There are a million tools out there that you can use to grow your blog and business. The following are my favorite ones that I use to grow and manage my business. If you have questions about them feel free to email me and ask me about them!
Get Started Blogging
Website Platform: WordPress
If you are blogging or want your own website, WordPress is the must have tool to use. It is easy to install and has a lot of plugins to make your website look great!
WordPress Templates: ThemeForest
My favorite place to get themes for my WordPress sites is ThemeForest. The themes look great, are easy to install, and come with fantastic directions.
Hosting (Good): SiteGround
When I first started out, I used SiteGround to host my website and a few others. There are a ton of website hosting solutions that are cheap and SiteGround is no different. What I loved about SiteGround is that they were not only cheap but the support was fantastic! They were ready and willing to help me with any issue and to teach me along the way.
Hosting (Best): WPEngine
As my business grew, I was in need of a more robust hosting company for my websites. WPEngine was the choice for me because of the high level of support they provide, quality, and speed of hosting services. They have special plans just for WordPress sites which makes them an even better choice for bloggers and online business owners.
Tech Support: WP Radius
I love the techs at WP Radius! WP Radius is a technical support service for WordPress owners. What does that mean exactly? They will help you with any issue you have on your WordPress site big or small. They will add plugins, tell you how to make it run faster, move menus, add multiple logos, and basically anything you ask for. Even better? They are lightening fast. This is a must have for every WordPress site owner.
Growing Your Blog
Landing Pages: Thrive Landing Pages
I love using Thrive Landing Pages to create landing pages for my websites! Thrive Landing Pages are very user friendly, have great templates, and are easy to setup. I also love that it is a one-time fee as opposed to a monthly fee like other landing page services.
Email Marketing (Best): ConvertKit
ConvertKit is a powerful email marketing tool that you will need to grow your blog and business. ConvertKit has features like time zone based email scheduling, opt-in boxes for the end of your blog posts, automated email sequences, and awesome segmenting, plus more. ConvertKit is a must have for any women serious about growing and monetizing her business.
Email Marketing (Good): ActiveCampaign
While I love ConvertKit, I know it might not be in our budget right now. A good alternative is ActiveCampaign which is only $9 a month. ActiveCampaign has list options, segmenting, and templates that make sending email a breeze.
Social Media Scheduling: Buffer
Buffer is a great tool to help you schedule your social media posts so that you are staying current on posting on your social media sites. Buffer has a URL shortner, buff.ly or bit.ly, to make posting and tracking your blog links even easier. Buffer has post suggestions that you can schedule which can be helpful if you have writer’s block. With Buffer you can connect Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, and Google+ accounts.
Email Opt-In (Best): Thrive Leads
Thrive Leads is an incredible tool for capturing emails on your website. Thrive offers sidebar widgets, pop-up boxes, in-line forms and more. An added bonus you can do A/B testing with any Thrive Lead Box. This is the most powerful tool I have seen to collect emails!
Email Opt-In (Good): SumoMe
SumoMe has great services for collecting email addresses on your website. The thing that I love about SumoMe is their opt-in pop-up forms aren’t obnoxious and don’t get in the way of trying to read content on my site. If you are looking for a free alternative to the powerful Thrive Leads, SumoMe is a good runner up.
Stock Photos: Pixaby
I love Pixaby! They have excellent stock photos and they are free! Even better than that you can get any size photo you want for free.
Stock Photos: 123rf.com
When I first started out in marketing I searched high and low for stock photos that looked great but didn’t cost an arm and a leg. I have found that service with 123rf.com. Their photos and graphics are beautiful and are affordable for the everyday user.
Canva is good looking graphic design made easy! There are templates for blog posts, Facebook pages, Instagram, and more. Canva helps you look good online!
Stencil is a great way to add graphics to your social media posts in about 30 seconds flat! My social media posts have never been the same ever since I started using this tool!
Email Tool: WiseStamp
WiseStamp is one of those bonus tips that make you look more professional as a blogger and business owner. WiseStamp takes your boring old email signature and makes it look good. Add your photo, social media sites, and a link to your latest blog post with WiseStamp.
Writing Tool: Hemmingway App
Since using Hemmingway App my writing has improved immensely. My blog posts are more clear and to the point which makes for a better experience for my readers.
Writing Tool: Polish My Writing
When I am done using Hemmingway App to proof my posts I take the edited version to Polish My Writing. Polish My Writing catches the final spelling mistakes that Hemmingway App misses
Show Me the Money
Payment Processor: Stripe
I do a lot of invoicing online and I work with Stripe as my payment processor. Stripe was founded by a couple of the same guys that helped to get PayPal where it is today. A simple thing that I like about Stripe over Paypal? Stripe automatically transfers my money to me within 2 business days without me having to lift a finger.
Must Have Tech Tools
I cannot do my life without LastPass and that is a true story! LastPass is the keeper of all of my passwords. LastPass keeps my passwords safe, it generates new passwords for me on new website registrations and is a great place for me to keep any secure notes. If you have been using the same password for everything, please stop and check out LastPass!
Sucuri is the protector of all of my websites. Sucuri monitors my websites for malicious spyware and guards against hackers. If you have a website that is at the core of your business, you have to have Sucuri to protect you.
I, like pretty much everyone else out there uses DropBox in some form or fashion! My favorite feature is actually using DropBox to sync my photos from my iPhone to my computer so I always know they are backed up. Oh and I do use it for work to easily share files with clients!
Have you ever had your computer crash on you or have your computer attacked by a virus? Yes, me too and it was awful. Ever since that day in April of 2011, I have been an avid user and supporter of CrashPlan. CrashPlan automatically backs up all of my files on my computer without me having to do anything. It was also great when I bought a new computer because CrashPlan was able to transfer everything from one computer to another without any issue. CrashPlan is an international company, but I also love that it is in my neck of the woods here in Minneapolis!