#232: THE ULTIMATE RESOURCE LIST (PART 1)
TAYLOR BRADFORD: You are listening to episode number 232 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. Today I’m starting off a new series that’s in two parts, and I will be giving you the ultimate resource list for growing an online business. On to the episode.
Today’s podcast is sponsored by my BGC fan girl club. If you want to support the show, and I really hope that you are interested in doing that. Just by listening that does support the show and I am forever grateful, but if you want to take it one step further and become a financial supporter of this show, I’ve got a BGC Fan Girl Club. So there are several different tiers that you can choose from depending on your financial commitment, whatever you would like to choose. So let me just talk about those three levels.
The first level is the BGC Fan Girl, and it’s $10 or more a month, and it’s perfect for my budget-minded BGC fans. No matter the level, any and all support of the show is welcome and super appreciated, and you will have my forever thanks for supporting the show. This is what you get: As the BGC Fan Girl, you get access to a private group to hang out with the other BGC Fan Girls. We also do a monthly live Q&A, and even if you’re unable to be present, I ask for the questions ahead of time, and then I jump on a Zoom call with those that can be present, and I make sure to answer your question. We just hang out and chat. It’s super fun. And it happens once a month. So that is the first tier of the program.
The second tier is my Super Fan Girls, and it’s $25 or more a month, and you get everything in the Fan Girl tier plus you receive a BGC coffee mug, plus a handwritten thank you note from me, and you also get to attend a monthly virtual co-working session. These are about two hours long, and we jump on Zoom, which is the platform that I use, and we just work on whatever thing it is that we need to work on in that day for our business, but we get the added benefit of talking to each other at the same time. So you work on maybe your email list, or an opt-in, or maybe you’re scheduling out your social media, but it’s time for you and I and the other Super Fans to get together and work on our businesses at the same time. And then if you have questions that pop up or you need some guidance, that’s also an opportunity for you to ask me those questions. And then for every three months that you are subscribed into this level, you receive a one-on-one 30-minute phone call with me. And that is valued at $97. So that is the second tier, the Super Fan Girl tier.
And then there’s one more tier, it’s the Epic Fan Girl, and it’s $100 or more, and you get everything in the first two tiers plus you get advertising on the website, a 250 by 250 spot on the website for 30 days, and you get a newsletter feature, and a Facebook feature within the BGC community and your advertising gets renewed each time that you renew at the Epic Fan Girl level. So that is what my Super Fans and my Fan Girls is all about. You can join by going to patreon.com/bossgirlcreative. So patreon.com/bossgirlcreative.
Hey, welcome to Episode 232 of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. I’m excited that you are here. We are on a countdown to the end of 2019. 2020 is just around the corner, and it is a super busy time. And we’re just going to keep rolling with the punches, y’all. I got a lot of great feedback from last week’s episode, which was a behind the scenes look at a new business that I’m about to launch, and it’s still super-secret at this moment. We had to delay our launch by a few weeks because we weren’t quite ready and our web guys weren’t quite ready either. But that’s okay, that’s how this works. And we knew we had a deadline and it was just kind of like, get us to a point. So we’re almost to that point, and I’m excited to tell you more about it once I can, but for now, it’s still super-secret.
