Friends - some of you have asked me about tools I used/use to get started with my online business venture. I compiled this list to detail my top tool recommendations (some are free, and some are not) for freelance writers, freelance bloggers, online marketers, etc.
I hopped from MailChimp to Aweber to ConvertKit and I'm here (on ConvertKit) to stay. Once I switched over finally, I saw a huge spike in my email subscription stats. Lots of new subscribers, better reporting, and more sales. I finally feel like I have the right tool to help me continue growing my blog.
I signed up for Pinterest in early January and within 6 weeks, I gained 500 followers. I attribute my success largely to BoardBooster (and I was on the free trial for the first 3 weeks!). BoardBooster allows you to automate a lot of Pinterest related tasks. Instead of pinning to all of your group boards separately, BoardBooster lets you create a secret board that pins automatically to all of your group boards that you connect to it. For example, if I'm apart of 10 group boards related to blogging, I create a blogging blog post secret board and BoardBooster will automatically pin anything I add to the secret board to all of those group boards. It's like magic. It allows you to have a Pinterest presence without spending all of your time on Pinterest.
This is the starting point for anyone looking to seriously launch a business online. If you don't have a web presence, you don't have anything. The first thing you need to do is purchase a domain name from a registrar. Next, you need to pay for "hosting" services - essentially a space in a server that you rent for a period of time.
Bluehost is both a registrar and a web host. I recently decided to port my site over to them because every famous blogger and website owner I follow uses and recommends them as their web host. I struggled with GoDaddy for a bit, because I had an unknown PHP error that popped up randomly and without warning. Blue Host offers free web migration and they're fairly helpful.
Plus, you get a free domain name when you sign up with Blue Host.
A WordPress theme will alter the design and presentation of your website including layout. Themes are the foundation for what appears on the "front-end" of a site, or what your traffic will see when they view your website.
Because WordPress is an open source platform, there are thousands of people who have developed themes for you to build your site on. I'm in favor of premium themes as opposed to free themes (you can read my reasoning by clicking here) and I've also written about my top 3 recommended WordPress premium themes (read about that here).
To make it super simple, I've linked to the three top options right here!
Divi is my absolute favorite theme! It's the them I used to build my first ever site and it made me fall in love with website design. Divi has amazing customer service with endless amounts of documentation and resources available for your use. It has a visual content builder so that you can build your ideal web design without any prior experience or coding knowledge. Divi has a TON of widgets built in, like Call To Action modules, lead opt-in modules, and more. Check out my #1 rated Premium WordPress theme by clicking this link!
X theme is an incredibly well known and respected theme. It has a visual content builder (cornerstone), which makes it easy for beginner web developers to setup a beautifully designed site in no time.
Learn more about X theme.
My website is built on thrive. It's incredibly intuitive and easy to use. The themes are clean, crisp, and sophisticated and are equipped with awesome built-in functionality including template landing pages. You won't need too many plugins with Thrive themes as so much is already built into the theme.
Learn more about Thrive!
I invested in this course to help me start my affiliate marketing journey on the right foot. I'm glad I did, too, because Michelle (the class teacher and creator who now earns over 50K per month in affiliate income) is extremely personable and a great educator. She covered all the ABC's of affiliate marketing and I started earning some REAL money the same month I enrolled in the course. Just a week after I enrolled, I got an email notification that I made an $80 sale. Full disclosure, I'd done NOTHING that day besides go to the gym, shower, and spend some time in the bathroom. Now THAT'S passive income. If you want to join a course that teaches you how to start making real money online, this is the one to take.
This ebook is NOT a huge financial investment but it WILL help you start making loads of money on Pinterest. I'm not even exaggerating here. This ebook helped me to start honing in on my Pinterest strategy and I made my first affiliate sale on Pinterest within the first week of reading this ebook. Super actionable, incredibly useful, and a VERY smile financial investment.
Canva is an incredibly nifty graphic design tool for those who don't want to invest in the adobe suite, or other incredibly pricey design applications.
Google Analytics is a must for all sites. It's the ideal tool to provide actionable insights into your site traffic. Install immediately!
Out of the "box" contact form 7 forms are not beautiful. You'll need some code customization to make them match your site style. That said, I can't live without this plugin. It's the ideal tool that will capture all the information you need/want in one simple form.
Another favorite. Yoast makes SEO simple. Grading your page SEO with red, green and yellow lights, Yoast provides useful and actionable next steps for you to ensure all of your content performs well on search engines. What could be better?