In creating my own site, I was always on the hunt for what programs/ software fellow blog business owners were using. I would scrounge through their site trying to determine how they were doing things. Now that I have built mine, I get a lot of questions about which programs I am using to manage certain aspects of my business. I've compiled one comprehensive list of all the programs listed below. Hope that this helps you in whatever you are needing to "streamline" a bit!
CoSchedule is a content calendar, marketing calendar, and social media planner all in one easy-to-use, comprehensive program. I wrote a full review of why this is a MUST have for me. I tried to track all of these things manually and failed miserably. Feeling organized is a requirement for me. I need lists, calendars, and plans to feel like I can start being productive. So, if you are like me then CoSchedule is probably right for you. I use the essential plan for this blog.
Signup for your 30 Day Free Trial Special Offer
I looked back through my Evernote and I started using this program in 2010. I copied and pasted recipes to save instead of printing and stuffing them in a folder. We have one of those recipe folders at my Dad's house. We call it "The Folder of Death" because you have to pick which side of the folder to start looking through. Sadly, the recipe that you want is always about 10 recipes from the other side of the folder and you have to go through every single recipe for 20 minutes to get the one you want.
Evernote solves this problem. I am able to search within notes for ingredients. I am able to tag, categorize, share, comment.
Evernote is where I start all of my blog posts by dumping ideas. I add voice notes when I don't have time to type. Images when something is appropriate. I can even add drawings. It's the best-computerized notebook I ever could have asked for and it syncs with my phone, web browsers and my phone seamlessly.
Try Evernote for yourself!
Lightroom, Photoshop, Spark and Bridge were necessities for The Eternal Hostess. I understand that Lightroom and Photoshop aren't for a beginner, but I feel like anyone running an online business would benefit from learning the basics of both programs. Lightroom is my go-to for all of the photo editing you see on my website. Photoshop is what I use for any graphic design that I intend to dive into.
Spark is the easiest program I have used for graphic design. This program allows you to create a "brand" with fonts, colors, logo, etc and it incorporates those into it's pre-made templates. It is a dream to use.
Bridge is a photo management software. I organize all my business and personal photos in here seamlessly.
I use the Individual Photography plan that gives me access to Lightroom, Photoshop and 20 GB of Cloud storage for $9.99/month. Sign up here!
Another must, in my opinion, Dropbox is the cloud-based storage solution that I use for all of my files related to The Eternal Hostess. I love that once I also installed the app on my phone and iPad, I was able to access all of my files at any time from anywhere. I am no longer restricted by the fact that a photo was saved on to my laptop. Instead, I just open my Dropbox app on the go and can download the photo and upload to Instagram in minutes.
Who doesn't love Gmail? I am not someone who uses every tool in the G Suite, but I do love managing my @eternalhostess.com email account on Gmail. It is easy to use on my computer and on the go. There are so many integrations (WiseStamp, Grammarly, Boomerang, Dropbox) that make me more efficient.
And, efficiency is all we want, right? I know that I want to get in and get out of my email inbox as fast as possible. The less time I spend in there, the more time I can spend on actual work.
I don't know if I have mentioned this on the blog before, but M is an accountant. You better bet I am I need to make sure my books are all categorized and noted at all times.
I looked at a few bookkeeping softwares before I settled on Quickbooks. First of all, it is very streamlined and intuitive to use. The dashboard gives me a comprehensive overview, and all the features were easy to pickup and understand. Now that I have trained the program which kinds of transactions are which, there actually very few transactions that I need to categorize anymore. I mainly just log in and review everything making a few adjustments as I go.
If you are starting up a blog or business, I can honestly say that I love BlueHost. I was wary at first, based on all of the reviews you will see online, but when I decided to start this business on a whim the $3.95 a month seemed like a low cost commitment to this venture.
Since then, I have thought about changing a few times just because maybe BlueHost wont' come through the next time I have a problem. Every time I have had an issue and had to contact customer support though, I have been really impressed by their customer service and gotten my issue fixed right away.
I first designed this website with a $10 theme I found after a random Google search. That theme lasted me for the first 6 months or so until I started running into functionality limitations. I had a strong vision of what I need this website to do and look like and my previous theme just wasn't cutting it any longer. After an afternoon of searching all the ways I could hack my $10 theme, I decided it just wasn't worth it anymore. I needed to just find a new theme with more functionality and redesign my site.
So, that is what I did. On a whim one day I bought the Soledad Theme and never looked back. It was simple for me to change and the online tutorials held my hand through the process. I can't even begin to explain how much customization this theme offers. Go take a look. Buy with confidence. Know that you will be able to figure out how to make it work, and if you don't the designers have been lightning fast to respond in the help forums.
I started using Tailwind right away after starting TEH. Managing my Pinterest and getting the traffic going was an easy way for me to contribute to my business on a day where I was overwhelmed and unsure of which direction to go (there were many of those at the beginning).
My traffic fluctuates, but I have seen pretty consistent growth thanks to Tailwind and scheduling about 20-25 pins a day. Those pins are a mixture of my content and other people's content. I don't have hours a day to spend on Pinterest. Instead, I spend about 1 hour a week scheduling all of my pins and driving massive amounts of traffic to my site.
Planoly is the sixth Instagram planning software I have used at this point, and my favorite. I love that I can dump a mountain of photos in there everytime I get new images and arrange them down the line. Adding captions is simple and easy. All the programs have these features, so, lets talk about some of the ones that are unique to Planoly.
First, you can save batches of hashtags. I don't know about you, but I don't have the brainpower to remember every single hashtag I use for when I post a full meal versus when I post something about me. Planoly has me covered though, since I have pre-grouped batches of hashtags ready to go. My second favorite feature -- Their comments section where I can see all the new comments on my instagram feed from my desktop computer and respond to each one. I don't know about you, but I HATE typing on my phone. Give me a keyboard, please.
Let me say it one more time -- Give me a keyboard, please. So many of the Instagram planning softwares are setup to be used completely from your mobile device. I wanted somewhere that I could drag images from their folders on my computer, type my captions with an actual keyboard, and then respond to comments from my computer
Planoly sound like the winner to you? Sign up here.
I am going to begin by saying that this is a much more robust email marketing program than most people need. In fact, it is a CRM in addition to an email marketing program. This is how I manage all of my entertaining guides and setup sales funnels to make sure that all of my followers know when a new guide is released.
If you are looking for something a bit more robust than just your average email marketing program or need sales pages for you various online products I would definitely give them a look.
I remember when Aisle Planner was released and I got access to one of their earliest versions. It changed wedding planning for me forever. Gone were the days of google drives, excel spreadsheet budgets, and having to manually update and email every new version of every document.
My inbox suddenly became so much lighter and I was able to actually get WORK done rather than drowning in emails.
I am going to be honest, as a planner, it takes a few days to setup this program to fit your planning process, but once you do it will save you an incredible number of hours.
Still to this day, I recommend any planner to use this program and use it even though I only have a few weddings a year.
If you are are getting married yourself, this is better than any free toll you will find. It is worth signing up for and using this to keep track of the million details you are managing while planning. It is also a great tool to "divide and conquer," but keep track of who is doing what.
Just give it a try. You wont' be sorry.
25% off your First Three Months. You're welcome.
**All of the links for the blog business softwares above are affiliate or referral links for the various programs. I receive either a discount or a small commission for each program you sign up for.**