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Inside My Toolbox

Inside My Toolbox

So far this year I have been hearing many people discussing their desires to improve all sorts of projects that they are working on. These projects include church newsletters, creating websites to sell products, blogging, creating killer presentations for fundraising and project updates at work. There are many tools that will increase your productivity while making the content that you are creating look and feel as if you have a large staff working for you.

This list is not a final list and I may over time stop using one tool and pick up another. I expect that the list will change over time as my needs change. I do not have any affiliate associations with these applications or companies. When and if I start an affiliate association with a product or company, I will let everyone know. I am only listing sites and applications that I use or have used.

Go Daddy offers many different services from website hosting to professional email addresses to on-line stores and website building tools.

WordPress is what I use for my website. I have a free WordPress template that I have uploaded into my Go Daddy account. WordPress is also a great site and application to use if you only want to produce and publish a blog and not a full-blown website.

Akismet is a plug-in that I use with my WordPress website that helps to block spam and robot comments. I encourage comments about my blogs but I do not want endless messages about discount sunglasses or handbags. I started blogging without Akismet and had 100s of spam messages that I was combing through to find the legitimate comments.

Google Analytics is the best analytics package that I have found that does not cost anything to use. With Google Analytics, I know a lot about who is visiting my site. For example, it can tell you if which country the visitors are in, what kind of operating system they are using, if they are mobile or PC users. It also tells you about how long they stay in your website, which pages are visited and a lot more.

Mail Chimp allows you to use your contact list to create emails, newsletters, blogs and more. It is easy to use, has great internal analytics and allows you to schedule when your emails or newsletters are sent to your distribution list.

Zoom is the app that I am using for my webinars and video conferencing. There are different options from free (what I am using) to a premium package that large businesses use. With the free service, I can get video and audio conferencing, recording the meeting and a number of other features that make my meetings productive.

Hootsuite allows users to connect more than 35 different social networks in one easy to use interface. This application is a time saver if you are trying to post content to multiple outlets because you can manage your posts from one interface, schedule what and when the posts go out and then forget about it.

Google + is in a kind a bit of a no-man’s land in the sense that for a few years experts have predicted that it would take off and be a serious challenger to Facebook only to have those predictions fall short. In my opinion, Google + is worth investing some time in. You can post your blogs and links to activities or other posts on your account and build up connections with Google +.

Twitter is a great place to be for sharing information and following what others are thinking, selling, commenting on. I use Twitter to post links to my blogs, share quotes and help people I am connected with share their messages as well.

Facebook allows you the opportunity to not only share updates with friends and other connections, but you can create communities in Facebook. The communities can be open or private depending on what your goals are for the community. Facebook can also be a good place to purchase targeted advertising based on keywords and demographic information.

The following are a few links to either free or pay for images sites. There are many free images out there but you need to be sure to following their posting policies so that you do not get into trouble down the road. Im Free, Dreamstime, Dollar Photo Club, Everystockphoto, Freedigitalphotos, Unprofound, and Unsplash. There are no doubt more sights out there where you can pull down great photographs but these are a few that I use when looking for that great image to help visually connect my blog to the readers.

TweetDis is a plug in for WordPress that enables you to call out quotes to tweet or creates a box within the blog that can been tweeted. The great thing about this plug in is that it is easy to use and you can create easy to tweet links back to your blog. All a user has to do is click on the highlighted area and the tweet is created for them.

Cava enables you to design your own images with quotes or messages on top of the image. This tool has a lot of free design tools and some low cost ($1) images and designs as well. This site allows you to create email headers, Twitter images, Facebook images and many more designs. I have started to use it as a way to create custom images for my blog posts.

Coach’s Wrap Up

You might be using different tools to perform the same functions as what I have shared above and that is great. The whole purpose of a tool is to make a task easier to perform and the right tool can make all the difference. If you have a tool or app that you love, please share it in the comments section.

Question

How do you find productivity or creative tools?

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