Having the right blog tools and resources can make all the difference in your success as a blogger.
So to help make things easier for you I’ve assembled the most epic list of blogger tools and resources, all for YOU!
I’m not kidding, this is a list of over 160 resources with links, prices, and quick descriptions to help you decide what works best for you and your growing blog.
I’ve personally vetted all these recommendations and added notes about whether they may be right for you.
Don’t forget to bookmark this page and share it so that everyone who needs it can get their paws all over this golden nugget of tips, tools, and freebies!
P.s. Read on to find the three super popular but terrible tools I never recommend and personally think you should stay away from.
*some links may be affiliate links to products and services I love
SETUP YOUR BLOG THE RIGHT WAY
#1. WordPress.org – Free – It’s number one for a reason people, don’t fight it. WordPress has never been easier to learn and use, start your website with the best option, the self hosted WordPress platform.
#2. NameCheap – Domains for about $12/year – Get your domain name (your URL) at the best rate along with great customer service!
#3. Siteground Web Hosting – Plans start at about $50/year – Friends, you get what you pay for, cheap crocodile hosting isn’t going to be there for you when that last plugin update takes your entire site down. Siteground has stellar service, automatic backups, and reliable hosting. Boom!
Alternative: If, and this is a big if, you absolutely cannot take the time to learn WordPress (it’s not that complicated though) and do not need the customization most blog based businesses need, then you can consider Squarespace as a viable (but not equal) alternative to WordPress. Please stay away from other done for you blogger sites like Wix, Blogger, etc. they simply don’t have the functionality for a proper growing blog.
WORDPRESS THEMES AND FRAMEWORKS
You’ll need to pick a website theme, think of this as the “look” to your site. This part is important so make sure to choose wisely.
#4. Genesis Framework by Studio Press – $60 – The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build stable well coded websites with WordPress. Genesis provides the secure and search-engine-optimized foundation that can take your blog to the next level.
#5. Studio Press Themes – $130 (includes Genesis Framework) – From the same people who offer the Genesis Framework, this line of reliable and well supported themes is a solid start for any blogger.
#6. Divi from Elegant Themes – $90 per year or $250 lifetime – If you want a reliable theme that is well supported and has a ton of resources then checkout Divi. It offers a drag and drop theme builder and it’s so popular there are a ton of resources/videos/tutorials out there to choose from.
#7. Theme Forest – $35-$75+ – A huge marketplace for WordPress Themes. Make sure to select a theme that is recently updated, mobile friendly, fast, well supported, and has a ton of positive reviews. My themes are from Meks, they have been absolutely amazing in the quality, updates, and support.
WORDPRESS RESOURCES AND PLUGINS
#8. WordPress for Bloggers: The Ultimate Resource Guide to WordPress for Bloggers – Grab this blog post for all the tips and tricks you need to launch your website the right way. From choosing plugins to installing WordPress every resource you might need is there!
#9. Google Analytics – Free – Every blogger must have Google Analytics setup before doing anything else.
#10. Monster Insights – $125+/year – A WordPress based plugin that delivers your Google Analytics straight to your WP dashboard. If you’re like me and constantly forget to login to your analytics this can be a big help.
#11. Yoast SEO – Free or $90 for Premium – The well known free WordPress plugin that makes creating an SEO friendly post crazy simple! That said, I think the premium version is worth the investment for the extra functionality.
#12. SEO Course by MOZ – Free – This free course from the SEO experts is a great place to start your SEO training.
#13. – Headers and Footers Plugin – Free – You’ll need this simple but effective plugin to insert you analytics code, confirm your Pinterest account, insert your Facebook pixel, and much more.
#14. – Akismet – Free – Akismet is one of those core plugins that every site should have, this plugin keeps spammy comments under control and off your to-do list.
#15. – WP Super Cache – Free – A caching plugin is essential to speed up your WordPress site. There several good options to choose from WP super Cache is simple, reliable, and free.
#16. W3 Total Cache – Free – $100 – Another very good cache plugin with more robust features and a Pro option that gives you many additonal features. This post, WP Super Cache vs W3 Total Cache: Which One to Choose?, provides a solid comparison. One word of advice, check with your host first, before you install a cache plugin to make sure there are compatibility issues.
#17. – iThemes Security – $80/year – A robust security plugin that I highly recommend to lock down your WordPress site. This plugin is very robust so do make sure to run a backup before installing and follow the video tutorial when setting up the settings.
#18. Wordfence – $100/year – Wordfence is another excellent security plugin that protects your site with a firewall and scan for brute force attacks.
#19. – Sucuri – $200+/year – Sucuri is an advanced security software and service that not only provides protection and detection scans, but also offers repair for a hacked site. As your site grows in popularity I recommend you consider a plan like Sucuri.
PRO TIP: Security plugins can get complex, check with your host to see which plugin they recommend. Siteground agreed all three of these were very good. Then make sure you run a backup before you add any plugins. Siteground runs automatic backups but you can buy backup services from Backup Buddy or VaultPress. From there make sure to follow the security service’s tutorials step-by-step. That way you can avoid a mess and locking yourself out of your own site. If something goes awry, stay calm and contact your host (this is why you want a good host).
