Our Favorite Online Tools: Then & Now

Ever wonder what online tools and plugins we use to power The Mogul Mom?
 
Back in 2011, the founder of The Mogul Mom, Heather Allard, shared a list of the online tools that she used to manage the site at that time in this post.
 
Today, over four years later, I’m sharing the tools we use to power the site currently. Here’s what’s changed, and what’s stayed the same.
 

Website:

 

THEN:

The Mogul Mom runs on WordPress with a Thesis theme. With Thesis, you can control every last detail of your site and design with three revolutionary features you won’t find in any other WordPress theme. See what they are, here. You can also check out Studiopress for other options.
 
Wordpress is awesome because you can add, edit or remove content whenever you want to instead of paying a web designer $100 an hour every time you want to make a simple change. Been there, done that.
 

NOW:

The Mogul Mom still runs on WordPress, only with a different design. When I took over the site a few months ago, we gave it a fresh face while paying homage to the original color scheme and professional, yet fun appeal. The new, custom design was created top to bottom by graphic guru Catherine Haugland of Avalon Rose Design. We think she did a fantastic job!
 
 
 

Hosting:

 

THEN:

For hosting, I use Bluehost and have been very happy.
 
 

NOW:

After having issues with Bluehost, we changed over to Siteground and have been very happy.
 
 
 

Advertising Sales:

 

THEN:

Part of my income comes from advertising sales and my favorite advertising “program” is actually a WordPress plugin called Max Banner Ads.
 
 

NOW:

We use OIO Ad Manager and love it. Ads literally sell themselves.
 
 
 

Information Product Sales:

 

THEN:

The bulk of my income comes from info product sales.
 
To sell information products like Get Famous and Get Retail Ready, I use SendOwl which costs me just $15 per month.
 
I love it because it’s cheap and easy to use and you can do cool things like set up affiliate programs and create discount codes.
 
 

NOW:

We switched to Payhip. The main reason is because they handle VAT tax for their customers, which saves huge headaches ad potential financial or tax issues. They have the same functionalities as SendOwl, without the monthly fee. We pay a flat rate of 5% for anything sold. And, we get paid instantly, no waiting for payouts. You can see our store, here.
 
 
 

Information Product Creation:

 

THEN:

I create all of my information products (as well as interviews, videos and video tutorials) on a Mac using Pages, Grab, and iMovie.
 

NOW:

Same thing, on all counts!
 
 
 

Photo Editing:

 

THEN:

To edit photos, I use PicMonkey and love it. I have also heard fantastic things about Gimp and Pixelmator.
 
 

NOW:

We still use PicMonkey but have discovered the wonderful world of new kid on the block, Canva. If you haven’t tried it yet, RUN over there. You’ll be in awe of the array of designs (so many freebies!) Photoshop, who?
 
 
 

Email Marketing:

 

THEN:

After trying nearly every email offering out there, I fell in love with that silly monkey at MailChimp.
 
Every time I log into my account, I’m greeted with a little quip that makes me giggle. MailChimp has loads of cool features like reporting, social sharing, autoresponders and pretty templates. It costs me $50 per month for almost 4,000 email subscribers. Not bad, little monkey. And, if you’ve got a list under 2,000, it’s free!
 
 

NOW:

We used Mailchimp in the past, but as our list grew, we needed more functionality (like landing pages, web forms, etc.) so we moved to Mailerlite. It’s super budget friendly and the features help the service pay for itself month after month.
 
 
 

Payment Processing:

 

THEN:

Back in the day, I had a merchant account that cost me tons of money to set up and in monthly fees. Now I just use PayPal to accept payments – it’s safe, it’s easy and the fees aren’t so bad either. People can use the credit card of their choice or whatever might be in their PayPal balance.
 
 

NOW:

We still use Paypal!
 
 
 

Social Media:

 

THEN:

I run multiple Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts and HootSuite is my hands-down favorite for managing them.
 
