10 Of The Best Tools I Use To Run My Website

Wouldn’t it be great if you had a list of the best tools that would make running your site a lot easier? Or a list of the tools you knew would get you results and make a huge positive change to the way your manage your website?

Good job you’re here then, isn't it?

Today, I’m giving you an insight into ten of the best tools I use to run my website, and that you can start using today. Some of them you’ll have heard of. Some of them you may not have come across yet. But what they’ve all got in common is that they’re all really great. Each have their own unique qualities. Combine them together and you create a toolkit that’s guaranteed for success.

This list is a special preview of something that is going to be part of a much longer series - exclusive to my special tribe of newsletter VIPs. But I couldn’t wait to share this with you which is why I'm giving you access to ten of the best ones today.

That means there's way more than ten tools in the special product I'm creating for you. If you want access to that when it arrives, you can sign up right here.

Oh and download this free checklist I’ve created for you, so you can keep track of which tools you've downloaded or signed up for!

Download and view the checklist right here!

#1 Buffer

This is not the first time Buffer has been mentioned on A Branch of Holly. Nor will it be the last. Whenever someone emails me or asks a question on Twitter about social media tips, I always speak about Buffer. I always explain why it's so great, what it can do for them and why they need to download it immediately.

We all know that when it comes to running a website, it's not as simple as writing up a blog post and hitting publish. That's just one part of the many things we creators have to do on a daily basis. For me, social media plays a huge part in this. I won't lie - I'd love a job in it. Recently, I was reading the Social Media issue of Mollie Makes. They had interviews with people who pin, tweet and browse Instagram for a living. This is my dream job, and exactly the kind of career I'm trying to build for myself by setting up my own business - helping people maximise their online presence through social media.

But until that point, most of us can't sit on social media every day. So somehow, we need to fill our channels with great content that we can share with people on a regular basis.

Enter Buffer.

This tool lets you schedule content to be shared through your Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and LinkedIn channels, plus even through your Pinterest too. You can create your own schedule and always know that Buffer will send out a constant stream of content to your chosen platforms.

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

Further Reading: Buffer - Why Do People Love It So Much

#2 Canva

Whether you're a designer pro or you really struggle with the visual aspect of this job, Canva is a tool you need in your kit. I've already spoken about the story of how I found this - I reached out on social media and someone recommended it to me. Since then, I've never looked back.

Canva is an easy way to create seamless graphics for your website. Their Unique Selling Point (USP) is that they make design simple for everyone. This was perfect for me, as up until 18 months ago, I'd only dipped my toe into design. You can make each image completely unique to your own brand, and you'll never find any crossover.

But the beauty of Canva isn't just that you can create pretty graphics for your blog. Oh no. This tool also gives you templates so you can create images for all your social media channels. You don't even need to know the dimensions. They're already there for you. All you've got to do is click on the platform you want to create an image for, put your image in and hit save.

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

#3 MailChimp

In the post all about digital marketing that was published on Tuesday I spoke about a piece of advice that's making the rounds - don't wait to start your email list. But if you're really unsure of where to start, MailChimp is just what you need. This tool helps you to create campaigns to send out to your email subscribers in a simple and fuss-free way. It's great for helping you to stay in touch with your readers and build strong relationships with them.

Email marketing is a crucial part of your online strategy, and arguably the most important tool in this list. You can set up auto responders for when someone subscribes, build hype about something you're launching and always offer valuable information to your community and treat them like VIPs!

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

#4 Twitter Analytics

When you're putting a lot of effort into growing your social presence, you want to make sure what you're doing is working - right? Your Twitter Analytics is the way to do that. You can get insights into your other social channels too, but this is the most detailed and easy to interpret tool of the bunch. Plus it really does look amazing.

Twitter Analytics is a tool that lets you analyse your Twitter efforts in terms of new followers, mentions, profile visits and impressions. You can compare your activity over each monthly period to see how you've improved. I keep a note of my stats each month and set myself goals - this month I'm trying to reach the 1000 follower mark so I'm really upping my strategy. This tool helps me keep track of my progress, and shows me what tweets work best for my audience.

