Business Tools + Resources
My favorite time-saving business tools + resources for all things website, design, marketing, and running your business like a boss.... even during a pandemic.
SiteGround – exceptional support, along with top-notch security and performance, so your site is always up, and ultra fast. All at a reasonable price. Through May 12th, SiteGround is offering new customers the StartUp hosting plan for 99¢ for the first 3 months! Click here to get this special pricing!
I've been with SiteGround for years and couldn't be happier.
Flywheel – their security, speed, and customer support is also outstanding. During the COVID-19 pandemic Flywheel is offering 50% off any monthly plan for the first 3 months. Click here to get this special pricing and use Discount Code: 3thankyou50
SiteGround – I'm a huge fan of keeping things simple. If you purchase your domain from your hosting provider, you only have one place to log in, making management and renewal a breeze.
You can honestly purchase your domain anywhere and be fine. Where you manage your domain isn't as important as where you have your hosting.
Just make sure to set your domain to "auto-renew" so you don't lose it!
WordPress – you can install WordPress in one click on SiteGround and most other hosts. No need to download from WordPress.ORG
Not to be confused with WordPress.com - you'll want .org so you can have a self-hosted site that you own and have control over.
Beaver Builder Parent Theme – a solid and lightweight framework that includes all of the required WordPress template files and assets to make your website function.
Beaver Builder Child Theme – a child theme is a required partner to your parent theme. It's what allows you to make customizations to the design and code of your site, without compromising on security. Your parent theme will inevitably need security updates – if you made all your customizations in the parent theme and there was an update, it'd be overwritten and you'd lose all your hard work.... no bueno.
MUST-HAVE WEBSITE PLUGINS
Beaver Builder Pro – the easy to use drag and drop feature makes fast work of creating beautiful pages.
Beaver Themer – allows you to create templates for your website header and footer, pages, posts, archive pages, and so much more.
PowerPack Beaver Addons – an addon for Beaver Builder Pro that includes a ton of creative modules, pre-built sections, and templates.
Ultimate Addons for Beaver Builder – another addon for Beaver Builder Pro that includes a ton of creative modules, pre-built sections, and templates.
iThemes Security Pro – keep your WordPress website secure and protected. iThemes Security Pro fixes common security issues and adds an extra layer of protection to give you peace of mind, and keep the bad guys out.
UpdraftPlus Premium – create and schedule off-site backups once and you're all set. Super easy to use, and allows one-click restore for your site in the event something breaks.
Also worth noting is that SiteGround includes backups in their hosting plans.... you can never have your site backed up in too many places.
Yoast SEO – Search Engine Optimization (SEO) can be tricky to figure out, but Yoast SEO is easy to use and provides useful on-page tips to improve your search engine results.
Google Analytics Dashboard for WP – allows you to track your site and view analytics data right in your WordPress dashboard.
Antispam Bee – say goodbye to comment spam on your WordPress website. Antispam Bee blocks spam comments without captchas or sending personal information to third party services.
Social Warfare Pro – Social Warfare Pro allows you to decide exactly which image, title and description appears when your content is shared on social sites. You can also customize your buttons with your brand colors, choose which sharing networks you display, how your buttons look and where they show up.
DESIGN TOOLS + ELEMENTS
Adobe – I use Adobe's suite of tools (Photoshop, Illustrator, Acrobat Pro, etc.) for all of my design projects. Photoshop and Illustrator do have a fairly steep learning curve, but if you're willing to take the time to explore the capabilities, these programs will allow you to design to your heart's content.
Canva – a great tool if you don't want to take the time to learn how to use Photoshop. Their drag-and-drop feature, along with professional layouts/templates allow you to easily design on-brand graphics.
Creative Market – there are so many beautiful graphics, fonts, patterns, templates, and so much more.
