Home » September 2015
Top 20 Productivity Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Know About

Productivity tools make or break an entrepreneur’s productivity level.

One way or another, the right tools with the right planning will help you get more jobs done in a shorter time span. And when you have more time in your hands, you can achieve more tasks than what’s expected.

Juggling so many tasks can be daunting and lead to a lot of stress. If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to become more efficient, productive and successful, here’s a list of tools you need to use today.

productivity tools for entrepreneurs

 

1. Buffer

Social media marketing is the next big thing in marketing. Regardless the size of your business, you got to engage in social and this is where Buffer helps you to improve your productivity level. You can schedule social media updates and perform serious analytics with Buffer. This makes building up your brand and company on social media extremely easy.

 

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a powerful alternatives to Buffer. However, Hootsuite works slightly different from its competitors. Aside from scheduling and analytics, Hootsuite helps to increase productvity but having the social listening feature. You can listen and engage with customers while understand the strategies taken by your competitors.

 

3. Trello

trello productivity tools

Working with a team and want to delegate tasks efficiently? Trello allows you to do so — and in style! The thing that makes Trello a powerful productivity tool is that it allows you to drag and drop between projects (or also known as boards). You can create checklists, images and texts to take productivity to the next level. It comes with a free account and you can subscribe for paid ones for more features.

 

4. Evernote

Evernote is probably one of the best (and popular) productivity tools for entrepreneurs. It allows you to upload images, voice memo, texts, reminders and chat with your colleagues for team collaboration. What makes it really useful is the offline feature where you can access the notes anytime of the day from any mobile devices. Just like Trello, there are both free and paid accounts with different features.

 

5. Clear

This is an iPhone app and it does one thing (and only one thing) superbly well. It helps you to get organized and ensure that tasks are completed in a timely matter. Clear allows you to add new tasks and reminders under a few seconds. Simple actions such as swiping the tasks left and right would open up more options such as delete the task or marking the task as complete.

 

6. Any.Do

AnyDo for productivity

Another powerful task management app on smartphones. It integrates perfectly on computers too and the one thing that makes it stand out from the rest would be the ‘ morning notifications’. For example, when you set your day start at 9am, Any.Do will send you a reminder on tasks that need to be completed on the same day. You can snooze, change date or even set the tasks as complete. And the best part, it is free to download (paid plans available).

 

7. Asana

Looking for productivity tools to help your team with task management? Asana is a free project-management tool that allows teams to communicate without email, in one central location. Trust me, you can’t ask for more than this!

 

8. Fiverr

Entrepreneurs are always chasing for more time and yes, 24 hours isn’t enough. Fiverr is a market place to find for nearly everything (which starts at $5 per gig). If you are on a shoestring budget, you may want to consider getting a few gigs from Fiverr.

 

9. Elance

find freelancers to improve productivity

If you require a freelancer on a long term project, Elance is the answer. You can search for thousands of freelancers with different capabilities and price range. Personally, I love using Elance to find for Virtual Assistants (VA’s). The concept is pretty simple; You act as an employer and you post a project. Freelancers from all around the world will bid for the project and you can select them based on experience, price range etc. Payment could be done by milestones or after completing the project.

 

10. Social media platforms

Believe it or not, social media platforms are great source of productivity hacks. For example, spending sometime on Twitter or Pinterest would give you a couple of ideas for your upcoming project. Plus, with social media being live 24-7, you know that you are going to get the latest trends — every single time.

 

11. Talkwalker

Consider Talkwalker as a newer, more advanced version of Google Alerts. It offers more comprehensive results and more options that allow you to check for mentions of your company online. This helps with public relations and the chance to interact with people who are discussing your brand online.

 

12. DropBox

productivity tool using dropbox

DropBox allows you to share files with others, sync files across devices and ensuring your files are constantly accessible (while safe) in the cloud. As an entrepreneur, this is a great productivity tool as it allows you to share important files with your colleagues without needing to send an email attachment or using hard copies.

 

13. Google Drive

You already know about this tool, but the release of Chromebooks and the ability to convert and edit Microsoft Office documents make this productivity tool (and accompanying Docs and Sheets) a great way to collaborate and share documents with your clients, freelancers or employees. Do I really need to elaborate more on this?

 

14. Audible / Kindle Unlimited

Most entrepreneurs read a lot. For me, listening to audio version of the book is always an awesome way to save more time while increasing your productivity level. With both Amazon Kindle and Audible, you can listen to several audio books each month.

 

15. EventBrite

what is Eventbrite?

Are you looking for the latest networking event in town? Head over to EventBrite and discover tickets for small to medium size events at reasonable prices. EventBrite also allows you to create and host your own event in the case of need (which is awesome).

 

16. Meetup

Looking for bigger events to join and EventBrite isn’t capable to provide such resources? Meetup is the tool for you. It is a super effective way to find influencers, local events and networking groups in just a few clicks of the button.

 

17. Editorial calendar

Do you find yourself rushing to get posts published on your company blog? Using an editorial calendar like this one would help you to publish posts in a timely manner. It also allows you to be more productive and ensure your readers are constantly getting updates without fail.

 

18. Rainmaker Platform

rainmaker platform as a productivity tool

Looking for an all-in-one marketing platform for your startup business? Introducing the Rainmaker Platform; A complete marketing platform that allows you to build your own marketing and sales platform build under one roof. From superior web hosting to marketing tool, Rainmaker Platform takes your marketing and productivity level from A to A+ in just a few clicks. You can also try it for 14-days free using this link.

 

19. MailChimp

I bet you heard about email marketing before. Trust me, email marketing is a great productivity tool if done correctly. I use MailChimp as my email marketing provider and with it, I create multiple follow up emails and broadcast emails to be delivered at the right time — every week. MailChimp is set to send out welcome emails for new subscribers and specific emails for those who have completed several tasks; clicking on links, opening emails etc.

MailChimp has both free and paid plans which starts from $9 per month. Create a forever-free MailChimp account here.

 

20. IFTTT

IFTTT is the short form for IF This, Then That. Basically it allows you to create automated tasks to speed up your productivity level. One of my favorite (and most used) productivity hacks using IFTTT is when I tag ‘tasks’ to a post to Pocket app, it will automatically trigger and action which will add the the title and details of the post to my Evernote notebook entitled, Follow Up Tasks. Instead of manually saving the information on Evernote, IFTTT does it for me and it save up a lot of my time. At the moment, there are over 50 different actions and triggers to customize your automation.