#20. – reSmush.it Image Optimizer – Free – There are many image compression plugins (too many to list) choosing one is important to making sure your photos don’t slow down your site, reSmush.it image optimizer is a good popular choice for bloggers that combines ease of use, quality images, and a best of all it’s free.
#21. ShortPixel – Free – $5+/month – If you have a lot of images to compress or they are of a higher MB then you’ll need a more robust compression plugin. After MUCH research I decided that Short Pixel came out slightly ahead of my second favorite paid compression plugin Imagify. I work with a lot of images across all my sites so a good image compression plugin is a must.
#22. Optimizilla – Free – This a free online image compressor that can make plugins unnecessary. If you don’t use many images on your site and don’t mind manually compressing them this online tool might be perfect for you. Even if you do use a plugin sometimes you need to compress an image before working with it (say when you are creating graphics for a course or promotion) and in that case this online tool is the perfect option.
WRITE BETTER AND CREATE IRRESISTIBLE TITLES
#23. – Grammarly – Free-$140/year – This grammar checker is the ultimate way to make sure your posts are grammatically perfect.
#24. – Hemmingway App – $20 – This another writing app that scores your content on it’s “readability”. It can be useful if you need some help fine tuning your writing style.
#25. – CoSchedule Headline Analyzer – Free – Make your headlines stand out with CoSchedule’s free headline analyzing tool. If you struggle with your headlines this is a great tool for you.
#26. – Impact Blog Title Generator – Free – A fun and sometimes off the wall idea/title generator. Simply add your keyword and see what pops up.
#27. Link Bait Title Generator – Free – Another title generator, this time with more of a click-baity feel. While I don’t think you should rely on these title generators, they can be very good to get the creative ideas flowin’.
BUILD YOUR BRAND AND GET GREAT GRAPHICS
#28. – Coolors – Free – I’m in love with this fun and easy color palette generator. It’s works easily and intuitively to help you create fun brand colors that are perfectly you!
#29. – What Font is This – Free – Sometimes you fall in love with a font but have no idea what it is, this font finder is your answer!
#30. – Creative Market – Prices vary – From fonts to graphics to stock photos Creative Market has it all. Sign-up to get weekly freebies delivered straight to your inbox.
#31. – The Hungry Jpeg – Prices Vary – Another great platform for fonts and graphics. They also offer weekly freebies so sign-up and start snagging the bonuses!
#32. – Canva – Free-$13/month – If you aren’t using Canva you are missing out of an amazing free platform that’s easier to use than Illustrator, but allows you to create everything from lead magnet downloads to Pinterest Pins and more! This is my go-to creator for ALL my graphics!
#33. – Pic Monkey – $72+/year – While Canva has my heart for creating gorgeous graphics, Pic Monkey is the definite winner for editing photos and making them Instagram enviable!
#34. – Easil – Free – $7.50/month – Canva still has my heart but Easil creates some pretty fun and unique graphics. That said, I find their free plan a little lacking and their paid plan isn’t as robust as I’d like. Still it’s a fun design alternative to Canva.
#35. – Stencil – Free-$144/year – Similar to Canva, though in my opinion not as robust. What I do like is a large quote library that can make quick social media posts a snap. It’s not going to replace Canva but Stencil is another good alternative if you want to expand on your design options.
#36. – Crello – Free – $10/month – Very similar is layout to Canva but without the full range of options that Canva has. The one spot where I do think Crello outshines Canva is in its animation tool. You can create some pretty cool moving animations and visuals that just can’t be done in Canva. Crello also has a very good template library and good range of icons.
#37. Adobe Spark – Easily create animated graphics and videos with this easy to use tool from Adobe.
#38. Piktochart – $150-$290/year – Piktochart specializes in infographic creation. You’ll find a huge range of templates and elements all suited toward infographic design. I stick with Canva for all my graphics but if you need something more robust and focused on infographics take a look at Piktochart.
#39. – Mindmeister – Free – $5/month – A visual Mind Map creator that can be very useful when plotting out project ideas, planning courses, or creating funnels. The free version allows you 3 mind maps per month which should be plenty for most bloggers.
PAID AND FREE STOCK PHOTOS
#40. Pixie Stock – $40/month or $69/quarter for the membership – Alicia Powell has most beautiful fun and feminine stock photos on the interwebs! You can get a free bundle of pretty picks by signing up on her site.
#41. Ivory Mix – $33/every quarter for the membership – Kayla also has a rocking set of stock photos suitable to almost any niche. From fitness and wellness, to boss babes, to bold colorful images, her photo packs offer something for everyone!
#42. Haute Stock – $100/every quarter for the membership – Haute Stock is a feminine stock photo classic with an ever growing list of gorgeous and well loved images.
#43. Big Stock – $79+/month – This is where I buy all my paid stock photos. Their prices are fair and they have a wide range of images that will help you stand out.
