Without a doubt I could not run my online business without a lot of these tools! (For my top 6 favorites see this list)
Remember the best system is the one that you use! There are no right or wrong answers here, just solutions. What may work for someone else may not work for you and that’s ok.
Disclosure: There are some affiliate links below. This means that if you make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. But these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t put anything on this page that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.
Website & Themes
My first site I built I ran on wordpress.com because I didn’t understand there was a difference. This site (travelingtayler.com) runs on wordpress.org and while there was a bit of larger learning curve, it’s so much more customizable and so much better for SEO and monetizing.
If you just need a website to display information and maybe directions to your business than wordpress.com will do great. It’s essentially your domain, hosting and everything all built in one. The downside is you can’t add plugins and have your site grow with your business. So it really just depends on your goals.
WordPress.org is more of the bare bones set up, but if you are looking to create and monetize a blog, have an ecommerce store or have plans to do anything dynamic with your site down the road, than hands down, just start with .org.
YOAST SEO PLUGIN
If you decide to go with wordpress.org than the first plugin you’ll want to add is Yoast SEO. It’s the most trusted one in the industry and will help give you a leg up when it comes to SEO and optimizing your site.
DIVI THEME BY ELEGANT THEMES
I love Divi by Elegant Themes! This is the theme my site is built on. It’s drag and drop interface is easy to use and the amount of design options available means you can create a completely beautiful and unique website. Friendly for beginners and great customer support.
Domain Names & Hosting
I’m a fan of Namecheap for purchasing my domain names. They have some of the best rates and their platform is easy to use and navigate.
SiteGround is known for their great support and fast site speeds. This is my current host and you can get started for as little as $3.95/month.
ConvertKit is my preferred email provider.
I use it for my email list and have used it with many of my clients. It has a simple design, is intuitive and easy to use. You can create tags and segments for your lists so if you have multiple businesses or want to keep certain subscribers separate it’s easy peasy. Use my link to get a 14 day free trial.
Social Media Tools
Tailwind is my scheduler of choice. You can use it to schedule Pinterest and Instagram posts without ever leaving the platform. I’ve used it for both and it has really made scheduling posts so much easier. Especially since my audience is mainly in the US and depending where I am I might be sleeping at the best times to post!
If you have a YouTube channel, than Tube Buddy is a good free resource to have. It provides tips when you post a video to increase views and most importantly shows you the tags that your competitors are using in their videos.
Want to post to more than just Pinterest and Instagram? Hootsuite has a free plan option which allows you to post to more platforms like Facebook, Linkedin and Twitter.
Design & Stock Photos
A completely free tool, Canva is the design tool for non-designers. Perfect for bloggers and when you need to create nice looking social media graphics. I design everything in Canva!
Unsplash is also a stock photo library where you can search hundreds of free stock photos for your website or graphics.
If you are serious about your site and want to rank on Google than you need to know the best keywords to use. Keysearch is hands down the best tool out there for finding keywords for your post and website.
Use discount code KSDISC to get 20% off your subscription.
CRM & Invoicing
I’ve used Dubsado for a couple of years now. They are always improving the system and adding new and beneficial features. It does take a little time to get set up but overall they make managing my client communications, contracts and invoices super easy.
You can connect your Paypal, Stripe and Bank Account (for client’s to submit e-checks) which is great if you work with a range of clients who may want to pay in a variety of ways.
It’s also free for up to your first 3 clients so you can try all the features with no time limit. Sign up with my link and you’ll get 20% off your first month.
Paypal is another great, free, and easy way to send invoices to clients as well as manage your money. I recommend setting up a business Paypal account if you will be using it to accept money from clients or affiliate commissions.
Meetings & Communication
What did people do before Zoom? I have no idea. An alternative to Google Hangouts, Zoom is my preferred tool for scheduling & hosting meetings. If you are on the free account you can have unlimited one-on-one meetings or up to 40 minute group meetings. Great incentive to keep them short & to the point!
Slack is a communication tool that is used by large companies and small teams alike. It’s how I communicate with all of my clients and even some social groups I’m in. If you’ve been working online for any sort of time, you’ll become very familiar with Slack.
Organization & Security
If you work online, you need a password manager. Lastpass not only remembers all of your passwords for you and will generate secure ones, but it is also the safest way to share passwords with your team. There is a chrome extension, a desktop app and phone app so your passwords are always at the tip of your fingers. Oh and it’s free.
To make sure you are browsing safely and securely as you work remotely, you need to be using a VPN, especially if you are using public wifi! I use a combination of the following two:
- Tunnel Bear – Free up to your first 500mb of data. I like Tunnel Bear and it’s great for cafe working and small tasks. But it can sometimes be restrictive on certain sites.
- OpenVPN – I use OpenVPN to specifically give me a US IP Address. It is also one of the only ones that allows you to connect to Hulu and other US online tv services.
Trello is my preferred organization tool. I keep all of my business, life and travel tasks organized here. It’s simple to use and visually appealing.
PIN TO PROFITS
Created by McKinzie of Moms Make Cents, Pin to Profits, walks you through how to use Pinterest to make money online. It’s an amazingly robust course and covers everything you need to know!
If you aren’t ready to invest in the her main course yet she also has a less expensive Pin to Profits: Affiliate Marketing that focuses on how to make affiliate sales on Pinterest or her free Pinterest Primer course to help you get your Pinterest account setup for success.
DNK VIRTUAL ASSISTANT STARTER KIT
Created by Hannah Dixon of the Digital Nomad Kit (DNK), the VA Starter Kit is a your one stop shop to getting your Virtual Assistant business off the ground even if you don’t have any experience. This is the course I took to get started and it helped me find a niche, build confidence and 6 months later quit my job.
You can also check out her 5 Day VA Challenge that she runs a handful of times throughout the year.