As a small business owner, I get what it’s like to have the desire and the drive to boost traffic, grow your business, as quickly as possible but there just is NOT enough time in the day. Luckily, there is such a thing as automation, and I am going to share my favourite tools with you today.
Luckily, there is such a thing as automation, and I am going to share my favourite tools with you today. I wish I had known about these online business tools when I first started trying to make money online. Being able to boost traffic is amazing but it’s nothing if you don’t know how to monetize properly.
Boost Traffic By Using These Top Tools Resources
Now, I know that I could have monetized my blog from the very beginning and I definitely would have skipped the free blogging platform first. I started my very first blog in 2009, then I decided to start a craft blog in 2010 and launch this blog in April 2017. I’ve been around the block and back again so I’m sharing my favourite tools with you today.
Related: How To Start A WordPress Website the easiest way possible
The problem was, I wanted to try it for free in case it didn’t work out; I wasn’t brave enough and didn’t believe in myself enough to pursue my dream the right way from the beginning. This time last year, I decided that I was going to amp up my efforts and build a business.
The only thing I had to do was figure out how the heck to do all that, be on social media, have the brain power to send out regular newsletters AND promote my biz. Then I discovered automation. Like a glorious, shining beacon of light, it entered my life and has helped me to step up my game big time!
In no time, I came across email marketing platforms, webinars and advice on how to set up automated sales funnels, WordPress framework’s and themes that could increase my blogs performance and social media scheduling services for sharing both my own content and that of others!
Publishing Your Posts:
In my opinion, WordPress is the number one site builder. You can use a WordPress site for e-commerce, a blog only or both. It’s in an easy to use option, and there are countless tutorials and videos on YouTube that can help you get set up.
For hosting I recommend SiteGround*, for beginners, check out how to start a blog the easiest way possible with a video tutorial.
It’s an essential proofreader and grammar checker that you should use before you publish each post!
CoSchedule is an Editorial Calendar that I use in my business all the time. But, it isn’t just an editorial calendar. It is used as an editorial calendar, social media scheduler and project management app, all in the one place.
If you end up blogging for a while and decide to hire someone or a team, you can see everything that everyone is working on, all from a centralised calendar location.
It also integrates with a lot of different programs, including:
to name but a few.
The Co-Schedule* newsletter team, send out regular tutorials and free training to help you make the most out of your plan.
Related: How To Create An Editorial Calendar With 7 Possible Tools To Use
✅ Sumo Me*
SumoMe is THE tool to help you increase your traffic, grow your E-Mail list and get pretty powerful analytics. You can get Sumo Me basic (free) and Sumo Me Pro.
I had the basic for an entire year before I decided to level up and I wish I had done it sooner. There were far more customisation options to match my blog branding, and it increased social sharing by about 40%
The Back Bone Of Your Blog:
✅ Genesis Framework*
The Genesis Framework is the foundation of any smart WordPress design, especially for craft bloggers who will have a lot of images on their site.
My craft site has been built on the Genesis framework. After reading a blog that managed to increase its site speed by 72% after installing the Genesis framework, I bought it immediately.
In a post titled 10 Things, I Wish I Knew Before Moving From Blogger To WordPress, I shared how I managed to waste several hundred pounds getting an amateur to help me move my blog content over and by doing so, he had managed to butcher my website code and I had costly problems for two years before I found the solution.
My Pinterest success is down to:
See this post all about How I Increased my Pinterest Views by 9000% In One Month. Tailwind is used to pin to the Heart Handmade UK Pinterest Profile, Clarity Avenue and the Start A Craft Blog Pinterest Profile.
I must admit that I’m in love with Tailwind. You must manually schedule pins using the tailwind browser extensions.
I don’t mean to sound hella braggy but with Heart Handmade UK I get over 9.4 Million monthly views on my Pinterest profile and that drives 200,000 passive monthly views to my blog.
I looooove Tribes. I’ve been screaming about them since their inception. They’re responsible for quite a bit of my traffic and it helps if you have a great strategy.
⇒ Click to join my favourite All Niche Tribe
⇒ Click to join my Crafts and Home Decor Tribe
⇒ Click to join my Blogging & Social Media Tribe
The Tailwind Browser extension (Chrome/Firefox)
You can add any of your content to Tribes using the extension for your browser!
Related: Everything You Need To Know About Tailwind + MORE!
Please note that you can’t add to Tailwind Tribes using the smartphone app. It’s not great.
While Canva is free and awesome, if you can design your own templates on there, that is hands down the best thing that you can do.
I bought it and customised some into a new template. Personally, I’m no designer. That is why I customised paid templates, as it’s easier to work from a template.
Please please please please – change the colours. Because, as soon as I see those templates on Pinterest with a blog headline, I think “oh! That must be a new BluChic post” and then I discover it’s someone else, I’m pretty disappointed.
Of course, that relies on your audience following BluChic and recognising their brand, but still. If you’re marketing to marketers, they’re going to be familiar with BluChic.
The problem with Canva is that EVERYONE uses it. EVERYONE uses those free templates and then EVERYONE’s pins end up looking the SAME. That’s really bad in terms of having an effective Pinterest strategy.
