The Blogging Tools + Resources I Use to Run My Business

The blogging tools + resources I use to run my business! Most of these resources are FREE!! By Marianne at DesignYourOwnBlog.com.
I’ve been attempting to work on a Resources Guide for forever and it’s just one of those things that never seems to get done. But it’s something people ask me about all. the. time. So I figured I’d take it one step at at time and share with you my favorite blogging business tools and resources that I use to run DYOB.

Blogging Business Tools and Resources

Please note that some links below are affiliate links (denoted by a *) which just means that I may receive a small commission, at no cost to you, should you make a purchase through my link. I only recommend products that I wholeheartedly support myself. Here’s my full disclaimer.

To Sell Digital Products

Gumroad

I use this for my ebook and will use it for future ebooks and ecourses as well. You can even use it to manage your free downloads if you’d like. Otherwise, you pay a percentage per sale.

Cost: Starts at $10 a month which includes unlimited bandwidth and payments are just 3.5% + 30¢ per charge.

To Manage Projects

Asana

I use the free version to manage my tasks. I can group them by project and create smaller tasks under each one. Checking off items makes me feel productive! Access all tasks from your phone or tablet. You can use Asana with teams too: handy for when you hire a VA at some point!

Cost: Free or $9.99/mo for the business plan.

Workflowy

I discovered Workflowy earlier this year and absolutely love it! It’s a basic To Do List on steroids! It’s easy to see all your tasks in a tree view where items can be expanded for more detail.

Cost: Free for up to 250 tasks per month (so far this is enough for me). $4.99/mo for unlimited.

To Manage Everything and Take Notes

Evernote

All of my post ideas, product ideas, and notes having anything to do with my business go in here. I use it to organize notes from meetings, webinars and courses. I even use it for personal notes.

I can access my notes from my phone or tablet too.

Cost: Free or upgrade to various plans between $34.99 and $120.00 per year per user.

To Manage + Share Files

Dropbox* and Google Drive

I’ve always used a combination of Dropbox and Google Drive to manage my files because I combined the free amount of space I got from both.

But when the time came that I needed more space, I upgraded Dropbox from the free 2GB to 1TB. To be honest, while I love the Dropbox interface, I wish I had upgraded Google Drive instead because I realized it’s difficult to move all my files into one place since so many shared files are dependent on Google docs. One of these days, I’ll be switching everything to a paid Google docs plan. 😉

Cost: They both give you 2GBs free and you can upgrade either one to 1TB for about $9.99/month.

WesternDigital 1TB Portable External Hard Drive*

What??? A physical hard drive. Yes. You see, when you sync EVERYTHING on your Dropbox or Google Drive folders to your computer’s hard drive, it actually takes up that physical space on your computer’s hard drive. If you don’t sync all your folders, then you have actually download the files each time you want to use them. And as you all know, here in Costa Rica, our internet is not the fastest.

Since I have literally have A TON of large graphic files, I like to keep them quickly accessible on a physical hard drive that I can quickly plug in. I haven’t found a better solution for this yet so if you know of one, please do tell in the comments!

Cost: List price is $84, as of this writing, it’s on sale for $53.99.

To Manage Finances

QuickBooks and Wave

There are two tools I’ve just begun trying out and I’m still determining which I love best. Wave is completely free, but QuickBooks has way more features so a lot will determine on what your individual business needs are. If you’ve got opinions on either, please leave em below!

Cost: Free or plans starting at $5/mo.

To Build a Better Blog Business

The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit 2017!*

For newbs and experienced bloggers alike, I cannot recommend this bundle enough! Offered only once a year and containing SO MANY ecourses, ebooks and other blogging products, you cannot pass this bundle up if you’re serious about taking your blog up a notch (or two or three)…

From Getting Started to Monetizing to Work/Life Balance to Professional Blogging to Increasing Traffic and Email Marketing to Social Media, Product + Content Creation. You also receive products helping you with Business Legalities and Financials, Getting Organized and Branding Your Business. Everything you need is all right here for one simple low price.

The Genius Blogger's Toolkit 2017 - Brilliant tools to help you grow your blog, work smarter, and make more money. 47 eCourses and videos, 28 eBooks, 16 printables and workbooks, 10 exclusive bonuses. $5800+ value for just $97 right now!