 

What are your favorite productivity tools?

I hope I didn’t miss out any productivity tools that entrepreneurs can utilize. If you have any which is not listed, feel free to leave a comment and tell me about it!

The post Top 20 Productivity Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Know About appeared first on Reginald Chan.



from Top 20 Productivity Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Know About http://ift.tt/1KHQFUv contributed by Reginald Chan

Thrive Themes Review – The All-In-One Website Solution For Serious Bloggers

Before we start the whole Thrive Theme review today, allow me to share with you one major challenge we all face. Most websites doesn’t look good because of budget constrains. Well, if you do have the budget, that’s a whole different story, right?

As a blogger or a business person, we (yes, you and me) are constantly looking for the best website designing solution that is flexible, user-friendly and affordable. The challenging part for any web development is that it requires coding knowledge or you are required to pay huge money for it.

If you want to build a website from scratch, create a beautiful template but do not have the technical skills to do so, this post is for you.

In this post, we are going to take a detailed look at the conversion focused Thrive Themes, powerful lead generation plugin, Thrive Leads, easy to use Thrive Content Builder and Thrive Landing Pages that turns your website into a marketing machine.

The Thrive Themes family is created by Shane Melaugh, the guy behind the once popular, Hybrid Connect plugin. For the record, I used Hybrid Connect since day one of the product launch and huge kudos to the team behind it. It is important to note that Hybrid Connect is no longer in production phrase and has been replaced with Thrive Leads.

This article is divided into four parts:

  • Thrive Themes if you are looking for high converting and super-fast loading website themes
  • Thrive Leads if your goal is to double or triple your email subscribers in the shortest time possible
  • Thrive Content Builder if you want to create mesmerizing blog post with fluid drag and drop ability
  • Thrive Landing Pages if you just want to have beautifully created landing pages to capture ever visitor who lands on that page (and in just a few clicks)

So regardless if you are a complete newbie in blogging, an experienced, serial blogger or expert in web designing, I am sure you’ll find them useful in your everyday life.

Ready to set the world on fire with mesmerizing WordPress theme and layout? LET’S GO!

thrive themes review

Thrive Themes Review

Thrive Themes is basically the all-in-one pack for all your web development needs. At this time of writing, Thrive Themes come with 9 (yes, 9 super awesome WordPress themes) stylish designs ready for you to use.

If your ultimate goal is to create a good looking website, not using the standard Genesis themes and focus in building a huge blog following, then this is an awesome way to go.

Thrive Themes are dubbed as the conversion focused WordPress themes.

I come from a marketing background and trust me – the idea of using a conversion focused theme for your blog is welcomed. Building a beautiful website is usually just one part of the equation; turning readers into customers is the key for your blogging success.

And if you’re the type that is super choosy and picky (like me), you probably want to get the best out of your theme. With Thrive Themes, you can easily add or change the website layout with just a few clicks of the button. Plus, the drag and drop feature is a super time saver to say the least.

Here are the examples of the ready-made Thrive Themes:

optimized thrive themes

CLICK HERE to visit the Thrive Themes demo page (don’t worry, it will open a new page so you easily navigate back to this page).

 

Thrive Leads Review

Thrive Leads is a WordPress list building plugin that was built from the ground up with conversion optimization in mind.

According to TechCrunch, majority of U.S. users are spending at least 52% of their time on mobile when compared to desktop. And when it comes to building an email list, having a mobile focused approach is vital.

Traditionally, you are required to know some coding knowledge in order to get those lead generation boxes pop up beautifully in any devices your readers are using. I’m sure that sounds challenging especially for bloggers like me who doesn’t know much about codes.

thrive leads plugin review

But with Thrive Leads, you don’t have to worry anything!

Most of the features of Thrive Leads (and their products) are based on drag-and-drop. This means that you spend less time creating an optin popup and focus more time on doing things that matters to you; which is growing your email list!

Email generation boxes (or lead boxes in this case) are created automatically to ensure that they fit beautifully in any devices.

Can you imagine what happens when a beautiful pop-up box appear in front of your readers without the need of zooming in (or out) to read the texts? You’ll skyrocket your email subscribers … almost instantaneously.

Thrive Leads plugin is excellent for email list building because it is:

  • Easily integrated to over a dozen different email marketing providers
  • Mobile responsive lead boxes
  • Drag and drop features
  • Ability to create custom lead boxes (as well as default ones)
  • Custom lead boxes display based on specific timing and page

If you are interested to check out Thrive Leads, click here to head over to their demo page or watch the video below:

 

Thrive Content Builder Review

Do you feel that the blog posts created with WordPress is boring? I certainly think so!

The ability to bold, highlighted and using different fonts are just too common – you want something that give the huge “boom” and “pow” to readers who visit your article.

thrive content builder review

Introducing Thrive Content Builder, a WordPress plugin that revolutionize how you publish your blog posts using WordPress.

You don’t have create a blog post using the standard WordPress draft and ‘create a post’ page; you create blog posts using the front end editor.

Yes, this means that you see exactly how the post will look like just like your readers do!

Thrive Content Builder is powerful because it helps you to insert tweetable sentences, create call-to-action boxes and even inserting images with just the drag-and-drop feature.

Trust me – this makes the old blog post creation much more fun and on top of everything, giving you the first hand experience of how your blog post will look like in front of your readers.

Thrive Content Builder is a plugin which works on any WordPress themes and it is also included when you purchase any of the Thrive Themes packages.

This video explains how to build a complete page using Thrive Content Builder (from scratch):


CLICK HERE to see Thrive Content Builder!

 

Thrive Landing Pages Review

Alright, I hear you. You have the best custom theme and lead generation magnet anyone could possibly get … but you need a plugin that allows you to create landing pages for lead generation.

Well, Thrive Themes got you covered with the Thrive Landing Page plugin.

thrive landing page builder

Allow me to be really upfront. You probably heard about LeadPages – used by influencers like Pat Flynn and John Lee Dumas. So, is Thrive Landing Pages really that good compared to LeadPages?