#44. Unsplash – Free – Unsplash is a free platform with TONS of photos for every niche. Their landscape and nature pics are STUNNING!
#45. Pexels – Free – Pexels is another great free stock photo platform with something for everyone.
#46. Pixabay – Free – Another great platform for free photos.
#47. Death to the Stock Photo – Free – Another free image platform worth looking into.
#48. Morgue File – Free – The last option in our free photo roundup.
GET CONTENT IDEAS
#49. Google Trends – Free – Find what’s trending with the well known Google Trends.
#50. BuzzSumo – Free-$80/month – This popular platform allows you to see what’s trending by niche and see the social shares by platform.
#51. Alltop – Free – A popular news aggregate so you can see what’s trending at a glance. Great for inspiring relevant timely content.
#52. Quora – Free – A popular question and answer site that can be very useful for finding what question your ideal reader’s may have. Search by topic and then drill down until you start to see trends in questions. This is a great way to inspire content that can really help your readers.
#53. Feedly – Free – Feedly is a content aggregator that pulls from the blog feeds (RSS) you choose to follow. It’s great way to stay on top of what’s new and popular in your niche without overloading your email inbox.
#54. Triberr – Free – Triberr is a way for bloggers to share each other’s content. This makes it great for both promotion and to stay on top of what’s trending in your niche.
#55. Pocket – Free – Pocket is a browser extension that let’s you easily save any content you find online. This makes it easy to reference or share later.
#56. Answer the Public – Free – This is a website where you drop in your topic and the system will generate a HUGE number of ideas. My query for “pinterest” yielded 175 questions. Now obviously not all of these are viable, but it is a great way to end writer’s block.
#57. Blog Ideas Generator by HubSpot – Free – Another idea generator, albeit less impressive than Answer the Public, but still worth keeping in your toolbox.
#58. Portent’s Content Idea Generator – Free – Another interesting spin-the-wheel style content generator. Enter your keyword and see what comes up. Fair warning, not all ideas make sense, so remember this is just to help with brainstorming…you still have to do the work.
#59. Kindle Spy – $97 – A premium browser extension designed for authors that allows you to see which Amazon books are selling the most within each categories. Projected sales, keyword ranking, and a huge range of analysis and rank are also included. How does this help with blogging? Consider that Amazon is the largest online marketplace, whatever is trending here may also do well for your website.
SEARCH FOR THE PERFECT KEYWORDS
#6o. Google Keyword Planner – Free – You’ll need to setup a Google Adwords account to access the free keyword planner, but you won’t need to spend anything to use the popular tool.
#61. Keywords Everywhere –
Free Update: Now Paid – This epic browser extension makes doing keyword searches a total breeze. You’ll get ranking, CPC, and a suggestion of similar keywords!
#62. Ubersuggest – Free – This amazing revamped tool by Neil Patel is pretty freakin’ awesome. It gives you a ton of critical information to help you find the best keyword for your post or page…all for free.
#63. Long Tail Pro – $297/year – A well known but expensive option to help you find long tail keywords that are often much easier to rank for. There is a seven day free trial but after that you’ll need to cough up almost $300 per year for access. If SEO is a big part of your strategic plan the cost may be worth it, but if you are a new blogger with a different source of traffic I’d stick to the free tools in this section.
#64. Moz Keyword Explorer – Free – $100/month – This popular tool is a well known resource to help you sniff out keyword potential. The free account comes with 10 searches per month which is what I stick to.
#65. SEM Rush – $100/month – Another powerful and classic keyword and SEO oriented tool set. However, at $100 per month I think the free tools in this section make the classics expensive tools less necessary. You can get 10 free searches if you register with them.
BUILD A BETTER EMAIL LIST
#66. ConvertKit – $29+/month – The best option for most bloggers without spending more on complex email providers, or losing tools and reliability with “cheap” email providers.
#67. Mailer Lite – Free up to 1000 subscribers – Need a free alternative that is more likely to land in your subscribers inbox and out of the spam folder? Try Mailer Lite as a budget friendly alternative to ConvertKit. While not as robust as ConvertKit, and having suffered some embarrassing snafus recently (like publishing their users personal home addresses on emails–eek) MailerLite is an alternative for those who are not ready to pay for an email service provider.
#68. Your Local Post Office – Price varies – Speaking of the keeping your personal info, well, personal, make sure you have a PO Box setup to use as your business address. Boxes are not that expensive and can really keep your private address away from sketchy people. I use it for everything from domain name registries, to email providers (you are required to use physical address in your emails), to my driver’s license published address.
PRO TIP: ConvertKit does allow you to use their address for your emails, so you can skip this expense if you only need it for emails.
#69. Virtual Post Mail – $10+/month – While we are on the subject of mail, do you need a US based physical mailing address while you manage your business sipping minty mojitos on the beach? If so then Virtual Post Mail may be perfect for you. This service provides a physical address based in either California or Nevada, and will receive and scan all your mail so you can manage it from afar. The whole concept is pretty awesome and has a lot of application beyond just bloggers.
