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So I am a tool junkie (if you haven’t noticed already). But although I’m trying many different tools all the time, there are only a few that I would say I truly love and couldn’t do without. Some, I’ve been using for over a decade! And some are new but it’s like “where have you been all my life”? So I’m sharing them with you.
Web Domain & Hosting
NameCheap – I purchase all my domains from NameCheap. It’s just easy and new domains include WhoIsGuard, so your information is private and you don’t get people spamming you about setting up your website. Unlike many other domain registrars, NameCheap doesn’t do any upsells or hidden fees.
FlyWheel – This CourseCoder page is hosted by FlyWheel. FlyWheel hosting is a great choice for WordPress users especially if you design or develop web pages for a living. Instead of that awkwardness where your client creates their domain name and hosting on their own and then gives you their username and password (or some other bumpy process), you create everything in a free temporary area, your client has 2 weeks to review it, and then when they’re happy with the site, you turn it over to them where they pay and get admin access. It’s a thing of beauty! Plus, you get free SSL, which adds the “Secure” tag to your web page.
StudioPress – If you are concerned about creating sites on the WordPress platform that are blazing fast and Google friendly, the Genesis Framework and StudioPress themes are the way to go. Before I discovered Genesis and StudioPress, I would find beautiful themes on ThemeForest only to find them extremely difficult to setup and so bloated that they’d eventually slow down my site and start to break piece by piece with every WordPress update. Now, I don’t have that sense of panic, because Genesis is incredibly stable. It’s like a breath of fresh air.
MultiMedia (Images and Video)
Canva – I love Canva for creating my social media images. Easy beautiful images with no fuss.
Snagit – I’ve been using the TechSmith Suite of products for over 10 years now. Snagit is my recommended product for doing screen recordings and narrated PowerPoint presentations for an online course. It includes some very beautifully designed images that add a nice professional polish.
Camtasia – Camtasia is another TechSmith product that I’ve been using for a decade. If you want to create super professional screen recordings with special effects (like the spotlight that follows your mouse) or add quizzes right in the video, then give this a try.
CoSchedule – Allows me to not only plan my blog posts and social media messages, but also publishes those posts automatically according to their “best time” algorithm. Oh, and they also have a Headline Analyzer so you know if your headlines are any good. If you are a WordPress user, CoSchedule integrates beautifully into your WP Dashboard.
Grum.co – Love how this allows me to post to Instagram without ever having to touch my phone. This is the only app I’ve found that allows me to do that. I’ve tried others like Planoly but they send a reminder to your phone, and then you still have to post it from there. The reason I’m using apps like these is so that I can just block out time once a week to schedule everything, set it and forget it! So this has been a lifesaver. It’s $10/month and allows you to schedule 2 IG accounts.
Thinkific is my recommended platform if you don’t want to mess with WordPress plugins (or don’t have a site on WordPress, or have a website at all). It is very robust and has all of the options that you can grow into. From the student point of view, it has large, almost full-screen videos, and a simple navigation to draw focus to the content. You can create one course for free that includes its own landing page, Stripe payment system, and a way to collect your student email addresses, although you will need to upgrade to the next tier to add integration for PayPal. Signup with this link to get a $50 discount towards an upgraded account.
Email Marketing Software (EMS)
MailChimp – This is my current EMS. I was tempted to switch to ConvertKit or something like that, but I really love the ease of use and the beautiful templates that MailChimp provides. They now offer automation for free!
I started to get the most out of MailChimp after I purchased the Chimp Essentials course by Paul Jarvis. It covers absolutuely everything you need to have your MailChimp list running like a well-oiled machine.
Landing Pages & Page Opt-ins
Thrive Themes – I don’t know what I’d do without my Thrive Themes plugins. They allow me to create conversion driven landing pages without even having to think about it. It took me about 4 months of trying different hacks and CSS tricks to get my opt-in forms to look a certain way until I finally came across the Thrive suite of products. Each plugin is about $67 but the value has been priceless for me. So far, I have purchased Thrive Landing Pages, Thrive Leads, Thrive Quiz Builder, and Thrive Ovation for collecting and displaying testimonials.