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As a small business owner, I get what it’s like to have the desire and the drive to 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.
I wish I had known about these online business tools when I first started trying to make money online.
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. 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!
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 the price of hosting (I recommend Bluehost*, for beginners), one easy click installation via Bluehost (see How To Set Up A WordPress Blog On Bluehost with Video Tutorial) and one of the WordPress free themes, your website could be up and running in a matter of minutes.
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.
The Genesis Framework is the foundation of any smart WordPress design. My 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!
You can buy all the creative’s you need for your website or blog from CreativeMarket*.
If you decide to use Board Booster*, you can start out with a free trial and then a $5 account. There is a limit to how many pins they will share and there are more pricing structures available depending on how many pins you want to share across your boards.
Board Booster is designed to help you spread your pinterest pins, across the boards you want to concentrate on, at the best possible times, according to your pinterest analytics. Which means you don’t have to guess when you should be pinning and you don’t have to do the manual pinning. Win win as far as I’m concerned.
It costs ¢1 per pin and I’m currently spending $30 a month on my plan. Since I’ve started using Board Booster, it has freed up so much time that I can spend concentrating on other things. I’m also getting a better conversion rate on my pins. Sometimes, I have to delete the odd pin from a board but not often.
I highly recommend using Board Booster* to promote your pinterest profile.
I use both Board Booster and Tailwind at the moment. Board Booster is used to pin to the Heart Handmade UK Pinterest Profile, and I use Tailwind to promote the Start A Craft Blog Pinterest Profile. (Start a craft blog is my new blog that will be launching very soon!)
I must admit that I’m in love with Tailwind. Unlike Board Booster where you can actually set it and forget it; by allowing it to locate pins by keywords, you must manually schedule pins using the tailwind browser extensions. It gives you more control but you do need to work on it. I like the fact that you get a little more control but I don’t think I would use Tailwind for both Pinterest profiles. Ain’t nobody got time for that!
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%
This is one powerful social media scheduling tool that I have been using for almost four years now. I’ve flipped between free to paid to free to paid. That was because I was useless and not being consistent, but that changed. Now, I use it all of the time. With the help of browser extensions, sharing my favourite finds from the internet is so much easier and it’s another automation for my business that I couldn’t live without.
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 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!
Using lead pages and ConvertKit together, I was able to grow my list from April 2016 when it was at 100 to October 2016, where it reached 12,000. I used Lead Pages to create dedicated lead pages, using their drag and drop design options to create beautifully designed landing pages. There is also an option to create something called a Lead Box, where you can simply insert code into a blog post to enable access to an opt-in freebie.
Example of one of my Landing Pages – Startacraftblog.com
Sales Page/Landing Page Example- Creative, Happy life Planner
An Example of Lead Box:
Sign Me Up Buttercup!
Click here to see a few Video Tutorials, showing you how to set up a landing page to collect emails and creating an audience before you even have blog content.
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.