Regardless of where you are in the path to building your business, you’ve probably realized there are a lot of tools out there.
While that’s great, it can also be pretty overwhelming.
Pick any topic; digital nomad tools, travel tools, website tools, productivity tools, and you’ll find dozens in each category.
This page serves to help you narrow things down…a bit.
Here we’re listing our favorite tools and resources. These are what we use both at Location Rebel and in all the side stuff too.
Immediately below, you’ll find our featured tools and resources. These are what we use day in and day out to keep the business going.
Beyond that, the tools will be broken down into categories. And, we’ll also link to related blog posts. We’ve written a lot of reviews over the years on a bunch of these resources, so you can check those out too.
This page will continue to be a work in progress. As we find new tools we love, we’ll keep adding them, and maybe take some out.
Video: The 5 Most Critical Tools We Use to Run Location Rebel
Best Business Tools
Here are the big tools we use all the time and recommend.
We send out a lot of recommendations for Bluehost. It’s easy to see why. Bluehost’s shared hosting service is good for beginners to set up and get rolling. Too many people get stuck creating a blog because of the technical side of things.
If you’re a bit more advanced and you want to move to managed hosting, then WP Engine is where it’s at. We’ve been using this for years. They have great reliability, the sites are rarely if ever down, and great customer service a key for hosting sites.
Alright, you’ve got your website host ready, now you need to get a theme for your site, right? Enter ThemeForest. This is our go-to spot for finding the best website themes out there. You can find themes in a variety of prices and, very important, information on customer service too.
One of the most important traffic strategies out there is nailing your keywords and creating good stuff that helps rank highly for them. SEMRush is the tool we use to make sure we’re digging into the keywords that matter most to readers and putting out optimized content for better results.
Email is an important part of any business. After all, there’s no doubt you’ve heard the phrase, ‘money is in the list.’ We’ve gone through a few email service providers over the years at LR, but no doubt ConvertKit is our favorite option. It’s not perfect, but it has a ton of features to help you manage your list.
LeadPages has a ton of bang for your buck. Yes, it’s pricey, but it also been an indispensable tool for creating sales pages and email landing pages. The template library makes it really easy, just a few clicks, write your copy, and you’re ready to go.
More Digital Nomad Resources
Here are more resources to check out.
In the segments below, we’ve broken these down into sections and highlight some related reading too.
Tools for Building a Website
While there are a number of good content management systems (CMS) popping up on the scene like Wix or Squarespace, WordPress is the old reliable here. With so many options for customization and ease of use, it’s the perfect place to start.
It sucks coming up for a good name for your website and then discovering it’s taken. Avoid that by using a tool like NameCheap. You can use it to bulk search a ton of URL names and extensions (like .com, .co., etc.) to see what’s available and how much they cost in just a few minutes.
A critical part of the success of any website is Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Even if you’re not an expert, it’s important to know, otherwise, it’s harder for your site to get found. The best tool out there for making sure your website is SEO optimized is Yoast.
Once you get visitors to your website, you are going to need to start collecting emails from your visitors so you can send them your newsletter. One of the best tools available to do that is Sumo. It has a bunch of easy to tweak templates for creating pop-ups, welcome mats, and more.
If LeadPages isn’t for you, look at one of the best alternatives out there, OptimizePress. This operates as a plugin for your WordPress site and it’s really easy to use, not much of a learning curve. So you can get landing pages and sales pages set up and running really quickly.
Visual Website Optimizer
This tool is for more advanced users, but we figured it should be included anyway. If you want to get more technical and start testing things on your site like button color, headlines, etc., to see how they impact conversions, Visual Website Optimizer is one of the best tools out there for that.
Google Analytics is essential to help you figure out what’s working on your site and what isn’t. It’s also free, so there’s no reason why you can’t get this up and running in a few minutes. Once it’s installed, you can get all sorts of information on visitors, your popular pages, and keywords.
If you end up creating a forum on your site, Discourse is the way to go. We moved all the LR forums over there and it’s awesome; easy to use and visually appealing. While most people won’t end up having a forum section or membership site, we still wanted to include it here.
