This is a look inside everything that allows me to continue building and maintaining my online empire. Well, maybe it’s not quite an empire just yet, but a guy can dream.
Everything listed below is a product or service I actually use regularly. Some of the links below may be affiliate links meaning if you end up buying the product or service after clicking the link I will get a small commission from it. The commission comes at no additional cost to you. I only recommend products and services which I have experience with and have found to be a helpful or critical part of my work and play.
In order to have a website, you first need somewhere to host it. For me, I only trust one web hosting provider for all my web properties and that’s Wiser Sites .
However, if a client asks me where they can go to get a more “hands-off” and quick-start way to get a WordPress site going, I recommend StudioPress Sites .
There are tons of themes out there, and most of them are garbage. Bloated, clunky, and not optimized to do what really matters. So, when it comes to designing sites, there is only one WordPress theme framework that I use and recommend: Genesis Theme .
Once you have a website built, now you need to make sure you have a number of things in place to meet your goals. For me, those goals are traffic and conversions. And there are a handful of plugins that help me accomplish this.
In order to boost my traffic from social media I make it dead simple for my readers to share my content in the most optimized way possible. To do this I use Social Warfare .
I also happen to be one of the co-founders. 😉
When someone visits my site, my ultimate goal is to get them on my email list. To help me do that I use Optin Monster .
Every website needs to have forms. Contact forms, opt-in forms, surveys, and the like. For this, I use Ninja Forms .
You want your website to load fast. If it doesn’t visitors will leave, and it could also hurt your SEO. That’s why I use WP Rocket . Easy to install, and effective results out of the box.
Typically my first install no a WordPress site is Jetpack . It includes a suite of features that are helpful and it’s built by the makers of WordPress themselves.
Your email list is probably the most valuable asset you can build as a blogger. After trying out many different email marketing systems, I’ve found that ConvertKit is the easiest to use and most powerful.
Other Noteworthy Tools
The above tools are definitely the most crucial in my day-to-day. Below is the laundry list of other tools, apps, and items that help me do what I do.
These are things that are physical tools that I use regularly that I couldn’t do my job without.
- MacBook Pro 2014
- Bluetooth Apple Keyboard and Magic Mouse
- iPhone X
- Field Notes
- Next Level Apparel for Red V-Neck t-shirts.
These are the apps that I use on either my iMac or MacBook Pro.
- Adobe Creative Cloud (primarily Photoshop, Illustrator, and XD)
- Bear Writer to write blog posts in a beautiful, markdown-friendly app.
- Boxy for email.
- Evernote for idea capture and development.
- Coda for FTP.
- Atom for all coding.
- Spotify for audio stimulation.
- Chrome for web browsing.
- Recordit for screen recording in video and GIF format!
- Slack for team communications
- Toggl for Pomodoro and time tracking.
- Todoist for to-do lists and project management.
When I’m not on my desktop of laptop, odds are I’m on my phone. These are the apps I can’t live without.
- Inbox by Gmail
And in case you missed my post about the Best Mobile Apps to Create Visual Content, it also contains some great mobile apps that I use occasionally.
These are apps that I use on the web to accomplish various tasks.
- Google Apps for Work (Email, Google Drive, Google Analytics, etc.)
- Bit.ly with my own custom short URL for all link shortening.
- Rebrandly (currently testing this as a Bitly alternative)
- Buffer for social media post scheduling.
- LastPass because, like everyone, I have too many places to log in.
- Feedly for RSS reading.
- Brand24 for deep social listening.
- Mention for basic (free) social listening.
- HotJar for website heatmaps, session recordings and funnel analytics.
- Loom for super simple screen recording.
These are all the components used to make Dustn.tv happen behind the scenes.
Other WordPress Plugins
- CoSchedule – for taking my content editorial calendar to the next level.
- Fluid Video Embeds
- Broken Link Checker
- WP Rocket
- Yoast SEO
And that’s it for now. I’ll do my best to keep updating this page and making it better.