Flodesk – it’s easy to navigate, wonderfully intuitive and allows you to quickly and easily create email marketing campaigns that are stunning + on-brand (no more struggling for 3 hours to create one email that doesn’t look the way you want). They have one unlimited plan at a reasonable price. I switched to Flodesk and love it – click here to receive 50% off Flodesk ($19 per month).
MailChimp – a simple and powerful email marketing platform. Easy to use, yet powerful enough to help you grow your list, and your business. They offer free and paid plans, and their design tools and templates make it easy to create campaigns.
Flodesk – Flodesk isn't just for sending email campaigns to your subscribers. It also allows you to create and send a nurture sequence - a carefully crafted series of emails that are sent out after someone new subscribes to your list. The nurture sequence welcomes your new subscriber and helps to build trust.
MailChimp – MailChimp also allows you to create and send a nurture sequence but is only available with paid plans.
Tailwind – save time scheduling to Pinterest and Instagram. Discover content, post at the best times for engagement, amplify reach, and get more actionable analytics.
SmarterQueue – never run out of things to post on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, or Pinterest.... set SmarterQueue to recycle evergreen posts for you so that each time you recycle a post, it will be seen by new parts of your audience, increasing reach up to ten times. Plus schedule new posts, search for the best performing content to share, and much more.
Beaver Builder Pro – you don't have to invest in something like Unbounce or LeadPages if you have Beaver Builder Pro. BB Pro allows you to quickly and easily create sales pages, landing pages, thank you pages, download pages, and more.
Zapier – one of the best digital marketing tools! Zapier allows you to connect different online services and is a great tool for automating marketing tasks with triggers and actions.
G Suite – We all know how easy Gmail is to use. Now you can have it for your business and look professional using your domain in your email address for a low monthly price, and create free group mailing lists, like sales@yourcompany.
Note: most website hosting providers offer free email - I do not recommend the use of cPanel email.
Dubsado – Dubsado is business life changing! Their business management software offers lead capture forms, proposals, contracts with e-signing, invoicing, payment processing, appointment scheduling, client portals, canned emails, templates, bookkeeping, and so much more (they're adding new features all the time). Dubsado is built to save you time, impress your clients, and grow your business. And their customer support is the best I've ever seen!
Dubsado - I'm adding Dubsado here again as their appointment scheduler is top-notch. Customers can view your real-time availability and schedule appointments at their convenience.
Acuity – if you don't need a full-blown business management suite like Dubsado, Acuity is the way to go for appointment scheduling. It's packed with features, yet simple to use. Customers can view your real-time availability and schedule appointments at their convenience. You can automatically send branded & customized confirmations, reminders & follow-ups via email or text message, and even accept payment and tips.
Zapier – I mentioned this above, but it's worth mentioning again as it allows you to connect different online services and is a great tool for automating tasks with triggers and actions.
1Password – Imagine only having to remember one password. That's exactly what you can do with 1Password.
You can securely create and save logins and passwords for websites, secure notes, and your credit card information.
Log into 1Password with your master password, then copy and paste the info you need. It's that simple. And it's available for your desktop and your phone, so you always have your passwords at your fingertips.
Google Drive – store all your files in one place and easily access them from anywhere, so wherever you go, your files follow. And you can quickly invite others to view, download, and collaborate on all the files you want – no email attachment needed.
Dropbox – brings your files together in one central place. They’re easy to find and safely synced across all your devices, so you can access them anytime, anywhere. No more wasting the day tracking down work.
Screencast-O-Matic – easily record, edit, and upload straight to YouTube. The recorder and video editor allow you to easily capture your screen, add a webcam, use narration to customize your video, add text and images, automated captioning, and more.
Loom – another great way to easily record your screen (with or without a webcam). Quickly edit your recording and copy the link to send to clients and customers.
Zoom – I've tried a number of video and audio solutions over the years and Zoom is by far the easiest and has the most reliable connection. It also allows you to share your screen, remote manage if you need tech help, record video/audio if needed, and even host webinars.