Business Tools

This page contains affiliate and/or referral links indicated by a star (*).

An ever-growing list of affordable and recommended services and products to help you build, maintain, and grow your online business or blog.

 

Blogging & Business

DOMAIN REGISTRATION

• Squarespace: their domains start at $20 p/year and if you buy a yearly hosting plan with them, the first year your domain is free.
 
• A Small Orange: their domains start at $15 p/year, but if you buy one of their yearly hosting plans, your domain is free. A lot of people avoid ASO at all cost, but I never had any problems with their service, and their customer support is A+.

• GoDaddy: you can pay as low as $0.99 for the first year of your domain with coupon codes found on ebates.com* and ebates.ca*, where you also get cashback from the purchase!

 

HOSTING SERVICES

• Squarespace: their hosting plans start at $16 p/month or $12 p/month if paid yearly. A free year of domain is included with the yearly plan.

• A Small Orange: their plans start as low as $2.92 p/month, but they offer a free domain with the yearly plans that start at $5 p/month.

 

EMAIL MARKETING SERVICES

• MailerLite*: their service is completely free up to 1,000 subscribers and you get access to all the tools, including automation, pop-up forms, embedded forms and landing pages!

• MailChimp: they offer a free plan up to 2,000 subscribers, but they only offer automation by upgrading to a paid plan.

 

POP-UP SOFTWARE

• MailMunch: you can use a couple of their customizable templates absolutely free. They offer pop-ups, side scrolling box, top bar and embedded forms. Their service integrates perfectly with MailerLite.

Privy: a great popup option that integrates seamlessly with MailChimp, MailerLite and Squarespace while providing tons of amazing customization and perks. Plus, the free plan has everything you need!

 

SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULERS

• Later*: they have a free plan that allows you to have one profile per platform and schedule 30 Instagram photos (videos only on paid plans) and 50 twitter posts. If those numbers don't work for you, you can get 10 extra posts per month for each friend you refer, and they also get 10 more for free! Get your 10 extra posts by signing up through here*.

• 
Tailwind*: you can sign up for their free plan and try out 100 pins before deciding to purchase the plus plan, which gives you unlimited pins when you buy yearly. But if you want to try a full month for free with 400 pins, you can sign up through here* and get $15 credit to pay for it!

• BoardBooster*: they give you 100 free repins when you open your account. Then you have to upgrade to one of their paid plans depending on how many repins you want. They start at 1,000 pins/month for $10.

• IconoSquare*: you can start with their 14-day trial and then upgrade to one of their paid plans. They start at $9/month per IG account or $81/year if paid yearly, and you get 30 posts per month and very powerful analytics. If you want 20% off you can sign up through here!*

• Buffer: they have a free forever plan that allows you to schedule 10 posts per profile per month. The free plan does not include scheduling to Pinterest. Their paid plans begin at $10 without analytics and at $99 with analytics.

 

PASSIVE INCOME RESOURCES

Make your first affiliate sale in 24 hours*: one of the most useful ebooks I've purchased! It's a simple, concise and super practical guide that helps you understand how to set up affiliate pins on Pinterest that actually get repined, clicked and purchased from! To be honest it took more than 24 hours to make the first sale, but it WORKED! 

 


Design

GRAPHIC SOFTWARE

• Adobe Illustrator CC 2015,  Adobe Photoshop CC 2015 and Adobe InDesign CC 2015: the price for the license of one program is $19 p/month when you subscribe for the whole year. They also offer all their apps for $49 p/month if you subscribe for the whole year. If you're purchasing more than 2 apps, it's best to pay for all the apps at once.

 

TUTORIALS & RESOURCES

W3Schools: the best site to learn and clear your CSS and HTML doubts! By using their search bar on the menu or the sidebar to the left, you'll be able to find what your looking for faster.

CSS-Tricks: another great website to learn about CSS and HTML. This one focuses more on specific problems and their solutions. Their search bar on top can quickly point out posts relative to the issue you're struggling with.

• Learn Photoshop, Web Design & Profitable Freelancing*: it's the first course I took on Udemy and the one that taught me how to use Photoshop, how to create website mockups, and how to participate in contest platforms to sell them.

• Web Design: Build Professional Sites with WordPress*: this is one of those courses that teaches you everything you want to know and more (at least about Wordpress)! Plus, it's truly step by step, so you don't need to feel pressured to do it in just one day, although it's completely possible (if you can binge watch a full series on Netflix in a day, you can do this course too!)

• Start and Run a Successful Web Design Business from Home*:  this one was another great investment. Christine's course was really helpful to understand the actual selling part of a Wordpress website, communicating with a client and even responding to complaints! Her advice and template documents were really really good however, she doesn't show you how to create a site as thoroughly as Jens does.

• The Complete Web Developer Course*: if you want to learn to develop websites, this is the course you need to take. Rob's course is simply brilliant. He thoroughly explains how to develop different types of websites by sharing his knowledge on HTML, JS, CSS, PHP, MySQL, Bootstrap, Wordpress, APIs, and Mobile Apps; plus his challenge-based approach is a great way to make sure you really learn what he's teaching you. The course claims you can go from zero to money-making-developer in just 6 weeks, however it's A LOT of content so, depending on how much time you're able to invest in it, it make take you a bit longer.

