This page contains a list of my favorite resources to help you create, manage and grow your blog or online business. These are all things I personally use, support and recommend!
When I quit my 9-5 job at the end of 2012 to start my own online business, I had no clue where to start and I spent many grueling and stressful years trying to figure it all out on my own.
All of the tools and resources on this page are intended to help you make more money or just make things a little easier on you. :) I wish I had something like this when I started!
Disclaimer: Some of these links are connected to affiliates I support and I may receive a small commission for promoting them. I only promote them because they've helped me and hopefully they'll help you!
INSPIRING BOOKS TO READ
The 4-Hour Workweek - This is the first entrepreneurial book I read right before I decided to quit my job. Tim Ferriss shows you how to quit your 9-5 job so that you can work less and live more.
#GIRLBOSS - Sophia Amoruso's story about her unique path to becoming a successful entrepreneur in the fashion industry. What I love most about her is her sassy, witty nature and how she embraces the fact that she truly is different from the rest, which is what separates her!
Big Magic - Elizabeth Gilbert's empowering book about how to live a curious, creative and fulfilling life. Very motivating, refreshing and inspiring!
People Over Profit - Dale Partridge believes that in order to create a sustainable world for yourself you must put people first. Honesty is valued over deception, transparency over secrecy, authenticity over hype, and ultimately, people over profit.
Be Obsessed or Be Average - Grant Cardone believes your path to happiness runs though your obsessions. His book shows you how to harness them in order to create success for yourself!
Legal Zoom - This is where you can form your business as an LLC, Sole-Proprietor, Corporation, Non-Profit, etc. You can also Trademark a business name, or do a DBA. Get a tax ID #, business license, permit, copyright or patent or even speak with an attorney to get legal advice. I signed up for the Registered Agent Services, where they remind you when business/tax forms are due and handle all the paperwork for you. Helps me out a lot!
Small Business Bank - This is where I personally do my business banking. I love them because:
- No minimum balance & no monthly fees
- Personal banking with a dedicated staff
- Free Checks
- Free Online Bill Pay
- Free Remote Deposit
- Free Unlimited Transactions
Google Apps for Work - Gives you a professional custom email (firstname.lastname@example.org) and more! Only costs $5/mo.!
Get a discount off your first year! Email me to get a 20% off promotion code!
Google Voice - Get a FREE business phone #! It links to your phone so you don't have to spend money on a whole new phone and phone #. There are lots of free features you can use, including texting, voicemail, call screening, voicemail transcripts, conference calling, and more! This is a great service, especially if you're just starting out with your business and/or are looking for a way to save money on your businesses expenses. Also great if you don't want to give your personal phone # out to the world, and are looking for a way to separate work and personal calls :)
DOMAINS & HOSTING
DreamHost - One of the most reliable sources for domains and hosting, offering unlimited 24/7 support, a 100% uptime guarantee, a 97-day money-back guarantee, and are built for speed.
BlueHost - One of the leading domain and hosting providers, powering over 2 million websites and offer 24/7 support.
GoDaddy - The world's largest registrar for domain names and web hosting. They offer amazing 24/7 support, have more than 13 million customers, and offer great pricing! I've been using them since 2003 and have had nothing but great experiences!
aThemes - Awesome themes that are well designed, easy to use and have a great support team. I have a lifetime developer package which gives me all of the themes for 1 price!
Studiopress - Premium plugins and themes (including the ever-popular Genesis Framework) available for individual purchase or you can buy the Pro Plus All-Theme Package and get every theme they make now and in the future for one price!
Themeforest - A huge marketplace for WordPress themes, templates and more.
ARPrice - Make awesome, customized pricing tables.
Easy Affiliate Links - Quickly add or update your affiliate links in one place!
Easy Updates Manager - Automatically updates your plugins and themes.
Formidable Forms - Simple drag and drop form builder.
Jetpack - Get easy-to-understand sites stats and analytics, brute force attack protection, secured login, image galleries and slideshows, contact forms, email subscriptions, and more!
Page Builder by SiteOrigin - A simple drag and drop page builder to help you layout your content to your liking... no coding required! It also automatically adapts your content to all mobile devices, ensuring your site is mobile-ready.
SiteOrigin CSS - If you don't like playing around with code, this plugin provides an easy way to choose colors, styles and elements so you can get your site looking exactly the way you want!
SumoMe - Makes it super easy for readers to subscribe to your email list and share your content.
Testimonial Rotator - Makes it easy to manage and display your testimonials.
