If you’re just starting out with your online business, and want pointing in the right direction, you’ve come to the right page.
Here is my personal list of my favorite, tried-and-tested tools and resources. To be honest, I could have filled this list with about a hundred recommendations (I like technology; it helps me work smarter) but I’ve narrowed it down to the ones I use the most and add the greatest value to my business.
As with all pages on my site, this comes with a disclaimer. I am an affiliate for some of these recommendations listed below – you can read my full disclosure here.
Essential Tools For Your Website
If you haven’t yet set up your blog, I’d definitely recommend wordpress (unless you’re doing eCommerce – in which case I’d suggest Shopify). Not least because it’s free, but the sheer ubiquity of it means you’ll never be stuck for a wordpress expert to help you with any problems you have.
The best SEO plugin for WordPress. Even if you don’t know much about SEO, or aren’t particularly interested in optimising your site, you should at least install Yoast so you can get the basics covered. You just never know when Google might bring you thousands of visitors.
Bluchic specialise in feminine wordpress themes, and this website uses the Jacqueline theme from them. I love their themes as they look great, they are so easy to set up, and their support is fantastic.
When you set up your website and look at who to choose for hosting, take a look at Siteground. It’s really important to choose a hosting company who will provide support for your business when you need it (you don’t want your site going down in the middle of a big product launch!) and Siteground have a lot of happy customers.
Namecheap are a great low cost option and a good starting point when buying your domain name as their packages are very competitive. I use them myself so they come highly recommended.
Social Media And Driving Traffic
If you’re on Twitter, Crowdfire will quickly become your best friend. They have this great virtual assistant feature that prompts you every day to post high quality content that they’ve found for you using a “smart feed”. It’s made Twitter so easy for me to use to get regular traffic to my blog.
If you want social media traffic, you need to invest in a good plugin for WordPress. Social Warfare is fantastic and will really help you improve the number of shares your blog posts get.
If you’re planning on using Pinterest to drive traffic to your blog, Tailwind is your go-to tool. It has a genius feature called “Tribes” where you can link up with other bloggers in groups and share each others posts. It’s the easiest way to get a viral pin (which can bring thousands of visitors to your site).
Justretweet is a great free tool and perfect for sharing your blog content on Twitter and Facebook. You gain credits sharing other people’s content, and spend those credits promoting your own content for other influencers to share. Neat, free and highly effective.
List Building And Selling
Clickfunnels has been a turning point for my business. Whilst not the cheapest tool on the market if you’re just starting out, if you want to invest sensibly in your business then this is an investment that’s worthwhile. All my landing pages and sales pages are produced on Clickfunnels, and my conversion rates for list building and selling products and services has skyrocketed since I purchased it.
Originally, I started out on Mailchimp, which is a good autoresponder with lots of great features, but as I grew I needed someone more powerful, and Getresponse was selected after a long review of many tools. The reason I made the switch was mainly due to it’s great autoresponder capabilities, which means I can set up lots of pre-written emails in advance to promote my products and services, and it allows my business to run like clockwork with little daily input from me (as a mum of three – that’s invaluable!).
HelloBar is a clever little pop up that is very (VERY) easy to add to your website, so it’s perfect if you want to grow your list but aren’t confident on the technical side of things. I use it on my professional services site (laurenlambie.com) and see a conversion rate of around 2.6% of visitors using it (not bad considering I have other lots of other sign up points on my website).
Other Very Helpful Recommendations
If you plan on promoting affiliate products as your main income source, Clickmagick is a very useful tool. It’s also incredibly useful for list building. Create custom links to all your optins, affiliate promotions and products from Clickmagick, and you’ll get a dashboard of stats to see how well you’re converting, plus so many other powerful features that I just don’t have the space to write in a single paragraph.
This is a very cool app! I use it to produce lots of my social media content, and it’s particular good as “quote” posts as it has some gorgeous fonts and designs to choose from. This tool helped me build up my Instagram account very quickly as the posts only take 2 minutes to make and they do very well with my audience.
I’m very loyal to Canva. I love how easy it is to produce gorgeous looking content using Canva’s design features. If you’ve ever signed up to my email list and received any of my eBooks such as my free Profit Funnel eBook, they’re all written in Canva. I also use it for my Pinterest posts.
Evernote allows me to stay organised. It’s my virtual notebook and I use it for pretty much everything – writing ideas, brainstorming posts, collecting research, creating to-do lists. I like the fact I can access it from my laptop, iPad and phone.
Want a tip to help you grow your business faster? Outsource. It’s something we are all loathe to do when first starting out because of the expense, but Fiverr is a great option in that respect because you can outsource small tasks at $5 a time that end up saving you hundreds of hours. For example, I used a Fiverr expert to transfer my site to https (which greatly helped improve my traffic from Google), and if I had done that myself it would have taken forever. I also use it for when I need professional looking graphic designs for sales pages.