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You can start a website in under 7 minutes (I’ve timed it! Here’s a tutorial) & every blogger or person who is seeking an income online needs a website. Here are the tools I’ve use repeatedly to start my sites.
CHOOSING A DOMAIN NAME
Choosing a domain name is ground zero of starting a website. It's also one of the hardest parts of starting. After all, you want the perfect domain – that's your brand! Luckily I've gotten pretty good at choosing awesome domains, and I've created a guide to help you do the same. After you've nailed down your domain, you need…
When you get to the action stage, the first thing you need to do is to start a website. I highly recommend Bluehost for your hosting. It’s easy to use, simple to set up and you don’t have to be a techie to understand how it works. Bluehost gives you a free domain when you register new hosting, so you don’t have to deal with buying your domain through another company and setting up the domain nameservers.
There are quite a few blogging and website platforms out there. Squarespace, WordPress, Tumblr, Blogger, not to mention a million others. But the best one, hands down, is WordPress. WordPress is used by most websites (Unsettle is powered by WordPress) and is easy to use, ultra-functional and 100% free (it’s an open-source software). When you get set up with hosting, the first thing you need to do is load WordPress. Here are instructions.
Every business owner needs Google Analytics, which is a tool that reports back on important stats on your website, including how many visitors you see, how much time they spend on your site, how many pages they visit per session, and more.
From finances to invoicing and scheduling, these are the tools for the nitty-gritty details of your blog or business.
I’m not an accountant – and I’m not even remotely good at accounting – so Freshbooks is a program that has been sent by the gods. It helps you get paid by easy invoicing and helps you get on top of your business’ expenses and finances from day one… (if only I’d been smart enough to use it from day one!). Click here to sign up for a free trial with FreshBooks.
I do all my client writing in a Google Doc for two reasons. One, so I can work on it offline on any computer, and two, because it’s a reliable cloud that will never lose my work. I also edit a lot of coaching client’s articles and exchange documents this way. Plus, it's free!
I do all of my coaching calls and power sessions on Skype. I also use it to interview guests for the Unsettle podcast.
I use Calendly to schedule all Power Sessions, podcast interviews, coaching sessions, and meetings. I’m able to send clients a link to my calendar to book a time that works for them, rather than cluttering our inboxes with back and forth. It allows you to include links and directions for what to do after the session is booked – so I use that to collect PayPal payment for Power Sessions.
Sidekick let’s you track your emails to see who opened them and what they clicked on. Test wording or tone in a sales email, track what attachments the person opens and what areas of the email they’re spending the most time on. As a business owner, this kind of information is invaluable.
I use Slack as the platform for my course. I can easily communicate with group members (and they can talk amongst themselves), upload files, and set reminders about coursework or training sessions. It's a great communication tool – and the best part is it’s free for small groups.
You need an email list. It's how you'll earn money in your business, get to know your audience and make an impact. Here are the tools I use to manage my list.
An all-in-one WP plugin that’s helped me build opt-ins that land 22% and 70% conversion rates (yes, you read that right!). Tools to help you collect emails, manage your social shares, track your traffic, & show how visitors are using your site. Not to mention it’s compatible with all of the big email providers and free to use until you choose to level up. This one is a must!
You need an email list to build relationships with your subscribers. I use ConvertKit and love the flexibility it offers. ConvertKit is a paid for provider, but it includes a ton of great features that others don’t offer – like the option to create a landing page.
Before I switched to ConvertKit, I used Aweber as my email provider (click here to get one month free – then it’s only $20 thereafter). Aweber allowed me to make more money and build deeper relationships with you guys. If you’re just starting out, Aweber is a great option. Don’t make the mistake many new entrepreneurs make and hold off starting an email list.
LeadPages is a tool that integrates with your email service provider (like Aweber or ConvertKit above) which allows you to collect more people’s emails with professional, easy landing pages. You don’t need to know how to code, you don’t need to be a web designer, and you don’t even need to be all that tech savvy.
Blogging and content marketing is hands down one of the most effective ways to get the word out there about your business. But writing can be hard. It’s difficult to cut out distractions, get your butt in a chair and just write. Here are a few tools I use to make the writing process easier:
HOW TO CREATE POPULAR CONTENT
Writing enormously popular content isn't something reserved for the internet-famous or millionaire marketers who have a team of editors.
Anyone can do it. Here's the exact process I used to write one of the 50 most popular posts on Fast Company in 2015, not to mention an article on Elite Daily that landed 30,000 social shares and over 1300 new email subscribers in just three days.
By far my favourite writing tool out there, Byword makes my writer’s heart sing. Byword is a simple app for Mac to help you cut out all distractions by providing the simplest writing platform out there – a blank page. It doesn’t require the internet so it truly is distraction-free. You can publish articles right in Byword, but I do my writing in Byword and copy and paste to WordPress.
Coschedule’s Headline Analyzer tool is just a fun way to see how on point those titles are.