The Best Tools for Blogging & eCommerce

Working Smarter

Getting the right tools and software programs can make ALL the difference when you are trying to build your online business.

Believe me when I say I have tried EVERYTHING. I have been in this blogging gig for a long time (I’m basically a blogging dinosaur), and the tools below are my tried and true faves.

Here we go...

Hosting & Themes

WordPress: I have always used self-hosted wordpress to build every single one of my sites. WordPress is the most versatile content management system out there. You can use a ‘theme’ to get the exact look you want, you can write a blog and sell products, and there is a plugin for EVERYTHING.  

Bluehost: This is the MOST affordable host out there. When you are just getting started with your blog, Bluehost is the perfect option. Head here for my step-by-step guide on how to get it setup. You can even get your domain name through them too! If you get to a point where you are getting over 100,000 pageviews/month, then you’ll want to consider upgrading hosts (I did this and now use EvenPar Solutions).

Themes: The great thing about using WordPress is that you get to choose from an unlimited number of wordpress themes out there. My favourite spot to look for themes are: Restored 316 DesignsEclair DesignsDinosaur StewLovely Confetti, and 17th Avenue.

Social Media Schedulers

Tailwind: This is by FAR the best Pinterest scheduling tool out there. Seriously, don’t use any other one. Tailwind is an approved partner from Pinterest, which means that Pinterest LIKES people who use Tailwind (ie. get higher up on that algorithm!). Tailwind has a ton of amazing features and makes scheduling out all those pins totally easy. Get a FREE month of Tailwind right here.

SmarterQueue: I had tried out a TON of different scheduling tools for my Facebook pages and instagram accounts, and although I did like some of them (like Buffer and Later), none were as “smart” as SmarterQueue. SmarterQueue takes a minute to setup, but once it’s set up, it recycles your content is such a smart way. It means you never have to sit down and schedule your week of social media content, SmarterQueue will pull from your stored up bank of posts. Seriously, it saves me hours and hours every single month.

Later: Before I used SmarterQueue, I used Later for instagram scheduling (the free version). If you’re on a budget and can’t afford SmarterQueue yet, this is a great option!

Graphics

Canva: Canva is an amazing tool for creating graphics. Use it to create your pinnable images, social media graphics, logos, headers, printables, workbooks, anything! The free version let’s you go far. I have the paid version so I can save PNG files with a transparent background.

PicMonkey: I have been using for PicMonkey for YEARS. I pay for the Royale version (very reasonable annual rate), and it gives me access to all the features I need. I use PicMonkey to edit photos for my blog and shop.  

Creative Market & Hungry JPEG: I use both of these sites to find fonts, vectors, mock ups, and templates.

Stock Photography: I love Haute Stock (subscription service), and find tons of free stock photos (I rounded up my fave free sites here).

Email Service Providers

Mailerlite: Mailerlite is my go-to email service provider for anyone who is just starting out. It’s a free service (up to your first 1000 subscibers), but they have all the functionality you need. You can create automated email funnels, beautiful looking newsletters, opt-in forms, and more. 

Convertkit (now called ‘Seva’): Convertkit has amazing functionality for getting a lot more out of your list. I recommend this platform once you have hit your first thousand subscribers and you’re ready to get a bit more sophisticated with your email marketing. You can tag your audience so that you know who is interest in what, create automatic sequences or sales funnels, create opt-in boxes and landing pages, has an RSS option, and so much more.  You definitely get a lot for a reasonable price. Oh and it only counts subscribers ONCE (even if they opt in for more than one thing on your site), so you don’t ever double-pay.

ECommerce

Shopify: Shopify is the gold standard when it comes to eCommerce. It is the easiest to use and setup and you can create an amazing looking shop in a matter of a few hours. It also integrates with some amazing apps that make all kinds of things easier – like selling on facebook and instagram, using facebook ads, connecting with print on demand manufacturers, and dropshippers. 

Etsy: I have a special place in my heart for Etsy, since that it where I got started with eCommerce. If you’re looking for an inexpensive way to get started with an online shop, Etsy is a great choice. It can also be advantageous if you don’t have a website already, since you can test out a shop idea there before creating your own website. Use this link to get your first 40 listings FREE.

WooCommerce: Woocommerce can be a good option for your online shop if you already have a WordPress-based website. It’s a free plugin so there is no monthly fee. Although you can do a lot with WooCommerce, it isn’t quite as robust as the Shopify platform.

GumRoad: If you just want to sell digital products, Gumroad is a great choice. Extremely easy to setup and they handle the delivery of your digital products to your customers making it very hands-off.

Want to launch your own shop? Click here for my {FREE} Launch Your Shop Roadmap.

Online Course Platform

Teachery – If you are thinking of creating an online course, I LOVE Teachery. It’s not as well-known as some of the others out there, but the creator Jason Zook is a really cool, innovative dude. The platform is easy to navigate and setup, user-friendly for students, has tons of functionality, and they handle all the payment processing and back-end stuff really seamlessly. Plus Jason and his team offer unbelievable customer service. The best I have EVER seen!

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