As a thanks for hanging out with me, here are all my fave tools for building your business online!
A lot of them are freebies, because if you don’t already know, I love to not waste money. Some are my own products, and some are links to premium plugins that I recommend in the Free 5 Day Website Challenge or programs I’ve bought to help me with my business – and some of those links are affiliate links. You pay the same whether you use my affiliate link or not, and the commissions I earn help me to keep the 5 Day Website Challenge free.
If I haven’t spent my own money on it, used it and loved it, you’re not gonna see an affiliate link for it here.
WP+BFF is hosted with Bluehost, and I have several other sites hosted there as well. It is extremely easy to set up a WordPress site with Bluehost – it’s basically a one-click installation. Note that you pay for at least 12 months up front!
WP*BFF is using Theme Foundry’s Make theme and it’s the theme I teach in the 5 Day Website Challenge. I purchased Make Plus for $99 to get some added functionality that I really like, but it’s pretty badass without it.
A highly customizable drag and draw WordPress theme that you can make look exactly how you want it to look. I think it’s more difficult to use than Make which is why I don’t teach it in the Challenge, but so many people have come to me with sites designed in Headway that I created a Headway Themes tutorial as well as an upgrade to the free 5 Day Website Challenge which you can buy here.
The makers of the popular drag-and-drop Divi Theme, Elegant Themes not only creates and supports WordPress themes but also some really cool plugins.
Yeah, so I teach WordPress… So do a million other people out there. How do I stand out? Hey, Nice Package! breaks down how to create the RIGHT kinds of packages that will make you love your business, and best part? It’s repeatable for every time you want to offer a new service.
If you haven’t heard of this guy you need to check him out right now. Even if you’re not an entrepreneur, his ideas apply to any type of business that has an online presence and wants to grow. While not WordPress specific, everything he talks about can be done with WordPress.
Going it alone doesn’t have to be lonely. One Woman Shop is part resource, part community and all heart. Cristina and Sara will provide you with kick-ass inspiration, help you grow the business you deserve, and ensure that you never have another case of the Mondays. I joined over a year ago and it’s one of the best decisions I ever made. The Espresso membership comes with all their courses, a mastermind, one on one coaching and Facebook group access.
OWS Courses & Books
The 64-page, step-by-step guide that helps newbies + stalled pros create a content strategy behind your blog — then get it started
The Building Your Online Community e-course is the 14-week, step-by-step, action-packed guide you need to kick off and strengthen your online community as a solopreneur.
Here’s the thing: building your online community — the clients on your roster, the fellow solopreneurs you partner with, the readers of your blog, the customers buying your products, the business coaches mentoring you along the way — is an ongoing process, and one that’s never too early or late to start.
Your go-to guide for finding the intersection of productive and sane to maximize your time working so you can maximize your time living.
The One Woman Shop Bundle offers you four OWS-created products — the Building Your Online Community e-course, the Kickstart Your Content workbook, the Solopreneur Finances course, and The Solopreneur Sanity Handbook — that address these four areas of solo business ownership. When you buy all four products together (a $204 value), you get them for $99!
Take Natalie’s free 30 Day List Building Challenge and find out how to start your mailing list! If you need to build your email list, this girl is for you! Her FREE 30 Day List Building Challenge is helping grow my mailing list right now!
Add gorgeous branded opt-in forms to your site in seconds. Mobile responsive. Convert more visitors to subscribers and easily build your email list!
With MailChimp, you can send 12,000 emails to 2,000 subscribers for FREE. You can also set up automation where you send a series of emails automatically, sometimes even based on user behavior. Lots of options, easy to use! And if you want to master all of MailChimp’s advanced features and automation, check out my MailChimp Master Class!
Infusionsoft is an email provider, contact manager, task manager and e-commerce shop all rolled up into one! I graduated to Infusionsoft in 2015 when I needed a better way to segment and tag and market to my growing list. I made this investment in my business to save myself time and be able to better serve my community and it’s been absolutely amazing! Infusionsoft combined with AccessAlly is what I’m using to deliver my online courses.
“Amazingly simple graphic design for blogs.” Yep, that about sums it up!! Use your own images, Canva’s images or stuff from Creative Market – the possibilities are endless!
A platform for handcrafted, mousemade design content from independent creatives around the world. Get unique logos, graphics, images, brushes, backgrounds, templates, fonts. You’ll definitely find your style on this site. Plus some great free stuff!
Upload large PNG files to this site and a little panda bear shrinks them down for you! Your images will load faster and that will make Google like you more.
Create your own schedule so people know up front when you can work with them. There’s a free version which you can’t embed into your WP site, but you can link to it, and then for $10/month you can embed it into your site. Sa-weet! Totes worth it.
Zapier calls itself the Swiss Army Knife of the web. It’s a tool you can use for automating mindless tasks. It connects different services together, taking the extra work away from you. It’s like my personal assistant – it’s working for me behind the scenes all the time.
Despite the over-the-top sales page, this tool really does deliver! If you’re Periscoping right now (which you should be!) this WordPress plugin automatically embeds your Periscopes as blog posts on your website! And it uploads them to YouTube and posts them to Twitter and Facebook so they can live on past the 24 hour limit on Periscope! Takes about half an hour to set up, and then you’ll automatically get MILES out of those Periscopes!
Want those Blab replays to automatically embed as blog posts on your WordPress site with all the comments? This is the plugin for you!! Takes literally 5 minutes to set up and boom! Your Blabs are now blog posts that you can tweet, pin and post to get even more eyeballs on them!
Found this cost-effective tripod to hold my iPhone 6s so that I don’t get all kinds of weird angles on my Periscopes!
