This post may contains affiliate links, which means I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, if you make a purchase through a link. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. Please read the disclosure for more info.
As a blogger and digital marketer, there are some tools that just make my life a lot easier. These are the tools that I use to run my online business that I can’t live without. These tools are not just for bloggers, but also for anyone who has an online business.
The core of any website or blog is the hosting plan. I’ve been paying for hosting since the early 2000s. It wasn’t until I switched to SiteGround a year ago that I was finally pleased and satisfied with a host.
SiteGround offers several hosting plans. Hosting with SiteGround starts at $3.95 per month, which is perfect for those that are just getting started, as it is not that much. SiteGround also has the best customer service around. They are always very helpful. The best part about being hosted on SiteGround is that my website is always up and running, unlike other hosts I’ve been with before. Check out the graphic of my uptime stat in the last year.
WordPress is a free open-source content management system that houses a great majority of online blogs, websites, and ecommerce sites on the web. Most bloggers prefer to use WordPress over any other content management system as there are many plugins, themes, and widgets created for it. Email marketing, social media, portfolios, Facebook ad targeting, Google ad targeting, ecommerce stores, etc. can all be integrated in a WordPress website. WordPress just makes running a business easy. It is also very user-friendly.
Theme Forest is where you can get great WordPress themes. A theme is the look and functionality of a blog or website. Rather than paying a developer and designer to create a blog or website for thousands of dollars, you can get a theme from ThemeForest. Prices average from $20-$60 a theme. You can even get an ecommerce theme so you can have a store on your site. The advantage of buying a theme versus a custom-built is that the developer usually is always updating themes so that it is not prone to vulnerability with attacks, hacks, and viruses.
Elegant Themes is another place where you can buy themes for your WordPress blog. Elegant Themes does have a page builder theme called Divi. Divi let’s you design your on website without knowing how to code. All you have to do is drag and drop options you want on your site. It’s really easy to do. Check out the example on Elegant Themes’ site. Elegant Themes is $89 for the year and gives you access to all the themes they provide, including Divi page builder. Have multiple sites and want different themes for them? Elegant Themes has you covered in that department.
All in One SEO Pack
All in One SEO Pack is a plugin for WordPress that handles SEO (search engine optimization) on a blog. It creates a sitemap so Google bots can crawl your blog or website for indexing. It creates the tagline about the page when you your page shows up on Google. It also sets up how your blog post and web pages show up when shared on social media platforms and does so much more. All in One SEO is a free plugin.
Website Grader is a free tool created by HubSpot that checks how well a website works. It checks performance, seo, security, and if a mobile version is present. It gives suggestions on how a website can be improved.
Adobe Illustrator is my go to for making graphics for social media. it’s also what I use for my Pinterest pins in my blog posts. I like how I can easily move things and create texts to outlines. Unlike Photoshop where I have to make one graphic at a time in one window, I can have as many canvases I want open in one window in Illustrator which allows me to create graphics for the native sizes for each social media platform in a very short amount of time (See image below). Adobe Illustrator is also the program for creating logos as it is vector based. Adobe Illustrator is 20.99 a month and includes 100GB of cloud storage, your own portfolio website, premium fonts, and social media tools.
Unsplash is my favorite source for stock photography. They have very high quality photos on there. It’s where I find my photos for my blog posts and pins. Unsplash is free.
Key Search is the best-kept secret. I haven’t heard any bloggers talk about it. Key Search is one of the cheapest SEO keyword tool that I have found at only $17 a month. Most SEO keyword tools run at $100+ as marketers know that in order to be found on Google, a website or blog has to have specific keywords. With Key Search, you can look up a certain keyword and find out how often that keyword is being searched for and if you can even rank for that keyword. It gives you other keyword suggestions. Key Search gives you a ranking on page authority and domain authority for the web pages that pop up on Google’s first page. This is a very handy tool as you can find out if you can dominate in that keyword or need to move on to a different keyword to rank for. Key Search also let’s you see backlinks of website. A backlink is a link of a site from another website. Backlinks increases credibility of a site for Google. You can check out where competitors are building their backlinks at and you can do the same to your blog. This feature is awesome as it takes out the guesswork on whether a site’s comment area counts as backlinks or not when you see your competitor’s backlinks. It also has a YouTube research feature. This tool is so worth the $17 a month as you would be using it before writing any blog post.
Unlike other social media’s out there, Pinterest is more of a search engine and acts similar to Google. It is a great way for being found and increasing traffic to a blog or website. Pinterest users also have a very high statistics when it comes to buyer intent which makes it a great platform to be on if you have anything to sell.
Tailwind is a tool that let’s you set up pins for Pinterest so that it can be automated. Tailwind is a tool that can dramatically increase traffic to a blog or website. Like I have mentioned in the above, Pinterest is a platform with high buyer intent and also acts as a search engine. Just spend an hour a week setting up pins for the week and let Tailwind do its thing. You can’t always be pinning manually, but Tailwind can pin automatically for you several times a day. Tailwind also has Tailwind Tribes, which allows you to share your pins to tribe members so they too can share your pin. Here are 100 free pins to get started with Tailwind. A monthly subscription is $15 a month and allows you to have 400 pins a month. If you decide to go with the annual plan, it comes out to $10 a month instead and gives you unlimited pins.
Click Funnels is my favorite tool for building sales funnel and editing pages. A sales funnel goes through an automated sequence that builds awareness, provides value, and eventually makes a sale. You can read more about sales funnels here. Click Funnels allows you to create landing pages, sales pages, capture leads, run a webinar, create shopping carts and so much more. ClickFunnels is an all in one tool for every digital marketer who wants to make sales and passive income. You can try it free for 14 days. After that, it is $97 a month. Check out the different ways Click Funnels can be used for different industries here.
Active Campaign is my favorite email marketing service and I’ve tried a handful. It’s more than just an email service. It’s also a marketing automation, sales CRM, messenger, and so much more. Automation gives back your time and you can set your email sequences to go as along as you want. Set it up once and you’ll never have to worry about it ever again. It also syncs with WordPress, Shopify, Paypal, Facebook, Zapier, and over 150 softwares. Try Active Campaign free for 14 days with no credit card required. Prices start at $15 a month or $9 a month if paid annually. It’s totally worth it!
DotCom Secrets is the digital marketing book that every blogger and digital marketer needs to read and have beside them at all times. DotCom Secrets shows you how people buy. It gives you an exact blueprint on how to set up funnels, value ladder, upsells, email sequences, and so much more. It’s the book I highly recommend reading if you want to do business online. I’ve teamed up with the author, Russell Brunson to give this book for free. You just pay the shipping. You can get DotCom Secrets here.
Have any must use tools to run your blog or online business? Let me know what they are in the comments!