The SuperSimpl Toolbox
Whether you’re trying to build a 6-figure business or a small, profitable blog, at some point, you’re going to need tools. You can’t build anything without tools.
And while I don’t believe you need to pay for any tools to get started and make your first dollar, you will need most of the following at some point in time if you want to build a $1,000/month (0r more) side business or blog.
The following is a list of my favorite, top rated, and highly recommended tools. I have used all of them at some point and continue to rely heavily on the vast majority of them to run my businesses and blogs.
I recommend them because I trust them and I know they work.
Most links are affiliate links. That means I might get a few dollars from the company or site if you end up buying something from them. But that’s not why they’re on this list. Any commissions I get from referring you are only used to help me continue providing you with valuable content.
And in fact, earning affiliate income is one of the ways you can make money online, even if you don’t have special knowledge or skills.
Websites and Blogs
I recommend WordPress for your website, without hesitation. All of the website-related recommendations I make will assume that you’re using WordPress.
All-In-One Website Solutions
StudioPress is without a doubt my #1 recommendation for an all-in-one, no hassle website. It’s a simple, easy process to set up your account and your website, and they offer a free 30-day trial.
If you decide not to go with an all-in-one, hosted website, you’re going to need to set up your own hosting account. These are the hosting options I recommend, in order.
In my opinion, WPEngine is the best WordPress hosting company around. While my company doesn’t do much website development anymore, I still host about 10 websites that we helped build. All 10 of these are hosted at WPEngine.
Their customer service is incredible and they have even helped restore a site that was hacked, without additional fees. Their service is well worth the monthly fee, but they also include extras like regular backups and extra security.
Prior to moving most of my sites to WPEngine, I had everything hosted at Hostgator. Over 25 sites at one point in time. I still have about a half dozen sites hosted there now.
It’s a good place to start if you don’t have the budget for WPEngine, but I have found the performance of my sites hosted there lacking, and their customer service is not near the level of what it used to be. But again, if money is your primary concern, Hostgator is the way to go.
Once you setup your hosting and use a tutorial to install and setup WordPress, you’re going to want to pick a design for your site. We call these “themes”.
There are dozens of companies that specialize in building WordPress themes. Here are my top recommendations.
I’ve already mentioned StudioPress when covering all-in-one solutions. But StudioPress has been known for their themes longer than they have for all-in-one solutions.
They focus on clean, elegant designs that are super fast, secure, and extremely SEO friendly – the most important elements of a website. All of my websites and blogs use StudioPress themes.
This may be the best series of video tutorials for learning WordPress quickly. You’ll learn how to to manage all aspects of your WordPress site including users, plugins, add-ons, and useful tools.
If you want to build an email list, you need a way to collect email addresses. That’s where Sumo comes in. It’s one of the most popular tools for scroll boxes, tasteful pop-ups, and so much more.
ConverKit is my #1 choice for email marketing and it’s what I have been using for the past two years. It was designed from the ground up to be a tailored solution for bloggers and online business – people who offer lead magnets, opt-ins, and who want to set up effective email sequences that boost conversions and sales.
Search Engine Optimization
For keyword research, I use Market Samurai the most. I’ve been using it for about 8 years and it continues to serve me well. It’s one of the reasons why several of my key blog posts rank #1 in Google for very competitive terms like “content marketing ideas” or “how to make $10,000 per month”.
Long Tail Pro
LongTailPro is a similar tool to Market Samurai and another tool I recommend for keyword research. In fact, if you’re just getting started with keyword research and you don’t need a lot of bells and whistles, I would probably recommend you use Long Tail Pro.
Serpstat is an all-in-one SEO platform, which consists of five different modules and is used for Keyword Research, Competitor Analysis, Site Audit, Backlink Analysis and Rank Tracking. It is quickly becoming one of my favorite SEO tools and the best part, they give you some insights for free.
We can’t talk about marketing without talking about social media. But social media can become very overwhelming very quickly. Which is why you really can’t get away without using tools.
Buffer allows you to write up to 10 posts for your social media profiles at once, but rather than posting them all at once, on a Monday morning, when no one is paying attention… it will publish them on a schedule that you set in advance.
Hootsuite is a powerful tool that allows you to manage all your social media profiles in one place at on time. You can see what happening across Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or wherever all at once. You can also schedule posts in advance and a whole lot more.
This is one of my favorite tools to for quickly creating beautiful images from my phone to use on social media. You know all those posts people publish with the great photos and the neat quote on top. They use this, or something similar.
This is similar to Wordswag but with more features and options. It’s a mobile app by Adobe that you can use to create amazing social media posts using images and text.
I have been using iStockphoto for purchasing stock images and graphics, for my clients for over 10 years. This is my go-to source for premium images.
I use picjumbo.com for clean, modern images of people working, computers and mobile devices, as well as some restaurant, cafe, and food images.
Unsplash is great for styled images that often have filters or are desaturated. There’s quite a variety, including tons of landscapes, and they have recently added a decent search function.
Whether you need to host a webinar, record a tutorial, or create videos for ads or presentations, the below sites will give you lots of options.
My preferred platform for hosting webinars. Run by the same company, WebinarJam is the right choice for live webinars, while EverWebinar is the perfect solution for showing pre-recorded webinars on an evergreen schedule.
All of the videos I create for my online courses, tutorials, and even pre-recorded webinars are created with Screenflow. It is an extremely powerful tool that allows you to record live video, audio, presentations, and even your screen in action.
Fiverr is a marketplace where you can pay $5 or more to have people all over the world do specific tasks for you. Anything from creating a simple logo, to researching a blog post, recording a phone message, or writing social media posts.
Dropbox is an online storage tool. I use it to store and share files online across all my devices or with other people I’m working with. I pay for the premium service and use it to sync all the photos and videos from my phone directly to the cloud so I know I have a backup.
I’m not sure I could run any of my business well without Evernote. It’s a super powerful note-taking tool that allows you to access all your stored info across all your devices. It also has tons of useful features that make life easier.
If you’ve ever bought something from a local small business, street vendor, or food truck, and the cashier had you swipe your card through a little plastic white square plugged into their phone or tablet, then you know exactly what Square does. But it also does a whole lot more.
FreshBooks is a newer software in the bookkeeping space, but it’s quickly become one of the more popular options for solopreneurs, freelancers, and bloggers.