As a blogger and business owner, I use a lot of tools on a daily basis. Since there are so many online business resources available to us, I thought I would make up a list of the ones I found most useful in my own business! These are tools, resources, and links that I have found incredibly helpful through my time in the online business and blogging industry. I hope this list will be a helpful reference to you as you navigate your new business online!
This post contains affiliate links. To learn more, you can read my full disclosures here.
Books, Reading, and Training
Building a Framework – I’ve mentioned this book before, and I’ll keep mentioning it. If you can only invest in one course to help build your business or blog, this is it! Abby and her husband Donnie are both full-time bloggers. They put so much into this book, and it covers everything you need to know to get started!
The Strong Brand Mini-Course – Allison, from Wonderlass, has such a fun personality. It really comes through in her writing, and she put together an awesome free course for anyone wanting to build their own brand. I came out of this mini-course with brand keywords and a list of things to improve to strengthen my brand. It’s so helpful, even if you think you’ve got branding down. There is just so much to it.
List Building Jumpstart – This is a course put together by Laura at iHeart Planners. Creating and maintaining an email list is so important, because it’s the only communication source that we own. When you build your list, you know that your content isn’t controled by finicky algorithms and peak posting times. This course helped me tremendously with my list, and also taught me some tricks for making those pretty printables you’ve signed up for.
CreativeLive – This is a website set up for creative business owners in all areas to learn and grow. You can take classes on Photography, writing, video, crafts, business, and so much more! They’ve got classes for a great price, and you can also check out their free live streaming schedule every week.
How to Win Friends & Influence People – This book is not new. Not by a long shot! In fact, I think it was written in the 30’s, but people are still buying it. That says something for it’s effectiveness. It was recently recommended to me, and I think it’s a great book for anyone in business!
Time Management Mama: Making Use of the Margins to Pursue your Passions – This book is so inspiring for any mama trying to find time to run a business while staying home with her kids. It is all about prioritizing and making better use of your time. I recommend it to every work-at-home mom I know!
Some Posts on Blogging and Online Business from Thirty Something Angie
Website and Blog
How to Start a Website Using WordPress – If you’ve been looking for a detailed tutorial on setting up your own WordPress website or blog, this walk-through will get you set up in no time at all!
Siteground – This is my hosting provider, and who I recommend for anyone looking to start a website. They have reasonable start-up packages, great customer service, and good site speed and perks. I love that they regularly do checks on my website to let me know everything is still good! As an added bonus, I switched to them from another hosting provider and they did the entire transfer for me with absolutely no downtime!
WordPress – WordPress is the content management system I use for Thirty Something Angie as well as my ecommerce website. It’s incredibly flexible and I love that I can customize everything about my site! Be sure to use the .org rather than the .com if you’re looking to monetize. It gives you so much more freedom to do so. This is the system used by most successful bloggers, and for a good reason.
Squarespace – I don’t personally use this, but I know several people who do! If WordPress is too confusing or intimidating to you, Squarespace might be a great option for getting started. It is an all-in-one content managing system and hosting provider.
Themes and Plug-Ins
Tweak-Me V2 by NoseGraze – This is the theme I chose to use on Thirty Something Angie. I read so much about the Genesis Framework and really considered it, but I was trying to keep my start-up costs down and definitely haven’t regretted it. It’s a responsive theme with a lot of customization options, which are the 2 most important things to look for when choosing a theme.
ShopKeeper by ThemeForest – This is the theme I chose for my e-commerce website. It is compatible with WooCommerce (important if you want to sell directly from your site) and mobile responsive. I was blown away at the level of customization I could do with this theme, too, including a drag-and-drop option.
Akismet – This is a plugin that protects your blog from spam comments
Yoast SEO for WordPress – This is a highly useful SEO tool that helps track the SEO score of each blog post and page. You can also edit the meta data and check keyword density using it.
CataBlog – If you’ve visted my resource library or my sidebar, you’ve seen CataBlog in action. It is a handy plugin that allows you to set up galleries with next to no coding.
