30 Essential Tools To Grow Your Business and Blog.
There is a massive amount of information on the web to plow through as a new Business. I have been there and the overwhelm is real. By sharing these essential tools and resources today, I hope to save you from that feeling of information overload.
You will read claims In Social Media, Facebook groups, Pinterest that you can start a Business for free, you can start a Business in less than ten minutes, or you can make money from day 1. What an outstanding dream! Am I right? However, not the whole truth.
Let me share the honest truth with you about starting a Business.
If you want to use your Business as a journal, share updates with your family and friends, or just need an outlet for your words (I totally get that), you can start a Business for free with WordPress.com, Wix, Weebly or Business. However, if you want control over how your Business looks, more options for functionality, or if your goal is to make some extra cash from your Business, then you need hosting.
You can purchase hosting from Bluehost for as little as $2.95 a month, including a free domain and head to your WordPress Dashboard to get started all in less than ten minutes. However, what do you think happens then?
I will tell you what happened to me. Minor panic. What do I do now? Do I really want to do this? Where do I start? I know nothing!
Yes, monetizing is possible for a new Businesses. But, I am willing to place a bet on how many Business actually made money on day one. Very few. Monetizing takes time. You will need to establish a plan and a strategy. This does not happen in one day, or even overnight.
Here are some words of wisdom from a new-ish Business to you.
Take it one step at a time.
Keep moving forward & Have fun!
I have been through tools and resources, free and paid.
I have devoured course after course, ebook after ebook, and nowadays, podcasts (I might be addicted). There is a colossal amount of information out there for new Business. Admittedly, I bought it all, the good, the bad and the ugly. And I ate it up. Often feeling fulfilled, but sometimes, I thought, “darn it, I want those hours of my life back.”
Let’s Get Started.
30 Essential Tools To Grow Your Business and Blog
First You Will Need:
Bluehost – If you plan on monetizing your Business at any point in time, then you need to be self-hosted. With hosting, your content is yours and you have control over customization and individualization of your Business. I use Bluehost because it is inexpensive, simple and user-friendly. Plus, it is true, you can install WordPress with one click.
WordPress is the most popular website management system. You create and manage your Business on the WordPress Dashboard. WordPress allows multiple plugins and widgets for you to increase the functionality and improve the look of your Business.
Themes Divi is one of the best themes for wordpress, very intuitive and easy to build. It does have some formatting issues I battle with on a regular basis.
I enjoy their blogs immensely and the free layouts they provide regularly.
Keyword Research Tools
Keyword research is one of the most fundamental skills that you will need to master for search engine optimization (SEO).
We have a post on SEO basic for your blog and small business here
You must learn keyword research in order to be a successful Business.
Keyword research involves finding keywords or keyword phrases for your Business post or website that will generate organic traffic, give value to your site, and help you rank in Google and other search engines.
There are multiple methods for conducting keyword research. Test these out for yourself. You will eventually discover a tool and develop a routine that works best for you.
Here are several free options, plus a tool that has a monthly fee.
Google Search Bar
Type in a keyword into the search bar of Google. Google will autofill with a list of topics that have been typed in the search bar by other people.
Start here! These suggestions are based on what people have actually searched for.
Ubersuggest – Simply, type your keyword or key phrase into the tool, enter suggest. You will be given a list of keywords and key phrases people have been searching for, as well as what is working for your competitors.
Type in one word, a phrase, a full sentence, or even a question. AND it is FREE.
KW Finder – KW Finder provides you with a difficulty score that tells you how difficult your word is to rank in Google. This is a free tool, however, you are only allowed five searches per 24 hours with the free plan.
Answer The Public – Answer the public is fun and kind of addicting. You have been forewarned! Answer the public combines search queries from Bing and Google and creates a visual representation of the findings, called a “search cloud.”
Keywords Everywhere – Type your keyword into the search bar on Keywords Everywhere. You will be provided the monthly search volume of that word. Plus, you can find what “people also search for” and “related” keywords, and the volume of these searches as well.
Pinterest (my personal favorite) – Pinterest has become one of my favorite tools for keyword research. Simply type in your search in the Pinterest search bar. Pinterest will autofill with multiple ideas for what people are searching for on Pinterest. We all know that Pinterest is crucial to success as a Businessger, so why not find out what people are looking for there?