Before we dive into this week’s episode, which is going to be a two-part series of an ultimate resource list for running a business online, and I hope that it is beneficial to you, but it’s going to be a ton of resources. So this is definitely one that you might want to grab a pen and paper for or pull out your Notes app on your phone. But before we dive in, let’s jump into this week’s community member spotlight, which is Lyndi and Lyndi has a food blog, and you can find it at thejoyofeatingwell.com. You can find her on Instagram @thejoyofeatingwell, and I love Lyndi. I have known Lyndi for several years now. We met through Arkansas Women Bloggers, and Lyndi is actually my most favorite human because she picks me up from the airport every time I fly in for Megaphone Summit, and we get to spend that time in the car with each other. And I help her brainstorm her business, and we talk about my business, and it’s the best thing ever. And it’s been a tradition that she picks me up from the airport for probably the last, what, six years? It’s amazing. It’s time where we can spend in the car together and catch up and talk business until we get to wherever the actual conference is located. And I so appreciate Lyndi, and I so appreciate her support, but let me tell you about her food blog. So like I said, Lyndi is a food blogger. Again visit her at thejoyofeatingwell.com, and she helps health-conscious foodies that are caught up in the busyness of life to understand that eating well can be accomplished by keeping it simple so that preparing and serving food becomes one of their most joyful pleasures of living. I absolutely love that, and I love following Lyndi on Instagram, so you need to go follow her as well, @thejoyofeatingwell. Lyndi, thank you again so much for being such a fangirl of me and Boss Girl Creative, and I appreciate your support over the years. And I think you are absolutely rocking this direction. I remember the car ride specifically where we talked about this, and I’m so proud to see it come to life and fruition, and you lean into it. It’s amazing. So you guys go say hi to Lyndi and tell her I sent you.
Let’s dive into this ultimate resource list. And we’re going to start with resources related to the design and branding of your website, specifically photo editing apps. And some of these resources might be super helpful for you. Some of them might jog your memory, that’s “oh my gosh, yup, that’s a resource, I’ve totally forgot about that,” and some of them might be resources that you’ve never thought about or needed, but you might need in the future. So let’s start with design and branding resources, specifically photo editing apps. These apps can be put on your phone, and some of them are on your desktop. But most of the stuff that I’m talking about will either be for your phone or some kind of software or something for your website on your desktop, I mean.
Photo editing apps for your phone: A Beautiful Mess. Afterlight, which is something that I actively use. Facetune, which is, allows you to basically tune your face and take out wrinkles or blemishes or whatever. Enlight, and that’s spelled E-N-L-I-G-H-T. Snapseed, which is another one that I use frequently. VSCO, which is spelled V-S-C-O, another one that I use frequently, and then Word Swag. So those are photo editing apps that you can use to stay on-brand when you’re sharing photos through Instagram or Facebook or wherever.
Okay, let’s move into graphic design resources and DIY apps that will help you create graphics for your business. Adobe Color Wheel. Adobe Creative Cloud, which I actually have a paid subscription to. I use Adobe Creative Cloud all the time. That’s how I use Photoshop and how I use Lightroom. Adobe Fonts which is a subscription-based service that plugs into the cloud, which I also appreciate. Adobe Lightroom CC, which is a part of the Creative Cloud. Canva, which I also use, but I don’t pay for it. But I know a lot of people that do because it does allow you to basically create your brand color palette and your branding graphics and it will save them, but it will also allow you to bring them from like an Instagram graphic to a Facebook graphic to a Pinterest graphic, which is really fancy. It also gives you a ton more fonts if you’re paying for their service. Creative Market, which is a great resource. If you’re looking for either stock photography or templates, all kinds of templates like brochure templates and website templates and PDF templates, recipe cards. Like, you name it, there’s probably a template for it on Creative Market, as well as fonts. A ton of fonts on Creative Market. Death to the Stock Photo is a stock photo service. Design Seeds is color palette info. I will use design seeds when I’m trying to hunt down the perfect color palette for an editorial that I might be working on. Envato Elements. PicMonkey, which is another app that I use, it’s something you use on desktop. Stocksy, which is another stock photography service and then Unsplash and I use on splash all of the time. It is an amazing free stock photography website that does not require you to give attribution. It’s nice if you do, but it’s not required.
