These are the tools, courses, and resources that I have used to launch and grow my online businesses. I only recommend products that I like and trust.
Disclosure: This page contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. These are all products I’ve used and highly recommend.
Start a WordPress Blog
Siteground is my top pick if you’re looking for web hosting to start a blog. It has been my go-to web hosting service since April 2018. The best thing about Siteground is its responsive and attentive customer service. In addition to that, it offers top-notch security and site speed. Siteground has the highest satisfaction rate among online entrepreneurs, small business owners, and web developers. Learn about how to start a blog on Siteground.
If you’re looking for a professional theme for your blog, then I would recommend a premium StudioPress theme with the Genesis Framework. This is the theme I use for both of my blogs. The Genesis framework, which acts as a foundation for a theme, is regarded by web developers as the most secure and reliable framework for websites. StudioPress themes are highly customizable and mobile responsive. There are over 400 themes to choose from.
Grammarly is a free writing tool that makes editing your documents a breeze. You simply download the extension on your browser. Then Grammarly automatically checks the grammar on your essays, whether you’re editing a Google doc or a WordPress post. Grammarly is an essential part of my writing process as I self-edit all my work. It makes the process of producing high-quality, error-free writing easier.
The Yoast SEO plugin helps you optimize your posts and pages for Google traffic. It evaluates how well you use keywords in your content and how easy they are to read. This plugin is a must for bloggers of all levels.
UpdraftPlus is a plugin that provides automatic backups for your website. It’s extremely important to consistently back up your site. In the event something goes wrong, you can restore all your files, posts, pages images, and plugins saved in the click of a button. While Siteground provides automatic backups for all users, it never hurts to have extra backups!
The Social Warfare plugin makes it easy for visitors to share your posts on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other social networks. This plugin is not only aesthetically pleasing but also doesn’t slow down your site like some other social share plugins.
JetPack is a plugin that a range of additional features designed to maximize your website’s security and performance. These include site stats, malware protection, downtime monitoring, social sharing, sidebar customization, and more. JetPack’s features are ideal for a new blog but may become unnecessary as your blog grows.
Akismet is a free plugin that protects your website from spam. It filters out spam comments and blocks them so you never have to see them. There is a premium version of the plugin, but the free version will suffice.
Drive Traffic To Your Blog
Stupid Simple SEO is the best course I’ve taken about search engine optimization. SEO is probably the most intimidating topic for bloggers. However, it’s not as scary as it seems if you find the right teacher to walk you through it. Mike Pearson is an SEO expert and just the type of teacher you need to break down SEO for you. In easy-to-follow videos, Mike explains what SEO is and how it works in layman’s terms. After taking this course, you’ll never be intimidated by SEO again.
The Traffic Transformation Guide course goes over 21 strategies that mom blogger a Lena Gott used to go from 17k to 400k page views in just 10 months. This course contains a goldmine of information and strategies that will help you drive traffic to your site. It is one of the most comprehensive courses I’ve taken about growing blog traffic. Topics covered include how to narrow your blog’s focus, create a content plan, and interlink your posts.
Pinterest Primer is a free course for those who are brand new to Pinterest. It covers the basics of how Pinterest works and how to set up an optimized Pinterest account for your business. You’ll also learn about common Pinterest mistakes to avoid and Pinterest myths to ignore. In essence, Pinterest Primer will give you the foundational information you need to succeed on Pinterest.
Pinterest Ninja is a great Pinterest course for beginners. Taught by blogger and Pinterest expert, Megan Johnson, it goes over how to set up a Pinterest account from scratch, claim your website, create boards, and join group boards. This course helped me understand Pinterest SEO better than any other course I’ve taken. It includes in-depth videos showing you how to use keywords on Pinterest, which is critical for your success.
Pinteresting Strategies is the ideal course for you already understand the basics of Pinterest and want to gain a deeper understanding of how the Pinterest algorithm works. Carly Campbell from Mommy on Purpose gets 200,000 page views every month from Pinterest using a manual pinning strategy. In the course, she thoroughly explains the Pinterest algorithm in layman’s terms and demonstrates why manual pinning is effective. I tried manual pinning with my first blog for 3 months and grew my Pinterest traffic from 2k to 15k. The information and strategies I learned from this ebook drastically changed the way I think about Pinterest traffic.
SEMRush is a worthy investment for those who are serious about improving their website’s SEO. It beats any other SEO tool I’ve used. This tool allows you to perform a complete SEO site audit, check the keywords your competitors are ranking for, plan your content to improve your rankings, and so much more. SEMRush essentially provides you with a goldmine of information and tells you exactly what to do to improve your ranking on Google. It has been a game-changer for me, and I can’t recommend it enough. You can sign up for a 7-day free trail to see how SEMRush works.
Keysearch is a cheaper alternative to SEMRush for those who are just getting started with keyword research. It doesn’t have the advanced features that SEMRush has, but it has all the tools you need to perform basic keyword research. You can find out about the competitiveness of keywords and find the keywords your competitors are ranking for.
Tailwind is a scheduling tool for Pinterest. It saves time on pinning by automatically posting your pins to designated boards at a given time. You can schedule pins in advance for weeks, months, or even years. Tailwind also provides analytics to let you know your best-performing pins and boards. Lastly, you also have the option to join Tailwind Tribes and to gain even more exposure for your pins. Click here to get a 30-day free trial of Tailwind.