When you talk about the “Thrive Landing Pages vs LeadPages“, one thing comes to mind – it is all about the price.

Thrive Landing Pages costs $59 pear year while LeadPages costs at least $204 per year. And Thrive is just a fraction of what LeadPages costs!

Don’t get me wrong, LeadPages is probably one of the more popular option (even I used it before) but when I’m given the ability to choose between two plugins that does the same job, I’ll go with the one that has less effect on my wallet.

Makes sense, right?

To be honest, Thrive Landing Pages offers more features compared to most of its competitors. Creating custom templates, integration with multiple email marketing solutions and drag-and-drop features are more than enough to turn anyone.

But don’t take my words for it. Watch the video below (credits to Shane) and discover how you can create a 100% custom landing page from scratch using Thrive Landing Pages.


CLICK HERE to head over to Thrive Landing Page demo.

 

Recap: Thrive Themes review

One of the most common questions I hear about Thrive Themes is “Is it worth it?” and “Is it really that good?“.

Allow me to share my thoughts on this. I’m one of the early adopters for Thrive Themes and even use them on various websites I own.

I am able to take website building to a whole new level and developing a new WordPress theme as easy as 1, 2 and 3 — just by using Thrive Themes, Thrive Landing Pages, Thrive Content Builder and Thrive Leads.

And if you are wondering if Thrive Themes fit your web development needs, here are some of advantages to can leverage from:

  • Creating unique WordPress themes without hassle (using drag-and-drop) feature
  • Ready made website, landing page and lead boxes templates to choose from
  • Each Thrive theme or product is created with speed in mind (no slow loading websites etc)
  • Experienced support team to assist you with any woes or doubts

Compared to those website builder or landing page plugins that cost over $50 per month, the full Thrive Theme package only costs $149 per year (original price of $199). Trust me, there isn’t any better deal than this and Thrive Themes are one of the best in the market right now.

Do you use Thrive Themes or any of the Thrive products on your blog? Tell me what you think about it in the comments below.

And if you have NOT get a copy of the specially discounted price, you can check out Thrive Themes packages here.

  • Thrive Theme
  • Rating: 5
  • Price: 147
  • Reviewed by:
  • On September 24, 2015
  • Last modified:September 24, 2015

Review Summary:

Thrive Theme is one of the best WordPress drag and drop website builder in the market. The plugins and there are focused highly on email conversions which is guaranteed to triple your mailing list. Thrive Theme is also very versatile and flexible in terms of web designing.

The post Thrive Themes Review – The All-In-One Website Solution For Serious Bloggers appeared first on Reginald Chan.



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How To Start A Blog In Just 5 Steps [Infographic]

You heard that you can make money with a blog and you are inching to start a blog. There are way too many guides out there on ‘how to start a blog‘ but you want just the facts.

Yes, you want a complete blogging tutorial that teaches you how to create a blog from scratch. You have no time to waste and certainly, you don’t want to waste money buying web hosting and domain names just to become another failed blogger.

You want to start a blog and start making money from blogging. I feel you –and that’s why I created this post for you; How To Start A Blog In Just 5 Simple Steps.

If you are the type that read, bookmark this post for future reference and if you’re a graphic-type of person, there’s an infographic right at the bottom of this post. And if you find this post useful, I would appreciate it if you can share this around or use the infographic in your blog post!

how to start a blog

 

Step 1: Start a blog by choosing a domain name

A domain name is like your brand and it matters even more especially when your blog get traction and more visibility. Most bloggers find it really challenging to find a blog name and allow me to hep you out on this.

There are several rules of thumb when it comes to choosing a domain name:

  • Always go for dot com (.com) followed by dot net (.net) and dot co (.co) – Avoid others forms of Top Level Domains (TLD’s) regardless how interesting they sound like
  • Domain name should be short and in most cases, under 20 characters
  • Choose a domain name the represents your brand and make sense for reading (higher readability = easier remembrance)
  • Avoid hypes and numbers whenever possible
  • Have the keyword embedded in the domain for some search engine advantage in the future

Domain usually costs anywhere from $0.99 to under $10 per year. There are many domain registrars out there such as GoDaddy and NameCheap which sells at super low prices.

Want to save money in domain name and get a free one? Continue reading Step 2!

 

Step 2: Choosing a reliable web hosting company

Web hosting is like the power company that lights up your home (in this case, home is your domain). One of the biggest mistakes done by bloggers is choosing really, really cheap web hosting companies due to the obvious reason; dirt cheap cost.

The results? Tons of downtime and even possibility of hacking which leads to angry visitors and lost of revenue for you. If you think about it, this isn’t the reason of you starting a blog. You want to make money or passive income from blogging!

So, here are some guidelines you need to know when choosing a web hosting company:

  • Reliable uptime for web hosting performance
  • Proven track record in this industry
  • Support consists of live chat, phone, email and forum
  • Money back guarantee

Since you are starting out in blogging, you should be getting shared web hosting as this is the most affordable one. While there are higher end ones like WP Engine, you’re still in good hands especially when your blog is hosted with a professional web hosting company with affordable prices.

Why? Because it doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket.

If you need recommendations, I recommend using BlueHost (read my review on Bluehost) because it costs only $3.95 per month and all the goodies such as free domain name, free site builder, professional support and money back guarantee under one roof. Of course, you only get this deal when you use this link (original price is $5.99 per month).

 

Step 3: Installing a blogging platform

In the 3rd step on how to start a blog, you need to install a blogging platform. Here, I would recommend you to install WordPress as it is one of the most flexible blogging platforms for both beginners and businesses.

Big brands such as Tech Crunch, The New Yorker and Sony Music use WordPress for their websites.

By default, most shared hosting service providers would have cPanel system which you can use to install WordPress. If you slightly geeky, here’s the real definition of cPanel credits to Wikipedia:

cPanel is a Linux based web hosting control panel that provides a graphical interface and automation tools designed to simplify the process of hosting a web site.

If you are wondering if you could create a blog without WordPress, yes you could — but would you? Millions of blogs out there are powered by WordPress because it is flexible and super scalable. As a matter of fact, WordPress allows you to change every expect of your blog (with some coding knowledge).

