I am excited to share with you some of the themes, resources, and tools I use to make my life easier. There are so many great products out there that you can use to create an amazing online brand while staying organized and focusing your time where it really counts. I hope you enjoy!
Genesis is what I used to design SuccessMeasured.com. It’s a great framework that offers several pre-made child themes, a great support community, and lots of free tutorials. I like genesis a lot but if you want to really customize your site, you need to know at least a little code. Otherwise, go with one of the pre-made child themes from Genesis or Themedy.
The Thesis framework is another option similar to Genesis that’s packed full of features for both savvy and non-savvy users. Thesis comes SEO optimized out of the box with a drag and drop system that makes coding unnecessary. If you don’t want to design it yourself, you can find some great skins to dress up the Thesis framework at Themedy, Thesis Awesome and Kolakube.
3) Woo Themes
If you want an awesome looking site with little or no effort, go with Woo Themes. They have a lot of great looking options (including an ecommerce option) that are simple and fun for any business website or personal blog. Check out their awesome plugins too!
1) Go Daddy
I always buy all of my domains with Godaddy because it’s inexpensive and simple to setup. This makes it easy to keep everything in the same place so I can stay on top of things like domain expiration dates and other issues. GoDaddy has a great support team that you can access by phone or email which comes in handy when you need help fast.
Hostagator is a great and relatively inexpensive hosting service that I highly recommend for beginners who won’t be getting a ton of traffic to their site right away. It’s easy to setup and you can use their service even if you bought your domain from another site like Godaddy. They have free chat support which is easy and fast!
WPEngine is an awesome “managed” hosting service which delivers amazing support, easy backups if your site ever gets hacked, and a ton of powerful tools for wordpress users who want to take their website to the next level. They will even migrate your site to their platform for free! You can try it risk free for 60 days.
Not interested in WordPress? Squarespace is my favorite alternative that offers tons of fun, easily-customizable themes that work especially well for personal blogs. Hosting is included in the monthly fee so no need to mess around with finding the best option.
Shopify is a super easy way to create an online store that compliments your website. If you are selling products but you don’t want to spend a lot of money on a custom designed ecommerce site, shopify might be the answer you’ve been looking for.
1) Gravity Forms
By far the best form creation plugin that I use for all of my sites. You can create totally customized contact forms that works better than any of the free plugins I’ve tried (and hated). It’s easy to setup with no coding required and you have access to a fabulous online support community to answer all of your questions. Pricing starts at $39.
I’m always worried about losing my site to a hacker or even just human error… It can happen and just imagine how terrible that would be. Unless you are using WPengine for hosting, I highly recommend BackupBuddy to create and schedule routine backups of your entire site and it’s content. It’s also great if you need to migrate your site to a new domain or move a site from a testing server to the live server. Check out their other awesome plugins/themes as well.
3) Digg Digg – Free!
Digg Digg is a free social sharing plugin that allows you to add a floating bar alongside you content to encourage likes, tweets, shares, etc. It’s super simple to install and even easier to setup.
Need to grow your email subscribers fast? Check out Pippity which is the best popup subscriber plugin I’ve found. Their biggest competitor, Popup Domination, is missing some awesome features that Pippity provides. I recommend teasing new site visitors with a kick-ass free content “goody” and only show the popup once a person has spent at least 10 seconds on your site to avoid seeming spammy.
Social Media Tools
1) Buffer App – Free!
BufferApp is my absolute favorite tool for scheduling tweets and facebook posts. You can sync Buffer with your bit.ly account and get easy-to-use analytics for tracking link clicks. I love the chrome extension that allows you to quickly create a post while you’re browsing the web for awesome articles. A must have!
2) Hootsuite – Free!
Hootsuite is very popular tool for social media users. While I prefer using BufferApp, if you need to schedule posts at specific times, Hootsuite might be a better option. They have a free version and a Pro version that starts at $9.99 a month.
3) Sprout Social
If you want a more advanced social media management platform, Sprout Social will be your best bet. They offer detailed analytics and more in-depth brand monitoring features that will really help fuel your social strategy.
is was my #1 recommended email marketing platform for all bloggers and business owners. It’s extremely user-friendly and includes a lot of great features for setting up autoresponders and emailing multiple lists at once. Having an email list is crucial to your success and key to building a loyal audience. You don’t want to risk losing customers because you don’t have a strong foundation in place.
2) Mad Mimi – Free!
After almost a year with Aweber, I’ve decided to slowly switch over to Mad Mimi. I’m in love with their simple design and easy-to-use interface. They are extremely affordable and you can test them out by starting with their free plan.
3) Mailchimp – Free!
Not ready to invest in a paid email marketing solution? Try Mailchimp which is free for your first 500 subscribers. I prefer Aweber but Mailchimp does the job when you’re on a budget.
1) Dropbox – Free!
Dropbox is a must for anyone and everyone! I use it every day and I don’t know how I would stay organized without it. It is a cloud storage service which basically means you get to put your data (documents, photos, etc.) in a folder that is accessible online, on your desktop, or on your phone.
2) Asana – Free!
Staying organized is so important and Asana is a great tool to keep track of your to-do list. You can create and manage teams for free, assign tasks, and keep your notes all in one place. They also have a handy iphone app so you can jot down tasks on the go.
I hope this was helpful for you and will get you thinking about some of the great resources that are available to you. Please note that I did use my affiliate link for some of the tools and products above, but only because I can honestly recommend them and truly believe they will add value to your website and business. So thanks in advance if you decide to use my links and purchase :)