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Sooo...I may or may not get a little too excited about tools!
If something is going to help me automate my business, "pretti-fy" the way it looks, and make me more money in the process...sign me up!
These are all tools and resources that I have used (and loved) over the years, including some that come highly recommended by my peers. Some are free, some are paid, but all are extremely useful in streamlining and automating your business in ways you can't even imagine!
Bluehost is a hosting service (no kidding!) that is the go-to option for many infopreneurs who are new to the scene, mainly because they offer a free domain name, and monthly rates start as low as $3.49/month. I've never used Bluehost myself, but it definitely sounds like a convenient and low-cost way to get the ball rolling!
I've been a loyal GoDaddy customer for years now, purchasing both my domain names, and hosting from them. They average around $9.99 for domain names, and about the same for monthly hosting, but the customer service is phenomenal!
Trust me when I tell you they have helped me "un-disaster" my site on more than one occasion!
In my experience, they've been nothing but helpful, affordable, and reliable...what more could a girl ask for?
A more expensive option for hosting, but offers top of the line service and support exclusively to WordPress users, and speed like you wouldn't believe! This is the no-brainer choice for many larger sites for just that reason. If you decide to invest in WPEngine, use this link to save 20% off your first payment!
A huge collection of amazing themes that run on the Genesis framework (my fave!), no matter what your plans, the Studiopress marketplace will have something you'll love!
WordPress themes from WordPress...go figure! There are some incredible and free options for you to choose from here (including the theme I use on Candidly Jules!).
Exactly what it sounds like! Feminine but functional themes for WordPress, perfect for Mom blogs, handmade shops, or just because they're way too adorable to not use!
Over 85 themes (and counting!), and you gain access to them all for an annual fee of $65 (sign up for their newsletter as well to save 10%!). A membership option like this is insanely convenient if you plan on running multiple sites, with different looks.
Social Media Management
My little octopus friend Edgar has proven to be a wicked time saver, and worth every penny I pay him to hang out with me! MeetEdgar schedules posts to Facebook profiles, pages, and groups (a rare option!), as well as Twitter and Instagram! It's one of the only schedulers that will continue to rotate through your content for you, so you never run out of posts...I love my little friend!
A handy-dandy Pinterest scheduler (scheduling pins at certain times, or in intervals to spread them out), Tailwindapp is one of my faves simply because they have incredibly detailed and useful reports (and I can be a bit of a "stats geek" sometimes!). They really go into detail analyzing your account to tell you the best times to pin, which boards are performing better than others, and so much more!
Hootsuite is a popular social media scheduler that is compatible with Facebook (pages and groups, cha-ching!), Twitter, Google+ and Instagram. It's a reliable way to get your content out to the world, plus you can see all of your newsfeeds within the Hootsuite interface, which is crazy convenient, saving you even more time!
I've totally been crushing on BoardBooster for awhile now! It's such an incredible (and time saving!) tool for Pinterest! It can handle scheduling, posting to group boards, you know, the usual...but then there's the "looper"! The looping option will actually take your older pins and repin them automatically, refreshing them in your follower's feed, and giving them a second chance! Then, after a set amount of time (decided by you), it will go in and delete the copy of that pin that has the least amount of repins! Love this tool more than words can say!
Images (Design & Editing)
My favorite tool, like, ever in life! I use PicMonkey a million times a day to edit and design graphics for anything and everything! It's crazy easy to use, and FREE, or a measly $4.99/month for Royale (gives you access to all options, fonts, overlays, etc...totally worth it!)
This is another option for editing and creating images that is super cool! They offer tons of premade templates you can work with which is great for newbies or the "layout impaired"! But probably my favorite thing about Canva is that you have access to stock photos (some free, some $1) right within the editing area!
A simple but fantabulous Chrome extension you can use to find the color code of any color, on any website, with just a click!
Stock Photo/Fonts Resources
Akismet is "spam blocker extraordinaire"! If you have comments or pings enabled on your site, this plugin is a must (unless of course you scrolling through pages upon pages of barely readable comments from spammers is a favorite pastime of yours).
This plugin is freaking godsend! Fear SEO no more, because Yoast is here to save your sanity (and page rank)! This plugin displays a simple form at the bottom of your post editor where you can enter your target keywords, edit your meta description, and it will analyse and rate your SEO on that post...and give you suggestions on how to fix it! What?!
This is absolutely my favorite sharing plugin by far! With so many placement and style options for your sharing buttons, as well as options for related posts, and even the ability to get paid from related posts (what?!), Shareaholic gets a gold star from me!
Besides the detailed analytics they also offer, they are one of the only plugins that recognizes Pinterest data attributes, which is a biggie in my books!
SumoMe is a really helpful plugin when it comes to understanding your customer/reader. Many people use SumoMe for their easy to use popup/list building tools and sharing buttons, but they also offer tools like heat maps to see where your visitors are clicking on your site, and can even tell you how far down they are scrolling when reading your articles!
Pretty link...well...makes links pretty! It's a great tool for cleaning up affiliate links (that are usually just a mess of letters and numbers!), and also for easy sharing of off-site tools, like a Facebook group! It's much easier to say "Got to CandidlyJules.com/freegroup" than "Find me at facebook.com/groups/1623214171298231"...see what I mean!
This is always one of the first plugins I run and grab when I set up a website! Jetpack is an easy to use plugin that incorporates too many features to name...but here's a few for good measure: sharing buttons, site statistics, edit CSS, auto-publish to social networks, contact forms, and the list goes on!
Q2W3 Fixed Widget allows you to fix a widget to the top of the screen as your reader scrolls down. So even though this page is longer than the sidebar I have set up, it's following you wherever you go (in a non-creepy sorta way)!
This is always my first stop when I am writing a new post! Not just for creating ads, this tool is great for gathering information on what people are searching for, and use it to target the keywords your customers are using when creating content!
BuzzSumo is a super cool site where you can enter in a website, or even a general topic, and it will automatically show you the top posts that relate based upon social sharing! This tool is a great way to see what get's people sharing, so you can build your content around what you know is working.
SimilarWeb is a handy comparison tool that shows you similar sites in your niche. You can also search by domain specifically, and see detailed statistics on search terms, traffic, and even where that traffic is coming from (a great place to find out where your target reader is hanging out online!).
This simple to use browser extension shows you the pagerank and domain authority of any website, either on the site itself, or in Google search results. An extremely helpful SEO tool when you're scoping out your competition to see what you're up against, and what keywords to target!
I just recently discovered this one, and so far, I'm in heaven! Simply type your post title/headline into the analyzer, and receive a rating from 1-100 based on a variety of factors like SEO friendliness, readability, and even use of emotional or uncommon words!