Digital Nomad Toolbox

Digital Nomad Resources:

Everything You Need To Work From The Beach

Since I have been operating my business on the Internet as a Virtual Assistant and website founder, with the ultimate aim to work from the beach, I have been using a number of online digital nomad and freelancer tools to help me, and as a result they have now become something I am prepared to recommend.

All of these tools I have used and rate highly, but I know there’s more out there and I’m on the hunt to find the best ones. By now you will know a little bit about me and that I don’t make anything but honest recommendations. Besides, I’ve almost died and I don’t believe in fairytales anymore. If you don’t believe me then you might want to read my story.

work from the beach

As I’m constantly learning I will continue to share my findings here, so make sure you keep visiting this page to keep up to date with tools I recommend. If you sign up for my regular updates then I’ll also give you:

All you need to do is add your dreams a bit of hard work and stir it up for a lot of success.

What do you have to lose?

Come on… the beach is waiting for you.

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Website Tools

Small Business Websites

The easiest and fastest way to get online is to ask someone to do it for you. There are many options available for you to use, however it is worth bearing in mind the following.

Experts predict that by 2015, more visitors will be surfing the web by mobile devices that static computers, and this is backed up by research that shows web traffic generated by mobile devices is growing rapidly.

However, about 80% of websites are not keeping up with this user trend and are not optimized for mobile devices. This gives you an opportunity to jump ahead of your competition by having a well designed and mobile-friendly website.

There are a number of ways to achieve this cheaply, and I suggest starting your search with a website developer that specialises in the needs of small businesses. As a result, I recommend you start by contacting SBW.

WordPress

WordPress is a good website option, although it has come under attack from hackers in recent years, with many sites being infected with rogue software or completely taken down. However, with the right security arrangements in place this should not be a problem. Over all wordpress is simple to use, easy to manage and has endless possibilities.

In the simplest terms there are two WordPress options.

Option 1 – By visiting WordPress.com you can set up a free to use site that WordPress hosts from its servers. You manage the content and they manage the background files. This is a fantastic, easy and value for money way of getting your business online. It can be set up in moments, a theme can be applied immediately to make it look right for you and then you’re in business. However, there are a few drawbacks. Your themes are limited and you can’t add plugins which allow you to do many more exciting things… and that brings me to option 2.

Option 2 – By visiting WordPress.org you can download the background files to build a new site and upload them to a server of your choice. Having your own stand-alone WordPress site allows you to have complete choice, complete access and total management of your site. This can open a lot of doors in terms of earning an income online, essential if you want to work from the beach, and search engines love them. However, there are also drawbacks here. The responsibility for your site, its security and protecting its content lands at your feet.

WordPress sites are really easy to set up and use and adapt as your site grows and your needs change. If you only intend to have an information site to illustrate your business the stick with WordPress.com, however, if you intend to monetize your site and use it to make money then you definitely need the WordPress.org version. But before you rush off to download the WordPress.org files and confuse yourself with jargon (as I did) you’re going to have to think about which company is the best to host your new website, so read the section below before you go any further.

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Website hosting

Bluehost

If you’re going to choose option 2 above to build your WordPress site and want to find a host, then I suggest you consider Bluehost. Firstly they’re the number 1 recommended host from WordPress.org themselves and secondly I haven’t currently experienced any problems with their service, even though we have a cross-Atlantic partnership. In fact, even when my site was hacked I was able to chat with Bluehost and arrange immediate action to remedy the situation. Thankfully they arrange automatic backups of your site just in case this type of thing happens (and believe me when I say it does!)

The added bonus (and this is a HUGE bonus!), they can automatically upload your WordPress.org Management System at a touch of a button from your control panel and it takes only a few minutes… and I should know as I timed it! This means you don’t need to know any FTP, HTML, JavaScript or any other scary computer code to set up your WordPress website, and if your mind isn’t already made up then I’m happy to say they are also one of the cheapest hosting companies around. Brilliant!

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WordPress Plugins

There are so many brilliant plugins to help you effortlessly manage paid for adverts, automatically change links to money-making links, keep your site secure, keep it loading quickly, allow social sharing, and help you optimise your site, as well as many others uses.

As there are so many and they have such good results have decided to reveal all the plugins I use, and therefore recommend,  in a future post where…

… I will also reveal the number 1 plugin I use to automatically monetize my sites links and sign me up to 30,000 affiliate schemes automatically in a matter of minutes, so sign up for updates so you don’t miss out.

