Every so often I share a list of the tools and resources that make my life easier. It’s been a couple years since the last update, so I thought I’d share my current list.
Let’s start with some of the tools on my last roundup, which I still use regularly:
Disclosure: Since my last update, I’ve become an affiliate for some of the products, because I really like them, and think you will, too. So if you buy a product after clicking on my link, I will receive a small commission. Note that this won’t cost you any extra. I’ll highlight those links with “aff” as you get to them.
I use Scrivener to keep my writing work organized and I don’t know how I ever lived without it. I keep tweaking my system, but it’s absolutely the best thing I’ve come across to keep everything on track. If they had an affiliate program, I’d sign up in a flash, but sadly, they don’t. I wrote about Scrivener here, if you’re interested in learning more about how I use it.
I use Dragon NaturallySpeaking to dictate the first drafts of all my work. It’s a real time saver – and it’s helped me keep carpal tunnel issues under control. Over the years, Dragon has got better and better. I’m currently using the Professional Individual version, but any version will do.
Buffer is another tool I can’t imagine doing without. I use it for social sharing on multiple platforms. I originally signed up for the free version then upgraded to the Awesome plan. I tell the story of how that happened in SaaS Marketing Done Right: How Buffer Turned Me Into a Paying Customer.
My current favorite thing to do with Buffer is schedule Instagram posts for an association where I’m volunteer social media manager. I love the stats I get on the content shared, plus how easy it is to share something again.
Now, let me tell you about a few tools I’ve added to my toolbox more recently.
MissingLettr is absolutely the BEST tool for running a drip social media marketing campaign for your content. It’s how I seem to be everywhere, even when I’m not. MissingLettr works with multiple social platforms, and automatically creates campaigns for new content for you to approve.
I was lucky enough to grab a lifetime upgrade offer, so I’ve been able to add content from multiple blogs, import individual articles, and benefit from different templates. MissingLettr is currently offering a 50% discount on plans (aff) for the first three months.
You never know when a writing gig will lead you to an awesome tool. That’s what happened with Designrr. It’s an ebook design tool, but offers so much more. For example, you can import and transcribe audio files, export content in Kindle format, and a bunch of other neat features. I used Designrr to create and publish my Shadeism ebook in a single weekend.
HostAwesome (aff) is where I hosted sharonhh.com until recently, and I’m currently developing a new site there. This has been one of the best web hosting experiences of my life. I’m into my fifth year of using this service, and I’ve hardly ever had to contact them about a problem – my site just works, and it’s always up. I wrote about their service in Behind the Scenes at SharonHH.com – HostAwesome Review.
I’ve recently started hosting this site on Siteground (aff), and I love it! It’s got an easy to use proprietary control panel, and makes it simple to secure and speed up your site. So far, so good, and I plan a full review soon.
Bluehost and Namecheap
While we’re on the subject of hosting, I use Bluehost (aff) to host all my other sites. I’ve tried a lot of shared hosting, and I’ve found their tech support team to be generally responsive and knowledgeable. And I buy all my domain names from Namecheap (aff).
A while back, I was looking for a way to keep my LinkedIn feed up to date with content relevant to business. Then I found a tool to help me: Quuu. All I had to do was input the category I wanted, choose a posting frequency (once a day), integrate it with Buffer, and I get a queue of content I can easily share. I’ve found the tool really good at picking out stuff I’d want to share anyway, which is why I’m recommending it.
If you’re sharp, you’ll spot that I’m not currently using a Genesis theme on my site. So, why is Genesis on my list? Because no matter how often I flirt with other themes (I can’t resist trying new things), I always come back to Genesis. The themes just work, which is what you need on your business website.
And I don’t just use it on this site, but on other sites I manage. As you know, WordPress recently updated to the Gutenberg editor, and Genesis has updated many of its old themes. I’m just waiting for some new releases, and then I’ll likely switch back to Genesis (aff).
I use OptinMonster (aff) for list building and online marketing. I discovered the tool because I wrote for their site for 15 months, and tested it out so I could write tutorials on different features. Once I discovered how I could use it for list building, delivering lead magnets, creating mini landing pages, and more, it was a no-brainer to use it on my website to welcome new visitors, guide people to key areas of my site, and promote my books.
While I was working at OptinMonster, I discovered the sister product, WPForms (aff). I soon became a fan. One reason was how easy it was to set up all different kinds of forms, and to view form data either in my email inbox or in my WordPress dashboard. I’ve been gradually using WPForms to replace the contact form plugin I used before on all the sites I manage.
Here are a few more tools and sites I’m using:
- Canva, my favorite tool for creating blog headers, social media graphics, posters, and more. I use this tool at least a couple times each week.
- Wave Accounting, for invoicing and keeping my money in order – it’s free!
- Fiverr (aff), who launched a Pro program just over a year ago. I get my usual rates, and have the security of having payment held in escrow when a job is booked. I’ve had about 20 orders through the platform.
- Visme, an infographic creation tool I reviewed
- Interact (aff), for creating polls and quizzes
- PhotoBulk, for quickly resizing images
- TinyPNG for image compression
- Affinity Photo and Affinity Designer (low-cost and powerful alternatives to Photoshop and InDesign)
- Zoom for online meetings
- WP Courseware for online course delivery
I’m a fan of sharpening my skills. Here are two places I’ve done that in the last couple of years:
- Savvy Social School (aff) – great training on all aspects of social media, plus done for you content to help you get started
- AWAI’s copywriting courses (aff)
So, that’s the latest update. I aim to keep this list more current, adding and removing tools as necessary.
Which online tools can’t you live without?