Right now, you may be thinking, “Hey Reginald, this is just too much for me. I am working/studying and I have absolutely no time to spare. I demand to know how to start a blog fast!

Yes sir! Pardon me for all the jargons I said in the past few paragraph. You want an easy way out? Signup for BlueHost web hosting and they will give you a free domain. Then the magic happens. BlueHost has 1-click install for WordPress. All you need to do is to click and wait.

Now you are all set … under 5 minutes. Yes, sign up for BlueHost here (If you cancel within 30 days, you receive a full refund on your hosting service and if you cancel after 30 days, you receive a prorated refund for the remainder of your hosting term).

 

Step 4: Setting up your blog

Yes, you just started a blog. Pretty simple right?

No, it’s no over yet! There’re two more steps and the next step (really simple one, I promise) is setting the blog up.

On your dashboard (accessible through http://ift.tt/ww5jlA), head over the left panel and click on Settings > General as seen on the image below:

setting up WordPress blog

Once the page is refreshed, you will see a new page and this is the main switch box for your blog. See the options in the image below? Fill the details according to the details of your blog.

how to setup a wordpress blog

Once everything is done, click on the Save button.

Important note: Tagline should be no longer than 160 characters.

 

Step 5: Installing plugins to your blog

What are WordPress plugins?

WordPress plugins are bits of software that can be uploaded to to extend and expand the functionality of your WordPress site. 

In short, plugins help you to do wonders with your blog (even when you have no knowledge about) and it increases productivity.

Plugins can be installed directly from your blog’s dashboard. Click on the left panel and select Plugins.

how to install wordpress plugin

A new page will be visible and you can search dozens of plugins directly from the WordPress repository. As of this point of writing, there are over 37,900 plugins available for download to your blog.

install wordpress plugin

Here are some important plugins you need to have when you first start a blog:

Alternative plugins for advanced bloggers:

WordPress comes with some beautifully made themes which you can use for free. But if you would want a more custom look and feel, there are tools such as Thrive Theme Builder that allows you to create custom custom blog templates without a single line of code. Besides that, you have StudioPress who offers dozens of professional made blog templates ready for download at very reasonable prices.

 

So, what’s next after starting a blog?

Did you know that you have finish all the 5 steps in ‘how to start a blog‘?

Yes, give yourself a pat on the back and maybe some beer. You have successfully create a blog from scratch (and without pulling a single strain of hair). Well, that’s awesome right?

Of course, starting a blog is just the first step in your blogging journey. What’s coming up next is how to make money with a blog (subscribe here to be kept updated)!

 

Bonus: How To Start A Blog [Infographic]

How To Start A Blog [Infographic]

Embed This Image On Your Site (copy code below):

<div style=”clear:both”><a href=”http://ift.tt/1b55vX6how-to-start-a-blog/”><img src=”http://ift.tt/1FcQ5iH; title=”How To Start A Blog [Infographic]” alt=”How To Start A Blog [Infographic]” border=”0″ /></a></div><div>Courtesy of: <a href=”http://ift.tt/1b55vX6how-to-start-a-blog/“>Reginald Chan</a></div>

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Top 50 Powerful Productivity Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using

productivity tools for entrepreneurs

Did you know that an entrepreneur’s productivity level is affected by the productivity tools they use?

One way or another, the right tools with the right planning will help you get more jobs done in a shorter time span. And when you have more time in your hands, you can achieve more tasks than what’s expected.

Juggling so many tasks can be daunting and lead to a lot of stress. If you’re an entrepreneur and you want to become more efficient, productive and successful, here’s a list of tools you need to use today.

 

1. Buffer

Social media marketing is the next big thing in marketing. Regardless the size of your business, you got to engage in social and this is where Buffer helps you to improve your productivity level. You can schedule social media updates and perform serious analytics with Buffer. This makes building up your brand and company on social media extremely easy.

 

2. Hootsuite

Hootsuite is a powerful alternatives to Buffer. However, Hootsuite works slightly different from its competitors. Aside from scheduling and analytics, Hootsuite helps to increase productvity but having the social listening feature. You can listen and engage with customers while understand the strategies taken by your competitors.

 

3. Trello

Working with a team and want to delegate tasks efficiently? Trello allows you to do so — and in style! The thing that makes Trello a powerful productivity tool is that it allows you to drag and drop between projects (or also known as boards). You can create checklists, images and texts to take productivity to the next level. It comes with a free account and you can subscribe for paid ones for more features.

 

4. Evernote

Evernote is probably one of the best (and popular) productivity tools for entrepreneurs. It allows you to upload images, voice memo, texts, reminders and chat with your colleagues for team collaboration. What makes it really useful is the offline feature where you can access the notes anytime of the day from any mobile devices. Just like Trello, there are both free and paid accounts with different features.

 

5. Clear

This is an iPhone app and it does one thing (and only one thing) superbly well. It helps you to get organized and ensure that tasks are completed in a timely matter. Clear allows you to add new tasks and reminders under a few seconds. Simple actions such as swiping the tasks left and right would open up more options such as delete the task or marking the task as complete.

 

productivity tools for entrepreneurs

 

6. Any.Do

Another powerful task management app on smartphones. It integrates perfectly on computers too and the one thing that makes it stand out from the rest would be the ‘ morning notifications’. For example, when you set your day start at 9am, Any.Do will send you a reminder on tasks that need to be completed on the same day. You can snooze, change date or even set the tasks as complete. And the best part, it is free to download (paid plans available).

 

7. Asana

Looking for productivity tools to help your team with task management? Asana is a free project-management tool that allows teams to communicate without email, in one central location. Trust me, you can’t ask for more than this!

 

8. Fiverr

Entrepreneurs are always chasing for more time and yes, 24 hours isn’t enough. Fiverr is a market place to find for nearly everything (which starts at $5 per gig). If you are on a shoestring budget, you may want to consider getting a few gigs from Fiverr.

 

9. Elance and Upwork

Outsourcing is the key for higher productivity — sure, there would be cost involve but you are literally guaranteed with better time management and getting more work done. Sites such as Elance and Upwork allow busy entrepreneurs to hire freelancers to get specific jobs or tasks done. For those who are working on a tight budget, you can opt for different payment methods such as hourly or per project basis.