Cost: $5,802.51 worth of tools for a mere $97!! Only available through October 9th so hurry!

To Create Forms and Surveys

Typeform

Create beautiful forms and surveys that are actually fun to fill out. The free version is limited but works just fine for simple surveys.

Cost: Free for basic or $30-59/mo for upgraded plans.

Google Forms

Not as beautiful but totally free, Google forms can be used as surveys and download results directly to your Google Drive account.

Cost: Free

To Connect Apps / Automate

IFTTT and Zapier

Automation at its finest! Both of these allow you to create “recipes” that basically allow you to connect two different apps or services together. You can do some integrations on IFTTT that you cannot on Zapier and vice versa, so I recommend using them both. Here are some examples of how I use each:

I use IFTTT to:

  • connect my Google calendar and my Facebook group to automatically post the daily thread. Here’s the brilliant post I followed to make this happen.
  • post my Instagram photos as native Twitter photos whenever I post something to IG.

I use Zapier to:

  • automatically add people who purchase my Blog Beautiful eBook on Gumroad to my email list on ConvertKit with a special tag that indicates they purchased it.
  • save new Typeform entries to a Google Sheets spreadsheet.

You can search for IFTTT recipes or applets and Zapier zaps that others have already created and incorporate them yourself. It’s really fun to see what’s possible!

Cost: IFTTT is completely free and Zapier has both free and paid plans depending on what you need. You can give the paid plans a trial first.

To Record Screencasts / Videos

Quicktime and iMovie

I personally use Quicktime to record my screen and voice, then iMovie to edit the videos. Both programs are free in the Mac App Store.

Cost: Free

My husband is a videographer and helps me out sometimes with my non-screencast videos using the following equipment:

Other options, since I’m always asked:

Camtasia

For PC or Mac users. $199 one time.

Screenflow

For mac only. Free trial. Then starts at $129.

Recordit

For mac and PC to create quick screencasts and create gifs. Free.

To Manage Contests + Giveaways

Rafflecopter

Host giveaways on your blog to build your list and manage them. People can gain more entries by leaving a comment or sharing the giveaway on social media. Helps you spread the word.

Cost: Free plan available. Premium plans start at $13/mo.

Other suggestions from Blog Beautiful members that I have not tried myself:

KingSumo

Another giveaway platform that comes highly recommended but only works with WordPress a plugin. No monthly fees, just a one-time payment.

Vyper.io

Great way to deliver contests and content upgrades

Gleam.io

Run competitions, redeem rewards, etc.

My Favorite Business Books

The 4-Hour Workweek: Escape 9-5, Live Anywhere, and Join the New Rich* by Tim Ferriss

This is the book that changed my life and got me into blogging and online businesses. It made me realize there is a lot more to life than drudging through it in a 9-5 and there are more creative ways to make money. If you want to break free from the status quo life, this book is a must read.

The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles* by Steven Pressfield

The enemy in this book is RESISTANCE. Everything in your life that stops you from doing and getting what you want is Resistance. Eye opening.

Think and Grow Rich* by Napoleon Hill

This guy’s thoughts and ideas were way ahead of his time. If you want to succeed at anything, you must read this book.

You can get it free online in PDF (opens PDF directly) or audio versions. (P.S. The site for the audio download looks sketchy, but I downloaded from there without problem).

Choose Yourself* by James Altucher

Need some motivation to get off your butt and do something significant? Read this book.

The Universe Has Your Back: Transform Fear to Faith* by Gabrielle Bernstein

Ok this isn’t a business book per se, but I wanted to include it because it provides a healthy dose of confidence that you’ll need when it comes to building a business. Plus I just love everything in this book! Take notes!

The Art of Non-Conformity: Set Your Own Rules, Live the Life You Want, and Change the World,*
The $100 Startup: Reinvent the Way You Make a Living, Do What You Love, and Create a New Future* and
The Happiness of Pursuit: Finding the Quest That Will Bring Purpose to Your Life* by Chris Guillebeau

I’ve followed Chris’s blog for many years and even attended his Word Domination Summit a few years ago and all I can say is he is pure brilliance. Want to make money but also do good in the world? He’s your guy.

