5 Must Have Online Tools For Authors


 Over the past few weeks several people have asked what some of my favorite tools are to use online. I love the idea of an "online toolbox" and decided I would open ours up to share with you. We use these tools every single day and highly recommend them to our clients and friends.

So here are our 5 Must Have Online Tools for Authors:

1) Squarespace

Even though WordPress might be the big buzzword these days in regard to "easy" website/blog set-up, let me tell you, it's not. About 3 months ago we switched our website from WordPress to an amazing service called Squarespace and we haven't looked back once. Marcus wrote a fantastic blog post about why we switched from WordPress to Squarespace (which I really encourage you to read) and if you are in the market for a new website, we can't recommend Squarespace enough. It is so much easier to use, it's mobile friendly, it's a snap to set up, and they have beautiful templates. Squarespace is the way to go!


2) MailChimp

Email marketing (newsletters) is something that every author needs to jump on. It's one aspect of our business that I wish we would have started from the very beginning. Newsletters are a direct link between you and your fans. People always ask me, "Well, isn't that what social media is for?" Look at it this way: social media is a great way to introduce yourself to potential fans. It's kind of like dating; you're getting to know one another. A newsletter is personal because someone is interesting their email address, a direct link to them, to you. When someone signs up for your newsletter they are saying, "I trust what you have to say and I want to know more." Newsletters show who your true fans are. I've written several blogs about newsletters that you can check out hereherehere, and here.

All that to say, our trusted service for maintaining our newsletter subscribers and service is MailChimp. It's incredibly affordable (try FREE for the first 2,000 subscribers!), it's very easy to use, and it's provides fantastic layouts. We are huge fans of MailChimp and highly recommend it.


3) Evernote

I must confess, I love me a good notebook! I love Moleskines, pretty journals, you name it. But they caused a big problem: my notes, lists, or whatever I was writing were scattered everywhere. That and I'd start using one journal, then go to another and could never find what I was looking for. It was an unorganized mess. Then we discovered Evernote and I can say this with all confidence - I don't miss my paper journals at all. Here's why:

  • It captures my notes, web files, audio clips, files, everything that I need and I can access it on my desktop, laptop, iPhone, iPad…everywhere. It syncs seamlessly with all of my devices so I have my notes everywhere I go.
  • It's easy to organize and everything has its place
  • If you forget what you named a note you can search for "tags" to easily find what you are looking for
  • You can share files with other Evernote users for easy file sharing

We use Evernote for both business and personal purposes to share shopping lists, to-do lists, blog posts that I need uploaded, images I need to post, and more. I seriously don't know what I'd do without Evernote. It's one of my favorite tools to use online! They have both free and paid services, so be sure to check it out.


4) Buffer 

One of my ultimate timesavers in social media comes from a fantastic service called Buffer. I'm sure you've heard me talk about it before but I can't say enough how much I love using Buffer. Between its clean, easy to use interface to it's excellent service it is, in my opinion, the best social media management tool out there. What it allows you to do is schedule your social media posts (Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn & App.net) to post when you want them to. You can set your schedule for each outlet and you don't have to worry about it. They have great analytics and their customer service is brilliant.


5) Shutterstock

Shutterstock is our go-to place for high quality and unique stock photos. Images are key in creating content for your social media, blog, website, etc., and Shutterstock is the best source for royalty-free images. They have a free option for their services but they also have paid versions with even more available images to use.


So there you have it! Let us know your thoughts! And as always, we are here to help you if you need it. Please feel free to contact us if you have questions or a specific need to address.

QUESTION: What online resources do YOU use? What have you found helpful? Let us know in the comments below. We'd love to hear from you! 

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 Image by J Boontje

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