You can search for thousands of freelancers with different capabilities and price range. Personally, I love using Elance to find for Virtual Assistants (VA’s). The concept is pretty simple; You act as an employer and you post a project. Freelancers from all around the world will bid for the project and you can select them based on experience, price range etc. Payment could be done by milestones or after completing the project.

 

10. Social media platforms

Believe it or not, social media platforms are great source of productivity hacks. For example, spending sometime on Twitter or Pinterest would give you a couple of ideas for your upcoming project. Plus, with social media being live 24-7, you know that you are going to get the latest trends — every single time.

 

11. Talkwalker

Consider Talkwalker as a newer, more advanced version of Google Alerts. It offers more comprehensive results and more options that allow you to check for mentions of your company online. This helps with public relations and the chance to interact with people who are discussing your brand online.

 

12. DropBox

DropBox allows you to share files with others, sync files across devices and ensuring your files are constantly accessible (while safe) in the cloud. As an entrepreneur, this is a great productivity tool as it allows you to share important files with your colleagues without needing to send an email attachment or using hard copies.

 

13. Google Drive

You already know about this tool, but the release of Chromebooks and the ability to convert and edit Microsoft Office documents make this productivity tool (and accompanying Docs and Sheets) a great way to collaborate and share documents with your clients, freelancers or employees. Do I really need to elaborate more on this?

 

14. Audible / Kindle Unlimited

Most entrepreneurs read a lot. For me, listening to audio version of the book is always an awesome way to save more time while increasing your productivity level. With both Amazon Kindle and Audible, you can listen to several audio books each month.

 

15. EventBrite

Are you looking for the latest networking event in town? Head over to EventBrite and discover tickets for small to medium size events at reasonable prices. EventBrite also allows you to create and host your own event in the case of need (which is awesome).

 

16. Meetup

Looking for bigger events to join and EventBrite isn’t capable to provide such resources? Meetup is the tool for you. It is a super effective way to find influencers, local events and networking groups in just a few clicks of the button.

 

17. Editorial calendar

Do you find yourself rushing to get posts published on your company blog? Using an editorial calendar like this one would help you to publish posts in a timely manner. It also allows you to be more productive and ensure your readers are constantly getting updates without fail.

 

18. Rainmaker Platform

Looking for an all-in-one marketing platform for your startup business? Introducing the Rainmaker Platform; A complete marketing platform that allows you to build your own marketing and sales platform build under one roof. From superior web hosting to marketing tool, Rainmaker Platform takes your marketing and productivity level from A to A+ in just a few clicks. You can also try it for 14-days free using this link.

 

19. AWeber

I bet you heard about email marketing before. Trust me, email marketing is a great productivity tool if done correctly. I use AWeber as my email marketing provider and with it, I create multiple follow up emails and broadcast emails to be delivered at the right time — every week. AWeber is set to send out welcome emails for new subscribers and specific emails for those who have completed several tasks; clicking on links, opening emails etc.

I know you want to try AWeber for free. All you need is to fill up the this form and you are all set!

 

20. IFTTT

IFTTT is the short form for IF This, Then That. Basically it allows you to create automated tasks to speed up your productivity level. One of my favorite (and most used) productivity hacks using IFTTT is when I tag ‘tasks’ to a post to Pocket app, it will automatically trigger and action which will add the the title and details of the post to my Evernote notebook entitled, Follow Up Tasks. Instead of manually saving the information on Evernote, IFTTT does it for me and it save up a lot of my time. At the moment, there are over 50 different actions and triggers to customize your automation.

 

21. Feedly

Reading is common among entrepreneurs and with the number of new posts found on the Internet daily, we are definitely not able to keep track of them. This is where Feedly comes into play.

Feedly allows you to add your favorite RSS feeds under one roof; thus allowing you to get the latest news without the need of heading over the the website. It has both desktop and mobile applications which makes it extremely user-friendly and favorable among entrepreneurs.

 

22. Boomerang

Boomerang is a great tool when you want to schedule email and providing you reminders when you don’t get a respond back. With Boomerang, you can compose an email and schedule it for later or even create follow up notifications for important sales email. If you are constantly looking for productivity tool for email marketing, this is one tool you need to use.

 

23. Grammarly

Writing a sales copy can be very time consuming and most of the time, we don’t check our writings. If you are looking for the best plagiarism checker, automated proofreader and grammar checker, look no further. Grammarly is used by thousands, both professionals and beginners in increasing their standards of writing.

 

24. Google Webmaster Tools

If you have a website, you will know how important it is to have Google indexing your website. Besides all the good stuffs Google can provide, Google Webmaster Tools would provide additional information on your website such as:

  • Broken links
  • Outrages
  • Click through rates (CTR)
  • Ranking and popularity of specific keywords

 

25. Bing Webmaster Tools

Bing Webmaster Tools is alike the one in Google. Adding your website to the system would allow Bing bots to scout your site. Sure, majority of us use Google search but do not underestimate the power of Bing as well.

 

26. Google Keyword Planner

Search engine optimization (SEO) is not dead. Well, at least not yet. You probably heard about using the paid keyword research tool like LongTailPro. But here’s the good part.

Google Keyword Planner is a free tool that allows you to search for popular (and potential) keywords to rank for. Since it is free to use and is owned by Google, rest assured that the results are (pretty much) accurate.

 

27. Google Analytics

I have yet to come across an entrepreneur who doesn’t use Google Analytics. Google Analytics allows you to track your website in different segments. For example:

  • Number of visitors
  • Source of traffic
  • Geographical statistics

If you manages a website, register an account with Google Analytics and you will get a code to install on your website. Don’t worry, it only takes a few minutes to install it and it is pretty simple too!

 

28. Buzzsumo

Do you want to know what are the popular topics on social media? If yes, Buzzsumo is a must-have productivity tool for any serious entrepreneurs. Search for a specific keyword on Buzzsumo and it will provide a list of report (and ranking) on blog posts based on the number of social shares.

 

29. Ninja Outreach

Entrepreneurs are always looking for better connections and networking. Ninja Outreach allows you to reach out to influencers within your niche in just a few clicks. What I love about Ninja Outreach is the ability to search and discover information on specific influencers such as:

  • Links to social media accounts
  • Contact
  • Website
  • Popularity

In short, Ninja Outreach will cut down the time of searching for influencers from hours to just minutes.

