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Minimalist Marketing Toolbox

Tools sitting on table

This page outlines all of the various tools and software I use as an Internet marketer.

You may be surprised at its simplicity. I firmly believe that most people are too focused on tools. There are literally thousands of amazing Internet marketing tools that you could be using. But too many tools will make your process too complex and expensive. Tools are supposed to save you time and money—not the opposite.

I aim to use as few tools as possible, so I look for robust tools that can be easily integrated into many processes. I’m always working towards being more efficient and effective on the web so I’ll be updating this page often as my process evolves.

Social Media

Sprout Social (Free trial)

Sprout Social is easily the tool I get most excited about. It saves me several hours a day and it’s robust enough to be the only social media tool I need. I can do everything from keyword tracking, to content curation, to reporting—all within the same platform. The user interface is also fantastic (especially important if you manage multiple accounts), and new features get added all the time based on customer feedback.

Content

Canva (Free option)

Canva is another tool that I love to rave about. Design is becoming more and more important every day, but it’s always been my biggest weakness. Canva is like Photoshop for non-designers. It makes it incredible easy to use create beautiful graphics for just about anything. Although, it’s completely free to use, I’d probably be willing to pay more than most people for Photoshop.

BuzzSumo (Free option)

Buzzsumo is a tool that will help you find the most popular content on the web, filtered by topic, format, and timeline. This is very useful in two specific ways: it can help you find great content in your niche to share on social media, and it can give you an idea of which content will perform best on social media before you create it.

Hosting

Site5

I’ve tried a few different hosts over the years, but I’ve been using Site5 for quite a while now. It’s very easy to use (am I  the only one who dreads logging into their control panel?), and the support is phenomenal. Another reason I love Site5 is that I have the option to choose my server location. If you ever do location-based SEO, you’ll know that the location of your server can have an impact. You can also use this feature to make sure your local customers have the best site loading time.

Domains

Namecheap

I’ve also used quite a few domain registrants over the years but I can’t imagine ever leaving Namecheap now. Like Site5, it’s very easy to use and do important things like point your domains to right place. They also tend to have the best prices, and WhoisGuard privacy protection is always free. Namecheap also integrates well with Site5.

WordPress

Thesis

Unless you’re running an e-commerce store, please, please use WordPress. As you grow, you’ll be glad to have a robust platform with thousands of integrations and plugins that will solve just about every problem you encounter. Getting your first site up and running can seem difficult on WordPress. Thesis is a framework that makes WordPress easy; you’ll never have to touch any code. There are tons of skins to choose from, and each will give you access to the core Thesis functionality that makes WordPress simple.

SEO

Longtail Pro (Free trial)

The SEO world is big on tools—and there are lot of good ones—but unless you’re running a full-time SEO business, you’ll likely find they’re too expensive and complicated. This is where Longtail Pro comes it. It has all the core features you need, including streamlined keyword research, competitor analysis, and rank tracking, for a small, one-time fee.

Webmaster Tools (Completely free)

I was recently shocked to learn how many developers don’t set up Webmaster Tools on their clients’—or their own—sites. If you’re even thinking about thinking about SEO in the future, Webmaster Tools is a must. All you need to do is place a line of code in your website header and a world of powerful data will be at your fingertips, including all the keywords your website is ranking for.

Email

Aweber

A lot people recommend a well-known, free email marketing software. I don’t. It’s not a great tool and you’ll inevitably end up switching down the road. It’s worth it to spend a few bucks to get all the benefits of a better tool now. Aweber has small learning curve but it quite easy to use. It offers much better customization and more robust analytics than most of its competitors. Aweber will also allow you to include affiliate links in your emails, if that’s your thing.

Leadpages

You know how it’s important for landing pages and email opt-in forms to look good if you want people to actually sign up? And you know it’s very expensive to have these professionally designed? Enter Leadpages. Leadpages make it much easier and cheaper to collect email addresses. You can change it up your designs as often as you want, and they’ll track your conversion rate so you can quickly find out what’s working, and what’s not.

Password Management

Last Pass (Free option)

If you don’t already use a password management software, you’re probably using the same passwords many times, putting your Internet security at risk. On top of that, when you do mix it up, you probably often forget which password you used, and as a result, there are likely multiple accounts you’re unable to log into. Do yourself a favour and start using a password manager. It’s a huge win in terms of Internet security and it’ll save a lot of time and frustration, too.

Accounting

Wave (Completely free)

If you’re running any type of business, it’s important to have a good accounting process. There are a lot of robust and expensive tools around, but if all you’re doing is providing services or running a simple web business, Wave is all you need. It’s web-based, so you can access it from anywhere, and very simple to use. There are also some awesome features like the ability to see if your invoices have been viewed, and the option upload digital copies of receipts so you don’t have to worry about printing and managing paperwork.