#70. Thrive Architect – $67 for lifetime access – Build STUNNING landing pages with this easy to use drag and drop build. It beats the pants off the very expensive and not nearly as adaptable LeadPages. Click on the link and scroll down about halfway and click on “Discover Thrive Architect”. This is what I use to build all my sales pages, landing pages, and home pages.
LeadPages – $200/year – NOT RECOMMENDED – Just to clarify, I used Lead Pages for years. Believing the gurus who said it was THE best landing page builder evah. Hundreds of dollars later I realized I hated the platform. The landing pages were okay, but for $200 per year I really expected fantastic. The platform was super buggy, and tech support seemed to know this but still hadn’t fixed the issues.
The last straw came when I realized that ad blockers actually block the lead pages hosted URLs! That means your subscribers CAN’T subscribe if they are using certain ad blockers! I know!
Now I use self-hosted landing pages on my own URL and make them gorgeous with Thrive Architect (don’t believe me, check out my landing page for my freebie below #71, or my sales page for my course #112 below). Need to embed video, add a sign-up form, add HTML codes, directly connect with your email provider…Thrive Architect can do that!
#71. Lead Magnets That Sell, Challenge – Shameless pitch for something pretty darn awesome (in my humble opinion)… Grab my free 5 day challenge designed to help you finally master a strategic lead magnet that attracts buyers not just readers. It’s the perfect resource to help you create something strategic that grows your email list.
#72. The Ultimate Set of Lead Magnet Templates – Yet another shameless plug ahead! Once you know HOW to create a strategic lead magnet grab my set of premium lead magnet templates to save you a TON of design time. This bundle has fully customizable PDF lead magnets built in Canva. I include training videos, branding guides, font inspiration, and so much more. Don’t forget this bundle also includes gorgeous Pinterest and Instagram templates!
#73. PDF Escape – Free – PDF escape is the easy way to create fillable PDFs for your lead magnets.
#74. Flip Snack – Free – $144/year – Flip Snack is a very cool digital flipbook maker that turns your PDFs into cool interactive magazine style guides. I’m in love with this little flip book maker!
#75. Thrive Leads – Want to use a pop-up, slide-in, or welcome mat to promote your lead magnet, then check out Thrive Leads! It works within WordPress to easily create all sorts of beautiful pop-ups including exit-intents pop-ups and more. Click the link and scroll down to Thrive Lead, click on “discover Thrive Leads” for more juicy details!
#76. Sumo – Free – Sumo is a free plugin that allows you to create pop ups, welcome mats, and smart bars for your lead magnets and freebies.
#77. Optin Monster – $252+/year – Opt-in Monster is another platform that allows you to embed pop-ups on your website and customize your offers. If you want a very robust system with a variety of visual options this may be something to consider. Personally I prefer Thrive Leads for my sites.
#78. Hello Bar – Free – Hello Bar is the original notification bar designed to help you promote your freebies and opt-ins. Hello bar is free and easily integrates into your WordPress site via their plugin.
#79. Milo Tree – $9/month – Milo Tree is a lightweight little plugin that allows you to embed a small and tasteful slide-in that can not only promote your opt-in/freebie, but also encourage users to follow you on a chosen platform. Now while I advocate for using calls to action wisely (as in not wasting them on “follow me on..”) the tool’s versatility and reasonable price make is a good option for strategic conversions.
#80. Thrive Quiz Builder – Quizzes are a great way to get traction in a crowded niche or when your readers are notoriously short on attention span. Thrive Quiz Builder is easy to set up and super customizable. Once you click, scroll down and click on “discover Thrive Quiz Builder”. P.s. I cover quizzes as one of the five lead magnets in my course.
#81. Rafflecopter – $13+/month – Sometimes the best way to build your list is with a targeted giveaway that leverages social media. Rafflecopter makes creating viral giveaways a breeze and the price is totally manageable even for those just starting out.
#82. King Sumo Giveaways – Free – $198 – King Sumo is another giveaway platform, this time you can choose between a one-time license for the WordPress Plugin, or a monthly fee for their web based option.
#83. Survey Monkey – Free – $37/month – A great way to get much needed info from your list is to ask for feedback with a quick survey. Ideally you’ll want to keep questions under three, so make them count.
#84. Typeform – Free – $360+/year – Typeform is another survey platform. Which platform you choose is a matter of personal preference, however Typeform is known for really fun looking forms.
CREATE YOUR OFFERS AND COURSES, AND HOST YOUR VIDEO
#85. My favorite microphone – This mic gets the job done and doesn’t break the bank! It’s the microphone I use to record all my courses and videos!
#86. Lapel Mic – This is my choice for small clip on style mics that are perfect for on location face to camera style videos.
#87. My favorite webcam – This simple but high quality cam is perfect for lives, face to camera video, and more!
#88. Screencast-o-matic – Free-$18+/year – I couldn’t believe how expensive and complicated video editing software was! Luckily I found Screencast-o-matic and never looked back. Their editing software is robust without being overly complex. I’ve created hundreds of videos with their software and can’t say enough great things! Oh and did I mention it’s only $18 per year!