#GIRLBOSS* by Sophia Amoruso

Like her or not, there’s a reason why everyone is talking about this book. It’s so worth learning how Sophia Amoruso built her empire and how she became a true girlboss.

Summary + More

So these are the tools I use to run my business! I’d love to hear your thoughts on what you use as well! Leave a comment below. And don’t forget that The Genius Blogger’s Toolkit is only sale through Monday October 9th so be sure to not miss it!*

motionmailapp.com
You may also wish to sign up for these awesome free webinars this week!

10 Ways to Make Your Life Easier as a Blogger with Amy Lynn Andrews on Tuesday, October 3 at 7 pm ET
Amy Lynn Andrews likes to make blogging as easy and painless as possible. Join her for this super helpful webinar “10 Ways to Make Your Life Easier as a Blogger” (awesome, right?). This webinar (Tuesday at 7pm ET) will be applicable to you, no matter where you are in your blogging journey

5 Ways to Improve Your Blog/Life Balance (and What We’ve Learned from 10 Years, 5 Kids and 4 Businesses) with Ryan & Stephanie on Wednesday, October 4 at 7pm ET
Maybe you’ve struggled with work-life balance (haven’t we all)? Ryan and Stephanie Langford want to share their story, struggles and solutions in their webinar: “5 Ways to Improve Your Blog/Life Balance (and What We’ve Learned from 10 Years, 5 Kids and 4 Businesses).” Register here for this one (Wednesday at 7pm ET)

Chasing ROI: How To Maximize Your Blogging Income When You’re Tight on Time with Rosemarie Groner on Thursday, October 5 at 7pm ET
If you’re ready to start making better money for the time you put into your blog, you’ll want to check out Rosemarie Groner’s webinar on “Chasing ROI: How To Maximize Your Blogging Income When You’re Tight on Time.” This webinar (Thursday at 7pm ET) will show you where to spend your time to have the greatest impact on your revenue

See you there!

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15 Comments

  • google drive and dropbox is my favorite , cause so easy to use.

  • Karen says:

    Where do bloggers like you get their VA’s from? Is there an agency or place where VA’s list their services?

    • Marianne says:

      Hi Karen, at the moment I do not have a VA. I know there are a ton of VA’s on Twitter that I follow so perhaps start there. 🙂

  • Hello Marianne,

    Great analogs over here 🙂

    Its pleasure to get aware of what tools you are using to promote your business and blogging stuff.

    In here are some known names which I have been using and they are quite satisfying, as Evernote, for sharing files drop box
    is my favorite. Ifttt this is something I founded couple of months back and I am in love with this one. Helps to manage
    our social media platforms as well as get us a notification by the Google calendar about the important up coming dates.

    I am discovering some very helpful tools which were still left unknown by my side like Asana and Workyflow looks very
    promising as they are good at managing our project work. Their pricing too is not so high and can be grabbed.

    Thanks for the share.

    Shantanu.

  • Jessa says:

    So much good stuff in the post. I wish I would have gotten the genius blogger thing. I can’t believe I waited again! hopefully next year.. 🙁 I put some of the books on my amazon wishlist.

    • Marianne says:

      Hey Jessa, bummer but I understand, it happens! Sometimes they re-release the bundle later in the year so keep an eye on your email, I’ll send out a notification if that happens.

  • Gywn Thomas says:

    Hi Marianne
    Great! I’m new in blogging. And I think this will really help me alot for my new business field. Keep sharing this type of blogging tips. Thanks,

  • Roberto Wise says:

    These are simple and practical ways to start blogging. Amazing tips for understanding and implementing novices on blogs.

  • Megan says:

    I use IFTTT for sharing my posts across social media and bookmarking site when I publish it. I also use buffer to reschedule posts to share later.

    Also, I use reddit or Quora to find inspiration for new posts.

  • Luckee says:

    Hello-

    Real quick note on if anyone would choose Quickbooks, it has awesome features, mileage tracker, recipes scanner + auto add, but if you use Turbo Tax for filing, they offer Quickbook Business|Self Employed for free.

    Happy Holidays to all…

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