• WordPress Theme Development with Bootstrap*: an AMAZING and detailed course on building WordPress themes to start your own template business. Brad really digs deep on each step of the process and makes following along very easy. However, this is not a course for beginners, you must already have knowledge in HTML, PHP and CSS.

• How to Make a Wordpress Website: it's brief, it goes to the point and it's on Youtube! It's a 2-hour long video where Tyler shows you the easiest way to create a Wordpress site... that's it, there's nothing else to say here. If you want a crash-course on WP just do yourself a favor and go watch it! It's TOTALLY worth it.

• The Logo Design Process from Start to Finish*: I learned so much with Stephen's course and it's thanks to him I learned how to use Illustrator. He basically shows you the entire logo creating process, how to send low-res drafts and how to create the collateral elements when the design is approved. He also has a great Youtube Channel where he shares design tips!

• How to Design a Logo - a Beginners Course*: a straight-forward and knowledge-packed course on creating a logo. Tara explains the entire creation process through a client-designer dynamic that lets you understand not only how to make the design but also how to communicate and understand the client's ideas and feedback.

 

BOOKS

• The Designer's Web Handbook:  an awesome book with lots of visual examples of great-looking websites that explains how the web works and how designs are implemented into websites. It's the perfect beginner's book. 

• Web Design for Dummies: the title says it all. It covers everything there is to plan a website, apply good web design principles and launch a site. However it's not a tutorial you can follow, but it helps you understand all the elements in the process.

• Don't Make Me Think: it's a great little book for understanding how people actually use a website, how they read it and which are the best approaches when designing and developing for the web and mobile.

HTML & CSS Design and Build Website + Javascript & JQuery Interactive Front-End Web Development*: all I can say is I cannot believe I waited so long and had so many headaches with code knowing these books were available! They are absolutely perfect for anyone starting out with code and for those looking to polish on their skills. The one on CSS is my go to source when I can't remember how a property is written, and the second one helped me shed my fear of using Javascript!

 

FREE FONTS

• Google Fonts: not much to say here, it's basically a great source for free beautiful fonts! 

• DaFont: an awesome website where you can browse through a lot of unique fonts and even more styles than those found on Google. If you're going to use these fonts in a product, make sure to check the "100% free" option under the "More Options" dropdown.

• Font Awesome: this is da bomb! It's basically a cool version of the windings font, including a lot of the most common icons used on the web. The best part is that they're vectors, so it doesn't matter how big or small you make them, they'll always look great. I have their cheatsheet bookmarked and use it on almost every project.

 

FREE STOCK PHOTOS

• Pixabay:  this is one of my most used sites since it has pictures for almost any occasion. It has a great search engine that often gives you several pages to browse through, and about 60% of the images are really great quality. You can also find clipart and illustrations here.

• Pexels:  the site is similar to Pixabay, the search engine is pretty good too but either they have a lot less images or they're not all tagged. You normally get only one page of results here, but almost every single picture is gorgeous. So this is a very useful link as well.

• Unsplash:  this is a well-known website for great looking images, and there's a reason behind that... they are amazing. The only downside is that you have to manually browse through their collection because the search engine is pretty limited. However, if you're looking for eye-catching backgrounds with no specific theme, then this site is perfect for you. 

• Life of Pix: this site is similar to Unsplash regarding the quality of their photography. And again, if you're just looking for an eye-catching background then you should definitely check out this website but, you'll have to look at images page to page since their search engine is very limited.

• Gratisography:  let me start off by saying this: these pictures are weird. I mean, they're not photographs you see every day in websites or blogs, but they certainly are interesting, gorgeous and have a lot of character. So you can keep it on the back of your head (or bookmark it) for that moment when you NEED to use a picture of a dinosaur head inside a man's shirt and tie. I'm not kidding, go ahead and type "Dinosaur" in their "Magic Auto Search" bar.

• PicJumbo:  a website with more great-looking images but limited search options. They have a search bar at the top and a tag cloud on the footer of their page. It's useful for general searches, but if you want something specific then you'll have to browse through their posts to try to find it. 

• Cupcake:  as sweet as the name sounds it's not a website for food images. It's a place where you can find beautiful high resolution images of landscapes, nature, people, etc. No search bar here but if you have the time browse around a bit, it's worth it.

• Designer Pics:  these images are pretty good, although some of them have weird lighting or angles but, if you browse through enough, you can find some really good pictures. It's got a decent search bar and a categories cloud on the footer.

• Stocksnap:  this place has very good photography, a really great search engine AND you can subscribe to their website and get images sent right to your inbox on a weekly basis. Personally, I don't really like having pics sent to me because I either forget I have them when I need them, or I don't have enough space to keep an archive of them. However, if you do create your own image library then you're golden with this site!

• Jay Mantri:  last but not least it's Jay Mantri's website. He has the most stunning images I've ever seen of landscapes, indoors, animals, etc. They are all really eye-catching and very rich in contrast. You don't get a search bar here but again, if you have the time, browse through his posts to be awed by his imagery.


This page contains affiliate links, which means that at no extra cost to you I might get a commission if you make a purchase through my link. However, all opinions are my own and I only praise those products or services that I personally use, or have used in the past, and found to be amazing, helpful and worth the investment. Full disclosure