the few that actually “does it all”.  You can use it from anywhere so it passes my “cloud based” test.  TRY IT FOR FREE!
        • HootSuite: The leading Free Social Media Dashboard to manage and measure your social networks.
        • MarketMeSuite: A Completely Free Social Media Dashboard, Packed with Amazing Features.
        • Meet Edgar: The only app that stop social media updates from going to waste.

Logo Design

  • 99designs: The fastest growing design marketplace in the world.

Telecommunications

      • Ring Central: I have spent years being frustrated with my office phone system solution. I bought a huge system from Avaya, I then migrated over to a VOIP system and HATED it! I had so many problems. It was crazy (and expensive). But, then I was turned on to RingCentral. I am blown away. A) the system works like a charm, b) the system costs half as much as my old system did and c) the entire thing works with ALL of my devices (iPhone, Android, computer). It is the most robust system I have ever come across and I totally love it. If you’re hoping to become more virtual like I have, you will love this system. Heck, any company who uses the phone will benefit from their service. They truly are the best of the best.

Website Security

Online Meetings

  • GoToMeeting: is the extremely simple, extraordinarily powerful way to hold unlimited online meetings with up to 25 attendees. Start a meeting and share your screen with just a click.

 

5 Responses to “Tool Box: Recommended Resources”

  1. a terrific site, Scott!

    I’m blown away by your generosity. you have lots of helpful resources to help financial advisors. It takes a lot of work to maintain a site like this.

    thank you.

    • Hi Stan,
      Thanks for your email. It does take a lot of effort but technology is what is allowing me to get the message out as broadly as possible – as easily as possible. Thanks for being part of the community.

  2. Hi Scott,

    Great information. I am working on moving in to doing fee for service financial planning. There are definitely some hurdles and I truly appreciate your help.

    Geoff

  3. Scott,

    I am just starting out in financial planning after 5 years as a CPA, and I just found you last week. Your podcasts and content such as the above are EXTREMELY appreciated! I’ve got much to learn and much to put into place, and you’re helping me sort it out.

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