My Favourite New Tool:
If you didn’t see my webinar last month, I was wax lyrical about how awesome WP Tasty pins is! I ended up buying 2 licenses as soon as I found it!
⇒ Check It Out!
Here is how it looks when you edit an image into your WordPress editor:
I’ve highlighted the bits you need to concentrate on.
You can add separate Pinterest and Google text. That means that Blind users don’t have to wait for your Pinterest description rolls out before their computer can read out the rest of your content.
Not only that, but Google will be able to easily identify WHAT your content is really about. Instead of sifting through the word soup of the Pinterest Description.
The Pinterest Pin It Extension (Chrome/Firefox)
I love it! After their most recent update, I was thrilled when I was copying text from someone else’s post (because their Pinterest description was non-existent), when I hit the ‘Pin It’ button again the text that I had just copied was in the description box. Woo!
✅ Creative Market*
You can buy all the creative’s you need for your website or blog from CreativeMarket*.
You can purchase blog themes, branding packages, premade logos, logo kits and marketing promotional materials from talented designers via their online stores on CreativeMarket*.
I love CreativeMarket! Now, I’m not telling you to go and spend a fortune on CreativeMarket. I’m telling you to sign up to their newsletters, where you will get notified each week about their Freebies!
They have awesome Free Downloads each week and over the past year I’ve amassed;
Awesome stock photos that aren’t available on Free Stock Photo sets (again, being used by m-i-l-l-i-o-n-s of Pinterest marketers), Instagram story templates, Social Media icons, beautiful fonts, clip art packs (that are great to use in Freebies for your own newsletter subscribers), and even pdf templates for brochures or mini ebooks!
I’m also a paying customer at Creative Market but I don’t buy things all of the time. Usually, I’ll find one thing that I want to buy, last time it was InDesign templates for small brochures or workbooks, so I purchase credits, buy that one thing and then save up my credits for next time.
I’ve also purchased A LOT of ProCreate brushes for my iPad lettering hobby!
As you may already know, Instagram only allows clickable links in your profile.
Instead of having to change your link daily, you get a Have2Have.It URL, where you get another image feed with links attached to each individual image. You can boost traffic by sharing images from your blog posts and directing instagram users to your post.
You can integrate with a Shopify store and sell directly from Instagram.
Take a look at my Have2Have.It profile page, right here.
For a full tutorial in how to set up your own Shopify Store and Craft Business, Click Here!
Start An Email List For Free:
Yes! It is actually possible. Thanks to Mailerlite, you can access their wonderful service for free!
When the time comes and you are prepared to set up a bit more automation, you can upgrade or move to…
Switching from MailChimp to ConvertKit* was the best thing I ever did. Convert Kit don’t offer image templates that are obvious newsletter style emails.
You get a basic text-based e-mail, like you would from a friend. I much prefer this method of communication, especially when you want to be treating your e-mail subscribers like they are your friends.
Because they are your fans and they are pretty loyal, and it’s the nicest feeling in the world when you get responses from people that are just lovely.
I am so happy I invested in ConvertKit*. The pricing was quite a jump but definitely worth it because the simplified emails are being opened and it’s by far an amazing way to boost traffic to your site.
Excellent Affiliate Programs to Join:
✅ Affiliate Window UK*/Affiliate Window US*
I’ve been with Affiliate Window for years and years, and I love it. Programs like Etsy UK/ Etsy US, HobbyCraft, Joules and Urban Outfitters are on there. They also have an Affiliate Window Wiki for all the help you could need. There are also browser extensions to help you create custom affiliate links quickly and easily.
This is the most recent affiliate program that I signed up to and quickly became my favourite. I had $110 in my balance before I got paid, but you can set a “lowest level” before you get paid. That means I get paid smaller deposits with a little more regularity.
Payment is on the 20th of each month and can be processed by BACS transfer, straight into your bank account.
This is the first affiliate program I ever signed up to. I’ve experienced drips and drabs from this account because my readership doesn’t buy an awful lot from the stores on there.
Great Affiliate Programs for bloggers who blog about blogging & Biz
✅WP Engine Via Shareasale
I love promoting affiliate links that my readers would really benefit from and with this site, users can sign up with WPEngine and have super speed blog hosting from the beginning and also refer others to the program. You can sign up to the affiliate program via Shareasale.
Grammarly Via Shareasale
If you’re a blogger, then Grammarly is an essential tool. It’s a proofreader, plagiarism checker, spelling & grammar checker and my favourite blogging tool of late. People don’t share posts that contain a lot of typos, or even social media images with typos. Good grammar can help you boost traffic, as well as great design.
They also have a program available via Shareasale.
If you want to create and sell digital products, then signing up to a service like SendOwl is a no-brainer. You can also join their referral program and receive 20% on referrals, which is pretty sweet!
Hiring Freelancers to help you
If you feel overwhelmed at all when it comes to setting up your brand new blog, hiring a freelancer might be worth considering. Fiverr has a vast array of freelancers that could help you. You hire them via ‘gigs’, which are a bit like product listings. Prices start from $5.
This is where I hire my Freelancers now. I actually have two freelancers that are my “go-to gals”. They’re the best and incredibly helpful. Contracts on Upwork usually cost a lot more than on Fiverr, but it really