 

30. WordPress CMS

WordPress CMS is the most popular blogging platform for entrepreneurs. WordPress allows you to schedule new post updates without hassle and it does more than just scheduling (for the record). You can literally build an online store or your business portfolio using WordPress.

Need more? WordPress comes with distraction-free writing where you can write as much as you want without being distracted by the sidebars and stuffs.

Make no mistake. WordPress is an extremely versatile productivity tool if you use it correctly.

 

31. Socialoomph

Social media marketing is challenging and we often wish to have the ‘set and forget’ tool. If that’s the case, you need to take a look at Socialoomph.

It is a paid social media tool that allows you to integrate to unlimited social accounts on major platforms. There are many features you can use such as:

  • Queue
  • Random post
  • Post and repeat (unlimited times)
  • Specific time scheduling

And that’s not about it. It also allows spinning of words to maximize the uniqueness of the post by using syntax. Here’s an example:

5 ways to be (more productive|increase productivity level} as en entrepreneur

Side from spinning, it also has the follow feature which is extremely powerful if you are planning to increase your Twitter followers. Socialoomph will provide a list of recommended Twitter profiles you could follow based on your requirement and settings.

 

32. Storify

Storify can be used for a few reasons; from getting high quality backlinks to curating articles and finding more popular topics. If you are in the creative marketing industry, involving heavily on Storify would boost your visibility as well as potentially ranking better on search engines.

Question: Should you consider Storify as a productivity tool for entrepreneurs?

 

33. Tumblr

If your target market is millennials, Tumblr is definitely an awesome platform to engage in. Tumblr is used as a micro-blogging site and could save you some money if you have no plans to own your own domain.

Why is Tumblr a productivity tool for entrepreneurs?

You can easily integrate pictures, blog posts, videos etc into Tumblr and share them with the world (or to your potential customers).

 

34. Quill Engage

This is a pretty decent productivity tool especially when you want specific information about your website analytics. Quill Engage integrates perfectly well with Google Analytics and instead of reading the raw data directly from Google Analytics (and analyzing them yourself), Quill Engage will compile the data into a simple report.

This allows you to understand the website stats quickly and effectively without pulling your hair. If you want ‘someone’ to inteprete Google Analytics data for you, you really need to check out Quill Engage!

 

35. Slack

You heard about Slack and probably use Slack to boost your productivity. For those who have not heard about Slack, this is what you need to know.

Slack is powerful and it puts productivity to a whole new level. For me, it is a game changer and here are some advantages using Slack:

  • Group conversations
  • File sharing
  • Contextual search (super crazy search feature)
  • Easily integrated to over 80 different apps

Instead of using the typical email for conversation, Slack allows you to go the extra miles by providing a platform for communication between team members. As everything is done over real-time, productivity level can be increased dramatically.

 

36. Strikingly

If you are new into the website business, you are lucky. Here’s what you need to know about Strikingly based on their tagline.

Gorgeous, mobile-friendly websites in minutes.

Yes, you read it right. You can build any website from scratch and without any coding skills in just minutes. Instead of spending thousands of dollars (and hours) hiring web designers and getting those website designs up, you can put those resources into good use — yes, in your business.

 

37. Unroll.me

Most entrepreneurs are constantly flooded with emails, right? I receive over 100 emails a day and I am sure you do too!

Unroll.me is a great tool to help you unsubscribe emails which are not important or no longer relevant for you. In just a few clicks, it can clear your inbox and I personally reduce over 80% of my email subscriptions which I had never opened or read.

Plus, the latest feature is ‘the rollup’ where you will receive emails will appear in your inbox every day at the time you choose. All your subscriptions will be beautifully merged into one email and that’s it!

 

38. Mention

Keeping track of mentions on Twitter is not an easy task especially when you have thousands of followers. Sure, you could keep try to do so but it will take a huge chunk of your time and your productivity level will go down.

This is where Mention comes into play. A simple tool that keep you updated with the mentions you get from Twitter and you can even respond directly from the app.

Want to save more time and improve productivity level on social media? Try using Mention and you can thank me later.

 

39. Zapier

This is relatively an alternative to IFTTT. In short, Zapier connects the apps you use constantly, automate tasks and getting more out of your 24 hours.

Zapier is a great tool and with custom automation tasks, you can literally get anything done using Zapier. It doesn’t burn a hole in your pocket either as it has the ‘forever free’ plan and paid plans that starts at $20 per month.

 

40. Flipboard

For entrepreneurs who love reading, Flipboard is a must to have. Flipboard allows you to create multiple magazines and ‘flipping’ articles you find interesting into them. The best part about Flipboard is that it makes reading real simple and it is extremely easy to follow (and share) posts that are interesting to you and your followers.

 

41. Pocket

Pocket is another great productivity tool for entrepreneurs. I use Pocket to save important articles and news for future reference. Pocket is integrated with nearly every platform out there and there is no better tool compared to Pocket when it comes to content curation.

 

42. Sidekick

Sidekick is a Chrome extension and it is created by Hubspot. Sidekick gives you a truck load of features such as:

  • A notification when the email is send, open and read
  • Location of the email receiver / sender
  • Complete profile for your contacts
  • Scheduling emails to be send at specific times

If you are in the sales or marketing industry, Sidekick is definitely a productivity tool you need to use. Period.

 

43. Smartphone planner

It doesn’t matter if you are an Android guy or Apple fan, your smartphone is probably your best productivity tool … ever. Have a task or specific project to complete?

How about leaving a note in your planner and turn on the notification?

While the step may be really simple, it is guaranteed to increase your productivity level by miles apart because you are constantly reminded on the tasks you need to complete.

Make sense?

 

44. XMind

Brain storming is pretty a much a must-do task for entrepreneurs and XMind is probably the best productivity tool for mind mapping. Free to download on Mac and Windows, it allows you to create multiple charts and turning them into a storage vault.

If you are constantly planning on the next big thing, XMind will take your brain storming process to a whole new level. Trust me on that.

 

45. WorkFlowly

I came across WorkFlowly thanks to AppSumo. This is a great alternative to XMind and one of its selling point is simply, lightweight.

