Resources


We all use various tools and resources to get our work done.  I use a variety of tools and services to create content that I then upload to my blog and share with you.  I am sharing this list so that you can do the same with your blog.

Please note, I am an affiliate for some of these products and services.  The reason that they are on this list, is because I use them, day in and day out.  They make my life easier, which is why I recommend them here. (If you click through any of the links, I may make a small commission, all at no extra cost to you)

I am in the process of creating Tutorials for everything I use and will be posting links to these tutorials in this resource page as they are completed, so, please, do come check this page whenever you have a chance, so that you can see how simple these platforms, and services are to use.


Hardware


Laptop  -  HP 250, N2840 2Ghz Cpu, 64 Bit, 500GB


I’ve had my laptop for about 2 Years now.  I keep it clean, run updates and make sure to keep work off the main drive, (to keep it optimized).  Good Little laptop, and gets the job done.


Desktop


Dell OptiPlex 5055 Tower.  Fast secure, reliable desktop that hasn’t given me a day’s trouble.  Support from Dell is superb.  If you ever want to get yourself another desktop, I would recommend using Dell as your device of choice.


Screen


Dell (SE2216H) 22" HDMI Widescreen LED Backlight LCD Monitor.  A 22 Inch LCD screen with crystal clear display, Zero Flicker, Quiet, Tiltable and flat.  Takes up minimal space on my desk and works great.


External Drives - 1 x Toshiba 1Tb, 1 x Samsung 1Tb, 1 x Western Digital 1Tb


I use 3 external drives for safety.  If one crashes, at least I still have my data synced across the other 2 devices, so I have time to replace the crashed one.

The Toshiba drive is very flat, and works fast.  The Samsung Drive is a Bit Larger and a bit slower to respond sometimes.

The Western Digital works just fine, no lag time, the design is compact, so it doesn’t take up space either.


Mouse – Verbatim Go Nano Wireless


I don’t like wires and restriction, that’s why I chose a wireless mouse.  This one works great, it’s quick, and sensitive.


Desk


I typically like to have an L-shaped desk, stuck in a corner.  It just helps me stay focused and have everything I need on hand without having to move around fetching things from somewhere else.  I can have my PC, Laptop and filing trays as well as a printer all in one work-space and not feel cramped.


Chair


I go for the minimalist look and modern design when it comes to office furniture, but it must at least be decent quality, I don’t want to go spending thousands of dollars replacing stuff that wears through every year.

I also want support and comfort from the furniture I do use, so this office chair fits nicely into my needs.


UPS


You know how damaging it can be to your device if it isn’t shut down properly?  Well, I always make sure my UPS is working properly, testing it along with all my other tech once every 3 months.

It needs to give me at least 30 minutes to an hour to get some final touches done to my work before I have to log off and wait for any power outage to end, and this UPS does the job perfectly.


Sound


When I’m in the office I have my MP3 player handy and often need to listen my metal music to drown out background noise so I can focus, that’s where these iPod and Mp3 Compatible speakers shine.

On my desktop, for audio during calls and conferences, I use a different set of speakers dedicated to my desktop, and these creative speakers do just fine, delivering crystal clear audio.


Webcam


Microsoft LifeCam HD3000, Widescreen Video Chat Webcam.  Great for chatting with friends and family.  Recording video for courses, etc, etc.  Great Webcam for business presentations etc.  Webcams are a must have business tool.


Microphone


When talking to a camera, sometimes the built in microphone doesn’t always pick up the nuances of your voice, leaving it somewhat flat and monotone. 

That’s why I make use of a professional microphone on my desktop to make sure that you can clearly hear every word I say. 

PS: I do this especially because my wife says I mumble!

When you’re talking on Skype to friends, family and new business partners, you want them to hear what you have to say.

I do podcasting and YouTube videos as well, so having a good quality microphone is vital for quality audio output.


Software


WordPress


For all my Business websites and for customers I use WordPress.  For me, it’s the best platform on which to build a business.

It’s easy to use, easy to modify and there are no limitations except for your own imagination.

If you become half educated, you could build stunning WordPress websites in no time at all.

In fact, if you can type in Microsoft word, or any other word processing software, then you can build a website in WordPress.

Need help getting started?  


If You Want To Seriously Build A Business Using WordPress I Recommend Thrive Themes


Thrive themes is a suite of WordPress plugins that work together.  

