Katy’s Top Tools & Resources

Updated September 4, 2022

Katy Boykin

By Katy Boykin | Website Designer & Marketing Strategist

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links, meaning if you decide to make a purchase via my links, I may earn a commission at no additional cost to you. See my disclosure for more info.

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Wondering which plugins, software, and other tools you need to grow your online business and elevate your online presence? I’ve got you.

Here, you’ll find all of my favorite tools and resources that will help you save dozens of hours per week, automate key marketing activities, and save lots of money!

Business Email, File Management & More:

  • Google’s G-Suite – Get a domain name-based email address for a totally professional online presence for as little as $6/month! You also get shared calendars, online document editing, organization & storage, & so much more.

SEO Tools:

  • SEMrush (Premium Keyword Research Tool) – Spy on your competitors and find juicy keywords to dominate the search engines. I’ve used this tool for years now & believe it’s the secret sauce to a winning SEO strategy!
  • Moz Chrome Extension – I use Moz’s Google Chrome extension for competitive keyword research. I look at the Moz domain authority score to help me determine if I have a shot at ranking for specific keywords.
  • Keywords Everywhere – The Keywords Everywhere tool is handy for keyword research. You can view monthly search volume and other helpful stats. I personally use it to gather additional keywords for H2’s & H3’s in my posts.
  • Stupid Simple SEO – Stupid Simple SEO shares a different keyword research method than what I’ve shared in this course. However, if you want to dig deeper into SEO, this is the most in-depth course you’ll find on the market!
  • Google Trends – Find out what people are searching for by comparing global keywords and phrases. 
  • Pinterest Trends – See what Pinterest says are the best keywords to use for your content based on what people are actually searching for. Check different versions against each other to see what ranks higher.

Email Marketing Tools:

  • ConvertKit – ConvertKit is my favorite email marketing tool designed for content creators. It’s easy to use & the most affordable tool with tagging & segmentation capabilities!
  • ActiveCampaign – Active Campaign is a close second favorite. It includes necessary tagging & segmentation features with robust email building & data tracking tools. If you’re new to list building, their lite plan can’t be beaten!

Domains & Hosting:

  • Name Cheap – If you need a reliable place to buy a domain name that won’t break the bank, Name Cheap is the place to go.
  • Bigscoots (Dedicated Hosting) – Get fast, fully managed WordPress hosting plans with unparalleled customer support! Their biggest perks include NO shared hosting, free migrations, and stable month-to-month pricing.
  • Siteground (Shared Hosting) – If you’re just getting started and in need of a more budget-friendly hosting alternative, SiteGround has affordable and reliable shared hosting plans that are great for beginners.

WordPress Themes:

All three themes are completely free and work well with Elementor Pro. If you plan to monetize your site with display ads or add an eCommerce shop, you’ll need a full-featured theme!

  • Kadence – Kadence is my #1 theme recommendation! It’s a fast, full-featured theme that works with both Kadence Blocks and Elementor.
  • Astra – If you are an Elementor user, Astra is another alternative. It’s a fast, full-featured theme that uses only 46 KB resources and works well with Elementor! 
  • Hello Theme – If you are an Elementor user, The Hello Theme is a blank, minimalistic theme that is lightweight and 100% compatible with Elementor. While this may sound like the best theme to use with Elementor, I don’t recommend this for bloggers or beginning business owners. Some HTML coding may be required in certain cases.

WordPress Plugins:

  • Elementor Pro – This is my favorite drag-and-drop design tool! Because it has so many robust features all rolled into one plugin, you can say goodbye to dozens of other plugins and create gorgeous page layout designs.
  • RankMath SEO – Say goodbye to Yoast & hello to Rankmath – the best WordPress SEO tool that works seamlessly with Elementor! Use this plugin to optimize your content, customize SEO settings, control page indexing & more.​
  • ShortPixel – Short Pixel improves website performance by using advanced compression technology that reduces image size without any before/after difference in quality… thus making your pages load faster!​
  • WProcket – WP Rocket is one of the most powerful and user-friendly caching plugins that can drastically improve your site speed. Even if you’re not a developer, you can quickly implement & configure this plugin!
  • WooCommerce – This is a free e-commerce plugin that you can use to sell digital or physical products. You can upgrade to various paid plugin extensions to get the functionality that’s right for your business needs. Note: If you plan to use WooCommerce, consider building your shop on a subdomain.
  • GeoDirectory – This is a premium plugin that will help you create a Directory website.
  • Crocoblock (Elementor Add-On) – Crocoblock offers a suite of Elementor add-on widgets that give you the ability to create advanced features like comparison tables, timelines, custom post types, and search filter & more.
  • Envato Elements – Want access to even more Elementor page templates? Download their free plugin or subscribe to their monthly plan and unlock tons of pro template designs for speedy website design.