SEMrush – SEMrush is what the pros use for keyword research. I have even heard Business go as far as calling SEMrush a “miracle” tool. SEMrush is a paid tool for keyword research, but you can try it out for a free 7-day trial and do some major keyword research in those seven days to fill up your editorial calendar for weeks or months. SEMrush will help you find the most profitable keywords for your Business or website, starting at $99.95 per month
Business and Blogs
These tools will help you create content for your business and blogs.
CoSchedule Headline Analyzer – How important is the headline? Think about this, if your headline is not interesting, then no clicks, right? And no traffic to your website. Your Business post headline needs to be eye-catching and compelling. CoSchedule Headline Analyzer is a free tool provided by CoSchedule. Type in your headline and a score is generated for you. Try for 70 or above, it will take a few tries. In the meantime, CoSchedule will educate you on how to improve your headline. After keyword research, head straight into creating headlines. One task flows into the next.
Editorial Calendar WordPress Plugin (FREE) – Once you have completed your keyword research and created headlines for future posts, plan them out with the WordPress Editorial Calendar Plugin. The beauty of this calendar is that it is free, you can see all of your posts and when they will be posted, and you can drag and drop to change the dates. Test out the plugin before you install it and commit.
CoSchedule (MONTHLY FEE) – CoSchedule is an online marketing management platform that enables you to basically schedule everything in one place, including Business posts, email, and social media.
CoSchedule provides guides, podcasts, and Business to help you develop and improve your marketing strategy. There are three additional tools that are useful, the CoSchedule Headline Analyzer, Email Subject Line Tester, and the Social Message Optimizer.
“Increase your productivity with these tools”
Grammarly – Grammarly is an online grammar, punctuation, and spell check that will help you avoid embarrassing typos and errors. Grammarly points out the error and suggests how to fix it. Not professional, at all.
There is a free version of Grammarly, however, Grammarly Premium provides a more in-depth explanation about your grammar mistakes.
The premium version finds and fixes more mistakes than the free version. If you pay monthly, the subscription will cost $29.95/month. However, you can save if you pay three months at a time ($19.98/month), or for the entire year ($11.66/month).
This is something you need to have, even if it is the free version.
A real turnoff for me is to begin reading a Business post and find all sorts of grammatical and spelling errors. Not professional, at all.
My Favorite Part of Content Creation…Graphics.
Most of us are visual people. We love to look at pretty things. It is no different when reading a post or looking at a website. Graphics are an integral part of creating a visually appealing Business post.
Most people aren’t happy reading paragraph after paragraph without looking at something pretty.
There are many websites that provide quality stock images that you can use for your website; some are free, some charge a small fee.
We have a post featuring the top 8 best sites for images that doesn’t suck Here
Pixistock – Pixistock provides the most beautiful stock images for many niches. At first, I signed up for the free version where Alicia would send ten stock photos per month. I fell head over heels in love with these free images and needed more, so I bought the paid version. Now I have access to the entire library.
Canva – If you wish to look like a pro, Canva is a must. There are many graphic design tools online. Find the one you love and learn it.
Creative graphic images are incredibly important for the look of your Business. Canva provides you with millions of images to choose from, filters, icons, fonts, and vectors. Canva can make a pro out of you, or at least help you look like one.
Boutique Showcase your work through these stunning and elegant Canva templates.
AN ENTREPRENEUR WORKBOOK MUST HAVE!
Chic Modern Canva templates for all your graphic design needs. These designs are perfect for your next workbook, social media posts, media kit, sponsorship offer, or checklist.
The Canva Templates give you the tools you need to reflect your Brand. Editable Canva templates that include social media post templates, checklists, pin, and ebook templates. This will change the look of your Business from amateur to professional
Improve the functionality of your Business or website with these plugins. Let us know in the comment section below, which tool in the 30 Essential Tools To Grow Your Business and Blog you will be using?
Plugins increase and improve the functionality of your Business or website. You need to have plugins for analytics, SEO, detection of spam and social buttons.
There are many plugins that are tempting. Be careful, as you can slow your site down with too many. Here are five plugins that you need. But, there are so many more.
Yoast SEO – Yoast SEO is the first plugin you need to install and it is FREE. Yoast SEO provides insight on how to improve each Business post in order to optimize for search engines and therefore rank on Google.