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WordPress Themes

Woo Themes

I personally love the themes Woo offer and use them on all my sites. They are clean, SEO friendly and many of them are free. They also offer some wicked plugins and extensions, again for free. So if you want to sell products from your site and need an e-commerce theme or a slider with a portfolio of images, etc., Woo will have the theme you can add to your WordPress site to make all of that happen without having to employ a designer.

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Help With The SEO Jungle (Search Engine Optimisation)

Market Samurai

One of the most amazing tools I’ve found over the last year that allows me to keyword content to ensure the people who want to read it can find it, is Market Samurai.

 

It holds the title of the most popular keyword research tool for a reason: it’s easy to use and effective. It allows you to investigate the market of your potential business, study the competition, choose the best keywords, monitor your business website ranking, assist with your website content and help your publicise and make money from what you do. All of this can be done for free on the Internet using a number of tools, such as Google Keywords, but this tool allows you to achieve it all in one place in a fraction of the time.

They even give helpful tutorials to make sure if you don’t know what you’re doing then you can learn. It’s one of the best investments I’ve made and continues to shape my websites on a daily basis and I love to use it as it makes me feel like I’m on a treasure hunt, searching for those keywords that can bring floods of traffic my way.

Google Trends

A fantastic tool that allows you to research and compare trends appearing through search queries being used by people using the Internet. They include top regions and cities where people are from and related keywords. This helps with identifying trends, keywords, who the audience for your business might be and therefore how you can find and communicate with them. However, I use Market Samurai above to do all of this and more for me in a fraction of the time.

Google Insights

This is another fantastic and free tool from Google that allows you to compare different search terms users are typing in when using the Internet and study the emerging trends. Research using this tool is essential if you are thinking of setting up an online business. It’s a great one to use if you are looking for a new business idea based around new trends.

Google Webmaster and Bing Webmaster Tools

Two essential places to visit if you want the search engines to notice your site. Here there are an array of tools, but the two I use are the keyword tools and website verification tools. Both are essential and help your site stand out and get noticed.

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Checkout / Shopping Carts

Gumroad

Gumroad’s aim is to take the hassle out of selling so you can focus on making.

Paypal

We all know what this does, and if you upgrade to the verified business account then you have a lot more tools made available to you, such as invoice generation, checkout buttons you can add directly to your site, etc.

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Making Money From Your Website

This could be one of the biggest sections of this page, however, I’m going to keep it brief and save the best bits for a future post on the site. In the meantime let me tell you about two tools I have used to allow me to earn money from potentially 20-30,000 merchants across the internet automatically with only 10 minutes time invested by me.

It works really simply and I was amazed that in a matter of minutes I was earning with my sites once I’d added a snippet of  code using a plugin. This code tracks your website and the links within it and changes them to affiliate links automatically. This can save you hours and hours of time having to sign up to individual affiliate schemes. It also means the content of your site doesn’t have to change or be influenced by your need to earn a living. Instead the reader comes first when you are writing. If a reader then clicks on a link and decides to make a purchase then you get a commission for the referral at no extra cost to the reader who clicked and bought.

Skimlinks

I have used Skimlinks for years and am very happy with their service, payment process and account statistics. They have recently updated their dashboard showing many more page statistics and purchase analysis, so its easy to see what your readers like best. I would definitely recommend them.

Viglink

I have just started using Viglink, so I have not yet experienced their payment processes or account statistics, so I will keep you posted on this as time progresses. The benefit of using this instead of Skimlinks is the shear number of  merchants they have signed up to their scheme. This is why for a trial period I am testing this new system to analyse if my website income increases.

Google Adsense

In my opinion this should be used in small amounts on a website. Too many Google adverts can make a site look low quality and spammy, so while I do use it, I am careful how I use it. I make sure the adverts are targeted well and try to add them to a page where I think it doesn’t have a detrimental effect on the readers experience, which I personally believe should always come first.

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Marketing

Survey Monkey

If you already have a following or access to a community of people you can use this free survey tool that allows you to easily build your own survey, distribute it and then analyse the returning data. This is hugely valuable if you have an idea but are not entirely confident of its value to the potential customers. With this you can ask them directly. Just remember to keep your questions short, simple and ask nicely *smile*.

Gleam

If you want to run competitions on your website to encourage people to share your links and information, then Gleam is a brilliant tool that allows it to happen effortlessly. It’s in beta at the moment and is run by some great computer dudes who bend over backwards to help you if you have any problems. Highly recommended, and while it’s in beta its free to join.