Okay, moving on, let’s talk about free WordPress plugins that will help you building, in building your website. Akismet, which is a spam comment checker. Beaver Builder, which is the new thing with the Gutenberg update. It allows you to build your pages and your post pages so that they are fancier. Broken Link Checker is a fabulous tool that allows you to look through your archives to see if you have broken links. So if you link to an article in the past, and maybe that person doesn’t exist anymore, you don’t want to have broken links, so it allows you to check for those. The Classic Editor is a plugin that actually overrides the Beaver Builder. I use the Classic Editor plugin because I don’t like functioning in those page builders, so I do use the Classic Editor. Coming Soon Page by SeedProd. If you’re building on a new sales page, or you’re building new website, and you don’t quite want people to see what’s going on behind-the-scenes, you can use this plugin, and it’s actually the plugin we’ve been using for the last two years for this new adventure and it allows us to build out the website without anybody seeing what’s going on behind-the-scenes. Another free plugin is Easy Digital Downloads, if you need to give out PDFs in a blog post. And then also Feed Them Social, which allows you to create custom feeds for your Facebook Pages, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest, and YouTube and allows you to kind of embed those things into your website, which I thought was pretty cool.
Here’s some more free WordPress plugins. Google Analytics. Ninja Forms. I do use Ninja Forms. Shortcodes Ultimate. So if you need to quickly put in a button or a column or something, you can use this plugin and pull a shortcode to make that thing happen. Updraft Plus, which is a backing-up plugin that allows you to backup your blog, your website. That’s very important. If it were to crash, you need a backup of it, so if you’re not backing up your website consistently, I encourage you to do that. W3 Total Cache plugin. I use this, and basically, what a caching plugin does is it allows your website to load faster without having to continually reupload images that might be images that just live on your website all the time. So if you go to my homepage, those are images I don’t ever change and so I want those images to stay cached, so that my website loads faster. So W3 Total Cache. WooCommerce is another free plugin. It allows you to create a shop through your website. Wordfence is a firewall and security scanner. Yoast SEO is a free plugin. I highly encourage that one as well. And then WP Limit Login Attempts. It is amazing how many spammers or scammers or hackers that try to get into my websites on the daily and so you can turn on this plugin WP Limit Login Attempts, and it will block those people out. Let’s say you turn it on for three attempts at logging in. It will automatically block that person out. So that’s a good one.
All right, let’s talk about membership sites and course delivery. If you’re considering having a membership site through your website or some kind of a course delivery system. There’s a Kajabi. Teachable, which I’ve tried Teachable in the past, but I actually moved to Thinkific. So Thinkific is another one. WishList Member is something you can use to create a membership list on your website. AccessAlly. SendOwl and it’s S-E-N-D-O-W-L. Memberful, which is another membership kind of plugin. Memberpress. Teachery, which is a course distribution and Podia, which is also a course distribution. So those are things that you can use for membership sites and course delivery. And currently, my courses and my masterclasses, which you can get to through my shop on BossGirlCreative.com is actually running through Thinkific.
Alright, let’s talk about landing and lead-capture pages next. So you can use About.me, you can use Leadpages, you can use Click Funnels, you can use Bloom, MailChimp, and Optin Monster. I actually use MailChimp, which is my email service provider, to do a lead capture for the BC Stack that went live this past summer, and it worked so well. And it automatically, you know, created a list for me, and then I was able to email market to the people that signed up for that masterclass. And so it was nice to have all of that in one, but there are other things that you can use. Optin Monster is another one. So that was About.me, Leadpages, Click Funnels, Bloom, MailChimp, and Optin Monster for landing and lead capture pages resources.
Alright, moving into A/B testing and analytics. You can use Monster Insights, Google Optimize, Kisdmetrics, VWO, and Simple Page Tester. All five of these allow you to either do A/B testing or watch your analytics on your website. You can use a website testing company called Loader that will allow you to test the things happening in your website, which is pretty cool. The way Google kind of uses the algorithm, it will also look at your page speed and how quickly your page loads. And so that has some effect towards where you show up in search engine results. So it’s important to make sure that your page is optimized.
