10 business tools

10 business tools to be thankful for in 2013

2013 has been an extremely successful year filled with lots of ups and downs and I am very thankful for everything that has happened.

Not only has it taught me a lot about my own strengths and weaknesses (and how to use them to grow my business), but I’ve also had an unexpected life-threatening health issue with family members that has challenged me in ways that I couldn’t have expected and has taught me how important life truly is and how we should cherish everything in it.

Despite these obstacles, I am extremely thankful because they have challenged me and helped to propel me further than I could have ever expected.

Here are some of the highlights from this past year:

While these are just some of the milestones that I am thankful for, a lot of this wouldn’t be possible without many important business tools that I use on a daily basis.

Here are 10 of my favorite business tools to be thankful for in 2013.

10 business tools to be thankful for in 2013

1. Genesis Framework by Studiopress

Our website is powered by the Genesis Framework. I wouldn’t use anything else because it’s a rock-solid product that allows me to make changes to our website effortlessly.

The Genesis Framework is a business tool that I have been using for about 4-5 years now and have so much to be thankful for because of it.

What I’m thankful for about Studiopress Genesis:

The Genesis Framework allows us to make changes to a website quickly. They also offer mobile responsive themes, which helps to improve the user experience for our readers. We’re looking forward to our upcoming redesign thanks to Studiopress Genesis.

2. Pippity

I’ve tried a lot of pop-ups on the site. Most of them end up slowing down the site making it unusable. When I came across Pippity, not only did it improve my email newsletter conversions, but it didn’t slowdown the site either. That’s a winner in my book!

What I’m thankful for most about Pippity:

Pippity allows us to grow our email newsletter, while being unobtrusive to our readers (we like it like that).

3. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a tool that I’ve been using for a long time (almost five years now). This tool allows me to manage all of my social media channels (I use it mainly for Twitter) so that I can keep my finger on the pulse.

It’s also a tool that I recommend at many of the social media residencies I speak at for IBM because it’s a solid product and is a powerful social media management tool

What I’m thankful for most about Hootsuite:

Managing social media channels can be extremely time-consuming. I use Hootsuite because it’s the most powerful (and even works great on mobile devices).

I’m thankful for Hootsuite because it allows me to know what is being talked about online without having to spend so much time looking for the information.

4. Aweber

When I first launched my website, I started out using Google’s Feedburner. This product worked great until I outgrew it.

I’ve since switched to Aweber because I can now provide options as to which newsletters readers can receive – automatic updates  or our customized newsletters.

What I’m thankful for about Aweber:

One thing I’m most thankful for with Aweber is that my readers can have options. Without Aweber, it would be very difficult to have more personalized communication with readers.

I’m also a huge fan of the statistics they provide to let me know what is working and what isn’t. This way I can tailor the content and delivery times.

5. Screenflow

If you’ve seen my YouTube videos, you’ll notice that I record my screen a lot. This is because I want to provide readers with the best possible quality Social Media Marketing video tutorials.

The tool I use is Screenflow.

While it’s a little pricey at $99, it’s well worth it and heres why.

Not only can it record your screen, but they also feature handy video editing capabilities along with a host of transitions.

Here is an example of a video that uses Screenflow.

YouTube Preview Image

What I’m thankful for about Screenflow:

One thing I’m thankful for about Screenflow is that it makes it easy to create the best video tutorials for my readers. It’s extremely fast and let’s me get quick edits done and uploaded for readers in breathtaking clarity.

6. Dropbox

Dropbox is one of our must-have tools for my business. I use it to backup all of the photos and videos I take with my iPhone. I also use it to share a lot of documents with clients.

It’s fast, free (for most users), and works effortlessly between an iPhone, iPad, and my computers.

What I’m thankful for about Dropbox:

Dropbox is so easy to use that we’ve even turned out aunts, uncles, grandparents, and other family members onto it.

7. Blue Yeti mic + pop filter

While it is important to record good video using Screenflow, you have to have a good mic to record your audio.

My personal recommendation is the Blue Yeti Mic and Pop filter. I’ve been using it for a few years now and it has really helped improve the quality of my voice recordings.

Blue Yeti microphone
Blue Yeti microphone and pop filter.

What I’m thankful for about my Blue Yeti mic:

What I’m thankful for most about the Blue Yeti Mic and Pop filter is that it allows me to record high-quailty voiceovers for my videos and training courses. Without that, it would make it difficult for readers to hear the information from the videos.

8. Apple iPhone 5S

For those of you who don’t know me, I’m a huge Apple fan – I’ve owned the iPhone since it first launched and had the pleasure of not having copy and paste.

It’s the device I use at conferences that I use to capture photos and videos from the event. I also use it to stay connected with my fans on my Facebook Page.

What I’m thankful for about my iPhone:

The iPhone 5S is the device I carry with me EVERYWHERE. It’s my way of staying on-top of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and even my blog.

I’m thankful for this device because it allows me to get so many things done.

While I’ve heard a lot of people using a Samsung Galaxy S4, I would love to hear what you like so much about it and why I should consider switching.

9. Skype

Skype is one of my all-time favorite tools. It has helped me to expand my business globally and has allowed me to connect with all different types of interesting people looking for help with Facebook Marketing.

For example, last week I conducted a podcast with Emeric Ernoult from AgoraPulse – and he live in France.

I’m also working with my friend, Ravi Shukle on another social media marketing project and he’s in the UK.

Besides letting me connect with people across the globe, I also use it to record Skype calls anytime I am creating a podcast.

What I’m thankful for about Skype:

What I’m thankful for most about Skype is that it has allowed me the opportunity to connect with so many wonderful people around the globe – without having to leave the states.

10. Shortstack

Shortstack powers many of the landing pages on my Facebook Page such as this one and this one. If those aren’t enough to convince you that you should be using Shortstack, I also wrote about 10 reasons to use Shortstack for business.

It’s an extremely powerful tool that I leverage to connect with my fans and share my content with them.

What I’m most thankful for about Shortstack:

Shortstack features 90+ templates and can be used right out of the box or you can customize your own Facebook landing pages to your liking.

While I’m a coder at heart, sometimes I don’t have time and that’s where Shortstack really helps me.

I’m also thankful that the Facebook landing pages you create with their tool also works on mobile devices. This allows me to add functionality to my Facebook Page and make it easier for my fans to use these features when they are on the go (normal Facebook landing pages don’t work on mobile).

So those are just some of the business tools that I am thankful for in 2013. Now it is your turn.

Giving thanks

What business tools are you most thankful for this year? Let me know by leaving a comment below along with your favorite tools.