I wanted to put together a master list of my favorite internet resources. This is a growing list that I will be constantly updating. I personally use or have used all of these products in the past. I hope that they will be as useful in your online business as they are in mine.
Affiliate disclaimer: Please note that some of these links are affiliate links. At no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you make a purchase.
Getting Your Website Up
StudioPress Sites – If you’re just starting out with your business this is an amazing option that features top of the line, secure web hosting, WordPress core, theme and plugin updates, and 20 of their premium WordPress themes.
SiteGround – Great budget website host. Their lowest plan starts at $3.95/mo and includes your standard web hosting, plus your domain registration. They will move your existing website over to their servers for free once you sign up. And their customer support is the best I’ve ever experienced with a hosting company.
StudioPress – My favorite place for WordPress themes. These are all based on the amazing Genesis Framework. If you sign up for StudioPress Sites as your hosting company, you already get some of these themes.
Elegant Themes – My second favorite place for WordPress themes. Their Divi theme is incredible. Your subscription includes access to over 80 themes and six premium WordPress plugins.
CSSHero – Whether you download the Divi theme from Elegant Themes, or the Genesis framework, this took make it very simple to customize your site even further. It’s great if you don’t know about web development, but want to customize your theme easily. If you’re already good with WordPress it’ll be a major time saver. Make sure the theme you’re using is compatible with CSSHero prior to purchasing.
Must Have WordPress Plugins
Anti-Spam – WordPress comes standard with Akismet to block spam comments, but I’ve found that I was still getting spam comments coming through. The free version of this plugin works wonders. I rarely ever get any spam at all.
ManageWP – If you have a WordPress website it is a MUST that you get this plugin! You can add all your websites on here if you have multiple sites. You’ll be able to click to update all your WordPress core updates and plugins with 1 click without having to log in to each individual site. You can also create offsite backups either manually or automatically depending on the plan you have. Backups are easy to revert back to if your site messes up for whatever reason. You are also able to run a security scan. Delete all your spam comments at once (and then you should install the plugin I mentioned right before this one.) And there are a lot of other things you can do with this plugin. It’s also pretty cheap (seriously, their lowest plan starts at like $0.80/mo per website,) especially compared to plugins out there that only back up your website.
Limit Login Attempts – This free plugin does exactly what it says it does. This is great security to have on your WordPress website. It’ll lock someone out of your site after a certain amount of attempts to log in incorrectly.
WordPress SEO – Great free plugin for SEO. Also auto generates a sitemap for you.
WP Smush – Optimizes the images on your website as you upload them without losing quality. You can also go back and have it smush old pictures.
Online Store Resources
WooCommerce – Free eCommerce plugin for WordPress. I love this plugin because you can add so many plugins and extensions to expand it to work exactly the way you want it to work.
PayPal – You can use your free PayPal account to receive payments on your WooCommerce store. All you’ll need is the email address you use for PayPal and you can have your store running and accepting payments in minutes.
Stripe – If you would like to accept actual credit cards from customers of your online shop, you can use Stripe. Fees are the same as PayPal pretty much and your money is directly deposited into your bank account on the third business day. I find that offering clients the option to pay with PayPal AND a credit card elsewhere (even though PayPal accepts CC’s) is a winning option. Some people don’t want to bother with PayPal at all. Note: You WILL need an SSL certificate for your website in order to collect and send this data securely online. You’ll also need a plugin to receive payments via Stripe. I will tell you the easiest way to get one in the next resource…
Mijireh – I have found this to be the easiest, safest and cheapest option for accepting credit card payments via Stripe in your online store. You integrate your Stripe account with Mijireh, which provides PCI-DSS compliance, a secure checkout for your customers, and it looks like they’re still on your website. The cost is $49 for the year and you easily integrate it into WooCommerce with their free plugin.
Receiptful – This is a receipt plugin for your WooCommerce store. There is a free and a paid version. You are able to have this plugin automatically create discount codes for your customers and add it to their receipt. You set the discount and how long it’s valid for. You can also recommend other products to your users based on what they purchased. You can promote your content, request feedback and more.
Email List Management
MailChimp – This is the program I use. It’s free if your list is small. You can also purchase credits if your list is growing or you need paid features but you can’t justify paying the monthly fee for your small list.
Freshbooks – When I first started getting serious with my online business, I used Freshbooks for invoicing and managing my books. They offer a free trial, they also have a free level if you’re just starting out. Freshbook also allows you to track time through various mobile and web apps and easily create invoices from the time tracked for billing. For me when I send out invoices it is very important that my clients are able to select whether they’d like to pay via Credit Card or PayPal. Freshbooks easily integrates with Stripe and PayPal, and your clients can select which way they prefer to pay your invoices.
Square – Square sends you a free credit card reader for your smart phone or tablet. But they also allow you to send invoices online at no additional cost. If you sign up using my affiliate link you can process the first $1,000 you process within 180 days of signing up with no processing fees. They’re processing fees are a few cents cheaper than most other payment processors. My favorite thing about them is that your money is directly deposited into your account the next business day.
PayPal – You can send free invoices through PayPal as well.
Toggl – I use this app to track time for my projects. It’s simple to use. There are free and paid tiers. I currently use the free tier. You can use it to track your internal projects and client projects.
RescueTime – This isn’t really a time tracking app, per se. You can’t use it to track your time for clients. But it can track what you’re spending your time on when you’re on your computer. The paid version even lets you go into focus mode where you can’t go to websites that waste time like your favorite social media accounts. I like this app because it sends me weekly reports telling me what I spent my time on. How productive or wasteful I was with my time. And how I compared to previous weeks. Note: If you have an issue with an app tracking every site you visit and how long you’re using certain apps on your computer, I would not recommend downloading this app.