Top Blogging and Business Tools Resources
Want To Know My Secret Tools?
I often get asked a lot of questions about what I use and what I recommend. So here are the various tools and resources that I use for my blog and business, and recommend just for you! Please note that I do use affiliate links for my preferred resources. I only recommend products or services that I find beneficial and enjoy using.
WordPress | WordPress is my go-to blogging platform. I'm most comfortable with it. Plus, it's a free blogging tool.
Beaver Builder | Beaver Builder is what I use to develop the theme for my website. It's a page builder that's visual in nature and makes it super easy to customize if you don't know any coding. I can do away with form plugins and easily integrate my email sign ups for ConvertKit as well as create landing pages. This saves me money from having to purchase other things that I don't need.
SiteGround | I prefer SiteGround for my domain hosting as they are a cloud-based hosting service that offers free SSL and WordPress hosting. It's meant for bloggers!
Yoast SEO | Yoast is a must! Get the professional version so you can utilize the redirect features and much more. Optimizing your blog is imperative!
Blue Yeti | This is my go-to mic. It has high-quality sound and is affordable for professional voiceovers for my screencast tutorials and podcasting.
Rode Swivel Microphone Arm | I had to get something to help clear up my desktop space. The Blue Yeti is a side mic. So many people use it wrong and speak in the top. This arm has helped me to get better sound quality.
Camtasia | I switched from Screencast on the Mac because it has many more features that I need for my business. This software allows me to record my video tutorials and edit them so they are easy to follow.
Adobe Premiere | Adobe Premiere is my go-to video editing software. It comes with the Creative Cloud subscription so it was naturally a good fit for me.
Canon Vixia HFR600 | This model is discontinued, but I found this Sony is a great replacement. I use this for most of my video work instead of my cam on the computer.
Vid Pro Lavalier Mic | I bought this mic when I was doing more Periscope videos. You can use it on your iPhone and it improves the sound quality so much. But, it also plugs into my video camera so I can get better sound with it too.
Alzo Horizontal Camera Mount | I bought this tool so I could shoot video straight down on my table top. It attaches to my tripod. Be sure to get a weight or sandbag to help keep it balanced and from tipping over. I have much larger one for my photography business, but this doesn't take up as much space.
Manfrotto Tripod | Whatever you get for a tripod, find something with a ball head and a quick release. You'll be much happier!
Cell Phone Tripod Adaptor | This item was purchased when I was doing more Periscopes. I could put it on my iPhone and then put it on my Manfrotto Tripod and have a nice steady video.
LimoStudio Video Lights | I have two of these since I do table top work for video of my brush lettering. Having two makes all the difference in getting rid of shadows. And, you cannot beat this price!
iMac | I've been using Apple products for some time, and the last time I switched from a Macbook Pro laptop to a desktop iMac. I use the 5K Retina version and I love it and the crispness of the screen as a graphic artist. If you plan to do graphic design full time, purchase as much memory as you can afford. I currently have 32 GB of RAM.
iPad Pro | I've only recently been using the iPad Pro for my brush lettering and designs for Etsy. I currently have the 12.9" with 256 GB. To me, having the most space is imperative as I use this machine quite a lot.
Wacom Cintiq | I am an illustrator and do much of my artwork with Adobe Illustrator. Using a Wacom Cintiq makes this much more precise. I currently have the 22HD version.
LX Desk Mount LCD Arm | I use this with my Wacom Cintiq so I can bring the device over to my lap. Having an arm for this helps me keep it out of the way and access it easily.
Epson Artisan 1430 | For beautiful colors, a high-end printer that is affordable is a must. This printer outputs the most gorgeous colors.
Wacom Intuos 4 | This was my Wacom before I got the Cintiq. However, I found myself wanting to conserve power on the Cintiq and only use it when I'm illustrating. So I use the Wacom for regular work. Note: I don't use a mouse at all. Only the Wacom.