You can:

  • Build online courses
  • Quizzes
  • Polls
  • Landing pages
  • Use premade themes and page sequences
  • Integrate autoresponders and Chatbots


 Plus so, so much more.  It truly is a very powerful all-in-one business suite for a serious Blogger. Thrive Themes is an all in one platform for anyone to set up and run a Professional business on WordPress.


Wix


For personal websites and for any hobby website, I Use Wix.  They have brilliant templates and their AI based website building BOT builds stunning looking websites in minutes.

You can go from not having any website at all, to having a prebuilt website, with generic content within minutes.  All you have to do, is make a few tweaks to personalize it, and your site is ready for traffic.

If you had three to four hours, you could set-up a Wix website for yourself completely, then start driving traffic to it to start a business.

Curious and want to build a Business or Hobby website on Wix?  Click through and do it yourself using this link, or let me help you.


Shopify


For this site and all my other assets, I use WordPress.  When it comes to eCommerce, no one beats Shopify for their ease of use and functionality.  They make is super easy to run an online eCommerce store.

If you’re just looking for a platform where you can setup a hobby site, I would recommend Wix.  In Wix, you can quickly and easily setup a gorgeous looking website in minutes.


MS Office – MS Office 2013


I use Word, Excel, PowerPoint and Outlook all the time.  They’re all great for managing my daily activities and for creating content for my website and social media channels.


Google Apps


In Google, I use:


  • MyBusiness – for local business listings
  • Google Drive – data storage and sharing
  • Gmail – for notifications and for account signups as well as calendar and hangouts
  • Analytics – for tracking and analyzing visitor traffic to my site
  • Webmaster – to track and repair website errors
  • Tag Manager – to tag pages and page elements
  • Experiments – to test different aspects of pages for conversion optimization
  • URL Campaign Builder – to track links across the web
  • Trends – to find trending content or topics on the web
  • Keyword planner – to find search volume for keywords


For Podcasting – Audacity (FREE) - https://www.audacityteam.org/


To record my voice, edit, clip, stream and save in audio formats on my computer.


Device Security - Spybot Search and destroy with Antivirus


I’ve been using Spybot for a long time.  They recently added the antivirus functionality to it, and it works great.  I would recommend it to anyone.  I use it extensively on all my in home computers and for any clients that I help.

I use Spybot as the first line of defense against any web threats.


Device Maintenance


I have a three month maintenance schedule going for my devices.  I archive data, do a physical clean of the devices, internally and externally to remove any dust or dirt that got stuck in the keys, in the edge of the screen, the outer covers etc, etc.

Part of the clean-up is doing backups to external drives, then doing a complete scan of the device to find any bugs, malware or any type of nasty infection. 

I also delete a lot of files and make sure that I keep my main “C” Drive as empty as possible.  The reason for this is because your device needs to sift through less files to return results if you give it a command.

The less files it needs to look through, the quicker it can return a result.

The main reason why devices slow down, is because everyone saves new programs, files, music, videos and general documents to their “C” drive.  That’s the wrong way to do it.

You should be storing data off your “C” drive on other drives.


Accidental File Deletion


Work happens and in our rush to get things done, we sometimes click the wrong thing, by accident press the delete button when we were supposed to press “enter” and lose a lot of data.

Sometimes we think we no longer need anything and delete it from our folders, then empty the trash basket too.  A week later, we go looking for the very same things we deleted then realize our mistake.

Luckily, you can still recover deleted files if you’re lucky enough.

We use a tool called Recuva to do this.

It’s a common misconception to think that files are completely deleted from a device once the trash is emptied. 

When you save data on your computer, it is stored deep in certain parts of the drive that only forensic experts understand and the regular person doesn’t have access to.

But, using the recovery technology of Recuva, you can easily restore deleted files, like I said, if you’re lucky. 

You probably have a 50 to 70% chance of getting all your data back, which is much better than thinking you’ve lost it ALL.


Device Details


Over time your device receives updates, your drivers are updated and various things change on your device over time.  I like to keep track of changes, so that I know where to begin looking for changes when something goes wrong.

A neat little tool that you can use for this is called Speccy.

It’s a little utility that delivers a report detailing every facet of your device, so that you can see what device is where, what driver versions are present, what software you have and a couple of other details that technical folk love.