Okay, let’s move into eCommerce resources. This is the things that will allow you to sell things through your website. So you can use SendOwl as I previously mentioned. Shopify. Square, which takes credit card payments. Stripe, which also takes credit card payments. Authorize.net, another credit card processor. Big Cartel is a platform that you can sell things through, so doesn’t necessarily plug into your website. It is a free-standing platform similar to Etsy; it’s just not as heard about as Etsy is. Easy Digital Downloads is another platform you can use. WooCommerce again. Cart 66. E-junkie. Etsy, as I previously mentioned. Gumroad, which allows you to send things through a shopping platform. PayPal, which accepts payments, and then SamCart, which is also a payment processor.
Okay, moving into email marketing. So, you’ve got Active Campaign, A Weber, Campaign Monitor, ConvertKit, Drip, MailChimp, and InfusionSoft. And again, I am just kind of briefly diving into each of these categories of things, and again, you may not need that particular thing, but there might be something that I talked about that you might need now or in the future.
If you’re needing help with conversion rate optimization, or website personalization, you want to look into Optimizely or Google Optimize, Segment, Picreel, Hotjar, and Full Story. Those are platforms that you can use for conversion rate optimization and website personalization. Basically, conversion rate optimization is checking to see how things are converting on your website. So Hotjar, for example, is a heat map system. This is really fascinating. There used to be, I don’t remember the name of the platform I used to use. I think it was Sumo Me and they had a heat map. And basically what a heat map is, is it’s almost like people touching something and it, it reacts to their heat, but it does that by their mouse click or where they’re hovering their mouse on your website. Which is really fascinating because it’ll help you to see what’s, what’s converting for you on maybe your homepage or a blog post, or your sidebar. It’s really fascinating to see how people are interacting with your site by looking at a heat map, so Hotjar is one of those.
Okay, so let’s move into paid WordPress plugins. We’ve got Beaver Builder, which has some add-ons that you can pay for. Ultimate Add-ons for Beaver Builder is another plugin. Gravity Forms, which I also use. So I told you I use Ninja Forms, and I also use Gravity Forms. I like both of them, and I don’t really know why I use one more so than the other or why I use two, but I like both of them and have them on several different websites. Optin Monster is a paid plugin. Pretty Links, which does offer free stuff, and I use Pretty Links on Boss Girl Creative, and I just use the freebie version, but you can upgrade and do a paid version of pretty links. And then finally in this list soliloquy WP as another paid WordPress plugin. Site security. If you’re needing site security, Let’s Encrypt is an option as well as Sucuri, and it spelled S-U-C-U-R-I. I do pay for security, and it works really, really well.
Okay, let’s dive into things that are going to help you build your email list, and specifically, we’re going to talk first about social media sharing and engagement. So here are the platforms that you can use. Share This. Add This. Click to Tweet. Sprout Social. Later, which is something that I actively use for Instagram. Meet Edgar. I have used Meet Edgar in the past. It is an amazing tool that allows you to auto-schedule to various social media platforms. Hootsuite, which I paid for for years, but have since moved into other platforms. People Map. Agora Pulse. Buffer, which I’ve also used in the past. CoSchedule, which I’ve also used. Iconosquare, which gives you Instagram stats, but I believe you have to pay for it. Tailwind. Socedo. Sked Social and it’s spelled S-K-E-D Social. And Planoly and I’ve used Planoly in the past too, but I didn’t find its user interface “Taylor friendly” let’s just say that.
Alright, next on the list is SEO-related things that you can use to help you out with your search engine optimization. Yoast SEO is a plugin I highly recommend. Google Search Console is a freebie. If you’re not using it, you need to be using it. I need to make sure that you guys understand how Search Console works. Google Keyword Planner was, is actually within the Google Ads platform and can be hard to get to if you don’t already have a Google Ads account, but there are other things you can use for keyword planning. SEO Site Checkup is another one. MOZ, M-O-Z is another great tool. And then MOZ Freetoolbar is another one. Bing Webmaster Tools. I never really use Bing Webmaster Tools because I don’t focus on being traffic, but it is an option. SEMRush is a really great tool. Keywords Everywhere and then Neil Patel’s Ubersuggest is a really awesome tool as well for SEO.