HootSuite allows you to monitor and post to multiple social networks all from one dashboard. It also gives analytics reporting, the ability to schedule tweets & posts and a cool app for your iPhone, Android or Blackberry. We use the HootSuite Pro account and it costs $5 per month. Try it free, here.
 
 

NOW:

We still manage multiple social media outlets (more, in fact!) but now we use Amplifr as one of our favorite online tools. This service normally costs about $5 a month however you can get LIFETIME access to it right here for just $49. Never pay anything again.
 

THEN:

 
Here are some more programs we use and love:
 

 
 

NOW:

We still recommend all of those listed above. We also use all of the following:
Editorial Calendar 
Y’know all those posts you read here? I schedule those weeks, sometimes months, in advance with this handy little plugin. It’s super easy to use and has made my life as editor exponentially easier. You get an overview of how the month looks- if a post seems out of place thematically, simply drag it to another day where it’ll fit better.
 
 
Askimet
Akismet is quite possibly the best way in the world to protect your blog from comment and trackback spam. It keeps your site protected from spam even while you sleep.
 
 
iThemes Security
A virtual bullet proof vest for your site. It’s protected us more times than I can remember.
 
 
Yoast SEO
 
 
Jetpack
Jetpack enables you to connect your blog to a WordPress.com account to use the powerful features normally only available to WordPress.com users.
 
 
Google Analytics
You’ve got to know not only who you’re talking to, but what people are ‘listening’ to. Get the answers to all of your burning traffic questions with this invaluable tool.
 
 
SumoMe
Yknow that little box that pops up when you visit the site? The one that invites you to join our mailing list? That’s compliments of SumoMe, a free plugin that helps us gather subscribers. Several hundred a month, actually.
 
 
MOO
For our printing needs, we turn to Moo. They offer a lot of choices in print collateral and are very easy to work with. Plus their stuff always comes out very professional looking. As soon as you land on their site you’ll be hooked.
 
 
Bitly
Less is more. We adore this handy little link shortener.
 
 
Google Alerts
Find out when someone mentions you or your brand online. Set up alerts for search terms and get an email You can set the frequency of emails.
 
 
SurveyMonkey
I am all about serving Mogul Moms and do my best to deliver exactly what you ask for. One of the ways I gauge that is through … asking, then listening. All of our surveys are done through SurveyMonkey.
 
 
GoogleDocs
 
 
Basecamp
Project management software. Keeps me organized and is a professional way to work through projects with clients- esp if there are multiple people on a project. Lets you upload docs and engage in full convos.
 
 
Sanebox
Helps organize overrun emails boxes
 
 
Unroll
Let’s you see what you’re subscribed to at a glance, then allows you to unsubscribe in bulk. Yes.
 

Want more great resources?

How about more than 125 of them to help with your online business? Get our FREE 22 page guide, right here.
 

 

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Melissa Bolton

Brand Therapist + Copywriter at Melissa Bolton
Melissa is a mompreneur and brand therapist providing neurobranding and conversion copywriting services to solopreneurs and micro-business owners looking to truly connect with their right people. Leaning on proven psychology principles, she helps clients create a brand presence that's not only explicitly unique, but highly memorable. She offers 25 years of extensive sales and marketing experience. You can learn more about her and visit her other sites, here: MelissaBolton.com & Revolutionary-Branding.com
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4 Comments

  1. Lidia Varesco Design

    I’m working on an ebook so I plan to check out SendOwl. I would add Evernote to this list…I use it many times a day to manage ideas, projects and marketing for my graphic design studio.

    Reply
    • Melissa Bolton

      SendOwl is great. I’ve heard from a lot of people how much they love Evernote. I may have to finally give in and check it out 😉

      Reply
  2. Julie

    What a comprehensive list and fun to see what’s still the same and what’s changed in 4 years. Thanks, Melissa!

    Reply
    • Melissa Bolton

      Thanks, Julie! Glad you enjoyed it 🙂 Do you use any of these tools? Any others we should know about?

      Reply

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