You can fire up WorkFlowly through mobile or desktop as long as you have an Internet connection and start writing down your ideas. While it doesn’t really work well as a brain storming tool, it is a great tool for taking down notes.

 

46. Google Alerts

Some says that Google Alerts isn’t a productivity tool but for me, it is. Instead of spending hours searching for information, Google Alerts send search data (based on your keyw0rds) directly to your email. To avoid clustering your email, you can opt for different schedules such as daily or real-time email notifications.

 

47. Wunderlist

For those who decide Evernote, there is Wunderlist for the rescue. It is pretty much an alternative to Evernote and it provides all the essentials such as taking down notes and data.

What makes Wunderlist highly favorable is due to its bright colour and the features which are extremely user-friendly. Wunderlist is available on all major smartphone platforms as well as on desktops too.

 

48. Table top timer

Do you have a table top timer? Well if you don’t, you can get one from Amazon (this or this) under $10. While blocking out an hour or a specific time a day to complete a task sounds simple, do not underestimate the power of it.

There are a lot of things that can be done in just 60 minutes of uninterrupted time.

 

49. Death to the Stock Photo

You are into business and you know exactly how important images are. Gone were the days where you use those images found on Google search. Bigger businesses are paying big bucks just to get their hands on stock photos.

But you are different because you are a small business and in terms of budget, you would rather save them for better use. This is where Death to the Stock Photo comes into play.

For a free account, you get once a month email on the latest stock images you can use for blogging, marketing and anything under the sun. Imagine the amount of time (and money) you can save especially when you are searching for that one perfect image for your marketing — delivered into your inbox on a monthly basis.

 

50. Canva

Using the right images is just one equation of the puzzle. Creating mesmerizing images with beautiful fonts and effects is another. If you are a beginner (or have bad designing skills like me), you are going to love Canva.

Canva is a freemium productivity tool especially when you are planning to create your own images. Canva literally transforms a complete beginner into a professional photograph editor in just a few minutes (and clicks).

 

What are your favorite productivity tools?

There are hundreds if not thousands of productivity tools an entrepreneur can use and I certainly hope I didn’t miss out any tools you can utilize right now and become more productive.

Have a productivity tool that is not listed here? Leave a comment below or hit me up on social to tell me all about it.

The post Top 50 Powerful Productivity Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using appeared first on Editorial Sumo.



from Top 50 Powerful Productivity Tools Every Entrepreneur Should Be Using http://ift.tt/1XKrk34 contributed by Reginald Chan

VPS versus Shared Web Hosting: Who Sucks More?

shared web hosting versus VPS

A good web hosting company ensures that your website is constantly up and running, while being strong enough to handle the traffic spikes when your posts get featured on Business Insider, Mashable or Huffington Post.

The problem? Most web hosting companies can’t and they suck.

That’s a tough fact to swallow and more importantly, it is a bold statement. If you are in the web hosting industry for long, you would know that I am not bull-sh*ting about this.

Allow me to share some quick stories with you below before we go into the real discussion, Shared Web Hosting versus Virtual Private Servers (VPS).

 

The common web hosting scenario

You signed up a cheap web hosting (that costs you under 5 dollars a month) and before you can sit down and say “argh, life is good …”, you received notifications from your good friends on social media that your website is slapping them with multiple errors.

Your website had just crashed thanks to the article you had shared and it just got viral. You scrambled, turn on your laptop and tried hard to reach out to the web hosting support only to be greeted with the “we are currently close” and “we will get back to you within the next working days”.

That sucks. Period!

Imagine the traffic, leads and revenue lost during the outrage. It is unbearable, I know.

The above scenario happened to every 3 out of 5 website owners and it is simply because web hosting companies are known for overselling.

Overselling is a process where each hosting server is jammed pack with users to maximize the company’s profit.

 

TRENDING: How To Quit Smoking For Good In Just 9 Months?

 

What happens when your website goes down?

Bad thing happens when your website is out. It could be from a massive DDoS (distributed denial of service) attack to website outrages due to traffic spikes, you are bound to lose more than just patience.

When that happen, your action would probably be this:

website down

For beginners, you are losing out the crucial great first impression for new visitors. You are also losing out the important traffic from various channels. And it just gets even worst when your sales posts are down.

You get zero income, yes – a big fat ZERO and even though it may just be a few dollars in ads revenue.

If you run a business, you are talking about a big loss. Not only you are losing potential revenue, you are losing the much awaited leads as well. And it gets even worst when your social ads are still running (and pointing back to your website).

 

Need a real life story? Here’s mine.

It was back in 2009 when I first started blogging. Just a few months into my blogging to be exact.

Like the thousands of blogs out there, I wanted to save money (and partially, I’m pretty stingy) and choosing the cheapest web hosting service just makes all the sense to me.

Without thinking, I signed up for a shared web hosting account and the website was up (and running) within hours. If you think that sounds good, wait until you hear the second part of the story.

Weekly later, I noticed my website is struggling to cope up even with a mere 300 visitors a day. Until one day, one of my articles was mentioned on Harvard University blog and Yahoo! Small Business. That was then all hell break lost.

MY WEBSITE WENT DOWN!

For over 8 hours to be exact.

My then web hosting support said they would look into the matter after I frantically try to reach out to them in any means I could; email, forum, social media and phone — the whole 9-yard.

After hours and hours of waiting, my website was still down.

Long story short, they managed to bring my website back to life but the damage was done. I lost thousands of visitors, potential email subscribers and not to mention, the affiliate sales I could have earned.

I move over to a managed web hosting service after that incident and I never … n-e-v-e-r, experience a downtime. Ever.

The moral of the story is simple. You really get what you pay. In this case, paying $3 to $5 a month is definitely not worth it especially when you compare to the sales or traffic you can earn from the traffic spikes.

shared web hosting versus VPS

So, how do solopreneuers, bloggers and businesses solve this issue?

They scout the web for better solutions and that is literally the “good bye” to shared web hosting.

Most of us are smart consumers and scouting for the best web hosting solution is common.

Sure, there are a few who will migrate to another shared web hosting but majority of them would opt for something better (and more powerful) such as virtual private servers (VPS) or managed hosting.

 

Side note: How To Start And Make Money With Reseller Web Hosting Business?