Did you know that Pinterest is the 2nd biggest traffic source to website behind Facebook? You can use this traffic to dramatically boost your traffic and sales and squeeze every last drop of value out of the content you’re working so hard to create! If you’re not on Pinterest, you need to be and this course is going to teach you exactly what to do. And if you’re already on Pinterest, learn strategies to make it work even better for your business!
As the name implies, this free plugin lets you sell digital downloads on your website for free! There are a bunch of add-ons for $39-$49 each to add payment gateways or other functionality (or you can get all 25 for $495). But you can create a store of digital products for free!
With the purchase of the developer license, you can sell physical or digital products online. Gravity Forms is limited, however, as there’s no shopping cart function and sales tax calculation can be a little wonky. For just a couple of products or digital downloads, Gravity Forms is a great solution.
The perfect e-commerce solution if you’re selling physical products! It’s a little complex, so I have a module on setting it up in the BFF Academy.
Gravity Forms is much, much more than a contact form. It can be used to help you with administrative tasks, e-commerce, quizzes, and much more.
SumoMe has some tools to help your visitors share your pages, share your images, grab email addresses, and tell you what your users are looking at on your pages (and what they’re skipping). It’s super-intelligence for your site and it’s the bomb dot com.
Anyone remember Pop Up Video on VH1? Anyone??
This free software lets you create short screen captures (less than 5 minutes) that you can share on your website, via email, on Facebook, wherever. Great for quick training videos, intros, how-to’s and anything you can convey via screen capture in 5 minutes or less. The only downside is that all the movies are in Flash which aren’t viewable on iOS devices.
I create lots of training and educational videos and tried several different screen-capture methods, but none work as well or have as many features as Camtasia. First, they have a 30 day free trial. Second, they have step-by-step tutorials to show you how to get the most out of Camtasia. It comes with a library of animations and music (Windows version only), and did I mention it’s crazy-easy to use? Not only for screen captures but for editing videos you made on your phone, GoPro, Flip Camera or whatever the cool kids are using these days to make videos. You can save to multiple video formats, and publish to YouTube or Screencast.com in just a few clicks. Try it for free, you won’t be disappointed.
Much, much more than a membership plugin, OptimizePress is like a marketing genie. It helps you create launch funnels, sales pages, squeeze pages, online courses and membership sites. It integrates with PayPal and other payment processors, and it has a bunch of other features that put it at the tippy top of my list in it’s category. At $97/year, it’s a no-brainer compared to similar products that run close to $500/year.
This handy little plugin lets you drag and drop to reorder posts, pages, forms and lots of other things. Super handy if you have a site where you don’t want all the content ordered by the date you published it.
This little guy lets you use a shortcode to list posts or pages that you’ve tagged with a certain category. I use it it tons of different ways and I’ll bring it up a lot in my tutorials.
Just as it claims, this is a really simple way to set up page redirects on your website. Handy if you’ve moved a page, or moved your site – super easy to set these up so that you don’t have broken links all over the place.
Lets you change your sidebar content on different pages. Super handy if you want to display different info in the sidebar on different pages.
Makes sidebar widgets move down the page as the user scrolls. Not as gross as it sounds.
Lets you shorten links using your own domain.
Lets you create a bunch of pages all at once.
Lets you disable comments on all posts, all pages, your entire site which just one click.
A must have if you’re doing Facebook ads and you want to know if your ads are converting. Just install this plugin and it puts a place for the tracking pixel code on every page of your site. You just paste the code Facebook gives you on the page you are driving traffic to from your FB ads and viola! You know if your ad is converting or not.
Lets you easily add images with links in your sidebar widgets.
Puts a dropdown in your page editor that lets you switch between pages without going back to the main list of pages. Genius.
Any time you need to insert a snippet of code into your site, say, for a Facebook WCA (retargeting pixel code), install this plugin, paste in the code and voila!
This little nugget will not only display your RSS feeds, it will create posts out of them as well. Talk about automation! Plus you can categorize your feeds and have several different types of RSS feeds on your site. Many different templates to display your feeds too. I’ve tried several RSS plugins because I work on several sites that want to display the latest industry news, and this is hands down the best one.
With almost 14 million downloads, this is the premiere SEO plugin for WordPress. It’s free version is packed full of options. The paid add-ons are $89 and include premium support, video SEO and training. I haven’t used the paid version yet so I can’t speak to whether it’s worth it or not. I learn more and more about Yoast SEO daily, and I’ll be posting a tutorial on my site.
Once again Yoast gets my plug because it’s free, and the easiest to install and configure. I’ve tried WPMUDEV’s product and it’s great, but it’s not free. Of course Yoast has paid add-ons just like almost every other plug these days, but you can decide if you need them or not. I don’t use them on my sites.
Site Management & Security
I’ll protect your site AND provide support if something ever goes wrong!
With over 3 million downloads and 4.9 of 5 stars, I’m not surprised that it’s on my best list. This plugin does all kinds of work for you to secure your site, and it’s totally free.
For $39 a year, you get premium features include 2-factor authentication via text message, the ability to block certain countries (who shall remain nameless) from accessing your site, and the ability to schedule scans. I personally only have the free version installed on all my sites, but I can see the value in a paid subscription if you have lots of e-commerce or other mission critical stuff happening on your site.
Before I ever found WordFence, I had two sites get majorly hacked with some black hat SEO. Thank goodness for Google, because the whole entire internet recommended Sucuri. At $99 per site per year, it’s pricy but it works amazingly when you’re in a bind. Both my sites were cleaned up and restored within an hour. I also ran into an installation issue, and their support was top-notch. My suggestion? Install WordFence so you don’t get hacked. If you’re already hacked, get Sucuri – you won’t be disappointed.
These guys are your WordPress insurance policy. You have an problem, do a little research, find no good answers, give them a call and for $69 they’ll take care of it. Or you pay them $79 a month and you have them on retainer. Genius!