These are my absolute favorite tools I use and recommend!

Graphic Editors (these are my “swiss army knife”):

  • CANVA – for social media images like Pinterest, Instagram and Facebook. Makes logos but not a lot of special text effects although overlays are super easy.

  • INKSCAPE – for working with SVG files, creating logos, creating graphics from scratch, gradients, text effects, 3D effects. Handy for converting SVG to JPG, PNGs.

  • GIMP – for editing Adobe and eps files, creating logos, graphics, re-coloring and background edits, text and 3d effects. Has some cool filters and lots of free filter scripts to add.

  • PICMONKEY– for social media images, logos, collages, text effects and lots of pre-canned background customization or customize your own.

  • PIXLR EDITOR – for background removals, re-coloring and small modifications.

  • PIXELMATORPRO – for image modifications, similar to Illustrator and AfterEffects software, plus it handles SVG files. Pay for but much cheaper than the big names, around $99 one time fee.

Productive Tools to manage your business:

  • AMAZON WEB SERVICES (AWS) – I use this as my CDN (content delivery provider) for my WordPress sites and it’s free. That is awesome.

  • BUFFER – Another scheduler I can’t do without. I use buffer on several different accounts because it can schedule to Pinterest, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. It’s the best cost scheduler out there. Support can lag at times which can be a bit frustrating but it is cost effective and works.

  • GRAMMARLYThis is a lifesaver for me. I write with Grammarly which catches all kinds of typos and grammatical issues. Highly recommended if you plan to write a lot of content online.

  • GOOGLE DOCS – This is so handy to quickly make any document or spreadsheet you need.

  • INCFILE – If you’re starting out and need to register your business, get a registered agent then INCFILE makes it simple and easy.

  • MANGOOLS – I love Mangools. I get keyword research, SERP checker, Backlink analysis and Website Analysis tools. I used this keyword research tool all the time when I’m researching for my post articles and even for keywords on my page and post titles. Much cheaper then competitors and has other tools in addition to keyword research that are very useful.

  • SQUARESPACE – I migrated to Squarespace only because I got tired of maintaining my WordPress site although all of my sales pages are on WP. As it got bigger, there was more maintenance and because my site is about creating graphic images so I found it was easier to maintain images and services thru Squarespace. Simply a personal preference. I still love WordPress for certain types of sites and pages.

  • SCREENCAST-O-MATIC – I use this for making all my videos. If you need software to make, edit and annotate videos this is a good choice. It’s not fancy but it does the job and the price is quite reasonable. If you use my affiliate link you should get a 20% discount off of the first year.

  • TAILWIND – This is by far the best scheduler for Pinterest pins hands down, and I’ve looked at half a dozen competitors. Most if not all are much more expensive. If you’re on a budget and just starting you’ll probably go the route of manually pinning but eventually when you need a scheduler you should look at this one.

  • TRELLO – There are a ton of uses for Trello but for me it’s a great way to organize my online notes, reminders and all those little pieces of scribbles that I would lose if I actually wrote them on a piece of paper.

  • ZAPIER – When you need integration that doesn’t directly exist then Zapier is the way to go.

WordPress Plugins & Themes:

(These are the very best I’ve found that are easy to understand and implement; plus I use them!)

  • ADVANCEDADS – Want to create affiliate ads easily without coding, then this plugin is for you. Support is awesome and the monthly updates are worth subscribing. Use it even for your Google Adsense. Plus, this has a specific Genesis version if you use Genesis themes.

  • ALL-IN-ONE-SEO – If you’re looking at SEO plugins for WordPress, you’ve probably considered Yoast or this one. I’ve used both and after some consideration like how easy this is to use and manage. In fact I think it’s one of the most intuitive SEO plugins I’ve ever seen, plus the little popup explanations are great.

  • CONTENTVIEWPROAmazing WordPress plugin for posts, media and even portfolios. Makes beautiful grid layouts for any purpose. User friendly customization for just about everything. Great support too.

  • ENVIRAGALLERY – Super easy wordpress plugin for galleries and portfolios. Nice add-ons and robust support. Doesn’t do blog post portfolios.

  • ELEMENTORI don’t want to sound gushy but this plugin is really a bread and butter one, especially if you don’t want to code. It makes beautiful and quite professional looking WordPress pages.

  • DESIGN PALETTE PROIf you’re not a coder, this is by far the easiest way to customize your Studiopress child theme. It is an annual recurring fee and only works with Studiopress themes and not 3rd party ones. If you need help with the 3rd party you’ll have to hire someone like me or learn a little CSS.

  • DUPLICATOR PROLiterally one of the handiest backup, duplication and migration plugins I’ve come across. I’ve used it to migrate from one domain to another which literally saved me days of work. It’s easy and intuitive.

  • GENERATEPRESS – The first theme I ever used where configuring header, footers, sidebars and even sections on pages and posts was a no brainer. Best theme for the cost and support actually responds within the same day for issues if you buy the low cost premium ($39) theme.

  • PAGELINKSTO – This somewhat obscure but very useful plugin is the only one I’ve run across that lets you use redirect URLs on your images in the WordPress media library. So if you create a gallery of 3 images going to different resources or pages on your site this can take those images and use redirect URL instead of the standard WP media library URL that points to the image. Very handy tool.

  • PRETTYLINKS – Best cloaking and redirection plugin out there for WordPress that can hold all your affiliate links.

  • SHORTPIXELImage compression. One of my favorites that I’ve used and seen real results with. Works well with other optimization and minification plugins like Autooptimize, Fast Velocity Minification and more.

  • SOCIAL-WARFARE – Great plugin for managing your Social media images for Pinterest and Facebook.

  • STUDIOPRESS GENESIS FRAMEWORK – This is the defacto WordPress theme I’d recommend. You’ll need to know a little CSS to code the modifications. You’re other options are to buy Design Palette Pro to use a GUI or hire someone like myself to do it for you. However it’s worth using Genesis. It simply works, looks amazing and the page loads with this theme are the best I’ve seen. You’ll need to get a child theme that works with the Genesis Framework. I’ve listed 3 Genesis themes below I love and would recommend.

  • WPFORMSUser friendly form creation plugin. Drag ‘n drop what you need right on the screen. Create contact, survey or registration forms and much more with an impressive array of addons. It’s not cheap but less expensive than some competitors and the support is very good. If you only need a contact form on your website, just use the lite version which is free.

  • WP-ROCKET – I’ve used several well know caching plugins that took days to configure and gave me heartburn. Not this one. Easy to use and has really good support.

  • WPSPAMSHIELDBest spam stopper plugin out there. Need say no more. You will only find this on CodeCanyon. One license is good for any number of websites you have.

Handy Mac User Tools:

  • FONT BOOKI love font book because it holds all my free fonts that I download and use in my applications (with the exception of Inkscape).

  • HOMEBREWIf you’re a MAC user, you simply need this whether you blog, write or design. It’s the easiest way to install additional software packages that make your Mac work better.

  • MACPORTS – While not quite as useful as Homebrew there are still instances where Macports is handy.

  • PREVIEW – It’s the best quickest crop, resize and change image resolution app on the planet! Sorry Windows users, this doesn’t work on your platform but I’ve listed one that does.

  • PIXELMATORPROsee editors.

Specific to Windows:

  • XNVIEWMPSimilar to PREVIEW this works on Windows (and Linux).




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