There are just some tools and resources in business that I feel are critical to keeping things running like a well-oiled machine. Here’s a few of my top picks:
When it comes to Autoresponders, they are a dime a dozen and I’ve tried several of them, but my absolute, hands-down favorite is AWeber. Client is Aweber because they score on price, usability, customization and amazing customer service. Set the dates for client emails and newsletters and walk away. AWeber has 150 easily customizable templates, so that you don’t need to have a Creative Design Degree to create awesome looking email newsletters. And you can produce professional-looking web forms in three simple steps. YUP, I said Aweber is also a favorite for creating opt-in boxes for clients wanting to capture names and emails to grow their list. Again, this program is usually paid for by the client, but having knowledge of Aweber benefits and basics functions is a good thing to know.
Decent and reliable Hosting: Blue Host.
Carbonite: You have enough to worry about, don’t make worry about your files one of them. Carbonite safety and securely backs up your files continuously.
Drop Box is a great way to pass files and info between clients and workers. All files stay “in the cloud” so if you (or their) computer bombs out, no worries-everything is safe. I like that a client can load a file, I can go in an edit or tweak right within DB. It updates as soon as I hit “save” and the client can see my changes or work instantly. Starts with 2GB for free, and you can easily be upgraded. It’s a great service for sharing large files as well.
Godaddy.com: Reliable web-hosting and domain acquisition services. Click the image for more details.
HOOTSUITE: Hootsuite has saved my bacon on many occasion by making it look like I am on the ball and working long hours when actually, I’m not. That’s the beauty of Hootsuite. It’s an amazing time-saver tool for posting updates, Tweets, and comments to social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, FourSquare, and Linked-IN. The main program of Hootsuite is FREE, but there is a upgraded Pro version as well.
Sign up for a Free 30 day trial of HootSuite Pro
Freshbooks:FreshBooks helps you send and manage invoices online. You’ll actually enjoy invoicing!
PicMonkey, Photo Shop or Pixlr
We are living in such an image-based world right now. Images RULE on social media platforms including blogs. Statistics show that a Facebook update with a striking image or infographic is 84% more likely to get engagement than one without. There are many, many programs to help you create striking images or fun (shareable) images for blogs and websites, but my choice is PicMonkey. Formerly known as Picnik, Picmonkey is a easier to navigate than Photo Shop. PM boasts fun overlays, slick fonts, and ease of sharing your images once complete. PM is free, but only with a limited number of options. The Royale version opens up a treasure trove of options for fonts, overlays, and borders and is around $10 a month. Created striking, branded images for your clients is a great skill to have.
Trello: I personally am not a fan of Basecamp and for most of my clients (and my personal projects) I use Trello. Trello is a very simple and free task management application that can help bloggers, VA’s, or smaller group projects stay on track. Using Trello reduces the “who’s doing what again?” or “what is the status of this project” confusion because it gives you the information you need when you need it. I’ve created a 25 page guide filled with tips, best practices, strategies, instructions and screenshots to help you optimize this tool of business. You can read more about this report click the Trello Guide image on the right sidebar, or visit Trello yourself to take a look HERE.