Resources I use and love
Welcome to my resources page, a trusted list of the tools and websites I strongly recommend for building and optimizing your business at any stage. I have tested dozens and dozens of tools and narrowed it down to just the most reliable, practical and easy-to-use. These are the tools I personally use to run my business (and those of my clients).
Please note that a few of them are affiliate links that may give me a commission if you purchase. None of the fees have been increased to compensate me; In fact, there’s some special discounts I get to share with you. Scroll down for the goods!
Content Management Systems
I love Shopify. I have a very long list of clients that are all set up on Shopify, and they love it. If you are selling online, this is my #1 recommendation. It’s very intuitive to set up your account, there’s plenty of good free (and premium) themes to customize, but more importantly, the shopping cart converts almost 30% more than others like woocommerce. It’s a simple interface that aims to convert. The order-management system is also really manageable for non-techy folks. Pair this platform with a great opt-in and you’re on your way to ecommerce magic.
If you have a blog or are looking to start a blog this is for you. There’s no better out-of-the-box solution when it comes to blogging and optimization. If you’re a business that doesn’t sell products, it’s also a great solution. My website is run with wordpress. You can even launch your website in minutes with a one-click install from a good hosting company like Bluehost.
Mailchimp has been around for awhile. They were challenged in 2018 / 2019 by some of the new competitors but have really stepped up to match or exceed the features that were introduced. If you have a ecommerce website I highly recommend this platform. It integrates really well with WordPress, Shopify and other popular platforms. Auto send order notifications, shipping notifications, and include product upsells directly in your email. The design side is a little rough, but my templates should help with that. Check them out here. Plus, its free for accounts with under 2k email addresses.
I gave Convertkit a try and immediately fell in love. As a content creator, this platform is much more intuitive for subscriber management, funnels and tracking activity. If your not selling online, this is my #1 recommendation. It’s also not tricky to set up landing pages and sign up forms for your website, and those super-important content upgrades.
If you like pretty templates, this one is for you. Ideally for content creators and coaches, this platform makes it really easy to whip up a great-looking email without coding. I haven’t fully tested it out yet but I’m excited to see all it has to offer.
Social Media Management
1. Tailwind App (for Pinterest)
This tool has been a total game changer in my business. Within the first month, Tailwind helped Pinterest become my #1 source of traffic to my website (by a lot). That’s some serious action. Use it to bulk schedule pins, join tribes to share and submit like-minded pins, track your analytics, and more. Get a free trial to see in action and be prepared to be amazed.
2. Plann (for Instagram)
When you’re just not that happy with how an all-in-one social media planning tool manages Instagram, this is the answer. Just add your images to shuffle them into the perfect grid, add captions, add saved hashtags and save it for a schedule notification. If you’re like me, save more time by not reading or judging yourself too much when it’s time to post. Just approve and go.
3. Buffer (best overall)
Buffer is everything I need for social media management when I have a lot of accounts to organize. It couldn’t be easier to plan and publish your content for Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and LinkedIn, all from one simple dashboard. Add tags and locations right as you draft your posts, and see a month calendar of what’s lined up.
Web Apps & Plugins
When you need a reliable and visually appealing form or landing page on your website, this is my favorite. Add forms to your website to collect email addresses and automatically send them to the right email list. You don’t need to worry about duplicates, crossover or any messy backend set up. Forms can used for popups with intuitive timing or any content block – no html needed.
Design & Print
Non-designers rejoice! Canva is a free (or premium) design app that makes is extremely easy to build graphics for your business (or your kids birthday party). Save your graphics perfectly-sized and ready to go for your social media, email, and website. I love it so much, all my templates are provided in Canva format. It’s that user-friendly.
As a designer, its no surprise I always have Adobe Photoshop open and running on my computer. I log a crazy amount of hours a day on this program and I wouldn’t use anything else. It makes my projects run very smooth. I use it for just about everything, from graphics to branding and design mocks. I also love InDesign for all my print projects. Start a free 7-day trial.
There’s really no excuse these days for having an outdated website. Of course, help from an expert is always good, but when you just can’t afford it, Themeforest has a nice collection of themes and plugins to bring your website up to speed.
Slowly step away from Vistaprint. I can’t tell you how enough that poor printing can ruin a gorgeous design. I found MOO a couple of years ago and fell in love with their top-notch quality and outstanding customer experience. Every single person compliments my business cards, and I hear the same from my clients. It’s amazing how a little extra quality can go such a long way.
I can’t tell you how many hours this app has saved me. Gone are the days of word and excel for invoicing and tracking payments. Set up recurring or one-off invoices and let them work behind the scenes. Get paid online, track expenses, create proposals (and signatures upon approval- score), and even track your hours. With end of the year reports, tax season looks much less intimidating.
Back Office Organization
If you have team members, this one is fantastic. It keeps projects in sync and moving along with assignments, deadlines, checklists, attachments, you name it. You can even save your workflows so duplicating a new project is a snap.
Let’s face it, ideas come and go quickly, regardless of your proximity to a computer. Evernote stores everything in one place from random notes, to books. No kidding, I have a client using this to write a book when he gets a free minute.
Customer experience is important. Rather than sending bulking emails with attachments that tend to get lost, organize a dropbox folder to share files. Branding clients love this because everything is neatly organized, no questions needed. Plus, if there’s a revision to be made, you can replace the file so there’s no duplicates or confusion. It’s also great for working with team members to share large files.
Online meetings, video webinars, chats, screen sharing; it’s all here. I have been using Zoom for a couple of years and everyone loves it. I especially love that Zoom is very easy for non-techy participants to click a few buttons to start, join, and collaborate from any device. The free option has the perfect amount of features for most small businesses.
I can’t say enough good things about Bluehost. I have worked with a ton of hosting companies from my clients and for myself, and this is by far the very best. They are affordable, have a very easy one-click install for a lot of common website apps like wordpress and shopify, and have the best support team, which is such a great bonus when you need help right away.
GoDaddy is perfectly fine for small businesses. If you have a wordpress website, they have a great ‘managed wordpress’ option that is streamlined for the on-going updates. Often, clients buy a domain name here and prefer to keep everything web-related together. I get it, the less logins the better.