These are the tools that I’ve used over the years to succeed, and each comes with my Will Hatton Seal of Approval. Some of these tools (*Cough Trello*) can literally change your life…
Google Docs – A free centralised location to store all of your documents. Because it’s all online this makes it super easy to share information with your team. I use Google Docs for literally everything.
Trello – The best tool out there for planning a workflow. Very powerful when it comes to assigning tasks and organising projects amongst your teams. I also personally use Trello for organising my future plans, aspirations, reading lists, goals, things to work on in my personal life… it’s an amazing tool.
Quickbooks – If you have a registered business, this is the best app for money management. Quickbooks has a great interface, and makes it super easy to organise your personal/business spending.
Dropbox – Great for storing media (photos, videos, documents, etc). Use the 2GB of free space first before paying for a subscription.
WordPress.org – If you are building a website, this is the ONLY option we recommend (aka – no Wix, no Squarespace). WordPress sets you up for success by making your website SEO-friendly, and by giving you access to their arsenal of plugins.
NameCheap – Another solid alternative for finding affordable domains.
Bluehost – If you are starting your first website and are on a budget, Bluehost is the obvious choice. Bluehost provides 24/7 customer service and offer great value hosting services. We have started many of our projects on Bluehost. Check out 7 Simple Steps to Starting your First Site.
WPEngine – WPEngine is a next level hosting provider that can handle sudden spikes of traffic without crashing. WPEngine offer competitive prices and include 24/7 customer support. Both The Broke Backpacker and Ditch Your Desk are hosted on WPEngine. Honestly, after trying a few providers, WPEngine are my favourite by miles.
Theme Forest – If you are on a tight budget and want to minimise the learning curve, there are tons of affordable themes on Theme Forest. While some of these themes are fairly basic, they are simple and ready to use out of the box. The Broke Backpacker is built on Simplemag theme (which you can find on Theme Forest) with a load of customisation.
Elementor – Drag-and-drop website builders give you a lot more customisation options than a pre-made theme. Elementor is one of the best on the market.
Thrive Themes – Similar to Elementor, Thrive is a fantastic drag-and-drop builder that offers a ton of other conversion-based plugins. The difference? It’s capable of a lot more than Elementor… but there’s also a much bigger learning curve.
Codeable – If you don’t mind dishing out at least a grand, hiring a developer is one way to create a clean, professionally designed, amazing website. Codeable is one of the best online marketplaces to find a quality designer.
Yoast SEO – This plugin is a great first step for making sure your articles are SEO friendly.
Akismet Anti-Spam – Fuck spam. Akismet does a good job of keeping your site clean of spam comments.
WP Super Cache – Cache plugins help keep your site fast and running smooth – and they are free! There are a ton of solid caching plugins (WP Super Cache, W3 Total Cache, WP Fastest Cache, etc). Pick one.
Smush It – Images can take a long time to load, which is bad for SEO and user experience. Smush It helps compress images so your website loads faster.
Insert Headers and Footers – You’ll need to set up Google Analytics, Google Search Console, and maybe even a Facebook pixel within your site header or footer. This is an easy plugin to help you get that done.
Shortcodes Ultimate – Formatting your blog posts with multi-media is a necessity, and Shortcodes Ultimate is a great free way to give your blog posts some extra design points (Note – this plugin is unnecessary if you build your site on Thrive or Elementor)
Elementor – While the free version is limited, you should absolutely download Elementor so you can learn the basics of building a page with a drag and drop builder.
Google Search Console – Must have. Free and easy to set up (with the help of the ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ plugin), GSC shows you exactly where your organic search traffic is coming from.
Keywords Everywhere – This FREE Chrome extension is a must have for seeing the volume of keywords.
SERPWorx – Super affordable, this Chrome extension helps you gauge the competition of a keyword by showing you the metrics of the results in the SERPs. Very cool.
Moz Bar – A free Chrome extension, Moz Bar gives you metrics for a site in both the SERPs and when visiting the site itself (note – unnecessary if you have SERPWorx)
SERPRecord – There are tons of programs available to help you track your keywords in the SERPs – this is one of the cheapest. (Note – if you have Mangools or AHREFs then there’s no need for this).
Mangools – Mangools is a great tool if you are a beginner to SEO or are just looking to level-up your SEO knowledge. It’s affordable, powerful, and super simple to use. Check out why Mangools is the ultimate tool for beginner SEO.
Google Analytics – Must have. Free and easy to set up (with the help of the ‘Insert Headers and Footers’ plugin) GA gives you all of your website’s data and metrics.
Thrive Headline Optimizer – Your headlines are crucial to lowering your bounce rate (which then helps your SEO rankings). Thrive Headline Optimizer lets you A/B test headlines so you know which ones are the most effective for your audience.
Mail Chimp– I only recommend this if you have NO budget for your mailing list. Mail Chimp allows you to have up to 2,000 subscribers for free, so it’s a great way to dip your toes into the world of email marketing, but it is fairly basic and annoying to navigate.
Thrive Leads – Thrive Leads doesn’t handle emails, but it will help you generate more subscribers. This sophisticated software helps you run pop-ups, slide ins, and dozens of other powerful ways to get subscribers.
Optin Monster – Similar to Thrive, Optin Monster will help you generate more email leads with a series of tools
ConvertKit – I use ConvertKit for nearly all of our email marketing. Convertkit is simple to use and has a ton of amazing features that can take your email marketing to another level. (Pro note – If you want to take your email marketing to the next stratosphere, ConvertKit paired with Thrive Leads is like a fine red wine paired with a gourmet steak.)
Buffer – Our preferred scheduling software for Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
Tailwind – If you want to try and grow Pinterest, this is your best bet.
Fiverr – While it can be a hit or a miss, Fiverr has a huge database of freelancers that can do just about anything that your online project needs.
99 Designs – A solid choice for logo designs – the DYD logo was created on 99Designs! 99Designs is a competition based platform where multiple freelancers submit their ideas and you pick your favourite. We did have some bumps along the way, but overall it was a good experience and I was pretty darn pleased with the end result.
Codeable – I use codeable anytime I need to hire a developer, and the results have always been mind-blowingly amazing. Not usually cheap, but the developers are experienced, and incredibly professional.
Canva – This is a free, must have tool. Canva makes basic graphic design extremely simple without sacrificing any quality. This is great tool to help you design blog graphics, infographics, memes, social media promos, and anything else that needs a bit of flair. All of the graphics on DYD are made on Canva.
Pic Monkey – Pic Monkey is perfect for photo editing. The paid account is more affordable than Adobe or other premium alternatives, and while not as good as Canva, you can still create a variety of graphics and multimedia. For what it is, it’s fucking cheap.
Shareasale – One of my favourite affiliate networks with loads of awesome, high paying, affiliate programs to choose from.
Affiliate Window – Another great affiliate network worth checking out.
Avantlink – This affiliate network includes the REI affiliate program – one of my favourites.
Geni.us – Our preferred geo-localizing software for Amazon.
***Disclaimer – some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase, we get a small commission at no extra cost to you. Your support helps keep the site going and helps us stay caffeinated*