In 2017, I discovered some fantastic tech and software, took some incredible courses, and used some awesome tools to stay organized and on track in my business. And today, I’m rounding them all up for you!
To make this as easy as possible to digest, and so that you can immediately find the recommendations you’re looking for, I’ve divided this guide up into five sections:
1. Social Media Tools
2. Email List Tools
3. Planning and Organization
4. Courses I Took This Year
5. My Favorite Things of 2017
I’ve kept the descriptions relatively brief, but where possible I’ve linked to extra resources where you can learn more about that tool or course. I’ve also added $ symbols to denote the price of each item.
$ is under $50
$$ is between $50-$200
$$$ is a bigger investment (over $200)
And of course, lots of these tools are completely free, which I’ve noted for you as well.
Okay. Without any more rambling – ‘cuz I have a feeling this might be a long one – let’s dive into my favorite tools of 2017.
Section 1. My Favorite Social Media Tools
I’m all about automating my social media accounts. I like things to run seamlessly in the background while I’m off getting my “real work” done. Here are a few tools that help me do just that.
1. Recurpost – FREE
Recurpost will put your Twitter, Facebook Page, and Facebook Group posting completely on autopilot. It’s as easy as loading in your pre-written content for each platform, setting up a posting schedule within Recurpost, and then sitting back and letting it works its magic. Absolutely genius, and totally free.
Here’s a post where I talk about Recurpost in a bit more detail.
2. BoardBooster – $
If you’ve been hanging around my site for a while, my obsession with BoardBooster is probably old news to you. But if you haven’t tried it, word to the wise: You’re seriously missing out. Pinterest has been the largest driver of traffic to my website pretty much since the day I launched it, and BoardBooster helps me completely automate my Pinterest account and growth.
You can start your free trial with BoardBooster by clicking here.
…And here’s a blog post where I break down my favorite 3 features in BoardBooster and how to set them up.
3. Later – FREE
This one was a late addition to the list, as I only started seriously planning out my Instagram posts in Quarter 4 of 2017. But now that I’ve played around with Later, I’ll never go back to manually posting on Instagram. Later allows you to schedule up to 30 posts per month on a free account, and you can even preview all of your scheduled posts together to see how everything will work once the images are in your Insta-grid.
Section 2. My Favorite Email List Tools of 2017
This year was a biggie for email list growth, and I’m hoping to double the size of my list in 2018. If you’ve yet to start an email list for your blog, here are 11 reasons you shouldn’t wait another day to get yours set up.
Now, let’s chat about my fave tools to get you started.
4. ConvertKit – $
This isn’t a new discovery, but something I’ve had tucked away in my toolbox since the early days of my business. I feel like I’m always shouting about ConvertKit from the rooftops, but that’s because it’s truly *that* good.
Looking for a platform to start your email list on? Or ready to upgrade from the free program you’re currently using (and not loving)?
Sign up for your first month of ConvertKit here.
Oh, and here’s my Ultimate Guide to ConvertKit for Beginners!
5. LeadPages – $$$
Once you’ve setup your email list, you’ll need a way to create professional, high-converting landing pages to get people to join your list. Enter: LeadPages. With hundreds of templates to start from (literally, hundreds), the ability to create standalone signup pages AND pop-up boxes, plus an amazing support team, there’s nothing not to love about LeadPages. Pricy? Sure. Worth it? 100%.
Get LeadPages here and start creating beautiful landing pages.
6. Daring Two Ebook Templates – $
If you need a little help when it comes to designing your email list freebies, definitely check out these ebook templates. I’m not a graphic designer (I don’t think I have a single artsy bone in my body) so I love how easy these templates make it to create a beautiful, opt-in-worthy ebook.
Check out all of the gorgeous Daring Two ebook templates here.
Oh, and you can use the coupon code: BBREADER to get 20% off your entire order. Woop woo!
7. Haute Stock Society stock photos – $$
I’m including this under the “email list tools” category because I use the Haute Stock images to design all of my opt-in freebies and make them look as pretty as possible. But really, I use these styled stock photos just about everywhere in my business – on my website, for my social media images, and in my emails + freebies.
Become a member of the Haute Stock Library here (this is one purchase you definitely won’t regret).
Section 3. Planning & Organization
Fact: You’ll never get ahead as a blogger or biz owner if you’re unorganized. Instead, use these awesome and super affordable tools to manage your time, store your digital files, and prep for a productive and profitable year.