#89. Audio Jungle – Prices vary – Sometimes you want to add some music or a jingle to your videos, look no further than audio jungle. They have tons of audio for every need. I used a cool jingle to add to my Facebook ads for another website.
#90. Vimeo – Free – $84+/year – You’ll need a place to host your video masterclass, pre-recorded “webinar”, or video training. There are several options, first up is Vimeo. Vimeo offers a free basic plan with up to 500MB per week of upload space, up to 5GB total account storage, and unlimited bandwidth in the Vimeo player. From there there are stair step plans staring at $84 per year and increasing from there.
# 91. Wistia – Free-$100/month – Wistia also offers a free plan with a 3 video limit. From there the next tier up will be their Pro plan at $100 per month. I’ve included images for both so you can compare.
#92. YouTube – Free – YouTube is the no-fluff option for hosting videos and doing it for free. You can upload videos as “unlisted” or “private” and therefore control who can access the videos. For embedding all you need to do is upload the embedded code on your chosen platform. For example on sales pages you can use Thrive Architect to easily embed the code. I like to turn off the “suggested videos” feature to keep the focus on my content. The downside here is that there is a risk they copy the URL and watch or share your video outside of your platform.
As a side note, if you have a third party platform like Teachable (see below) you can skip the need for third party hosting and directly upload your video there.
#93. Webinar Jam – $500 – NOT RECOMMENDED – Webinar Jam is probably the most popular live webinar hosting platform out there. That said I find the company’s way of doing business rather obnoxious. Being bombarded with email ads for related services, over-hypey click-baity emails, and a price point that was hard to justify (especially with all the live stream options). So it’s here, it’s an option, but I’m not a fan. Lastly, as a testament to their, errr, annoying way of doing business the pricing page I clicked on kept rerouting me to their promo page, but as I recall their platform starts at about $500 per year.
#94. Ever Webinar – $600 – NOT RECOMMENDED – Run by the same people who created Webinar Jam, see the complaints above, Ever Webinar is the option for pre-recorded “on-demand” style “webinars” that are made to simulate a live webinar. Side note, I never like lying to my subscribers so I always refer to non-live webinars as “on-demand webinars” or “on-demand video trainings”. I used Ever Webinar for over a year with my health and wellness site and decided it was overpriced and unnecessary.
In the end I concluded that I could easily duplicate the system with a self-hosted pre-recorded video (hosted for free in YouTube) on a landing page I created with Thrive Architect. If I add in the Deadline Funnel campaign I can limit access to the page just like with the pricier option.
Despite not recommending these two options, I’ve included them here because I know many think they are great or the only options available. So I wanted to add my two cents on the matter based on my experience. The choice is yours but I think better options exist.
#95. Zoom – Free- $15/month – Zoom is a webinar software that I prefer over Webinar Jam (see complaints above). It has a good reputation and stable platform. You can try the free version with allows 40 minutes of air time with up to 100 people.
#96. Loom – Free – Loom is an easy to use screen/video recording software that can launch straight from your browser. Pretty convenient eh! You can also email the video link to whomever you choose. This makes Loom great for quick trainings and tutorials. Oh and its free!
#97. Society 6 – Prices vary – All great videos need a great background. But if you haven’t been able to turn your office (or in my case office/playroom/media center) into the zen oasis you envisioned, and you don’t want your viewers to see your kid’s stack of diaper cartons or the dirty dishes in the background, then grab yourself a pretty little wall tapestry from the good people at Society 6.
PRO TIP: For an even easier cheat, just grab a big foam poster board (like the one used for science projects) and paint it in your brand’s colors, and poof, a clean branded background without washing a single dish!
#98. Lighting Kit – $189 – My brother is a photographer and lectured me on the merits of proper lighting, so here is his recommendation for a solid lighting system that makes you look fresh and camera ready in seconds. But if you need a cheaper option, point two desk lamps at your face and cover the lamps with white paper for a bright but soft look. Make sure the paper isn’t touching the bulbs otherwise your video shoot could be interrupted by fire.
HOST YOUR OFFERS AND COURSES, AND GET PAID
#99. Pay Pal for Business – Fees vary – The most common way to accept payment is through Pay Pal, it’s well known and trusted everywhere. Most third party providers, like Teachable or affiliates will also pay you through a Pay pal account, so get yours started now.
#100. Stripe – Fees vary – Another very popular payment system is Stripe. Many businesses offer payment options in both Pal Pal and Stripe for their customers.
#101. Payoneer – Fees vary – If you or your customers are outside of the US and Canada or UK then look into Payoneer as an option.
#102. Send Owl – $15+/month – If your main offer is a digital download then Send Owl is for you. It is simple and straightforward way to sell digital e-books, guides, and other downloadables. Plans start at $15/month for up to 30 products.
#103. Gum Road – $10+/month – A classic platform for selling digital downloads. However I find their pricing info and website lacking in crucial details. From what I could find plans start at $10 per month but links to pricing details were dead links. Meh.
