If you are an entrepreneur or blogger that means you are always struggling to find the right tools for the job. So, I’ve decided that once a month I will cut through the BS and bring you valuable tools or services that can help get you where you want to be.
*This post contains affiliate links. This means that I will earn a small commission if you decide to purchase these products. It will in no way affect the price you pay.
Do you want to have a professional logo created for your brand? CrowdSpring wrote a terrific article about what consumers think and feel about your brand. Did you know?
- It only takes consumers 10 seconds to form a first impression of a brand’s logo, but it takes 5-7 impressions for consumers to recognize the logo.
- First impressions are incredibly important to develop loyalty; 48% of consumers report that they are more likely to become loyal to a brand during the first purchase or experience.
So, according to this research, it’s more important than ever to have a professional logo. My friend Greg at Logojoy can help!
A professional theme is also a must-have. Free themes are fine for your personal blog, but when you’re trying to run a small business you are going to want to depend on a premium theme that offers so much more. I ALWAYS use the powerful Genesis Framework when I build a website followed up by a premium child theme from StudioPress.
I use certain plugins with every design. These I consider foundational plugins. You might want to check out my post There’s A Plugin For That which is a comprehensive look at some of the plugins available. These plugins that I’m listing below are all free (they do offer premium services, but you don’t need that)
- Backing up your site UPDRAFT PLUS.
- Security WORDFENCE
- SEO SEO BY YOAST
- Spam AKISMET
- Great features JETPACK
- Clean up OPTIMIZE DATABASE AFTER DELETING REVISIONS
- Caching WP SUPER CACHE
You’ll also need an email service provider. TIP: If you have less than 2,000 subscribers you can use MailChimp for FREE. The free plan now includes automation. So you can have that welcome email sequence or that challenge you’ve been thinking about. I see a lot of people get swept up in the ConvertKit movement when really they don’t need it and at $29 a month it seems like a no-brainer. Not to dis ConvertKit, it’s a great program just unnecessary for the average entrepreneur or blogger.
I’ve always loved Google Docs, but lately, it’s been hard to use if you’re using the newer version of windows because you can no longer add it to your desktop files. For this reason, lately I’ve been turning more and more to One Note files and Word, but I still use Google Docs for so much. Microsoft (if it’s not included on your computer can be purchased for $6.99 a month) Google Docs is free or you can have access to all of the APPS Google offers for $5 a month.
Images are so important in today’s marketing world. According to an article I found on Hubspot:
When people hear information, they’re likely to remember only 10% of that information three days later. However, if a relevant image is paired with that same information, people retained 65% of the information three days later.
So you need to find relevant images for every post, but where do you find those images? There are lots of free stock photo sites like. While using images are important using them correctly (legally) is also really important. Not sure what’s legal and what isn’t? Check out my post The Essential Stock Photo Guide to learn all the ins and outs.
Once you have the perfect image it needs to be resized according to the theme you’re using. If you don’t know that size go to SETTINGS>MEDIA and find out. Resizing used to be much simpler, but recently PicMonkey did away with their free service and now they charge $7.99 a month. Canva is a terrific choice and they have a free and paid version. If you pay a monthly charge you can save all of your branding and fonts so that they are there when you need them. I find the free version works just fine. My research found another free one called Fotor, but I don’t have any experience with it.
You have your image now you need great content to go with it. Use Grammarly to make sure your writing is mistake proof! It’s an invaluable service that I use every single day. Need a place to store your notes? Try Evernote although I prefer One Note because it’s easier to get to for me I like Evernote for some things. It’s easy to use and offers a free version and a premium version.
Need to speed up your website? I found an amazing resource by Tung Tran at Cloudliving.com called “22 Tips To Speed Up Your Website“.
Need social media automation? Try this post I recently wrote “How To Know If You Are Using The Right Social Media Scheduling Tool For Your Business“