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

Further Reading: How To Grow Your Twitter Followers By 50% In Two Months

#5 SumoMe

This tool was recommended to me by the amazing woman that is Mariah from Femtrepreneur. You see the tool on the left hand side of my site that shows how many shares this post has had? That's SumoMe. It always appears and keeps calculating how many shares each of your posts gets on Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Pinterest and through email. Plus, it also actively encourages people to share. Since installing this tool, my posts have had more shares than ever in this history of this blog. Your readers can share your content really easily, which gets it in front of new audiences - that's a huge benefit for you.

You also may have noticed that when you get to a certain point on each page of my website, a little box appears in the right hand corner. This gives you the chance to sign up to my mailing list. SumoMe magically knows the best optimal to make that pop up box appear exactly when your readers are most likely to sign up. This has really helped my subscriber list increase so I recommend getting this for your site - it's so easy to do! 

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

#6 Google Analytics

Google Analytics tells you everything you need to know about your website. It tells you exactly what people are doing when they visit your site, from how long they spend on each page, to which parts of your site they find most popular. It tells you where your audience is coming from – a social media platform, a search engine, through another website mentioning you, or directly – and even tells you the demographics of your audience. There is a complete wealth of information you can learn and understand through Google Analytics that will massively benefit your website. Tom and I are currently using this to create our weekly newsletter series, Building Brands & Traffic Training, where we analyse what’s happening on our website and what we can do to improve it. We definitely wouldn’t be able to improve without the use of this tool.

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

#7 Headline Analyser

This tool was created by the guys that run the CoSchedule blog, and boy is it good. Headline analyser analyses your headlines and gives each one a score out of 100. The tool rates the ability of your headline to generate more social shares, increase traffic and improve its SEO value. Let’s use the title of this blog post as an example.

So this headline got 77 which is a great score. It’s a top ten list, which always works really well, and the tool always makes sure to tell you the type of headline you’re using. It tells you the length in terms of characters and words, and also shows you how the headline will look when it appears in a search engine. The headline analyser is a great tool for helping you to think outside the box with your headlines, and generate those all-important shares. 

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

Further Reading: Five Tips For Content Originality

#8 Evernote

For the longest time, I used to be a paper and pen kind of girl. Then I found Evernote and everything changed. Now, I use this tool to store all of my blog post ideas and all of my other ideas too. It’s like having all your notebooks in one place. You can create a notebook, and in each notebook you create different notes. For example, I have a notebook called “Blog Content”. In this notebook four or five different notes which are my blog categories. So I have one for social media, creating content, online presence, digital marketing and so on.

This will make creating your editorial calendar the easiest thing in the world. It’s easy to use, it makes you organise and I know many people that can’t run their blog without it. 

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

#9 Pages

I never used Pages until I got an iPad, and now I’m planning on purchasing a Macbook I’ll be using it even more. This tool is great for writing blog posts, but it’s also great for formatting, worksheets or eBooks to publish as PDFs. It’s got loads of great options for importing images and adding other extras, meaning you’ve got lots of room to play around with it. Once you’re done, export it to a PDF and there you go – you’re an official publisher.

It’s amazing to think we have tools like this that allow us to be self-publishers. It just makes you wonder what’s going to be developed in the future.

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

#10 Bloglovin'

Bloglovin’ is one of the best tools which allows you to keep up to date with all your favourite blogs and websites. It’s super easy to use, and lets you save all your favourite posts into different categories, like Blogging, Style, Interiors and so on. You can even add your own blog on there, so people who choose to follow you can keep up to date with your latest posts. 

This is a tool that helps you run your site, because you can keep track of inspiration, and all the bloggers you hope to work with in the future. One of the best things about our industry is all the guest posting and collaborations that take place. Bloglovin' is a tool that helps you do that.

A Branch of Holly Rating: 5/5

Have you used some of these tools before? Are there any you haven't come across? Will you check them out?

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