Tools I Use for My Blog

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Website Tools

namecheap logo

I purchase my Domain (url) from NameCheap.com. This is an annual fee.

surfside web logo

My monthly website hosting is through Surfside Web. They’re local to me, but I’ve had better service for less money than the original national provider I started with.

wordpress logo

I manage my website content in WordPress. There is no additional charge for this. If you’re starting a new website, ask your hosting provider for help or tutorials.

Here are the plugins I use in WordPress. While working on your site in WordPress, go to Plugins > Add New > and search their name:

  • All In One WP Security – a security plugin
  • Broken Link Checker – checks for broken links on my site. This is good for if a webpage I link to changes.
  • Cloudflare – I use Cloudflare as my DNS. I can’t explain more because it’s a little over my head.
  • Contextual Related Posts – at the bottom of my blog posts, you’ll see “Related Posts” with three bullet points. This plugin does this automatically for me on each blog post and chooses what it thinks is the most relevant.
  • Easy Forms for Mailchimp – I’m currently using Mailchimp as my email provider because it’s free for < 2,000 contacts.
  • Insert Headers & Footers – this allows me to add codes (like Facebook Pixel) to my website header without having to access all the coding.
  • Limit Login Attempts Reloaded – Another security plugin, it limits people & bots from trying to break into my website when they try all the passwords.
  • Redirection – When I change urls or delete a page, I manually add a new redirection for new page I want people to land on if they click an old link.
  • Social Warfare – I use this to add the social media share buttons at the top and/or bottom of my blog posts.
  • UpdraftPlus – Backup/Restore – This backs up my website content. Also check with your hosting provider to see if they offer this before you pay twice.
  • WP Fastest Cache – This helps me speed up my website when I don’t know how to do technical stuff.
  • Yoast SEO

For any of these, I recommend doing what I did and Google “how to set up [plugin name] for beginners.” I follow these to make sure I choose the appropriate settings, especially when I don’t fully understand them.

Before you upload files to your website, you should compress them to make them smaller. I use tinypng for images and pdfcompressor for PDFs.

Yes, you can also do this when your files are too big to upload to Constant Contact.

Social Media Tools

hootsuite logo

While I’m still a huge fan of SmarterQueue, I’m currently using the free plan of Hootsuite for personal use. I can post to 3 different social platforms and schedule up ton 30 posts (if I do the same post to all platforms, it’s like 10 posts x 3 sites = 30) for free.

canva logo

I know you’re shocked, but I use Canva to create any custom images/graphics I want to post. I have since spent personal money to upgrade to the pro plan.

Selling Stuff

Google Slides

I designed the content for the Chamber Pros Planner in Google Slides, which is their version of PowerPoint. This is a free tool, but I have paid for “Google One” for the additional storage in Google Drive.

I usually start in Google Drive so stuff is organized & create new documents from there.

The Chamber Pros Planner is self-published on Amazon. You can do the same through their Kindle Direct Publishing.

Also search “Amazon KDP” for tutorials. This allows me to sell a physical item without investing in printing or manufacturing.

I’m also testing out Merch by Amazon (think mugs & shirts), but I don’t have anything to report yet.

I currently sell digital products on Etsy. If I made more money to consistently cover monthly fees, I would probably use a tool like SendOwl as it opens the door to creating an affiliate program.

There’s also WordPress plugins like WooCommerce or Shopify. They would give me more control & more money, but I think it’s like 2% more money to do work. Right now my focus is just getting started, so I chose the path of least resistance. Eventually I might move stuff back over to my site.

Currently I sell my on-demand course on Thinkific. With Thinkific there’s a better opportunity to make more money, but you will need to promote your courses yourself.

If you aren’t building a blog or personal brand, and you don’t mind less money per transaction, many people are selling on sites like Udemy or Skillshare which has their own audience.

Click here to learn about planning your first course.

And of course, if you’re really into your website, there’s WordPress plugins (or other options) to host your own courses on your own site. I’m guessing this is closer to what Frank Kenny does for his Chamber Pros Education.