Tools, Apps, and Resources I Use to Run My Online Businesses

This is where all site topic resources will end up. I’ll have a list for blogging, mom work-related things, and personal finance when I’m done. This list will be updated frequently and I’ll install some quick links later to make navigation faster. Some of these are free, some paid, and some affiliates that help support the site.

Blogging

It can be a bit overwhelming to narrow down what works well. I’ve found a lot of useful apps, programs, and I’ve been testing courses.

Below you’ll find products, courses, plugins, and other things I have either used or still use. I’m trying to keep this list stripped down to the most effective and core tools as well as preference for plugins that don’t slow down sites when installed.

I try to locate a lot of free tools as well to help keep down costs except in the instances where being cheap hurts the goal. All of these are being tested and retested and I will drop anything on the list that isn’t up to standard.

I don’t like wasting my time or money so I don’t want to waste yours either. Some of the links are no affiliate and some are. A lot of the affiliate links give you a bonus and any income earned from them is going to go back into upgrading this site at no expense to you.

This precious income helps me prioritize more time for this site so I can then turn around and deliver more useful content.

Core Blogging Tools

These are some of the main tools I use to manage my websites. This list shows where I buy my domain names, where I host (or will host) my websites as well as software that runs my sites. Also, social media management type tools because building your social presence is a core goal.

  • Genesis Framework by Studiopress is the top-rated theme framework for WordPress. It is SEO friendly, flexible, loads fast, and has tons of child themes. All my sites are on Genesis. This site was on Foodie Pro theme which looks good right out of the box. Though you might want to check over their other offered themes.
  • Generatepress– If you need a free theme option you are probably best served by going with this theme. It has some of the best loading speeds and good starter template designs for a good start. Astra is also popular.
  • Namecheap – Cheapest place to buy your .com domain. I want to keep up the promotions they run as some of them are great deals like this 99 cent special promo
  • Siteground – Great place for hosting sites. All of my starter sites will end up here when I can afford the hosting.
  • WPEngine – This is premium hosting for mature resource-intensive websites that are well established. This link should entitle you to a 3 months free intro.
  • Tailwind– This is the tool you will probably use to maintain mainly your Pinterest account. It automates things so you can load up and not have to worry about your account for a while.
  •  UpDown.io – This is used to ping your websites to check you aren’t down so you can get to work immediately to fix it. Any downtime on a site is lost revenue. This link gives you 100k extra credits.

Free or Cheap Blogging Resources

Blogging can be a hard road to start. Everything sticks out at you and tells you that you need to buy it. I’ve been trying out every free tool I can find and at least to start you shouldn’t have to buy a ton of stuff.

Marketing Toolkit

You pretty much need an autoresponder service like Mailchimp or Drip. Social media automation software and tools help grow your social accounts more easily. Search engine tools help you keep on top of your competition.

Email Marketing

  • Convertkit- Email marketing service that used to be fully a pay model. They rolled out a limited free to start plan. Works well after you figure out the install.

Social Media Tools

  •  Tailwind – In order to make it easy to manage your Pinterest, you need a tool like Tailwind. This is the most cost-effective solution for social media automation with access to tribes and auto-looping.

Search Engine Optimization Tools

  • SemRush- This is pretty much famous. It is an all in one marketing toolkit. You can size up competitors’ websites as well as rank up your position in the SERPs. Highly recommended and worth it.
  • LinkWhisper- LinkWhisper is used to build internal links in WordPress easily. This is useful for all niche sites.
  • ahrefs- This tool also seems to be a must as it gives you a lot of useful info. Been told by many that this is a must-have for anyone serious about SEO improvement.
  • Moz- This site has all kinds of things to help upgrade a site as well as some free tools.

Productivity Toolkit

  • IFITT– Helps you automate and connect services in your life and it is free. There are guides you can look up to build automation chains. The more you automate, the more time you have.

Writing /Content

  • iNeedArticles– If you find yourself needing some content written for your site, this place is pretty nice. You can either custom order some work or snag some articles off their marketplace.
  • Grammarly- A top grammar checker that has a free and upgraded version. It is nice to have a set of eyes to help remove silly grammatical errors. I use this on every post.
  • AnswerThePublic– This is useful for content ideas. Learn some of the most common questions and write things people want to know.
  • Hemmingway– Free web writing editor that gives you tips to clean up your writing.
  • CoSchedule Headline Analyzer– Tool that helps you make better blog post titles.
  • SeoPressor– Free tool to help with blog titles as well.

Design & Graphics

  • Canva– Probably the best tool you can use to create site graphics. You can use the free version all you like until you are ready for pro features. I’m currently using the free, but if I was offering VA services again I’d probably unlock the pro for more features.
  • Wofox– This is a new place I’m testing that has a huge toolkit for making visual content as well as cinemagraphs.
  • Gimp– This is open source and free. It is my solution to not having Photoshop and it works decently well.
  • Compressor.io– The free image compression page I use to optimize all of my pictures. There are other free options, but most of them have a monthly limit unless you pay. I prefer to run them through this site instead.
  • Looka- This is where you go when you need a logo.
  • DesignBundles- A lot of free or discount graphics and fonts here.
  • CreativeTacos- A nice discount site where you can grab a lot of freebies and cheapies and they grant personal use and commercial use licenses.
  • TheHungryJPEG– Probably where I’m getting most of my paid graphics as they have good deals and they give me a bunch of travel miles.
  • CreativeFabrica– Wide selection of things. I usually check-in for my daily freebie and check the $1 listings then click off.

Free Tools For Course Creation

  • Udemy– Udemy is a platform that allows you to create and sell online courses. Visitors can choose to purchase your course and Udemy takes a percentage.

eCommerce Resources

eCommerce is something that might interest you as you begin to work on sites. eCommerce is one of the most reliable and profitable sources of income online. I’ve dabbled a bit over the years and have collected useful hot tools below.

Tools

  •  Amazon FBA – Send your products to Amazon and they will deliver your products on time for you. Makes life way easier for you.
  •  WooCommerce – This is probably the best eCommerce platform. It is extremely flexible and runs within WordPress. The setup also isn’t too difficult and you can even use it to create an affiliate store.
  •  Oberlo – Oberlo will automatically import products from AliExpress to Shopify. Your dropshipping site can be up and running in a few hours.
  •  Alibaba & AliExpress – Alibaba owns both of these sites and they are a great place for sourcing. Alibaba website is where you buy bulk orders and Aliexpress is where you buy small unit orders.

Monetization / Making Money Online

I have been testing and trying out the different methods to monetize a website. Below I’ve collected some of the general things of interest for working towards that goal. These are things other than the well-known ad networks.

Some offer higher income potential than others, some are more scaleable. All of them are income potential for your business, website, and skillset and are worth checking out.

Tools

  • Freelance Online – Upwork is where you go to pick and find freelance opportunities. You can go on there and work as a web designer, programmer, graphic designer, virtual assistant, social media manager or any other remote worker. Another option is Fiverr. Earnings are slow on Fiverr at first though can become substantial in time.
  • Dropship – A popular online business model is dropshipping. It can seem challenging at first but the process is smooth due to AliExpress.
  • Amazon FBA – Amazon is a great place to get set for selling. I used to ask for throwaway book collections locally and then sold them off on Amazon. It was pretty lucrative for that time.
  • Affiliate Programs – Being an affiliate for services an products you like is a great way to earn a bit. You just sign up and refer your audience to products they would be interested in any way yet haven’t encountered yet. Never promote trash though because your audience will lose trust.
  • Make Your Own Products – A lot of bloggers get started by offering their own products. You might create an ebook, custom Canva templates, or other custom things your audience might want.

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