#104. Easy Digital Downloads – Free – This is a free WordPress based plugin that allows you to sell directly from your site, that said you’ll also need to integrate payment platforms on your site as well. However, if you’re up for the extra setup it may be well worth it.
#105. Teachable – Free – $40+/month – Teachable is where I host all my courses. The well established platform integrates with most major email providers and platforms. It’s user friendly and makes setting up your course manageable even for a beginner. I recommend you start with a free plan until you are ready to grow into a more robust paid plan.
#106. Podia – $40+/month – Podia is a newerish platform that lets you build an online store for your digital content. You can create online courses, digital downloads, and even membership sites, all as part of one digital storefront. I’ve been seriously considering using the platform but want to see them in action a bit longer before I commit.
#107. Thinkific – Free – $50+/month – Thinkific has been around for a while. Their pricing is similar to Teachable but I prefer the functionality that Teachable offers. That said it’s an alternative if you feel Teachable isn’t right for you.
#108. Course Cats – $497/year – Course Cat’s is the brainchild of David Siteman Garland and his team of superheros. I was able to go through the first run of Course Cats and must admit I really liked the platform. Course Cats is similar to courses what Shopify is to online stores. In this case the course is hosted on your URL, but the Course Cats platform serves as a sort of theme for the setup and structure of the course.
You’ll still need to have third party hosting and integrated payment systems. Even with all this work upfront and the annual fee, you’ll likely save in the long run as you won’t be paying a third party service provider a percentage of your course sales. Plus the $497 annually is less than the mid-tier plan for most course platforms.
#109. Member Press – $129/year – If a membership site is your plan (and I think membership sites are a great idea) then checkout Member Press. It’s a WordPress based plugin that allows you to create membership based sites directly on your own URL. Just like with the other self-hosted options you’ll need payment integration and video hosting but it puts you in control of your content.
#110. Fresh Books – $15+/month – Making money means tracking money, Fresh Books is a great online accounting software that’s easy to use for anyone. You can send invoices, track expenses, and run your business like a pro!
#111. Deadline Funnel – $37+/month – Creating a sense of urgency with a countdown timer is essential for any good limited time offer. But this countdown timer is so much more than just a timer, create campaigns that integrate with email, start when someone lands on a page or clicks a link, and limits access to sales pages once the timer is up. I use Deadline Funnel for all my campaigns and it is well worth the small monthly investment.
#112. The Evergreen Funnel Blueprint – My signature course shows you exactly how to create an evergreen sales funnel that sells your offers on autopilot. I show you how to create sales pages, landing pages, brainstorm product ideas, and learn to create five different lead magnets all with step-by-step hand holding!
FOR PHYSICAL PRODUCT SALES
#113. Etsy – Fees vary – Etsy is probably the easiest way to add a shop to your blog. You can spend one afternoon setting up the basics and from there it’s just a matter of updating and promoting. That said once your people are on Etsy they are easily distracted by other sellers offers. Plus you are taking them off your site and onto another another making a loss more likely. Weight the pros and cons carefully as this easy option may not be right for everyone.
#114. Shopify – $30+/month + fees – (but this is the most expensive option) – Shopify is a store built on your own URL so if you don’t want to risk losing buyers to other stores and feel confident you can drive your own traffic to the site this is a good option to consider.
#115. Woo Commerce – Free – If I were to open a shop today I’d go with this free WordPress plugin. Woo Commerce allows you to setup a store on your own URL and without the monthly fees of Shopify. Its also gives you full control over your store. Just like any other site you’ll need a domain name, web hosting, and various plugins. Even with the extra work upfront I think a Woo Commerce store is the best option for both price and flexibility.
FOR COACHES AND SERVICE BASED BLOGS
#116. Google Forms – Free – If you offer services get a head start by setting up a free Google Form to make sure you have all the needed info before the first call.
#117. Hello Sign – Free – $156/year – If you are offering services and need digital signatures for your contracts a great easy to use option is Hello Sign. This is what I use for my health coaching clients. Hello Sign is free for up to 3 documents per month.
#118. Calendly – Free-$8+/month – If you need a appointment system that works automatically try Calendly. This online appointment setter is perfect for coaches and one-on-one services.
#119. Practice Better – Free – $45+/month – Practice Better is a great all in one system for health and wellness coaches. You can track info, send documents, setup payment plans, teleconference and more.
#120. My Hours – Free – My time is a free time tracker, making it perfect for coaches and side hustlers alike.
#121. Skype – Free – The tried and true way to video chat with your clients. It’s easy and reliable as long as both people have good internet connections. As a rule I Skype clients from a physically connected internet connection, not WiFi.
GET LEGAL AND STAY OUT OF TROUBLE
#123. Lisa Fraley – Varies – I use Lisa’s Client Contracts and disclaimers for my health coaching business and I just love her heart centered approach to legal documents. Check out her amazing podcast for even more legal tips!
#124. Jade and Oak – Varies – Another great place to get legal templates and tons of free tips and resources to stay out of legal trouble.
