Recommended Digital Tools & Resources
As an entrepreneur in the digital age, I rely on a number of digital software tools to run my business and have discovered some valuable resources over the years as well. This list will be growing!
I have extensive experience with each and every one of the tools and resources listed below and feel very confident in recommending them to you.
I’m a huge believer in using best in class tools that are open source, reputable, and reliable!
Please note that if you decide to sign-up for a free trial or purchase any of the tools on my suggestion list labeled as “partner” or “affiliate”, I can be compensated by the provider for the referral. Ultimately, you have to make the best choices for your budget and business goals when deciding which digital tools are most suitable for you. You should consider my list as a starting point for conducting your own research and testing.
Steph’s Recommended Digital Tools and Apps
Zapier – This tool has become invaluable to me. As you are probably aware, there are so many online tools that you can utilize for building and growing your digital brand. Zapier is a lifesaver in that it allows you to connect almost ANY of the tools that you use and automate tasks.
Nimble – Nimble has won me over in this category because of the sleek integration of client relationship management, social media management, and email communications. I believe that email should be integrated with CRM, because that is where so much of the conversation exists! If you already have a CRM system set-up, consider using Nimble as more of a top layer to your CRM tool.
Rapportive – Rapportive is a people intelligence tool owned by LinkedIn that I absolutely could not live without, and best of all it’s free. Install Rapportive in Gmail (or Google apps) to get social data on your email contacts. See their latest tweets and connect with them on social networks right from within your Gmail inbox.
My website runs on WordPress (self-hosted version). There is just nothing that compares to the power and flexibility of WordPress. Not to mention the thousands of plugins available to extend the functionality and the huge support community of designers and developers out there.
WP Engine – WordPress hosting is not a commodity. I’ve used very low cost hosting in the past, and it was a disaster. With WordPress hosting, you get what you pay for. You don’t want to go with the low cost provider when it comes to hosting and securing your website or blog.
I migrated my own sites as well as all of my client sites to WP Engine in 2012 and have never looked back. WP Engine provides hassle and worry free WordPress specific hosting. It’s also a fast and scalable platform. Most importantly, their service and support is absolutely outstanding! (I’m a WP Engine affiliate)
WP101 – My good friend Shawn Hesketh has done an amazing job with his WordPress 101 Training Videos. You’ll have the basics down in no time, and he updates the videos each time there is a new release on WordPress software! (I’m a WP101 partner and affiliate)
Content Development, Planning, & Marketing
For a long time I’ve survived without a content calendar but finally decided it was time to put more structure around my process. I chose CoSchedule, which is a content marketing calendar and social media tool that integrates directly with WordPress, Evernote, and even Google docs.
CoSchedule allows you to share your blog posts multiple times across multiple social media channels and track your shares, all from the dashboard of your WordPress website.
Social Media Management Tools
Social Media Monitoring and Management
I’ve been using ConvertKit for my primary email marketing tool since September of 2015. It’s a newer email marketing platform, but it’s built specifically for small business entrepreneurs. It has the valuable tagging and marketing automation features of something like InfusionSoft, but it is much simpler to use and much more affordable. I’ve actually migrated from InfusionSoft to ConvertKit.
Bottom line is InfusionSoft is overkill for most small business entrepreneurs!
MailChimp is also a good choice for simple email marketing.
More resources and tools are on the way!