Rafflecopter

This widget you can add to your site operates just like Gleam (above). I have used both options for competitions and like each of them, however, I have found the developers at Gleam to be more friendly and helpful so far.

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Email Marketing

MailChimp

I use Mailchimp for all of my email marketing and absolutely love them. They are brilliant if you want to build an email list cheaply and effectively and send out professional looking mail to your followers to keep them engaged. This can all be done automatically if you want, making sure your followers get regular updates and you get to work from the beach.

AWeber

This tool gives you more options than Mailchimp and will be something I may move onto as my list gets bigger and more complicated. What I particularly like about AWeber is the ability to programme when and in what order emails are sent out to new followers. This is brilliant if you are planning to offer email based training for example.

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Web Analytics

Google Analytics

A brilliant (and free) tool to measure who visits your site, where they come from, what they do when they are there and what they might be looking for. This is essential information to look at if you want to understand your audience and provide a site they want to visit time and time again. If adding the code is a concern to you then you can use the free plugin, Google Analyticator, to make it as easy as pie.

Clicky Stats

Something I also use is Clicky Stats. They offer a really good real-time snapshot of what’s happening on your site at any given moment. Its added by a plugin and allows you to get a really good idea of what’s happening and therefore what you might have to do as a result. It is particularly exciting to watch if you have a flood of traffic for some reason. I like to use Clicky Stats for daily monitoring and Google Analytics for a bigger overall picture and analysis.

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Training 

There are so many elements to making money through a blog I always recommend starting from the beginning and investing in a training programme from an expert that can help you on your way quickly.

Inspired Courses

This training hub has been designed for online entrepreneurs and those with a desire to follow their dreams of a lifestyle business. There’s a lot of free advice, as well as courses to help you delve through the social media jungle and business development stages.

Paid To Blog

A package put together by Tom Ewer, demonstrating in detail how he managed to make $6,200 in one month from freelance blogging and has averaged over $5,300 per month for the past six months. It includes a 150 page PDF eBook packed with every single tip and trick that has helped him get to the position of earning over $160 per hour as a freelance blogger. It also includes the promise that if you use his proven strategy revealed in the course, you can establish yourself as a successful freelance blogger and earn upwards of $100,000 per year (should you wish to).

work from the beach

Rockstar Blogging

Another course I also think is amazing and highly recommend for those on more of a budget  is Rockstar Blogging. It is particularly suited to those who have never had any advice on ways to earn money or to get free stuff through their blog. It has been put together by Miss Frugal Beautiful, who runs a very successful US website, and is great value for money.

The aim of this course is to equip you with the specifics to gain some VIP action with your blog and traffic.

It shows you exactly how to pitch companies, grow your social media networks and earn income from reviews, giveaways and corporate sponsorships. This isn’t a get rich quick scheme, but if done properly it can produce a steady stream of free kit and extra income.

I was lucky enough to be involved in the development stage for this training course so I really know how much effort has been put into it and how much valuable information it gives you, which makes it your perfect guide to earning your first big score of freebies and income through your blog.

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Extra Reading

There are loads of resources out there to help you learn what you need to in order to get online and set up whatever business you’re thinking of, and here’s just a few of what we recommend.

The 4-Hour Work Week: Escape the 9-5, Live Anywhere and Join the New Rich

This books inspires you to forget the concept of working and saving hard for your retirement. Instead it says there’s no need to wait and every reason not to. Whether your dream is escape, earning a greater income with no management, or simply living more and working less, then this is the book for you.

ProBlogger: Secrets for Blogging Your Way to a Six-Figure Income

If you want to make blogging your business and make a living from it then this book unveils some of the secrets for blogging your way to a six-figure income. However, you’ll have to mix the information in this book with a lot of time and effort and a pinch of luck if you really want to make it happen.

How To Set Up An Online Business 4 MagBook

Firstly, for everything you need to know to get a business on the internet I would thoroughly recommend a MagBook from the experts at PC Pro, which is ideal for beginners.

This book explains everything there is to know about planning a business, building a website, mastering a great Google ranking and marketing.

It’s an easy read, inspiring for any potential online business owners, and helps to hold your hand through the jungle of getting online.

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As always, please do your homework and only use what’s right for you and your situation, and take a moment to look at my disclaimer.

Have you got any recommendations you would like to pass on? Looking forward to hearing from you.

Sarah

Inspired Freelance