I’m always having people ask me about different apps and programs I use so I decided to publish all my favorite blogging and small business resources here. I’ll continue to add to this page and update it as I learn about new programs and after I’ve used them for a while.
Please ask me if you have any questions about any of them or if you have other recommendations for me. (UPDATED 1/2018)
My Favorite Small Business Resources
Jennifer Allwood’s Inner Circle & Other Trainings
It’s hard being a solopreneur! You need to hear from people who have been where you are right now. I pay a monthly fee to be in a group full of creative entrepreneurs… ’cause we’re just different in so many ways. Jennifer Allwood gets it. She’s been were I am now and I trust what she says. She’s a believer so that comes through in her encouragement, too.
One you sign up for the Inner Circle you’ll be included in a Facebook group where Jennifer shares 2-4 Facebook Live videos a month with guests, Facebook page and blog reviews of YOUR own pages, encouragement, information, and more. I’ve also learned TONS from the other group members! A very encouraging place that I HIGHLY recommend.
This is much more than just a blogging resource. Jennifer speaks to small CREATIVE business owners… painters, boutique owners, wreath makers, jewelry designers, etc.
She also has single subject trainings available if you just need a little boost in one or two areas.
- Join the Inner Circle
- Facebook Live Training
- ALL of Jennifer’s courses – including
- Using Pinterest for Business
- Marketing Your Creative Business
- Perfectly Price Your Pieces
- Furniture Painting for Income
- Cabinet Painting as a Career
I’m currently using a virtual assistant to share my blog links to linky parties. Let me know if you’re interested and I’ll pass along her info.
My daughter also helps me design t-shirts and upload them to our Amazon Merch account.
Some of these are affiliate links. You won’t pay any extra for using them but I’ll earn a small commission which will help support my blog and I greatly appreciate it!!!
SEO (Search Engine Optimization)
SEO is a big deal in the blogging world. Learning to optimize my blog post literally changed the way I blog!
This is a WordPress plug in that will tell you if your post is optimized for your keyword.
This app is important to have because Yoast will only tell you if you’re optimized… it won’t tell you what keyword to optimize FOR!
They also have a few other keyword related and back link tools but I haven’t used them.
This is the online course I took where I learned the most helpful info! Registration is not open all the time so sign up for my business email list and I’ll let you know when her next course is.
Scheduling Social Media
I schedule directly on Facebook. I’ve tried other programs without much luck. My traffic seems to be even LOWER when I use a third party to schedule!
Right now I’m scheduling 7 posts a day on FB, a mix of my blog posts, other blogs, photos, quotes, videos, and affiliates. I also share viral posts at least once a day.
My engagement has really gone up since I started doing this. It’s about 5% of my followers now. And yes, that is UP. It was about 1% when I started keeping track! Sad!!!
Post Planner – I do use Post Planner to schedule for my 12 Days of Christmas group on Facebook. If you absolutely CAN’T keep up with a schedule and CAN’T afford a VA, this is better than not posting at all.
Board Booster – I started using this in January 2016 and loved it. After using both BB & Tailwind for a while I decided to do everything through Tailwind.
Tailwind – I use Tailwind to find and schedule pins from other bloggers. I probably pin 75% my posts and 25% others. The Tribe feature is my favorite! I joined about 10 tribes and can find and schedule a months worth of pins in an hour!
Ahalogy – You can schedule your own posts or choose from the Ahalogy network. They suggest keywords to help you optimize your listings and provide a editorial calendar to know when to pin what content. FYI, I haven’t used Ahalogy in months!
Post Planner – I use Post Planner to schedule Twitter. My favorite part of this app is that it will recycle my posts!!! So I can write a post, set it to “recycle”, and I’ll never have to post that again! After it goes to Twitter it will appear again at the end of the queue.
Once a week I add all my new posts and seasonal content. I scan through the next week and delete any posts from last ‘season’.
Post Planner will also schedule to Facebook. As I mentioned above, I only use it for my 12 Days of Christmas group. As I mentioned before… even FEWER people see FB posts scheduled through a third party.
Hootsuite – I used Hootsuite to schedule my social media for years. The free version worked great for me. Now I pay for Tailwind. I never used the Pro account but you can use my Hootsuite affiliate link and get a free 30-day trial of Hootsuite Pro. That will allow you to connect more accounts.
Tailwind – I’ve been using Tailwind to schedule Instagram for a few months now. I can’t tell you how much I love it! As of this writing, IG doesn’t allow any third party apps to post directly. So Tailwind sends me a notification on my phone and with just a few clicks I can post — without deciding what photo to share, writing a post, or researching hashtags.
Which, btw, is one of my favorite features… Tailwind saves hashtag lists! So once I research them (see hashtag resource above) I can just click on the list to use them.
Free Royalty-Free Images
Pexel.com – My current favorite. Not a lot to choose from but what they have is good quality.
Death to Stock Photography – Very creative photos.
Miniography – A very minimal look.
Unsplash – A more artistic look.
Books About Blogging
How to Blog for Profit Without Losing Your Soul, Ruth Soukup
The Blog Post Tool Kit by Gina Luker. I met Gina at my first Snap Conference in 2015. She’s been blogging almost a decade and gets about 2 MILLION pages views a month! This is really a step-by-step checklist of what you need to include in a blog post. Once you get this down, it becomes MUCH easier.
Books About Selling on Etsy
How to Start a Home Based Etsy Business, Gina Luker
Other Etsy Resources:
Marmalead – info coming soon
Inspired Bloggers University – Yes, this is a big investment but cheaper than a blog conference. And I’ve learned MORE about blogging from these courses than when I went to a conference!
…for reading about my favorite blogging and small business resources.
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‘Til the next project,