Social Media and Email Marketing
Buffer – This is the scheduling app I use for my social media accounts. I’m currently using the free version, but there is a paid version with more features!
Board Booster – Board Booster is a Pinterest scheduling tool that has made keeping up with a heavy pin schedule so much easier. Pinterest is my #1 source of traffic for this blog, so this tool is something I use heavily.
MailChimp – Mailchimp is the email marketing system that I currently use. I chose to use them because they have an option for a free account up to 2,000 subscribers. I haven’t reached that, yet, so I’m currently not paying for my emails at all! There is a bit of a learning curve for Mailchimp, but after finding some tutorials online, I’ve been able to do everything I want to do. Phototography
Product Photography Made Simple – My overview of photography basics for bloggers and online business owners, plus a review of the Product Photography E-book
Product Photography E-book – This book was written by a fellow blogging friend of mine and is a great book to read if you photograph products for your shop. It’s also incredibly helpful for bloggers, since you’re generally photographing a setup for the blog and can apply the same information! It’s a great price, and has loads of information.
Nikon DSLR – I know there is a lot of debate over whether Nikon or Cannon is better, but I’ve been a Nikon girl from the start! Regardless, a high quality camera and the knowledge to use it are a must if you want to take Pinterest-worthy photos.
Adobe Creative Cloud – Creative Cloud is my #1 suggestion for photo editing and creating graphics. It’s only $10 a month and there is just so much you can do with it. I use these programs to edit my photos, create graphics for my Pinterest, Facebook, and Instagram accounts, create flyers and business cards, and so much more. There is more of a learning curve with Adobe products, but that is because they can do so much! If you can afford $10 a month, I highly recommend investing in Creative Cloud.
Canva – I used Canva for a little while when I first started my blog and really liked it. It’s a great place to start while you are learning, and they have both free and paid options available. I really liked their pre-made templates that made creating images a breeze.
PicMonkey – This is another helpful photo editing tool. It is a great place to start if you aren’t ready to learn Photoshop.
PicTapGo – This is the app I use for simple, quick edits on my phone. It is a great tool to have when using Instagram.
My Small Business Organization Starter Pack – Pretty printables to help you get your business organized from yours truly. They’re perfect for new small business owners, and totally FREE for subscribers!
Inkwell Press Planner – A planner is a must for business owners and bloggers, in my opinion. Whether you use a paper planner or digital, it’s really important to find a system that works well for you. The Inkwell Press system is functional, goal oriented, and has plenty of space to write my schedule each day. Plus, the paper quality is great and the colors are so pretty! I currently use the Classic A5 inserts inside my Carpe Diem ringbound.
iPhone – I do a lot of work from my phone, which is one of the great things about working from home.
MacBook Pro – I made the switch from a PC about 5 years ago and don’t think I’ll ever be able to go back! These computers are great for creatives, and have so many features that I couldn’t live without.
Evernote – This is my digital filing system for everything that has to do with my blog and business. I can access it from both my phone and my computer, so it makes it easy to grab interesting articles from the internet to store, and write myself notes and inspirational pieces for later. I also use it as part of my content mapping system.
Productivity Posts from Thirty Something Angie
Dropbox – This is a backup website that I use to store most of my photos, e-courses, printables, and documents. It also has a share feature so that I can invite others to access the folder as well. I’ve used that feature for collaborations, but the rest of my folders are private.
Amazon Prime – If you like shopping, and don’t like leaving your house, this really is the best way to do it. I’ve used Amazon Prime for 4 or 5 years now and it’s been invaluable! I love knowing that I can put in an order and have it in my hands 2 days later. The added bonus is that I don’t have to put on pants to shop!
Share-a-Sale – If you’re interested in trying affiliate marketing for some passive income, this is a great place to start! Share-a-Sale is kind of the middle man that connects you with companies. It’s the central hub for a lot of my affilate partnerships.
What blog or business resources would you add to this list? Let me know in the comments below!