Deposit Photos is a stock photo service that gives you access to millions of professional, royalty-free photos. I use stock photos for everything from blog posts to landing pages to pins. The photo at the top of this page is a download from Deposit Photos. Once you download a photo, you can use it over and over again for as long as you want.
Canva is an online graphic design tool that anyone can use. It’s a lot easier to learn than Photoshop so you don’t need any design experience to get started. I use Canva to create pins for my blog posts and affiliate offers. I use Canva Pro, the paid version, because it gives you access to more features and allows you to easily manage your brand colors, logos, and fonts in one place. It’s easier to use if you’re new to graphic design but doesn’t have as many features as PicMonkey. The main advantage it has over PicMonkey is access to 400,000 free premium photos. Read my complete Canva Pro review for more details.
PicMonkey is another online graphic design tool. It’s a bit more advanced than Canva but also has more features. to make professional pins to promote my blog posts and affiliate products. It comes with over 200 fonts and many unique features, such as layers, textures, and enhancement tools. PicMonkey isn’t as complicated to learn as Photoshop, but you can use it to produce photoshop-quality graphics.
Get Started with Affiliate Marketing
Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing is one of the most comprehensive guides to affiliate marketing on the market. It is taught by personal finance blogger Michelle Schroeder-Gardner, who consistently makes $50,000/month from affiliate marketing. Michelle explains the ins and outs of affiliate marketing, from the legal aspects to the best strategies to drive conversions. This is a text-based course that comes with workbooks and actionable steps to implement what you’ve learned.
Pin to Profits – Affiliate Marketing is a step-by-step guide to making money with affiliate marketing on Pinterest. It is taught by mom blogger and Pinterest expert McKinzie Bean. This video-based course walks you through the process of creating and posting affiliate pins on Pinterest to generate commissions. It covers topics such as how to create click-worthy affiliate pins, what boards to post your pins to, and what types of products do well on Pinterest.
ShareASale is an affiliate network with over 3,900 affiliate programs. It is home to companies in every industry, from electronics to beauty. Some of the companies I promote from ShareASale are Allianz Global Insurance, Skyscanner, and Sally Beauty. As with all affiliate networks, signing up for ShareASale is completely free.
Pretty Links is a tool for managing and tracking your affiliate links. It lets you assign a unique URL for all your affiliate links using your own domain name. That way, you can cloak your affiliate links so that they aren’t long and ugly. With a unique URL for each affiliate product, it’s easier to manage and share your affiliate links. The Pretty Links plugin dashboard also shows you the number of clicks your links have received.
Build an Email List
Convertkit is an email service provider you can use to manage and grow your email list. One of the most valuable assets you can have as a blogger is an engaged email list. Unlike your social media accounts, you own your list. Convertkit is great because it was specifically designed for bloggers, which makes it easy to use and compatible with WordPress.
Essential Grid is a premium plugin that allows you to create customizable galleries to share information on your blog. You can also use this plugin to create an e-commerce store, a portfolio, a resource library, and a display of blog posts. sI’ve used this plugin to resource libraries, which I’ve used as a lead magnet to grow my email list.
Leadpages is an online platform that lets you create one-of-a-kind landing pages, opt-in forms, mini websites to drive leads to your business. I’ve used this tool to create dozens of landing pages to promote my courses, lead magnets, giveaways, and more. There are over 150 landing page templates to choose from.
Manage Social Media
Buffer is a social media management tool that enables you to schedule posts to your Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and Pinterest accounts from one place. Instead of manually posting to each platform, you can save time by posting to several accounts at once. Buffer has a free and paid version. I use the paid version because it unlocks more features, but the free version is perfectly fine.
Iconosquare is an analytics tool that provides insights into the performance of your Instagram account. It shows you information like when your audience is most engaged, your best performing content by views, comments, likes, and reach, and your audience demographics. This is valuable information you can use to improve your posting strategy.
Hire a Freelancer
Fiverr is my go-to website to hire freelancers. I have hired graphic designers, social media managers, and web developers from here. Overall, my experience has been great. There are a lot of highly qualified freelancers on the platform who charge reasonable prices. Be sure to carefully read each freelancer’s reviews before making a hiring decision.
People Per Hour is another great website to hire freelancers. So far, I have hired a photographer from here and had a fantastic experience with her. Freelancers on this platform tend to charge more than those on Fiverr. You also have the option to post a project and have freelancers interview for it.
Upwork is one of the largest online platforms that connects businesses with freelancers, agencies, and independent professionals. You can post a job and the specific skills required for it. Then candidates who meet those skill requirements will submit proposals to you. From there, you can screen candidates and choose the perfect person for the job.
Launch a Digital Product
Teachable is an online platform for course creators. It has an easy-to-use interface to host your online course, track your earnings, and work with affiliates to promote your course. I have used Teachable to host all my courses and coaching programs over the last 2 years.
Course From Scratch is one of the best courses on the topic of creating a premium. Danielle Leslie, a former Udemy instructor turned 7-figure course creator, breaks down how to select a course topic, create your course material, and have a profitable launch. Danielle focuses on helping you launch a minimum viable course without obsessing over tech or worrying about making the perfect slides.
If you want to learn how to run successful Facebook ads for your business, then the Power Your Launch Accelerator is a great course to take. It’s taught by Abu Fofanah, who runs an agency and has managed ads for Fortune 500 companies.
One more thing: if you found this resource page useful, please share it!