I typically use Speccy to keep track of driver versions and that type of hardware or software has been added or removed from my devices.


Deep Scans for Viruses and Malware – Malwarebytes


Doing periodic scans of your devices is a good way to make sure your device is clean and devoid of malware or any infections.  For this I only use one tool and really swear by it to find anything nasty.  It’s called Malwarebytes.  It does a deep scan, finds infections and gets rid of them.

It makes me feel much better about the safety of my data and my device when I’ve done thorough clean-up.  So, give Malwarebytes a whirl on your device to make sure it’s devoid of any Trojans, worms or any other type of virus. 


Ccleaner


Ccleaner gets rid of junk on my computer.  The most important junk that it cleans out daily is my previous browsing cookies and any files saved from my browsing sessions.  Having these deleted as often as possible is one way to prevent hackers from seeing your online activity if they ever get access to your device.

You can start with their Free version, but it doesn’t do much compared to the paid Ccleaner.


Spam Prevention


Did you know that 85% of all email opened across the world, is spam?  That’s pretty hectic.  If I think about it logically, it’s actually true.  I don’t know how many times in the past I was informed that I had won the Lottery, that I never even entered.

All I had to do was send my ID number, address details, my banking details including my pin number and all of the funds would be transferred to me.  I got to the “Pin number” then I knew, hey, something “fishy” here.

I got tired of the endless weight supplements, sex offers, Viagra emails etc, etc.  I went looking for a solution, and found a lot of very expensive solutions.  I was looking for something more affordable for my small business and stumbled across Vipre.

A cloud based endpoint (device protection) and email protection service that would offer another layer of security for my small business in the cloud.  You never have too much protection, so I signed up with Vipre and haven’t had a day’s worth of spam again.


Screen Recording and Video Editing


You know that video is vitally important for your business.  That’s why video recording and editing software is so important to have nowadays.

If you go online, you can probably find hundreds of different platforms where you can create videos with ease.

Most of us want more control over the things we create, that’s why I use my own software on my desktop, liked to my camera.

It’s always better to stay in control of your own content than to rely on another platform that may not exist two or three years from now.


Services


Invoicing – 


Invoicely – https://invoicely.com

FREE invoicing that I use for my personal invoicing for affiliate income, freelance work, web support, PC support etc.  Absolutely brilliant invoicing platform.


Accounting – 


Waveapps – https://waveapps.com

Free accounting software in the cloud.  It’s one of the easiest ways to manage your finances, seriously, don’t pay for accounting software when there’s this awesome app right here in front of you, go check it out.


Online Transactions –

 

Taking online payments from advertisers, affiliate networks, amazon, eBay and all the other places that I promote online can be a nightmare to track.  Luckily, I found one platform that will integrate Paypal with and it’s called Payoneer.

I signed up with them, received my card and then used the same card to sign up for Paypal.  So I receive payment to Paypal and Also direct from Advertisers and other large online marketplaces, direct to my Payoneer Card.

I like the convenience of having all funds routed to one place, instead of switching between multiple accounts the whole time.


Social Media Scheduling –


Tailwind


Who has time to manually pin and post images to social media sites all day.  It takes time out of your already busy schedule.

That’s why I use Tailwind to schedule pins to Pinterest, Instagram and recently released, Facebook Pages.

What’s great about it is that you also receive content to share, and other tribes who share your content if it’s good enough.

Tailwind is a great timesaver, I would recommend everyone use it to save time.


HootSuite

 

We work in multiple social media networks, so it’s imperative that we have tools to automate and schedule posts so that we always have content ready to share with our loyal customers and newcomers to our various channels.

For Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook, we use Hootsuite, as they are more of a short to medium length content, platforms.


Web hosting


Domain Names


For some of the cheapest and most varied domain names around, I can’t help but recommend Namecheap to buy your first domain.  Transferring the new domain to most other hosting providers is a simple, painless experience using them.


Standard Hosting


For smaller sites and personal blogs, we use  Hostgator, they host millions of websites and domains across the web.  I have used them extensively over the years and can seriously vouch for their excellent customer support.

If you’re just starting out on the web, then Hostgator is definitely a place to start, their pricing is good and they have everything you need to get a domain and a WordPress site online within a few minutes.