Okay, if you’re interested in creating quizzes and content creation, you can do those things with these tools. Lead Quizzes. Gleam. Opinion Stage. Poll Maker. Contest Domination. Qzzr spelled Q-Z-Z-R. And Woobox. So those are great tools to use for you to create quizzes or some kind of a campaign that might have a contest attached to it. Great tools.
All right, let’s move into advertising. So obviously we have Google Ads and Facebook advertising that also works in the Instagram platform, but then you can use Ad Espresso. You can use Zapier or might be Zapier. I don’t know. I need somebody to say how that is actually pronounced. Uh, Canva helps you in creating ads, and then Perfect Audience is another option for advertising.
Some keyword research and content development resources for you. AHREFS. Buzz Sumo. SEM Rush. Keywords Everywhere. Keywordtool.io. Feedly. Word Tracker and then again, Ubersuggest.
All right, let’s move into guest post pitching resources. Three articles. First one is from Kissmetrics, and it’s a guide to guest blogging. Quick Sprouts has an article that’s called Advanced Guide to Link-building. And then, ProBlogger has a resource on finding the best blogs for guest posting.
Moving on into podcast pitching resources. There is The Ultimate Guide to Pitching Podcasts from Sumo.com and then How to Pitch Yourself to be a podcast guest from ProBlogger. Side note on that, though, is I need you to do your homework before you start pitching yourself to be on a podcast. I get pitched every single week for guests to come on my show, and I’m a solo show. It’s very rare that I go out and bring a guest on. If I do, that guest is amazing at what they do, and it is something I want them to share about and to teach you about. I don’t do interviews as much anymore because I kept feeling like the people pitching me we’re on an agenda and not truly here for you. So if you are interested in trying to get yourself on podcasts, those are two really great articles. However, I want you to do research on the show itself to see if they even accept guest pitches because that’s important.
Now, when you want to deliver or distribute a podcast, if you’re interested in starting your own podcast, I definitely recommend Libsyn as your host. They actually turned 15 this year, which is really, really awesome. I’ve been with Libsyn for the last four and a half years are going into four and a half years of this show. And they’re an amazing audio host. And I highly, highly recommend them. You can use my affiliate BOSSGIRL when you sign up for Libsyn audio hosting and what that will give you as 30 plus days of free hosting. Now how do you get the plus? If you sign up at the very beginning of a month, you will actually get two months free. So if you sign up on the first, you’re going to get that first month free, plus the second month free of audio hosting through Libsyn using my code. If you sign up in the middle of the month, you’re going to get the remainder of that month plus another month for free. And if you sign up at the end of the month, you’re going to get whatever is left of the month plus the next month for free. So if you want to make this the best bang for your buck, sign up on the first day of the month with my code BOSSGIRL, and then it’s going to give you that month plus another month for free. And that is really, really awesome. So go to Libsyn if you’re wanting to start a podcast, use my code BOSSGIRL, and get yourself some free audio hosting before you start paying for it.
All right, audio editing. If you’re into doing that yourself, you can use Anchor or Audacity or GarageBand. So, I actually record my podcast through GarageBand, but then send it out to my editor, Zach. And if you don’t want to tackle the audio editing yourself, Zach is happy to be hired to be your podcast editor like he is mine. So that’s audio editing resources for you.
Software services that will help create and deliver your content. So you can use Beacon, which is a lead magnet page. You can use Blurb. So if you are a photographer and you want to sell a book of photography, you can use Blurb to create a photo book to sell. Scribe. Camtasia, which is a screen recording software for Windows users. Gumroad. Keynote, which is an Apple-based product. Kindle Direct Publishing. Play.ht, which is, allows you to convert written articles to audio. PowerPoint. Then you’ve got Prezi, and it’s spelled P-R-E-Z-I. Screen Flow, which is an Apple-based product, and it’s something that I actively use and pay for. And then, Snagit. So those are all resources for software and services to create and deliver your content.