 

Why should you choose Virtual Private Servers (VPS) and managed hosting?

You get performance, stability, scalability and security – all under one roof.

Most importantly, you get a peace of mind that your managed hosting or VPS is constantly up and running.

advantages using VPS

Unlike shared web hosting service where you are literally sharing the same amount of hosting resources with thousands of others, you are getting specific resources to yourself and for yourself only.

VPS and managed hosting are usually more performance based and they allow you to scale easily based on your traffic. When your business grow, the threat in the online world should be taken even more seriously. This is where VPS and managed hosting come into play.

The way the web hosting servers are being setup would ensure that your website will not be compromised even when your (virtual) neighbours are being hit with virus or malware.

Apart from that, there are also the automatic daily backup done to your site compared to shared web hosting that runs approximately once a week at most.

Alright, now, you will be thinking, “Reginald, do I really need a better web hosting service provider?”

Maybe — take a look at the below to help you make the decision.

 

How to determine if you need a managed web hosting or a VPS service?

There are many reasons for subscribing to managed web hosting or a VPS, and the below are the common ones:

  • You receive a lot of traffic spikes and your current web hosting provider is not able to cope up with that
  • Your website is constantly down
  • Web pages take forever to load (over 3 seconds is slow)
  • You are worried about website security
  • You constantly need professional help in web hosting configurations
  • Scalability is an issue with the current web hosting company

Wait! Don’t decide yet. The next part provides additional information you need to understand before taking up VPS or managed web hosting services.

 

Additional information about VPS and managed web hosting services

1. Virtual Private Servers (VPS)

VPS simply means that you owns the server and it works just for you. You will have 100% of everything and this literally guarantee massive firepower.

The downside of having a VPS is that you need to have at least a little technical knowledge in servers. Virtual Private Server usually comes in a ‘box’ which is unpacked. You would require to install all the needed software and applications before it can run perfectly.

Also, most VPS doesn’t come inbuilt with cPanel or all those shared web hosting control panel. Therefore, you will be working your way (most of the time) through SSH and command lines.

VPS could cost you a few dollars a month to several thousand depending on the specs you need for the server. Here are two of the best VPS providers you can choose from:

Option 1: Digital Ocean (starts at $5 per month)

  • The most popular unmanaged VPS service provider
  • You can start a VPS under 5 minutes
  • No live support but there is a huge knowledge base and super active forums where you can ask questions (or find for answers)
  • It is extremely scalable where you can upgrade or downgrade at anytime

Option 2: Cloudways (starts at $10 per month)

  • The most popular managed VPS service provider
  • An alternative to many unmanaged VPS hosting because of it flexibilities
  • No coding skills required (just click and install) and extremely easy / useful especially for those who do not want to get your hands dirty with codes
  • It works hand in hand with Digital Ocean VPS
  • If you need bigger performance, you can opt to create VPS on Amazon Web Services and Google Cloud Platform Live

 

2. Managed web hosting

Make no mistake. Most managed web hosting are based on VPS, but with a twist. Yes, they come with all the goodness of a VPS and as well as several other powerful features such as:

  • Security checks (virus checking, firewall protections and hacking prevention)
  • Caching features (inbuilt cache feature allows your website to load faster)
  • Automatic nightly backups
  • The ability to scale
  • Servers which are setup for the best performance (no tweaking needed on your end)
  • Live support and services
  • Staging area (provided by some companies for demo and development)
  • Automatic patching and updates allow you to have peace of mind

Managed web hosting is a great choice for those who are serious about their website’s performance, having good security features and most importantly, having live support which is just a click (or call) away.

It is also important to understand that there are many managed web hosting providers which provide different features. The below are the recommended one:

Option 1: GetFlyWheel (starts at $15 per month)

  • Inbuilt cache system
  • Nightly backup
  • Fast support
  • Inbuilt billing features (if you are in the business of reseller web hosting)
  • The fastest managed web hosting provider (self-tested) – website loads under 1 second

Option 2: WPEngine (starts at $29 per month)

  • Inbuilt cache system
  • Nightly backup
  • Live support
  • CDN (content delivery network)
  • Free website restoration in the case of hacking
  • Staging area (useful for developers)
  • Known for managing websites of big brands such as SoundCloud

Option 3: SiteGround (starts at $2.95 per month with limited features or $13.95 for full features)

  • Offers premium web hosting services at a fraction of the price
  • Inbuilt cache system (you could use your own cache plugin as well)
  • Top notch support with live chat, email and phone assistance
  • Servers are built with strong foundations for WordPress,, Joomla and Magento
  • Staging platform

 

Conclusion

Most shared web hosting services face issues on a daily basis and as a paying customer, I see no reason why we should bear the cost (at the expense of traffic, money and brand name).

If you are looking for a cheap VPS service (and have some coding knowledge), you won’t go wrong with Digital Ocean. And if you want to keep your hands cleans from codes, try Cloudways instead for some flexible managed VPS services on the cloud.

Serious about the uptime on your business website? Managed hosting such as WPEngine will keep you smiling all the time thanks to their customer service team. For website designers, marketers and resellers, you will find GetFlyWheel the best option with inbuilt cache feature and powerful billing system.

And if all the above doesn’t fit your needs, there’s Siteground that offers above average performance web hosting performance at the fraction of the cost.

At the end of the day, VPS and managed web hosting are always a better choice compared to shared web hosting services. By just paying a little more money, you get ample performance, stability, scalability and security that matters most in today’s online business world.

Questions about shared web hosting, managed hosting and VPS (virtual private servers)? Leave a comment below!

The post VPS versus Shared Web Hosting: Who Sucks More? appeared first on Editorial Sumo.



from VPS versus Shared Web Hosting: Who Sucks More? http://ift.tt/1ENBqK6 contributed by Reginald Chan

Whose Behind The Big Fat Reality

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Who the hell is Reginald Chan?

Yes, it's me ... an average Joe from the small town of Melaka, Malaysia. I love writing, blogging, reading and all those tech stuffs. I spend most of my days at my website and doing light marketing.

My interest

Creating lots and lots of websites for fun and of course, traveling. Oh and yes, good food as well. I have deep passion especially when it comes to WordPress, blogging, SEO and also Internet Marketing.

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