Below is the list of tools and resources I use in in my business.
These are my absolute favourites, and the things that I too use. There are a few affiliate links in here, which mean that at no extra cost to you, I might earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase, but those affiliate links are only to products I’ve bought myself, used, loved and recommend.
WordPress.org – My website is built using a system called WordPress. It’s commonly referred to as a Content Management System. Even as little as five years ago, many companies and individuals were using systems that had been built by the company that designed their website (AKA Proprietary websites), however in recent times, people have migrated over to Open Source software (meaning that the creators have provided all of the code to the world so that others can build on top of that with other plugins and features). Two other open source platforms are Joomla (wouldn’t recommend) and Drupal (better for larger organisations). Many of you will have also heard of Wix and Squarespace. These are NOT open source platforms. There are some pro’s to using Wix or Squarespace, such as increased security – because the code isn’t out there for the world to see), but there are also many cons, such as, if the company shut down tomorrow, so would your entire website, and because the code hasn’t been released to the whole wide world, there are less features and integrations. Aaaannnnd then there is the WordPress.com version with waaayy less features. Don’t use it. Just don’t. Use WordPress.org.
Website Hosting + Domain Name
Digital Pacific* – For hosting and my website name I use Digital Pacific*. They’re an Australian company and they have green credentials which suits me, but moreso, they’ve always been available (STRAIGHT AWAY – no waiting on hold) when I’ve picked up the phone and needed them… like twice when I accidentally deleted every single image on my other site. It was music to my ears when they said that they back up my website four times a day and could just restore one of the old versions and it has been a piece of cake to set up my site with them – they have a one click install, and the credentials land in your inbox straight away.
Here’s another thing that is a biggie for me – they have an SSL certificate included in their business hosting packages for free, which makes it SO much more affordable… and unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know that basically every website needs an SSL certificate now to avoid being penalised by Google. (If you have an SSL certificate and need a hand converting your site over – check out iMark who has done mine).
And over the years, I’ve since set up a number of websites for other small businesses, and so I’ve seen the insides of many other hosting companies, and in my opinion, I’ve yet to see another one that provides as good a customer service as Digital Pacific*.
SiteGround* – If you want to go with one of the bigger, international players, my pick is SiteGround*. I know lots of people who use and recommend them, and they also have a basic free SSL certificate included in their hosting package, as well as free migration. The only caveat I’ll give though about free migration services, as opposed to a real human doing it, is that if it stuffs up, then you could be up sh*t creek without a paddle, so hence I don’t mind paying someone if I’m migrating over my host.
Genesis Themes by StudioPress*- I’ve created a few websites in my time, and the one thing I always come back to is Genesis Themes by StudioPress. When you’re working with WordPress, I just feel like these themes beat the rest hands down.
Restored 316 – And for design, I almost always build with Restored 316 themes – this is because I always seem to be creating websites that are feminine (in many different ways!), and they just always seem to have a theme to suit. Restored 316 themes have a tonne of customisation options, and the instructions for installation are always really clear. This website uses the cultivate theme.
So here’s my advice when it comes to email newsletters. Don’t use Mailchimp. When you’re first starting out, it seems really great, and because you’re not earning any money, you automatically decide that you need something that is free, but you soon learn that it isn’t all roses, when you find out that you don’t have all the functionality (#youneedautomation), then you end up switching or paying the extra.
I’ve heard great things about ConvertKit, but I use Mailerlite simply because of their landing page functionality, and their easy to use interface. They also allow me to select multiple groups of people when sending out newsletters, and….cost!
As an example, if I had just under 10,000 people on my list – I save more than $1000 using Mailerlite each year – that’s money I can funnel into Facebook advertising and other things.
Mailerlite is a bit of a new kid on the block, so it doesn’t have a huge number of integrations… yet, but I have no doubt that more are on the way.
If you want the rolls royce – you really need to be spending money on something like Ontraport or Infusionsoft.
So here’s the thing: you have genius inside you, but, if you’re anything like me with two young kids and oohhh…. about three hours a week to get your business groove on, then you’ll spend ALL the time doing techy stuff. Or maybe you’re not even that great at techy stuff and need someone to help you set up your email newsletters, opt-in’s and newsletters.
I avoided hiring help for SUCH a long time, and then finally, when I had my second child, decided enough was enough, but I was tired of hiring people who didn’t have the full skill set I was looking for, or worse yet, made reeaallyy ugly opt-in’s and I ended up redoing them myself anyway. So that’s what I love about Gemma from Lulada Studio. Her design skills are the business and she has the tech skills to boot.
If you’re not using Pinterest well and you have an online-based business, then you’re not doing business right, but here’s the thing: You need to be pinning regularly throughout the day, and at optimal times and ain’t nobody got time for that.
So, I use Tailwind to schedule all my posts. My number one tip for using Tailwind is to get the Google Chrome extension and then use that directly from Pinterest.