I regularly get asked about different online tools, resources, and services I specifically use every day in my business. This resources page is a curated list of the tools and websites I strongly recommend for starting, growing and optimizing your online presence.
I think many of you will find value (at least I hope so) in knowing what I use.
Every person and business is unique, so I’m not suggesting that everything I use will be right for you. There are lots of alternative choices out there today.
Please note: I personally use each and every recommendation on this page.
Before you start checking into the resources I know, trust and use, an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links. If you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. But make no mistake… I’m not here to sell anything. If anything interests you, then I’d be super grateful if you buy it through one of the links on this page. But if you’re not interested, that’s fine, too. I’m just glad that you’re here. 🙂
As I previously mentioned, I have experience with all of the products and services on this page. I only recommend products and services because they are useful and work for me, not for the sake of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please don’t spend your money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
That said, here’s my short list of recommended resources:
Web hosting is very inexpensive, so there really is no excuse not to have your own website today. I currently have more than a dozen web properties in a number of different areas.
The majority of my web sites are hosted on Bluehost. Why? Since most sites today run on WordPress, their one-click automatic WordPress installation makes it incredibly easy to get a new site up and running quickly.
You can use your Bluehost account to host multiple domains — so you don’t need to pay more for hosting when you’re ready to start another website. Also, they provide outstanding customer service. Call them anytime, they are happy to talk with you directly.
I highly recommend using Bluehost for your website hosting. You can get started now for $3.95/month, which is an awesome deal!
Social Media Management
Every business today uses social media, but I’ve found that the hardest part is managing it all. Here are the tools I use to manage my social media accounts:
Shortly after I launched our Facebook pages, I began using FPTraffic for scheduling and account management. Today, I manage more than a dozen Facebook pages and Twitter accounts from one interface using FPTraffic.
In my opinion, it’s the most productive and cost-effective social media management tool out there today. If you want to improve your reach on Facebook and Twitter while making managing it easier, I would suggest you take a look. FPTraffic is a tool that I use every single day.
IFTTT: IFTTT is another tool that I use to automatically post to and from other social media accounts that I use, like Instagram and Pinterest. I like it because it’s very easy to use, effective, and best of all, it’s free.
In the flower business, building a direct mail list of customers and prospects is easy. However, I’ve found that building and managing an email list is much easier with the right tools. Here’s what I use.
Wishloop is an all-in-one tool that I use to easily generate email lead capture and announcement overlays, as well as sales pages for my shop. I like it because it simple to use (especially if you’re not a “techie”) and it flat out has worked very well for me. It comes with a 14-day free trial so you can try it out risk-free for yourself.
I’ve used the Wishloop suite of apps since the beginning, and it’s an investment that has paid for itself many times over.
Mailchimp: Great social features. I use it to manage Greenfield Flower Shop’s VIP Club email list.
Aweber: One of the best email marketing and newsletter delivery tools around. I’ve been using Aweber for more than 10 years now to manage many of my targeted email lists.
Get a fully functional 30 day free trial and a free “What to Write” guide and give it a try. You’ll see why I like Aweber so much.
Photo and Video
Being in the flower business, much of my site content is visual, so it’s critical for me to use tools that do the best job and are a solid investment. Here’s what I’m using now:
Canon SD 790IS Digital Camera: Purchased this camera back in 2008, because I wanted a small point-and-shoot camera for traveling. Been using it ever since for all my product shots.
Obviously, there are a lot more choices available today, including smartphones. But this camera gives me better image quality in different lighting conditions and more creative control over my photos, while still being easy to use.
And even though it’s over 10 years old, it still more than enough for my everyday use.
Irfanview: IrfanView is a very fast, small, compact and innovative graphic viewer for Windows that helps you organize, edit, and share your photos. It’s free, and easy to use.
Adobe Photoshop Elements: The consumer version of Adobe Photoshop, it’s the software I use for all of my image editing and graphics. I’m using PSE 9. It is an older version, but for my typical use, I have no need to upgrade at this time.
Smart Photo Editor: Smart Photo Editor is an amazing application that I find I am using more and more all the time now. Not only can I do normal things with photos like cropping and color corrections, I can also easily do some “artsy” stuff, too. Here’s a video I did using photo effects created in Smart Photo Editor.
Sony Movie Studio 15 HD Platinum Suite:
Although there is a lot of good video editing software out there, I personally found Movie Studio to be the easiest for me to work with, plus there is plenty of online support available.
To Be Continued…
This page will always be a work in progress. I recommend bookmarking it for your convenience.