I’m a proud affiliate for tools I use everyday to run my business, programs I’ve tested for clients and software that helps me work better while traveling the world as a digital nomad. I never endorse anything I have not or would not use myself.
Websites & Hosting
Web Domains & Domain Management
I collect domains like some women collect shoes. If you have the same entrepreneurial nature, you might consider consolidating all your domains under one manager. For years I bought domains from my host, but then I would switch hosts and still have to maintain logins to route DNS servers… just a bit of a mess. Namecheap is, well, cheap, and also has good customer service & a nice interface for managing domains. (P.S. I’ve let a few domains expire so I’m now down to less than 20 – all of them are managed by Namecheap).
Web Hosting for WordPress
I’ve tried a ton of webhosts in the last couple decades working as a web designer and webmaster. I moved all of my personal AND client WordPress sites to SiteGround in 2016. I’ve had virtually no downtime, and their customer service is phenomenal. It’s really world’s apart from others the best WordPress hosting I’ve personally used – without destroying your budget.
I’ve been an Elegant Themes customer since 2011 and after testing quite a few premium themes, I’ve decided Divi is the best WordPress theme. This site uses Divi because it is one of the most versatile and configurable themes or frameworks I’ve ever used that is still very easy for anyone to use. Divi ships with premade layouts or you can build from scratch. And again, their customer service is excellent – which is always worth paying for.
I built my first WordPress site from scratch around 2009 and have been learning slowly for years. I wish I had had a course like this one then that would have saved me literally 1000’s of hours. A lot of my clients ask me about building a WordPress site and for awhile I was planning to create a course on how to build a WordPress site. Thankfully, I met Rebecca Lutz and found out she’d already created the course so I don’t have to! She’s done a truly fantastic job, and you can try it free for 7-days.
Digital Marketing & Growth
One CRM to Rule Them All
ONTRAPORT is another product I wish I’d had years ago, and am so glad I’ve invested in. I hacked together marketing solutions using Mailchimp, Mailer Lite, Zapier, Lead Pages, Thrive Leads, and a few others and was doing fine, but it involved a lot of workarounds to get the solution I wanted, creating technical debt. If you’re planning on growing your business rapidly, I urge you to invest in quality tools that serve your business for the long-haul and scale with you so you don’t have to migrate later. Again, Ontraport’s customer service is on fleek and that in itself can be a huge timesaver.
For Freelancers or the Tech Challenged
If you are brand new to email marketing and want to get started rapidly with minimal investment, or you plan to have a simple email program for life, MailerLite is my recommendation. It’s some of the easiest to use email marketing software I’ve tried and they are rapidly adding features. You can have your first autoresponder, including embedded forms and optin pages, up in an hour, without spending a cent. If your business model is more simple and service-based (i.e. you are a freelancer and don’t plan to manage a team or sell online products), this is a great bet.
Learning & Online Courses
I owe a fair amount of my success as a UX designer to what I learned in the Creative Class, and have continued to benefit from the Methods that Paul Jarvis teaches. If you are a freelance designer, developer or writer, this is an excellent course for taking your business to the next level.
For Travel Writers
A few years ago, I toyed with quitting my job and traveling the world solo and making a living as a travel blogger for women. I signed up for this class, did about 75% of the work, started Eat, Pray, Love to Travel and even built a bit of a following. Ultimately blogging was not my calling – but I learned a ton from this course that helps me now as a coach and digital marketer. If you’re a freelance travel writer or aspiring blogger, this was a great course for me with valuable resources.
For Creative Projects
I’ve taken a couple of courses through creative live, mostly related to photography or social media management. I’ve found the classes to be really high-quality from excellent teachers, and if you can attend the course live you can try it out for free (I’m a huge fan of testing anything before investing).
For Technical and Business Skills
When I decided I wanted to take my freelance business to the next level, I took a number of courses to improve my coding skills, including learning to build WordPress Themes from scratch (Brad Hussey is my favorite instructor for web classes – highly recommend). I’ve also taken a number of classes related to marketing from experts on Pinterest marketing, Instagram, and even a class with the real Gary Vee.
Misc Tools & Deals
I’ve always been a bargain hunter, and that doesn’t stop at the digital world – which is why AppSumo is so great. Part discovery tool, part crowdsourced deals, I’ve bought about 30 deals ranging for stock photo services, premium upgrades, online courses and tools that have massively improved my focus or my business. Plus, their emails and descriptions are funny as hell.
When I started traveling full-time with Remote Year, I found myself really getting distracted by social media and FOMO. My productivity tanked for the first month – until I found the Freedom app. Now I lock myself out of social media for a few hours every morning so I can make sure I’m focused on what’s truly important to me. What’s neat is it works across platform and you can be as strict or flexible as you want.
Creative Market is an excellent resources for buying creative assets – I’ve purchased WordPress themes, mockups, fonts, icons, all sorts of stuff – and have even sold a couple of things to make a few bucks. Generally, I’m always really impressed with the quality of the work I’ve found on Creative Market and even bought my first logo here.
Looking for a great collection of fonts for your new brand? Need graphics for your blog? Stock photos for your sales page? Check out MightyDeals.
I don’t remember how I stumbled on Grammarly, but it’s a super handy tool for copywriting and editing. Of course, I ignore every other grammar suggestion it gives me, but I know it’s saved me a lot of dumb spelling and context mistakes. I also really like the simple nature of the editor and will often use it in lieu of other word-processors when I need to really focus.