8. Google Drive – FREE
Yes, it’s totally un-sexy to talk about Google Drive. But you know what? I use that ish every.single.day. I store all my blog post drafts and stock photos in my Drive, I use it to organize videos for my ecourses, and I ask all of my guest posters to submit their posts to me as a Google Doc. Google Drive is a must, in my opinion.
Head over to drive.google.com to set up Drive with your Google account.
9. Printable Blogging Planner by Love & Sweet Tea – $
My girl Natasha has created a swoon-worthy and super practical planner for all my blogging ladies. What I love most about this planner is that you can completely customize it to your own blog and business. Need more blog post planning pages? Print out more! Don’t think you’ll ever use that one section near the end of the planner? Don’t bother printing it (and save a few trees and some ink). Easy-peasy.
Natasha just released the 2018 version of her planner, which you can pick up here!
10. Megan Minn’s 2018 Planning Spreadsheets – $
These spreadsheets are LIFE when it comes to planning out your digital products and launches, and making projections of your profits in the months, quarters, and year to come. Megan releases a new spreadsheet bundle every year, and I’ve already purchased the 2018 ones and filled ‘em out. SUCH a great way to stay organized, focused, and on track to meet your income goals.
Snag the 2018 spreadsheets here.
Section 4. The Courses I Took In 2017
I’ll admit, I’ve become a *slight* junkie when it comes to courses. I don’t buy courses on a whim, but I also don’t shy away from investing in my education when I know I’ll see a big return on that investment. Here are four courses I took this year that I absolutely loved:
Cerries Mooney’s Archetypal Business Initiation Kit – $ (pay-what-you-can — how cool is that!?)
I’ve raved on and on about Cerries Mooney and her Archetypal Test before, and I simply love everything this woman creates. If you’re looking for more clarity in terms of your visual and personal branding (and your life in general), you’ll love the Initiation Kit. Pinky-promise.
Squarespace Classroom by Kerstin Martin – $$
If you’re looking for a stylish alternative to Teachable, look no further. You can set up a beautiful, branded, easy-to-run ecourse right within the Squarespace platform. I initially followed along with the Squarespace Classroom course to set up my Pinterest Manager Masterclass, but have since moved that course over to Teachable — not because of anything to do with Squarespace, but because I wanted everything to be one place.
You can take the Squarespace Classroom course here (it’s an amazing deal for everything that’s included!)
Lucrative Facebook Ad Launches with Jessica Walman – $$$
I took this course near the beginning of the year so the details are a bit fuzzy, but I do remember it was packed with great info. Jessica really knows her stuff when it comes to Facebook ads, and she runs ads for some of the biggest names in the business. I’m pretty sure Jessica has removed this course and replaced it with a larger, more expensive course on Facebook ads. Check out her website here for details of her current offerings.
Copywriting for Creatives by Ashlyn Carter – $$$
Okay, I’ve saved the most expensive course, and my favorite course, for last. How do I describe Ashlyn? Think southern-ball-of-charm meets that hilarious girlfriend from college. She’s great. If you’re looking to polish up your copywriting skills and write website copy that converts lookers into buyers, you NEED this course.
Copywriting for Creatives currently opens for enrolment a few times a year, but you can get on the waitlist for the next class here.
Section 5. My Favorite Things of 2017
*Cue The Sound of Music….*
Because these are a few of my faaaavorite things…
I thought it would be fun to end off by sharing a few of my random favorites from the year. I think it will be neat for me to look back on this list at the end of next year and see how my interests changed (or if they did at all!)
Okay, here we go — rapid-fire style.
My Favorite Book: Creating Money – Attracting Abundance by Sanaya Roman & Duane Packer (must’ve read this book 5 times this year)
My Favorite Podcast: Amy Porterfield’s Online Marketing Made Easy
My Favorite email list to be on: Yasmin Bolland of Moonology (daily emails on how to live in tune with the moon cycle)
My Favorite Instagram account to follow: Amber Fillerup (her kids are the most adorable things I’ve ever seen)
My Favorite YouTube channel: This is a toughie because I love me some YouTube, but… Lily Pebbles
My Favorite TV Show: Designated Survivor (it’s the only show I’ve watched this year. Oh, except for when Scott and I binge-watched the entire Lost series back in January).
What tools, courses, and random amazing things were you loving in 2017? Any awesome tools I haven’t tried yet that I need to look into? Leave a comment and fill me in!
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