Yoast SEO - SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is how you get found online and is absolutely essential! The Yoast SEO plugin helps you write better content and allows you to have a fully optimized site easily!
Backup Buddy - An awesome, must-have plugin that is worth every penny! You can schedule this plugin to back up your entire site (database + all files) automatically for you. You can also move or restore your site quickly and easily!
PayPal - Allows you to collect payments online using either a credit card or a debit card. Fees are 2.9% + .30 per transaction. You can also easily create custom buttons to put directly on your site or create invoices to send to clients for payments.
Stripe - Another way to collect payments online.
Freshbooks - Accounting and invoicing isn't really one of my favorite things to do, but Freshbooks has helped make things a lot easier on me, especially when it comes to collecting money! I use them for all my invoicing, from one time-payments, to automatic recurring payments, and they accept credit cards (Visa, MC, Amex,) PayPal, Stripe, and Authorize.net. Best of all, they are affordable! The lowest monthly payment is just $9.95/mo. for up to 5 clients! You can sign up for a 30-day trial through my link, and if you like it at the end of your trial, upgrade to a paid plan, and get another free month!
Macbook Pro 15.4" Laptop - This is what I work off of! Working from a laptop allows me to be able to work from anywhere, which is obviously AWESOME.
Amazon Prime - I didn't think I'd want this when I first heard about it, but I decided to get a free 1-month trial and actually ended up loving it so I subscribed for a year. Things I personally love about it: I get free 2-day delivery on any online purchases I make (I love when things just get delivered to my door, it means I don't have to go out and face the world!), I have Prime video, which is what I use to watch movies and shows in my downtime, and I get Prime music, which means I can listen to streamed music without ads.
Adobe Creative Cloud - Awesome creative apps from Adobe you can use for photography, design, video, websites, and more! Get started at just $9.99/mo. or upgrade to $49.99/mo. to get the entire collection of creative apps. The ones I personally use the most are: Spark, Illustrator, Photoshop, Fireworks, InDesign and Acrobat Pro.
CJ Affiliate by Conversant - An affiliate marketing platform you can use to promote affiliate product links, coupon links or ads on your site to make a commission. Or you can become a merchant and have others promote your products and services on their sites in order to reach more viewers and make money!
ShareASale - Another affiliate marketing platform.
Amazon Associates - Link to a specific product on Amazon and make a commission when someone purchases it! Super easy!
Mailchimp - A good place to start if you're looking for a free (up to 2,000 subscribers) email marketing service. You can create custom sign-up forms that are easy to share on your WordPress site, Facebook or Twitter. You can also quickly and easily create professional, responsive email newsletters that match the look of your brand.
SOCIAL MEDIA MARKETING
Later - Visually plan and schedule your social media posts, including Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. It's especially great for Instagram because you can use their "Link.in.bio" feature to build a clickable, shoppable Instagram feed, which drives targeted traffic to your store, landing page, or blog content, directly from your Instagram profile!
Creative Market - A marketplace of graphic design resources; photos, graphics, templates, themes, fonts and more!
Envato Market - A marketplace where you can purchase anything you need for your next creative project. They have website themes, templates, graphics, vectors, photos, footage, motion graphics, scripts, plugins, music, sounds, 3D models, textures and more!
Mighty Deals - A marketplace for amazing and exclusive deals for creative professionals. Get discounts ranging from 50%-97% off on quality fonts, templates, apps, ebooks, icons and much more!
Pexels - Free stock photos
Pixabay - They have over 550,000 free photos, vectors and art illustrations.
Unsplash - 10 new photos are added every 10 days.
Gratisography - Filled with whimsical, quirky and edgy types of photos. It's worth checking out even if just for a chuckle.
Shutterstock - A resource for high-quality stock photos, vectors, illustrations, videos and music. These you gotta pay for.
Snapseed - An easy-to-use mobile app (and also on desktop) for photo editing. You can use it for tuning, cropping, rotating, adding filters, etc.
CREATE YOUR OWN GRAPHICS
Canva - A free, yet powerful, drag-and-drop graphic design tool. They have tons of templates your can customize for all your social media graphics, including Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, Twitter, YouTube, Tublr, Etsy, and LinkedIn. You can also use it to create flyers, infographics, recipe cards, media kits, business cards and more!
Studio - An easy-to use, powerful mobile app you can use to add text, shapes, crops, borders and filters to your photos. Great for creating content to be used on social media, especially Instagram and Facebook!
Vistaprint - Print business cards, flyers, banners, menus and more!