My Favourite Things
I choose WP Engine to host my website and my client’s websites. Why? They are the next-level, super secure, WordPress-only, bad-ass web hosting company that can handle any kind of traffic your super-star website can attract. Plus they are support + security rock stars!! WP Engine gave me this custom code so that YOU can save 20% off your first payment. Bonus.
Email + Marketing
G Suite (previously known as Google Mail) is bad-ass professional email and MORE. If gives you a professional custom email (email@example.com), allows you to access documents from anywhere, any time with over 30GB of storage, AND helps you work faster from anywhere and from any device.
MailChimp is a simple, user friendly, and pretty email marketing program. You can create a free account so it’s perfect if you are just starting to create a list of loyal followers!
Convert Kit is my email marketing program of choice. If you want a simple system to keep in contact with your people that will connect with a lot of your systems, allow you to create automated email workflows, multiple sign up forms (yay content upgrades), slick tagging and sequencing, and is all around super simple to use, choose Convert Kit.
Ontraport is a badass email marketing, CRM, membership, shopping cart, and all-around crazy solution for a grown-up online business. Not for the faint of heart, Ontraport can do it all, if you have the patience to configure it!
WordPress Themes & Plugins:
I build some of my sites using the Headway framework. It’s a simple drag and drop framework that allows you to have so much control over the look and feel of your site!
Ginger Soul Records’ Headway plugins make my websites so much more fluid, responsive, and ultimately awesome.
Elegant Themes’ Divi is the Ultimate WordPress Theme and Visual Page Builder that gives youm the power to modify your own content without having to learn the in and outs of an often-confusing WordPress interface.
Sucuri covers your butt. I know, it sucks, but the bad dudes exist and they love to attack poor, unsuspecting sites for no reason other than to inflate their basement-lurking egos. So protect yourself. For reals you need malware monitoring, removal, and prevention!
I recommend BackupBuddy by iThemes. Always keep regular backups of your website. Accidents happen, and you don’t want to be caught with your panties down. Backup your WordPress database as regularly as you write new content, and run a full backup weekly.
Akismet: One of the best plugins around for combating comment and contact form spam. Plus they have a really nice sliding scale!!
Open external links in a new window: because you want to give folks valuable links to resources outside of your website, right? Sharing is caring but not at the expense of loosing fans.
Google Analytics Dashboard: See a quick overview of your website statistics from your dashboard. How cool is that?
SeedProd Coming Soon Pro: Simply and beautifully put your site into maintenance mode while applying updates, etc, without loosing site conversions! Create custom branded and designed splash pages that connect to AWebber, MailChimp, etc while you work. Also plays nice with search engines (read: Google). Love it.
Contextly: Keep your blog readers happily reading down the bunny trails of your site with this related content plugin. Oh, and it’s really pretty & clean, too.
Heal Code: Do you use MindBody in your business? Heal Code has awesome widgets, Service links, and a mobile app so that your clients can log into MINDBODY and buy things without leaving your website. Oh, and I’m a certified partner developer.
Simple (free) Form Builder: Ninja Forms. Lets you build and create WordPress submission forms for f-r-e-e.
Form Builder Extraordinaire: Gravity Forms. Gone are the days of boring form plugins that act as a digital notepad. Name, email, message, send, snooze. Welcome to the age of forms that do evvvverything for you. Quizzes, payments, updates, check-ins, registrations, you name it, Gravity Forms does it. And if it can’t? There’s a Zap for that (see below).
Tools To Make Your Business Better:
Accounting: FreshBooks. This small but mighty accounting and bookkeeping software has saved my life! I hate numbers so much that my system used to be an assortment of shoeboxes that collected dust for… a decade. The shame!! Enter Freshbooks and I’m a happy camper. Business lunch? I can take pictures of receipts with my phone and add them to my expenses before I even leave the restaurant. Trouble getting clients to pay on time? Freshbooks allows you to add late fees and automatic email reminders so you don’t have to be the bad guy. And at tax time, all ya gotta do is click ONE BUTTON to email your accountant all the things. MAGIC.
Scheduling: Acuity. Save HOURS with Acuity’s brilliant online scheduler. Clients can make an appointments (paying for it, if necessary), and a Zoom meeting is automatically created and sent to both of your calendars. Before the meeting, the client is sent email reminders that include links to reschedule if they need to. Both of your time? Optimized. That means more dollars in your sexy grown-ass woman wallet.
Video Conferencing & Webinars: Are you still using Skype or Google Hangouts for your business calls? Let me whisper some good advice loudly into your ear: use Zoom. It is secure, STABLE, and you can chat, record, mute, and more. Plus integrates with most other programs, and if not, there’s a ZAP for that!
Project Management: Asana. It’s the best project management tool ever. It’s both pretty and linear so right- and left-brained humans can enjoy their experience. Plus, you can cut down on the amount of emails you hold on to because everything is neatly organized by project and due date. With reminders. Ahem.
Automation: Zapier. Did you ever find yourself taking something in app #1 and putting it in app #2 and just wishing that they’d communicate so that you didn’t have to for them? There’s a Zap for that. Zapier is the mediator of Internet programs, and connects your software together in “Zaps” that you can completely customize. A total timesaver.
Education To Make Your Business Better:
Systems: Creative Class. Paul Jarvis’ Creative Class is still, by far, the best educational investment I’ve made in my business. Ever. When I took the Creative Class a few years back, I was able to cut new client onboarding time from 8-16 hours (per client) to one hour, I now have steady work and am usually booked at least four months in advance, I’m working half the hours, but earning more, and have a greater confidence and a deeper sense of professionalism. You can too.
Boundaries: Healthy Boundaries for Business also changed my life dramatically. Learning how I can be kind, and create a strong foundation of respect for both my business and my clients. Dramatically freeing work here folks.
Congruence: 4 Skills of Relationship Competency. Ever been in a conversation and all of the sudden felt your heart rate increase, the tips of your fingers go all wooshy and your face flush a couple shades warmer? That’s an indicator that something is happening that you’re not OK with. How do you respond? The 4 Skills are tools you can use in those kinds of situations so that you can respond with integrity, get what you want, and maintain your kindness. Holy mind blown batman.
Guess what? If you click on a link that I’ve provided, it may be a link to someone who will give me a commission if you buy something from their site. That means that I might get paid if you click on that link. I only recommend products and services that I use or trust to be of high quality, whether an affiliate relationship is in place or not. And the reason why I’m telling you this is because I want to be upfront with you, and because it’s illegal not to. (So, you know, right side of the law and all.) That said, I promise to use any affiliate commissions earned for good causes: like reinvesting in this business to bring you even better resources, and quite possibly at least one road trip with my husband. Because…road trips.