Yoast SEO provides reminders of where and when to use keywords. It is basically a fill in the blank for SEO and it is perfect for new Business to begin to understand and implement SEO strategies.
Monster Insights – How many times have you heard that you need to know your audience? Monster Insights will help you by providing not only the number of page views, but also where they originated from, plus how long they stayed on your website.
Shareaholic/Social Share Plugin – You must have social share buttons on your Business post that are easy to find on desktop and mobile view. There are so many great social share plugins. I use Shareaholic.
In addition to social share buttons, Shareaholic provides analytics, helps with monetization by automatically inserting affiliate links or adding banner ads (this is optional, of course). There are other social share plugins including Social Snap, Easy Social Sharing, Social Pug, Custom Share Buttons with Floating Sidebar, and Monarch. You can easily activate these plugins to test them out and see how they look and deactivate if you do not like them.
Akismet – I didn’t even know what spam was until I experienced a ton of it when I first published. Akismet took care of it and I have no more.
Akismet examines all of your comments and contact forms for potential spam.
WP Smush – Images are necessary to break up your content and make your site look visually appealing.
However, images can take up space. WP Smush will compress and optimize your images so they don’t slow down your website.
Facebook and Pinterest are essential for new and experienced Business and bloggers, not only for generating traffic to your website but for networking and learning.
Tailwind ~ Tailwind is a pin scheduler that will save you tons of time. Plus, by joining Tailwind Tribes, your content will be seen even more, thus more traffic.
You can schedule your pins out for months at a time and keep Pinterest on autopilot. Tailwind is a time saver and massive traffic generator.
Facebook Groups ~ Join them, interact, and learn. You can join Facebook Groups specific for your niche, or Facebook Groups that teach you how to create and maintain a successful Business.
Join them both and be active. Facebook Groups are second place in generating traffic to my Business, plus I have learned a ton from them.
You need to know How to use these tools in ways where they put money back into your bank accounts.
We have a training that walks you through the process of your planning for Pinterest marketing. It’s our “Pinterest Visual Marketing Platform”. Once you’ve implemented your data mining, structured your content using one or both of these two tools, you’ll want to use it like your roadmap to driving your most relevant buyer-traffic to your offers.
FreshBook’s powerful and simple expense tracker makes tracking business expenses ridiculously easy.
You’ll know at a glance what you’re spending and how profitable you are, which makes life so much easier especially around Tax time.
Use Freshbook Small Business Accounting Software To Make Billing Painless.
30 Essential Tools To Grow Your Business and Blog.
These tools are essential to kickstarting a successful Business. Try them out and let us know what you think. Plus, if you find a tool that you cannot live without, share it with us so we can check it out, too.
Remember, take it one step at a time, keep moving forward, and have fun.
Want to learn:
Proven Pinterest strategies?
Do you wish to put the traffic boosting power of Pinterest to work for you in your business?
Are you a serial pinner, pinning images daily on your boards and nothing really to show for it?
You’re not getting any traffic for your time and efforts.
For all of you who answered “Yes” to any of these questions, your results are exactly why I wanted to create a system that would allow you to create beautiful images for your business.
I want to teach you how to get on the road to Pinterest profits.
Double your traffic with “Pinterest Marketing Checklist: 10 steps to successful images”
I invite you to simply add your name and email address below to automatically access our FREE Pinterest Check
* This post contain affiliate links. Please see my disclaimer policy for more details.
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When Maggie asked me to guest post about Business Tools and Resources for Beginner Business, I jumped at the opportunity.
I was honored that she loved my business enough to consider me. Thank you, Maggie, for instilling your confidence in me.
Jenny is a stay-at-home mom to two busy teens, an Italian Greyhound, and a Quarter Horse. She runs a family travel blog, Traveling Party of Four, where she shares family adventures, travel tips, bucket lists, and packing checklists.
However, lately, she has discovered her voice in sharing strategies to improve your blog. From creating and maintaining a successful blog to learning proper etiquette on social media, she teaches you the small, yet essential tasks that will make you a better blogger. Her recent post, 33 Practical Ways to Crush the Summer Blogging Slump, is full of practical and actionable tasks that will keep the momentum going strong throughout the summer, and truly year-round.