Video editing resources. You’ve got Adobe Creative Cloud. Adobe Premiere Pro. Final Cut Pro. iMovie, which is Apple-based. Magisto, and it’s spelled M-A-G-I-S-T-O. Quik spelled Q-U-I-K. And then Sony Vegas Pro, which is a PC-based software. So that’s all in the video editing.
PDF creation. You can use CamScanner, which allows you to convert. Like, let’s say you have something in your hand that you need a quick PDF of, you can use this app on your phone to quickly turn it into a PDF. I personally use Genius Scan, which it does the same exact thing, and it’s perfect for on-the-go PDFs. Adobe InDesign allows you to create PDFs, and then Pages, which is an Apple-based program, also allows you to create things and turn them into PDFs. And then your Microsoft products. Word. You can create PDFs out of Word, as well.
All right, now let’s talk about resources for presentation software and media. So you can do things with Explanation Videos. Keynote, which is an Apple-based product. PowerPoint, again. Screen Flow, again, which is the Apple-based product. SlideShare and Splasheo, which is S-P-L-A-S-H-E-O. And all of those will help you with presentations.
Okay, we’re on the downhill slide of the first part in this series. We’re going to talk about webinars and live webcasting resources next. We’ve got Demio, which is D-E-M-I-O. EasyWebinar. EverWebinar. Facebook Lives. GotoMeeting. Join.me. WebinarJam. WebinarNinja. Wirecast. YouTube Live and Zoom. And I actually use Zoom and love Zoom. It’s amazing. I think I pay like $15 a month for that tool. Phone and video conferencing options. Google Meet. Skype. UberConference and Zoom.
Project management and online business resources. We’ve got Asana, Basecamp, Google Drive, Trello, and Airtable. I use Google Drive all the time. I use Trello. That’s what we have been using for our product management in this new launch. And then Airtable is what I’m using currently for Boss Girl, which has been awesome as well.
Alright, moving into data management and collaboration resources. We’ve got Invision. RealtimeBoard, Amazon s3, which we are actually exploring because we gotta have a photo database. Box. Dropbox, so that’s different than Box. Evernote for Business. Google Drive. Google Keep. Hightail, and it’s spelled H-I-G-H-T-A-I-L. Loom. Snagit and WeTransfer. So those are all resources for data management and collaboration.
Graphic design tools you can use. Dribbble. Canva. Invision. PicMonkey. Sortfolio. The Stocks, which is stock images. PlaceIt and Fiverr. Those are graphic design tools you could use. Obviously, Adobe Creative Cloud with Photoshop is available.
Okay. And last one in the lineup is transcription services. You can use Rev, R-E-V. Upwork, you can hire somebody. Transcript Divas, you can hire them. And finally, Otter, which is actually what I’m using for the podcast transcripts. It was something I heard on a podcast, and I was like, “hmm, I’m going to check that out” because most of these transcription services are paid-for services and I actually found a resource with Otter that you get some minutes for free before you have to start paying for their services. So I thought that was an amazing tool. It’s been an amazing tool. It’s been really, really smart with how it transcribes a podcast, which I appreciate. And it is a tool that I’m actively using for Boss Girl Creative.
This is part one. Holy moly, that was a ton of resources. Again, I know that not all of these resources are going to be relevant to you right now. They might be in the future, or they might have been in the past, but I wanted to create this ultimate resource list for you so that you know what to use when you get to that thing in your business. Thank you to today’s show sponsor, which is my BGC Super Fans. I love you guys to pieces. And if you want to sign up to become one, you can go to patreon.com/bossgirlcreative. And then another shout-out to this week’s community member, which is Lyndi with The Joy of Eating Well. Please, go say hi to her. I will be back next week with another episode of the Boss Girl Creative podcast. It’s actually Part Two to this ultimate resource list. And until then, I hope you have a great rest of your week.