In this post I’m going to go over the exact blogging business tools I use to run my six figure blog! We will also dive into the tools I used when I just started out, when and why things shifted, and how you can use them in your business too!
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If you’ve been following along with Simplifying DIY Design for awhile, you may have seen a post that I wrote after running this business for a few months, 30+ Tools I used To Grow My Blog.
After almost 3 years of running this business, I wanted to update it! However, I still stand by a lot of those tools especially when just starting out. Let’s face it, running a new blog vs a seasoned blog are two very different things.
Each new blogger has a different story. Different resources.
A lot of times when it comes to just getting started, it’s about what you can afford and the tools you choose to invest in. For that reason, I want to leave that post the way that it is. Aferall, it IS exactly what I used when I just started my site.
So this post is essentially part two.
What I use now that my blog has grown and what I’m using to scale it.
I’ll also dive into the tools that we’ve changed and why we made that change as the business grew.
Let’s jump in!
I’m still using a custom theme from Pixel Me Designs! We re-branded and got a new theme created about a year ago and Laura did another amazing job!
I’m also still using Siteground as my host and have never run into any issues. Their customer service is always wonderful!
Email Marketing & Leads
Convertkit was an expense I chose to make from the beginning and I have never switched or moved away from it. I continue to use and love Convertkit when it comes to my weekly emails, email marketing, sales funnels, etc.
Some things that I love about Converkit include:
- Tags. You need to be able to tag people. This comes in handy if you’re segmenting your list so you can track the things they are interested in. This is also handy to identify people who purchase products, people who sign up for specific lead magnets, etc.
- Segments. I love being able to create segments in convertkit, it gives me a lot of data. For example, I can set up a segment of people who went through a specific lead magnet or funnel and which of them ended up purchasing the product. There are so many things that segments come in handy for!
- Visual automations. I love using visual automations for my email funnels. I don’t have to mess with the rules as much and it let’s me look at the flow a new subscriber will go through. I can customize it to do (or not do) specific things based on the actions the subscriber takes as well.
- Data and analytics. The more data you have available to you, the easier growth is! I took entirely too long to dig into the data side of my business.. Don’t make that mistake! Business is numbers. Find what works and do more of it! If you don’t know what’s working or what needs optimizing, you won’t have a plan for moving the needle forward and you’ll just constantly be throwing spaghetti at the wall.
LeadPages replaced Thrive Architect for me. I started with Thrive because it was a one-time cost but it got clunky and difficult to use. I no longer recommend it as a page builder and if LeadPages is off the table for you, I would recommend Elementor as an alternative.
However, there are several reasons why I absolutely love LeadPages and will never use anything else:
- It’s very easy to use once you get the hang of it. Like all new programs, there’s a learning curve when you get started
- I can integrate it with Teachable very easily which is amazing! I don’t use Teachable to create my sales pages at all, they are all LeadPages. That way, I can have countdown timers, I can re-direct to tripwire pages, upsells, etc.
- Analytics and data. Again, the more data you have the better! With LeadPages you can see on your dashboard how many people have viewed the page, the conversion rates of your opt-in pages, and you can also set custom date ranges in order to track conversions on sales during specific time frames like launches.
- It’s NOT tied to your WordPress website. This means, if your site goes down or there’s an issue with your host, your sales pages are not broken. If your email service provider and LeadPages are still running, then you’re still making sales and income even if your site crashes.
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Products and Sales
I continue to use Teachable. I did attempt at one time to switch to another course platform that was a bit cheaper and ultimately decided to switch back. It’s more important when growing a business to have tools that work well and do the things you need to do then to save a few dollars!
I have always loved Teachable both as a student and as a creator. It’s easy to use and the customer support is amazing!
With any technology, we have had glitches and issues over the years. Mainly, the checkout process. Because of this, we switched to ThriveCart for our checkout process and never looked back. Because our sales pages are made with LeadPages, we can integrate them all together very easily. Which leads me to…
We recently made the switch to ThriveCart and couldn’t be happier. Not only is it easy to use but it’s robust and it integrates with all the tools I was using in my business already. Note: this isn’t always the case — I believe Thinkific (which is very similar to Teachable) does not currently integrate with ThriveCart.
We also decided to move our affiliate program over as well and it was a very smooth transition. I personally love the ability to auto-apply affiliates to certain coupon codes: this opens up so many collaboration opportunities!
What I love most about ThriveCart is the ability to completely customize the checkout page with their drag and drop builder. You can test different designs and layouts, you can add order bump boxes, testimonials, and anything you want!
I use Deadline Funnel for my evergreen funnels. You can also use it for live launches as well but I typically just stick to using the countdown feature on Convertkit for the live launches.
Deadline funnel integrates with Convertkit using webhooks to deliver certain emails on certain days after the deadline funnel is activated. This is essential when creating webinar funnels and other evergreen funnels that are triggered after someone gets added to your email list.
I can’t take credit for my chatbots as that was all my assistant, Sarah (who did a guest post about creating QR Codes on Simplifying DIY Design). We have several chat funnels set up to answer common customer service issues, direct people to products that fit their needs, and we also notifications for things like our monthly templates. If you’d like to learn more about Chatbot funnels, check out Sarah’s ebook here.
Task and Team Management
I still don’t have a large team by any means (and it’s not a goal of mine to have one) but I do have an assistant and have hired contractors for specific tasks before. Here’s what we use!
My assistant and I communicate via Slack. It’s essentially organized instant messaging. We have different channels for different things that we work on all the time. We also have a channel for brainstorming and we integrate it with our chatbot for customer service issues.
We recently switched from Trello to Asana and I’m so happy we did! It’s hard to describe quite how amazing Asana is but once you get into bigger projects, you’re going to need Asana (or something similar such as AirTable or Clickup)
I also have my personal schedule and my kids scheduled in Asana under a different board. You can have different sections for different things. My assistant is not added to my personal board and can’t see those things. She is added to different project boards based on the things she helps me with such as social media content.
We can assign each other different tasks, due dates, and make notes about things. Everything is color coded and organized. You can see it in a board view (like Trello), list view, or calendar view. It’s beyond amazing and really deserves more than a few paragraphs but you get the idea!
Again, I am a certified graphic designer so I do know how to use (and love using) Adobe products. However, we almost exclusively use Canva for what we create for Simplifying DIY Design. This is because I know my assistant can use it, we can collaborate on designs, and anyone else that I might hire will know how to use it. It’s better from a team aspect (at least in my eyes) to use a tool we can all jump in on!
While I am never going to be someone that says you *need* to do or use something specific to be successful (how silly!!) I personally use Canva Pro. Canva Pro has features that I can’t function without at this point like the ability to have as many folders as I want (and subfolders), downloading with a transparent background, having options for size and quality at download, etc.
They are adding more and more everyday. If you’re looking for more help with Canva, check out Confidently Canva which teaches ALL about Canva and how to use all the features for a blogging business in addition to teaching you how to use it to create social media graphics and page designs for things like lead magnets and digital products.
Find what blogging business tools work for you!
I firmly believe that it’s important to simplify your business while also helping it run more smoothly for you and for your customers. This is something I’m always working on!
In addition, what works for me might not work for you and that’s ok! It’s all about finding out what works for you and doing more of it!