Client Management, Invoicing & Schedulers:

  • Dubsado – Dubsado is a powerful CRM for creative service-based businesses. Now, you can send proposals, invoices and contracts plus you can automate call scheduling and email communications with prospects and clients!
  • A Self Guru – Every website needs a privacy policy, terms & conditions, disclaimer and other legal documents for legal protection. A Self Guru’s templates are easy to customize but most importantly bring peace of mind!

Professional Video & Communication Softwares:

  • CloudApp – With CloudApp, you can record your screen as a video with your voice and/or face, capture your screen and annotate the image, or record a GIF and then instantly share it as a link. I use this tool all the time to visually communicate with my clients and create tutorials!
  • Camtasia – details coming soon.
  • Zoom – details coming soon. 

Stock Photos & Videos

I recommend doing a branding photoshoot and NOT just relying on stock images for your business. But, we often do need stock to fill in the gaps. Here are the stock sites we use and love:

  • IvoryMix – Ivory Mix is the most comprehensive membership of stock photos and marketing resources built to empower busy female entrepreneurs. You can plug these photos into your Instagram, blog, Pinterest, Facebook and YouTube strategies!

Colors & Fonts

  • Creative Market – The best place to buy custom fonts
  • Adobe Color – My favorite tool to extract colors from an image

Design Tools

  • Canva – Canva is an online drag-and-drop design tool that allows you to create beautiful designs including graphics for your blog, Pinterest printable PDFs, slide decks, business cards and more! I personally use the Pro plan to unlock all of their features!
  • Adobe Creative Cloud – Adobe is an advanced design suite. Access tools like Illustrator, Photoshop, or Lightroom and more.

Social Media Schedulers:

  • Later – With Later’s visual content calendar, you can plan and schedule your Instagram or Facebook posts and stories. Plan ahead, batch your posts & save a ton of time!
  • Tailwind – With Tailwind, you can save time scheduling to Pinterest, post at the best times for engagement, grow together with Tribes, and get more actionable analytics.

WordPress Support & Site Speed:

  • iMark interactive – Looking for WordPress tech support? If you need a quick WordPress fix, monthly support plan, HTTPS site integration, or site speed overhaul, Grayson at iMark Interactive is the best in the business!
  • Understanding Site Speed Course – If you’re concerned about your website speed or performance and you can’t hire a developer, Grayson’s Site Speed Course will guide you through everything you need to know about website optimization.

Monetization

  • ShareASale – ShareASale is an affiliate marketplace that connects merchants with content creators. If you’re looking for products and companies to promote on your blog or business website, ShareASale is one of the leading affiliate networks online.
  • Monumetric – Interested in monetizing your site with display ads? If you have at least 10,000 monthly page views, you can apply to get into Monumetric’s program. This is the first ad network I used on my blog! 

Business Finances

  • YNAB – This is a budgeting app new business owners can use to manage their business finances. I personally use this tool to implement the Profit First method without opening seven bank accounts. Perfect for businesses who aren’t quite ready for Quickbooks! 

Time Management

  • Toggl – Stop wasting so much time. Track your time (for free) with Toggl. It’ll change the way you run your business and your day.

Chrome Extensions

  • Grammarly – As you type, Grammarly checks your text for hundreds of common and advanced writing issues. (Since I write so much, I use the premium version, but they have a free version available!)  You can use the Chrome extension or their desktop app and use it anywhere you type! This is a MUST-HAVE because it will make your messages, documents, and posts clear, mistake-free, and impactful. 
  • Facebook Pixel Finder – This extension lets you see what Facebook pixels are firing on any web page. As a web designer, as you get close to launching for a client, this is a great way to make sure everything is firing off as it should! 
  • Pinterest Tag Helper – Same as the extension above, this lets you check that the Pinterest tag is active and firing on any web page. 
  • Tag Assistant by Google – If you are using Google Tag Manager to add features to your website, this extension lets you check to make sure everything is firing properly! 
  • Go Full Page: Need to capture a screenshot of the ENTIRE web page? Use this! Size your browser to the needed size, press the extension button, and then you’ll have a full page PNG of the webpage. This is great for when you launch a client site to get screenshots of their PRIOR site and the new site you designed for your portfolio and launch images. 
  • Header Checker – For SEO purposes, you never want to have too many H1s on a page, and you’ll want to make sure the page headings all flow correctly. This extension lets you quickly check what the text tag is on any block of text, on any website. 
  • Grid Ruler – Tired of not being able to line things up when you are designing a website or graphic in Canva? This extension solves that problem!
  • 1Password – Password Manager – details coming soon.
  • ColorPick Eyedropper – This eyedropper & color chooser tool allows you to select color values from any web page! See a color on Pinterest that you want to use in your brand colors? Use this handy tool to quickly snag the hexcode!
  • Video Speed Controller – Speed up, slow down, advance and rewind HTML5 videos. If you want to speed up a video you’re watching but the player controls are hidden, this is the best time-saving hack ever. 
  • Facebook Video Speed Control – Speed up or slow down playback of Facebook videos! This is one of my favorite time-saving hacks. Watching a Facebook live replay? Speed it up and save time.

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