Adobe Creative Cloud | I'm an Adobe girl! If you're going to do anything in a professional nature with design you need to invest. When Adobe went to this subscription based cloud service I was ecstatic! It saved me from having to hold off on updating software versions. I use Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign and After Effects along with Premiere.
Canon 5D Mark III | As a professional photographer, I've always used Canon products. I've got several models but my latest is the Mark III. I use primarily my 50 mm f/1.2 lens for shooting stills.
Canon Scanner LiDE 120 | I rarely use this now that I do so much of my lettering directly on the iPad Pro.
Creative Market | Creative Market is my go-to place to support other artists. I love purchasing fonts and other design tools here. I also sell many of my own designs here as well.
Just Darlin' Y'all | Just Darlin' Y'all is our new stock library site. We are selling stock photos for female business owners and bloggers as well as social media templates and providing tutorials on design as it relates to good visuals.
LifterLMS | I left Teachable to host my courses because I wanted my money right away. With Teachable I had to wait long periods. LifterLMS works with WordPress and is super easy to use. I get my money immediately! You do have to design your own sales pages, but that's what Beaver Builder is for that I mentioned in the Blogging Tools section.
WP Affiliate | This is the plugin I use to manage my affiliate members that want to promote my courses. It's easy to use and has plenty of optional add-ons to meet your needs.
KingSumo Giveaways | I use KingSumo Giveaways mostly on my SVG site, HollyPixels.com because it's an easy way to get people to give you their email addresses to sign up for a contest giveaway.
Social Warfare | I use Social Warfare for my social media link sharing icons on my posts. It's aesthetically pleasing and I really like how easy it is to see sharing results as well as create Click to Tweets.
MailerLite | MailerLite is such a great and simple to use Email marketing platform. I went from MailChimp to the expensive ConvertKit and was tired of spending so much money. MailerLite is more affordable and does as much as ConvertKit.
TailWind | I switched to TailWind for my Pinterest marketing in January 2017 and the entire month was amazing. I was using BoardBooster to schedule my pins, but TailWind outshines it! It's much easier and the results were super. I have nearly 20K followers and Pinterest brings me about 60% of my blog traffic.
CoSchedule | Nothing has ever been more helpful to me than CoSchedule. I use this tool religiously. And, I won't ever let it go. I wrote a great post about it here. This acts as my editorial calendar for my blog and allows me to schedule social media campaigns fast with their social helper templates.
Buffer | I use Buffer for scheduling social media mainly because I have other small business accounts like a YouTube for toys and DIY kids crafts, and my SVG craft files site. Buffer keeps me from having to purchase CoSchedule for them as it's a much more reasonable cost, but with limitations. If I can I will ditch Buffer for CoSchedule with those accounts when they grow.
Thrive Leads | I have tried many lead capture software applications and Thrive Leads ended up being the most cost effective with a one-time price. And, it's easy to customize and test. If you're collecting emails and doing freebies, get something like Thrive Leads.
Business & Productivity
Quickbooks Online | Quickbooks has been my preferred accounting software because my accountant is in another state. Having this online service makes it easy for us to both access it when necessary.
Typeform | Use this free tool to create surveys for your audience. Find out what they want from you.
DropBox | I started using DropBox several years ago as it makes it easy to free up my computer space. Also, working on multiple machines including my iPad Pro means I don't have to email myself files.
Google Drive | I think most people are familiar with this as it eliminates the need for me to purchase any word processing or spreadsheet software. Plus, sharing with someone and working together on a doc is much easier this way.
Dashlane | I use Dashlane to save all of my passwords. It also allows me to be notified if a password is compromised or needs to be updated for security. I can use it on my phone and other devices.
Pinfinite Growth | Melissa Griffin knows what is up when it comes to Pinterest. Her course helped me get on the right path. I learned and then tweaked everything to better fit my needs with some other tools. Check it out!
Blog to Biz Hive | Melissa Griffin provides insight into start to finish on how to run a profitable blog. Her course gave me a lot of tools that I may already have figured out but so much value in the ones I didn't before. If you want to run a successful blog she's added TONS more to this course!