post by Stephanie Nelson

Back in 2012, I wrote a post about what tools I use to stay on top of everything for my business. Last year, I wrote an update, as my business, services, and skills had evolved. As I reread these old posts, I realized that I still use all of the tools I’ve used in the past, but I’ve added even more tools to my arsenal + increased used of tools I haven’t mentioned in the past. So on top of the tools mentioned in the past, here are some new ones for you to check out!

  • Picmonkey
    This online graphics design and editing tool is the best I’ve found. I tried others, but this was the easiest for me to navigate and work with. I use it to create graphics for my clients’ social media outlets and websites, edit photos, design print ads and more. I use a paid version because of the amount of work I do in this tool, but there is a free version.
  • Google Analytics
    I insist that Google Analytics be installed on every website for which I do SEO. It’s imperative that we be able to track traffic volume, where the traffic is coming from, block bad traffic sources, etc. Since Google is where 60-70% of online searches happen, tracking everything here is almost a one-stop shop.
  • Google Search Console
    This is Google Analytics’ partner in crime, so to speak. While you can associate Search Console with your Google Analytics account, search queries for folks logged in to Google show as “not provided” when you look at the report this way. If you navigate through the performance report within the Search Console site itself, though, all queries are listed. In turn, this helps with determining overall SEO strategy and/or any changes that need to be made.
  • TUL Planner
    This is the Office Depot/Office Max version of the discbound planner. Being a discbound system, it’s completely customizable, but you have to buy the individual sections that you want. The discs are also different from a regular binder, so it behooves you to buy the hole punch that works with it if you want to add your own items. This can get a bit expensive upfront, especially since I’ll readily admit that I had to play around a bit to find the system that worked for me on this one. I first tried the letter-sized TUL. The discs it came with were too small, so I bought the 2-inch discs. Then I found a color I liked better in the ARC planner from Staples (which is compatible), so I bought it. But a letter-sized planner with 2-inch discs ends up being GINORMOUS, and I wasn’t able to transport it easily, so I bought the junior-sized (5.5 x 8.5) TUL because I found my ideal color cover. I was getting close, but it still wasn’t quite right. I downgraded to the 1.5-inch discs, and now we’re cooking with gas! It’s perfect! Given that I can buy paper/accessories from Office Depot/Office Max, Staples, Levenger, and Happy Planner (which are also compatible) + print off the endless number of printables online that I like, this is MY planner. I’ve been able to combine five notebooks (my planner/to-do list, my company information binder, my meal planner, my fitness tracker, and my gratitude journal) all in one place!
  • Whiteboard
    In the last year, I installed a huge whiteboard over my desk. I use it to track the projects I’m working on. Everything is right in front of me, so I don’t have to dig back through notes to see if I’m waiting on something from someone else or to know where to pick up the next time I’m working on the project. It’s turned out to be a HUGE time saver for me!

So what tools make your business run smoothly day in and day out?

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