#126. US Trademark/Trade Name Search – Ok this one may not be all that exciting, but before you settle on a blog name, course, name, program name, or any other critical name for your business look it up within the US Trademark Search System (known as TESS). You’ll be glad you didn’t choose a name that could land you in legal trouble.
PRO TIP: Submit your website and contents to the US Copyright Office. I try to do this monthly but even once a quarter is better than nothing. This post can help you understand how to submit the application.
CONQUER SOCIAL MEDIA
#127. Bitly – Free – I highly recommend you use custom shortened URLs to promote your lead magnets and posts on your social media platforms. This way you can easily track how well campaigns are doing and make sure you have an easy to remember URL for your readers.
#128. Tailwind – $120/year – Tailwind is the ultimate Pinterest Scheduler. I use it to schedule out my Pinterest pins months in advance. I also love their Tailwind Tribes to cross promote my pins and grow my Pinterest traffic. Bottom line, there is no way I could manage Pinterest without Tailwind.
#129. Tasty Pins – $29 – Tasty Pins is a fairly new plugin that allows you to optimize your blog posts, alt text, and images for Pinterest. You can disable pinning for certain images, hide Pinterest images, and add hover buttons. If Pinterest is part of your marketing plan (and for most of you it should be) then the small investment in tasty Pins is well worth the convenience and optimization.
#130. Later – Free – $9+/month – I admit I tend to forget about Instagram from a business perspective. I’ve been all in on Pinterest and Instagram has suffered for it. I used to use Later for my other blog but these days I have to focus on what I can tackle and let go of what needs to be set aside. When I do start promoting on Instagram I’ll be using Later to schedule my posts easily and seamlessly. I particularly like Later’s feed outlook layout, where I can see how my feed will look once the scheduled posts have gone live. Later also allows posting to Twitter and Facebook which is a nice plus. At 30 free posts per month I can actually tackle Facebook and Instagram with one free later account.
#131. Planoly -Free – $7+/month – If you need to manage multiple Instagram accounts or want to save a little on the monthly plan and don’t need cross platform functionality (Twitter and Facebook) then Planoly is a great option. Their “Duo” plan is only $15 per month and allows unlimited posts to two separate Instagram accounts. Both Planoly and Later allow auto-posting to Instagram as long as you have an Instagram business account.
#132. Tweet Deck – Free – TweetDeck is a free app that allows you to tweet, reply, retweet, favorite, send Direct Messages and manage and monitor multiple accounts and streams, all in one single interface. Accounts can also be followed, muted or blocked, and users can view Twitter profiles, all within TweetDeck. If Twitter is a big part of your social media plan then this free app is perfect for you.
#133. Click to Tweet – Free – Is a free service that allows you to create a custom link that can be embedded within your posts. You can create the links in the online system or add the plugin to WordPress. Once the link is embedded your reader simply has to “click to tweet”. Easy!
The following is a variety of social media scheduling tools that can be used across multiple platform. Each has its pros and cons. I’ve included basic info for similar tiered plans to help you figure out which might be best for you.
#134. Post Planner – $36/year ($3/month). 3 social profiles. 30 posts per day. 300 posts planned. No team members. Post Planner is simple and easy to use. My favorite feature is their looping feature which allows you to recycle scheduled content and save loads of time.
#135. Social Pilot – $8.33/month. 10 social profiles. 50 posts per day. 1000 scheduled posts. No team members. Social Pilot seems to remember what most schedulers forgot, that most is us are small bloggers and not social media managers. This value based platform offers plenty of features at a very reasonable price. A definite consideration in my book.
#136. Buffer – $15/month. 8 social profiles. 100 scheduled posts per social account. No team members. Buffer is a well known scheduler with a good reputation and a competitive price.
#137. Smarter Queue – $20/month. 4 social profiles. 10 posts per day per profile. 500 queued posts. Smarter queue is another popular option, also with a content recycling feature.
#138. Hootsuite – $29/month. 10 social profiles. Unlimited scheduling. No team members. Hootsuite is a well established scheduling platform with a solid reputation. However many (including myself) find the Hootsuite dashboard to be clunky and old fashioned.
#139. Agora Pulse – $39/month. 3 social profiles. Unlimited scheduling. No Team Members. A relative newcomer AgoraPulse seems to be making waves for it’s intuitive user interface, streamlined features, and robust toolbox. That said this is probably better suited for social media managers than your average blogger.
#140. Meet Edgar – $50/month. 25 social profiles. ? Scheduling. ? Team Members (I couldn’t find the needed info). So despite everyone raving about Meet Edgar I really don’t see what all the fuss is about. Their website was painfully lacking in key information which doesn’t give me much confidence. They do have a content recycling feature but so do several other platforms. Again, I’m just not seeing what all the excitement is about. Drop me a message if I’m totally wrong.
#141. Sprout Social – $99/month. Up to 5 social profiles. Sprout Social is geared toward teams, It is a popular social media management platform that provides engagement, publishing, analytics and collaboration tools for teams large and small. Notable feature: All in one social inbox.
