Welcome to my toolbox! I’m always asked what product is good for _______ so I decided to open up my toolbox and share the tools I have used on my sites and the sites of my clients.

I also added a section companies don’t want me to share, it’s my broken tools section. This is where I share the tools that didn’t work for me and that I removed from my toolbox.

I love helping content creators just like you engage readers and be free to do the work you love so you can live the life you want. The links in this post are intended to assist with that. Some links are affiliate links. You can learn more and view my full disclaimer here.

Get More Readers

Think Buffer, MailChimp, CoSchedule, HootSuite, Trello, and Board Booster

CoSchedule

Social media has always been a love hate relationship for me. With new networks popping up and vying for our attention, not to mention all of the changes in algorithms, it can feel like an overwhelming task to do social media right.

To make posting on social media easier, there are countless companies that enable us to schedule content, but scheduling content is only one part of posting on social media. The other part is actually creating the content that you are going to schedule.

Finding time to create good content to get the attention of readers and then turning around and scheduling that content takes a lot of time, but it doesn’t have to! Thanks to CoSchedule, I’m able to create thoughtful content that is quick to schedule and super flexible around my ever changing posting schedule.

MailChimp

Everywhere you look people are telling you that you need to build an email list. When I was first starting out building my list, MailChimp was the company I used. It is also the company I recommend for many people just starting out with email marketing.

One of the features I LOVE about MailChimp is their free plan. This is the number one reason I recommend their service to those just starting out.

Unless you plan on delivering multiple optin offers, I found MailChimp to be a great tool starting out as it gave me an affordable email marketing system and a drag and drop interface that was user friendly.

Get a Better Website

Think WordPress, Plugins, Themes, Divi, Genesis, Hosting, GoDaddy, BlueHost, SiteGround, AsmallOrange, and InMotion. 

Divi Theme by Elegant Themes

When I first started blogging, there was Blogger (which I didn’t end up using), Weebly (which I started with, but wish now I hadn’t), and WordPress.

WordPress is a platform, where Blogger and Weebly are more fullfledged hosted websites. With WordPress, which is the only website software I recommend, there are countless themes you can choose from, both free and paid.

Wanting to have control over the look and feel of my site and being frustrated by limitations of many other themes, I found Divi by Elegant Themes and I have NEVER looked back!

Divi lets you create websites with a drag and drop builder and it lets you customize it with CSS and HTML. As a member of Elegant Themes, there is support included which is very helpful!

In addition to providing you with the Divi theme, there are plugins and other themes included (depending on your membership level). I’ve built a number of sites with Divi, both for myself and my clients and I continue to love it every time!

SiteGround Web Hosting

So you are ready to get a website and you need hosting OR you already have hosting, but you aren’t happy with the speed and spport you are receiving, look no further than SiteGround.

I have used my fair share of website hosts from Yahoo! to BlueHost. None of them gave me the service I deserved and the support I needed like SiteGround does!

Support. SiteGround has consistently provided me with exceptional support! I don’t ever remember waiting longer than a minute for someone to be available on their chat support. I can open a support ticket and typically get my first response in about ten minutes. With A2 Hosting there were many times I waited 8 or more hours for a reply. On top of that, their chat was usually full, and when I did get a representative, they wanted to open a support ticket instead of solving the problem over the chat.  

Reliability. With SiteGround, I have spent the least amount of time worrying about whether my site is working properly or not. When I had BlueHost, my site was down so many times and their support hardly ever tried to help me fix the issue. I still hear time and time again from BlueHost users about their website going down.  

Price. SiteGround is inexpensive–about $3.95 to $11.95 a month, depending on which plan you select. Unlike many other hosting providers, which require you to commit to the longest term to receive the best price, SiteGround’s advertised discount applies to any of the initial periods chosen during the sign up process.  

Sign up is super easy. They walk you through the process step-by-step (which you will see in a minute).  

Speed. When first starting out, I didn’t realize how important site speed is, but now I do. SiteGround provides tools (depending on the plan you choose) to help your site run fast.

Get Better Graphics

Think Canva, Photoshop, and Stencil

Canva

Canva lets you easily create beautiful designs and documents. From social media images to printed posters, Canva is a great tool for many visual design needs.  

I like the ability to save templates in Canva and make copies of a template when I have a new project to work on. I also LOVE their Canva for Work Experimental Animation feature where you can make gifs. I also like the Canva for Work ability to resize images if you want a poster, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter images, for example. While there is still some tweaking on each copy made, I have found it to save so much time compared to recreating each image multiple times. Now I actually post the appropriate size image on each social network instead of just taking one image and trying to make it “work” everywhere.  

Canva for Work also comes with a TON of free images and illustrations to use. This is another reason I LOVE Canva! In the past, I would have to spend a lot of time searching for images I was allowed to use. Now, Canva has this built in and they do the same with illustrations, which I always had trouble finding on my own!  

Canva is truly a tool that I use on a very regular basis. They seem to be a company that wants to add features and I’m always excited to see what they come out with next in helping me in my visual design needs.

 

Stencil

I’ve gone back and forth with graphic design software. Stencil is one I stumbled on and fell in love with! I actually used it to replace Canva for a while. While Canva is my go-to design app, Stencil has some really nice time saving features that are very user friendly.

The biggest feature I like with Stencil is how quick it is compared to Canva. While Canva can do a lot of things, Stencil excels for me with speed.

I also like the integrated images in Stencil. This adds to the speed in creating quote images (Stencil even has a list of quotes to help speed that up).

Get Help With These Tools

Overwhelmed? Want to be free to do the work you love and let someone else handle the technical side for you?

Let Me Help You

Having an online presence is critical today. You know that or you wouldn’t be here. For so many people, it is a necessity, but a headache as well. Whether the technology scares you, or you, quite frankly, would rather be working on your passion and spending time with family or friends, you know this is something you have to have.  

The thing is, having an online presence can be very fun, IF you get to do the parts you enjoy. Imagine being able to come to your online presence each day at your best, because you love what you get to do. Imagine having an amazing looking website that you NEVER have to worry about spending hours trying to fix because of that one little change you thought you made. Imagine working with someone who has a marketing degree from Penn State University, who has learned from some of the best in the industry, like Michael Hyatt, former CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers and Crystal Paine, the highly successful blogger at moneysavingmom.com, someone who understands your audience, because they are actively one of them. Wouldn’t that be the ideal person to work with?  

I love technology, espically the tools I mentioned above, and I’d be excited at the chance to help you fall in love with them too! Just click the button below to get started!

The Broken Tools

 I know people who recommend some of these, but they just didn’t work right for me.

BlueHost

When I had BlueHost, my site was down so many times and their support hardly ever tried to help me fix the issue. I still hear time and time again from BlueHost users about their website going down.

A2 Hosting

With A2 Hosting there were many times I waited 8 or more hours for a reply. On top of that, their chat was usually full, and when I did get a representative, they wanted to open a support ticket instead of solving the problem over the chat 

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