Business Hosting - Bluehost


If you’re serious about building an online business and using some of the best hosting platforms that are out there, then you should try Bluehost.  They have an excellent track record, host lots of domains and are an excellent platform with stability, redundancy and the speed you need to professionally run an online business.


Standard Chatbots


Do you want to simplify lead generation for your business?  Chatbots are the answer to not only generate leads, but are also great for automation.

Chatbots are the butlers, standing ready at the front door, on every page of your choosing, waiting to help visitors to your site, guiding them towards the information they may be looking for.

We wanted a chatbot that would collect contact details instead of directing them to Facebook for the conversation to continue there, and found collect chat.

The platform is extremely easy to use.  We’ll be creating videos and link you to them from this page as soon as they’re published.

We’ll go onto the collect chat website and show you step by step how you can create a bot for your business in under 5 minutes.

They have multiple templates for you to choose from and pricing plans to suit any budget.


Facebook Messenger Chatbots


Facebook has billions of users, so it makes sense to drive more conversations and interactions back to this platform, because everyone is there already.

We help businesses create and integrate chatbots into their websites using the following 3 platforms:

  • Manychat
  • Chatfuel
  • Mobile Monkey

All of these platforms have simple processes for creating chatbots that drive conversions and help you automate your front page as well as subsequent pages without the need for useless email contact forms.

Email Marketing Automation

Everyone I know of has tried Mailchimp because they’re free for up to 2500 subscribers, But what happens when you hit that limit, how much is it going to cost you? 

If you look closer at mailchimp, you’ll see that their pricing is actually quite steep, that’s why I went looking for a full suite, alternative email marketing solution, and found Convertkit.

The price is right, the solutions tick all my automation needs and it’s an incredibly supportive community of users who will quickly answer any question you have if you get stuck.  Definitely go check them out – Convertkit.


Content Creation


Logos, Charts, Infographics, Social Media Posts, etc


For most of our logos, social media covers and some ads, we go to Canva.  Really simple to use, drag and drop, personalize and download to your device.  Simple, efficient and well worth looking at, best of all, it’s FREE for the basics.


Pre-written Social Media Posts, Content, Images, Articles, etc


Don’t have time to write or curate content to post to your social media channels?  We have the same problems sometimes, but employ Promorepublic to do the work for us from time to time.

If you haven’t tried their service before, just know that they’re an awesome bunch to use, fast, knowledgeable about social media and well worth your time, go check them out – PromoRepublic.


Online Image Creation for Social Media


Using stock images all the time, pulls your brand identity out of your reach.  Some stock photos are Only OK, they need a personal touch to make them yours.  Luckily, we found a service that makes it ridiculously easy to manipulate images and add personal touches that you can’t easily do with other programs, it’s called Stencil.


Infographics and social media graphics template designs


You’ve probably heard how much traffic you can generate by creating quality infographics and sharing them on the internet.  Have you tried making one yourself?  It can be tricky and time consuming. 

We found a tool that has multiple templates ready to manipulate, add some branding touches to and download for your own use. It’s called Snappa.

Create infographics in 5 minutes or less and share your knowledge with your customers and fans on social media.


Giphs, Animations, Buttons and banners


Giphs are great for fun interactive and engaging visuals that you can post on your blog and across social media sites. 

Most online giph creators watermark their giphs, so it’s better to have your own software, so that you can create giphs and have all links from any shared giphs, pointing back to your website.

Try Webanimator to create giphs, buttons and banners.

Use the WebAnimator program to create gifs, HTML5 animations, banners, and buttons that work perfectly with every browser and device, without writing a single line of code.


Whiteboard Doodle videos


Are you using explainer videos to introduce your business, brand or product to potential customers? 

A simple explainer video is all it takes.

We found a program called Doodly that makes this process extremely easy to do.  Use a whiteboard animator to explain what you do, how your do it , add graphics, video, audio, or just about anything you need to professionally present your business with Doodly Videos.


Convert any article or blog post into a video in minutes, Automagically


We wanted to find a way to quickly and easily create short videos to distribute across social media channels without taking hours or days of filming, cutting, editing and rehashing content.

Luckily, there is a way to easily do this, the program is called Lumen5.  You plug your website RSS feed into the application, it shows you your feed, customize the video and text to your liking and publish.

Download it and share to all your social media sites.  Quick. Simple video creation without headaches.

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