Must-Have Tools To Grow Your Blog And Business
Running a profitable blog requires a few good tools – these are the tools, apps and resources that I use daily, and consider them essential for the maintenance and growth of my business. I have used hundreds of different programs and tools over the years, and deem these to be the best of the best!
Running A Business
SmarterQueue is the best social media content scheduler I have come across. Known as the app that is “better than Buffer and better and cheaper than MeetEdgar,” SmarterQueue allows you to set up posts for Facebook, Twitter & Instagram that can be scheduled and then re-posted on auto pilot. So you don’t have to re-create posts for your evergreen content, which was something that annoyed me with Buffer. If you want to grow your network and business following its essential that you be posting content to social media consistently, and this app makes this possible.
MailerLite is easily the best free mailing system available. Create beautiful landing pages and opt-in forms to collect subscribers and easily send and track campaigns (newsletters). The automation feature is top notch. You can use their free plan up to 1,000 subscribers, if you have more subscribers than 1000, plans start at $10.
My link gives you a $20 credit for when you upgrade.
Convertkit is a professional premium mailing system that easily integrates into your website, and allows your readers to sign up to your mail list and send out newsletters. Building your list is essential in growing your business, and Convertkit makes gaining subscribers and running opt-in functions easy. The app is tailor-made to help you grow your audience, automate emails, and organize and understand your subscribers
FreshBooks is the badass entrepreneur’s bible! It makes invoicing clients and keeping track of my accounting documents super easy. Every small business owner should use this, even if you are just starting out. Try a free trial here: FreshBooks Cloud Accounting – Free Trial
Shopify – Shopify is my choice for the best place to sell your items / run an online shop. I have built and run online stores on a few different eCommerce sites, and prefer Shopify as the best option. Most eCommerce sites will take a cut off of each of your sales, which can become quite expensive, but Shopify doesn’t, you just pay a small set monthly subscription rate and then you can sell as much as you want and keep all of your money.
Oberlo – This is an app to use with Shopify, and it is essential for any online store that sells items from AliExpress. Oberlo lets you search and import AliExpress items right into your Shopify shop, copying inventory levels, photos, and information. This is a HUGE time saver and makes running a dropshipping business a snap!
Social Media Marketing, Growing A Network
The Complete Guide To Email Marketing – This free guide has everything you need to know to about list building, growing your subscribers, and successfully running email marketing campaigns.
Boardbooster is the best thing to happen to Pinterest scheduling! This simple app will auto-schedule your pins to your group boards without you having to worry about a thing. It is recommended that you be pinning content at least 40 times a day in your Pinterest boards and group boards, which would be difficult and incredibly time-consuming to do alone. Boardbooster is super easy to schedule content to be pinned on Pinterest at set times throughout the day as much or as little as you want. I love that I can take 20 minutes on Monday morning to plan my pins for the whole week, set it and forget it! Get 100 pins free here.
Tailwind for Pinterest– I saw a HUGE spike in traffic coming from Pinterest on my ShesBabely blog once I started using Tailwind to schedule my pins. Now I use Tailwind for all of my websites and it’s crazy how much traffic it brings in! Tailwind is similar to Boardbooster in that they are booth pin schedulers, but Tailwind has more features and more in-depth analytics. Tailwind is partnered with Pinterest, so it’s believed that Pinterest and Pinterest’s algorithm favors content coming in from Tailwind, and ranking those pins higher in search results.
Tailwind for Instagram – This Instagram scheduling tool is amazing. It has an incredible hashtag finder feature that finds and recommends the best hashtags for your post, to give you the best possible reach and engagement. You can read my review of it and get a month free trial here.
Education, Courses & Course Creation
Creative Live is an amazing online resource packed with hundreds of free and premium courses on everything from photography, design, music, money, business and more. You can tune in to watch live classes for free, or sign up for on-demand workshops. Check out the classes here.
Skillshare is another awesome online learning community where you can learn a new skill in just about anything! There are over 16,000 free and premium classes. Personalized, on-demand education.
Teachable – If you have ever thought about creating and selling your own online course, this is the platform you want to use. The professional plan has NO FEES so you keep every cent from selling your course. To learn how to get started, watch this upcoming live webinar 7 Steps To Launch Your Own Profitable Online Course.
Affiliate Programs For Bloggers
Awin.com is a high paying affiliate marketing network. It costs just $5 to sign up (which you get back once approved), then you join affiliate programs, work with brands, and get paid. The referral program is excellent, you will get $30 for everyone you refer who is approved. Invite-only: Sign up here.
ShareaSale and FlexOffers are both affiliate networks that bloggers can make money from. Once you are a member, you can join the affiliate programs of thousands of brands. Both have their own referral programs as well.
Ultimate Bundles – This is a program that offers bundles of resources (ebooks, courses, printables) on various subjects at different times of the year. Affiliates earn a commission for every bundle they sell.
Linqia is an influencer agency. Bloggers can use this network to partner up with brands for sponsorships and get paid to write sponsored posts.
Izea is a network for influencers to work with brands to make money from sponsored blog and Instagram posts. You will get paid by leading brands and agencies to produce and share sponsored content with your social media followers. Izea is invite-only. Here’s your invite!
Website / Blogging Tools
Siteground is one of the more popular hosting providers, providing some of the fastest load times of them all. With unlimited bandwidth, free daily backups, and free shopping cart included, Siteground offers extremely good value at an affordable price. It also has a one-click WordPress install wizard that makes setting up your website super easy! Use my link and get 60% off your hosting if you sign up now, making it just $3.95 a month! Check out my guide on how to set up WordPress.org with SiteGround.
Envato ThemeForest – This is my go-to place for WordPress themes. There is so much selection, highest quality & responsive designs, ongoing support, and amazing prices with themes starting at just $2!!
Adobe Creative Cloud – Where would I be without Adobe?! Well, I probably wouldn’t have become a designer. I’ve built my career with Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and Premiere. Adobe is the industry standard, and anyone working in a creative field will likely use Adobe products every single day. Get 60% off Adobe Creative Cloud Here.
Grammarly – This one of the best apps around! It is a spelling and grammar app that checks your writing as you write. Bloggers, writers, entrepreneurs and anyone who ever types on a screen can benefit from this. You may fancy yourself a spelling and grammar pro but I think you will be surprised at what this app catches! See my review of Grammarly here >
Extras, Nice To Haves
24/7 Virtual Assistant – This has been an absolute LIFESAVER to me. As your blog & business grows, you may find it hard to keep up with all the things you need to do on your own. A virtual assistant can help you in so many ways! Such as answer emails for you, respond to comments, manage your social media, even tweak your website. You can have someone help you with a task as a one-time job, a once and a while job or an ongoing project. Highly recommend!
Fiverr – This is a marketplace full of thousands of services (called ‘gigs’) where you can get pretty much anything you could imagine or need, for just $5. It is so good! You can have someone edit photos, write articles, record videos, do promotion…the list is actually endless!
LastPass – This is a password manager that ‘locks’ all of your passwords from every site you use into a vault that only you can access with your master password. So you never have to type out or try to remember all of your passwords again! It’s pretty sweet! Here’s a 14 day free trial for LastPass.
RescueTime – This is a handy tool that tracks how you spend time online, and shows you ways to manage your time better and be more productive. You can set alerts to prompt if you’ve been on one task for too long, and block websites that are distracting. It’s great for setting business goals and staying on track to reach them. RescueTime is extra useful when you are launching a blog, or working with brands on a deadline.
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This post contains affiliate links. I only recommend products/brands that I personally use, love and trust. For more information, see my disclosures.