Updated: November 23, 2018
Occasionally I mention tools I use and/or recommend in my posts here and there, but this page includes an easy-to-access list. I hope it’s helpful!
Some of the links in this post are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you choose to make a purchase.
- What I Use to Build & Run My Sites
- Email Marketing (the Useletter®)
- Creating Content
- Social Media
- My Income Streams
- Keeping Track of Money
- Website & Blog Design
- Web Browsers
- Mobile Apps I Like
What I Use to Build & Run My Sites
WP Engine – As of early November 2018, I host my site on WP Engine and could not be happier. My site is faster, the dashboard is easy to navigate and best of all, the support is top notch. They walked me through the switch to make it as easy as possible. I highly recommended it for those who do not need a budget host and want a robust option to easily grow into. Plus, Genesis themes come included so that’s a huge plus!
Bluehost – Bluehost is a reputable hosting company for brand new bloggers or bloggers operating on a tight budget. I used it myself for over 10 years. I explain how to get started in my post How to Start a Blog. Use the same steps to start a regular website (not a blog) too.
WP Rocket – A plugin that has sped up my site considerably. Highly recommended, especially since site speed is a crucial factor in search results.
Codeable – I have used a few developers here when I needed WordPress help.
Namecheap – I register all my domains here.
The following are services I don’t currently use because I don’t have a need for them at the moment, but they will be my first choice picks if my needs change in the future.
Shopify – If you have a tangible product you’d like to sell, Shopify is the service I would try first. It is an out-of-the-box solution to ecommerce. They do offer a free trial. Check out these examples of Shopify stores.
In 2013, I cut back on blogging in order to focus on email marketing.
Mad Mimi – This is the email service provider I use to send the Useletter®. Their customer service is great and Mad Mimi is easy to use. If you have a question about anything, simply Live Chat or email them and they are happy to help.
OptinMonster – The service I switched to from LeadPages (see below), mainly because it’s much cheaper. It doesn’t have the functionality that LeadPages does, but in the end, I think I can get 80% of what I need done with this one. Update: I stopped using OptinMonster at the end of 2016, not because I was dissatisfied with the service, but because I no longer needed it.
LeadPages – A tool I used for a year and enjoyed! It makes setting up email landing pages, sales pages and email signup forms easy as pie. What’s nice is that really, you don’t even need a website to sell stuff.
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Ulysses – This distraction-free writing tool is simpler than Scrivener (below) and of the two, has become my first choice. It’s for Mac only.
Scrivener – This is writing software that makes blog posts, books, ebooks or other writing projects a lovely experience.
IFTTT – I use IFTTT to create “recipes” to automate tasks between two apps. For example, I’ve connected my Google Calendar to my Facebook Page which makes it a breeze to set up recurring posts to Facebook via my calendar.
Buffer – When I don’t post manually on social media, I use Buffer to schedule my posts on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram.
ScreenFlow – This is a lovely application for sreencasting and video editing on a Mac.
Pocket – Whenever I want to read something, but I don’t have time at the moment, I save it to Pocket where I can read it later.
My Income Streams
My post How to Make Money Blogging explains how bloggers make money online. Below are the main ways I personally make money.
Products – SendOwl makes it easy for me to sell my own digital products.
- My Knowtbook – This is a unique digital product which is ever-changing and filled with notes as I take them.
- Tell Your Time – My ebook which has brought in steady income since I launched it in October 2010. I explain why I opted to self-publish in my series Why I Turned Down a Book Deal. If you’re interested in writing your own ebook, check out my series How to Write an Ebook.
- Other digital products – From time to time I’ve offered other digital products like Shortcut the Toolkit, my companion guide to the 2017 Genius Blogger’s Toolkit.
Affiliate Marketing – As an affiliate marketer, I get paid a commission for promoting products and services. Nearly all of the products and services I share are ones I have bought & used myself. You might be interested in my post Affiliate Marketing: The Ultimate (Free) Guide.
- Ultimate Bundles – This program is an excellent one to be part of. I explained it in depth here.
- ShareASale – I promote the Genesis WordPress Theme (the best theme I’ve used so far) as well as other programs like Minted (beautiful stationary, planners, calendars, business cards) and Food Blogger Pro.
- Commission Junction – There are many affiliate programs available through CJ. I’ve promoted MOO cards (classy & creative business cards), DiscountMags (for deals on business magazines) and more.
Amazon – I sell my ebook via Amazon but I’m also a part of their “Associates” (i.e. affiliate) program which pays a commission on books and any other Amazon products people purchase via my links. My Living Books List is another place I utilize Amazon.
AdSense -While I’m not using display ads currently, I have made decent money with AdSense in the past. Google has made setting up ads on your site quite easy. Just sign up, create your ad(s) and stick the code in your sidebar (or wherever you want it to show up) and you’re done.
Coaching & Consulting – My queue is closed at this time, but this has been a good income earner as well.
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Keeping Track of Money
Before I made money online, these are the things I wish I had done first.
Capital One Spark Business Checking – This is what I use for business banking.
Wave Apps – This free online accounting software is very user friendly. I started using it in 2017 and is an alternative to Budget mentioned above.
CPA on Fire – We hired Josh Bauerle in 2016 to help with our taxes once they got to be a bit more complicated than we could handle on our own. He’s done our taxes every year since!
TurboTax – We used to file our own taxes online. There’s a free version for basic tax forms. We paid for the upgraded version to include my business income.
Website and Blog Design
Elegant Themes – This is another collection of WordPress themes I’ve bought in the past. The designs are very nicely done.
Gimp – Free image-editing software similar to Photoshop. It’s an excellent choice if you want something a little more robust than online editors like PicMonkey or Canva. I do most of my design work in Gimp.
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Google Chrome – In my opinion, Google Chrome is the best browser available for free. It’s fast and easy to use. I would rank Safari second (for Mac), Firefox third and Internet Explorer? Well, if you’re using IE, let’s just say I highly recommend you switch to another browser as fast as you can. Oh I do not like IE.
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Mobile Apps I Like
I use an iPhone. Other than the usual apps, these are some I find especially handy.
Drafts – It takes a bit of time to hook things up, but once you do, it’s a lovely one-stop app that allows you to record bits of information and then send it to wherever you need it to go, like Evernote, email, text, etc.
Brain.fm – This app helps me focus and stay productive.
Where to next?
Check out my Contents page for my tips and tutorials.