#142. Zapier – Zapier makes integrating platform and providers a snap, it can do almost anything a with set of instructions called a zap. If you need to integrate a provider that your platform isn’t set up to work with let Zapier come to the rescue.
#143. If This Then That (IFTT) – Free – IFTT is a free “recipe” based system where you set certain parameters and the platform executes the recipe. Basically it allows different platforms to work together doing the thing you set it to do automatically. For example, automatically upload an Instagram post to a Facebook Page album. It takes some getting used to but I can see some huge time saving functions build off of these recipes.
#144. Todoist – Free – I’ve tried every system out there, from Asana to Trello, to having squirrels deliver an AM report (ok maybe not that one) and I can tell you that the Todoist App has been a total life saver. The format is simple, clean, and easy to use. Yet I can create separate to-do list for each project, include URLs, mark things with varying importance, and much more. I can use it on my desktop and on my phone.
This is the main way I track my two businesses, my health coaching clients, and my business one-on-one clients…along with more mundane tasks. If you want a simple interface to digitally track everything that needs to be done, check out Todoist.
#145. Airtable – Free – Think of Airtable as a better, easier to use, good looking spreadsheet. If Excel had a cool hipster cousin it would be Airtable. Where Todoist is my simple but robust to-do list, Airtable is my high level executive assistant. I use Airtable to track everything about all my businesses, from clients to courses, from logins to projects, from sales to slogans, everything and more is stored in Airtable. This is possible because Airtable has one dashboard with all your “bases” or projects. Within each base live all your data in interactive sheets. Airtable makes it easy to track multiple businesses and my personal life on one intuitive platform.
#146. Trello – Free – Trello is a popular and free project management system, best known for it’s visually friendly interface and intuitive organization. I have a lot hate relationship with Trello, sometimes I think its so beautifully organized, and sometimes it feels overwhelming and all-consuming. But give it a try, you might like it.
#147. Evernote – Free – Evernote is a popular notes app. Memos are synced so they’re accessible anywhere, and searchable so you always find what you need.
#148. Asana – Free-$10/month – Asana is a team based project management system. If you have assistants or VAs this might be right for you.
#149. Dropbox – Free – $12.50+/month – A classic cloud based content storage system. Easily store and deliver files. The first 2GB are free. From there 1 TB is 9.99/month.
#150. Google Drive – Free – 1.99+/month – The very popular cloud base storage system. The first 15GB of storage are free. From there the 100 GB are $1.99/month and 1 TB is 9.99/month.
#151. Google docs – Free – I’ve replaced my entire suite of Microsoft software (word, Excel) with Google docs. The best part is I can access my documents anywhere.
#152. Last Pass – Free – Last pass allows you to access all your password in one place. Perfect for those who use multiple passwords and tend to forget them.
#153. Momentum – Free – Momentum is a free Chrome Extension that allows you to replace your home dashboard with a customized dashboard which can feature quotes, inspirational images, a to-do list, and more.
#154. Carbonite – $72+/year – Last spring, in the middle of a new course launch I lost not one but two computers in six weeks. To make a pretty awful situation worse, I lost several recordings of my new course! Now I use Carbonite (along with an external hard drive) to automatically backup my entire system in the cloud. That means I can access it anywhere from any device.
FINE TUNE THROUGH TESTING AND EXTRAS
#155. Google Page Speed Insights – Free – Site Speed is more important than ever. Find out where you rank with Google Page Speed insights.
#156. Crazy Egg – $29+/month – This software shows you heat maps of your reader’s activity. See what’s hot and what needs work. Use the data to create even better landing pages and sales pages.
#157. Mouseflow – $29/month – Very similar to Crazy Egg, Mouseflow also shows you heat maps with page recording that allow you to track what is working and what need fixing.
#158. Google Search Console – Free – (formerly Google Webmaster Tools) – A variety of tools to help you make sure your website is doing it’s best in the eyes of Google.
#159. Proof – $29+/month – Proof is a system of little messages that slid into the bottom of a page (usually a sign-up page or sales page) that shows social “proof” with messages about who purchased/signed up recently. Rumors are this can boost sales but I’m not sure it makes that big of a difference. Still, it may be worth a try.
#160. Drift – Free – $50/month – Drift is a chat bot that you can embed on strategic pages like your sales page. It can encourage users to ask question if they hesitant about a purchase. I’ll be adding chat bots to all my sales pages soon and report back when I do.
#161. Many Chat – Free – $10+/month – Many Chat is a Facebook messenger bot that like Drift can encourage sales and make users more likely to interact with you. I’m still getting a handle on chatbots so I’ll update once I’ve experimented.
#161. Beamer – Free – $50/month – Similar to Drift except this time Beamer can be set up for a variety of messages like announcements, post shares, image shares, push notifications, and more. Beamer is totally new to me but I’ll be playing with it and reporting back soon.
AND WE ARE DONE!
Phew! That was 8,052 words! All for YOU!
I hope this list saves you buckets of time and research. It’s basically over a dozen posts all in one place.
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