Membership sites can get complex, but with a tool like MemberPress, it’s about as easy as you can get. This is a WordPress plugin that turns any website into a membership site. It’s got a ton of features but is also really lightweight and doesn’t bog your site down. It’s what we use here at LR.
Hosting calls and webinars is a pretty common occurrence now. And the tool we use to host all our webinars is GoToWebinar. It’s easy to use and automatically records both audio and video on all our webinars. Once the recording is saved, you can easily share it with others via a link or through a download.
- Learn how to set up your website here.
- Get your site in order with this checklist.
- Email marketing tips from ConvertKit’s COO
Best Online Storage Tools
You probably don’t need to know how important it is to keep things saved in the cloud. Dropbox is our top tool for that. It lets you save images, videos, docs, and more in the cloud for easy access. It also has a really simple to use share feature, which makes it really easy for teams.
Amazon Web Services
If you end up using a lot of audio, video, or images on your site, you might want a more robust way to store them in the cloud. Amazon Web Services is a great tool for storing those heavy-duty files that can lag down the load time on conventional sites like Google Drive.
Are you someone who goes through life with a million tabs open at any given moment? Pocket might just be the perfect tool for you. You can use it to save websites into a personalized directory in the cloud. Use the tagging function to sort what you save by project or client.
Best Productivity Tools
That’s the main team productivity tool we use here at LR. Even the free version has pretty much everything you’re going to need to get started. As you’re building a business and working with clients, you’re going to need a system that keeps everything on track in one spot. Asana can help do it.
For a basic to-do list, look no further than Lanes. This is a simple Chrome extension. So when you open a new tab, your list is right there for you to see. It also has a built-in Pomodoro timer so you can use that to work on your productivity time too.
Trying to manage a bunch of clients from your inbox can be a hassle. But having a tool to make it more organized, and you more productive, can make wonders. Streak is just the tool for that. It works in conjunction with your email account and helps you manage and track current and potential clients in one spot.
Notion is a relatively new tool but it’s emerging with a huge fan base as a direct competitor to Evernote. You can really use it as an all-in-one tool that can help you with note-taking, project management, and even as a client tracking tool too.
BuzzSumo is an awesome tool that you can use to see the most popular posts and articles on any given topic by the number of times it’s been shared online. This is a great way to generate ideas for your own site and find key influencers you can try to connect with to share your stuff too.
- Learn more about Streak.
- Read how to create a new habit.
- Here’s a huge list of more productivity tools you can check out.
Best Writing Tools
If there’s one tool you will end up using every single day to help improve your writing, it’s Grammarly. It’s got both free and paid versions you can use, but you can get quite a bit of help with the free version. Get the Chrome extension and it will help you with your spelling and grammar on everything you write.
No matter how complicated the topic, you want to try to keep things simple. Many of the most successful writers focus on writing for an 8th or 9th grade (or below) reading level. A tool like the Hemingway App helps you figure out where you can simplify your writing process.
If you’re a freelance writer, you’ll notice that some clients will want you to write in the AP style. While you can go the AP’s website and try to read through the rules one by one, a better bet is to invest in the AP StyleGuard tool. It works with Word and scans what you write to ensure you are hitting the correct style.
Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer
Without a good headline, it’s hard to get people interested in your post, no matter how good it is. So working on improving your headlines is a skill you need to master. The Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer is a cool tool that helps grade your headlines to see if they are working.
A lot of people work on creating a daily writing practice. Draft is a great tool to help you do that. It’s a super simple interface that works a lot like GDocs. But it keeps track of all the words you write and will send you a daily email reminding you to get on track with your writing goals.
- Learn how to become a writer.
- Read more on writing good headlines.
- Here are more writing tools you can check out.
Best Money Management Tools
QuickBooks Self Employed
Once you start making some money from your business, you want to find a way to track and manage it. For soloprenuers, you can’t beat QuickBooks Self Employed. Hook up your bank account and credit cards and it helps track your income and expenses. Plus it directly connects with Turbo Tax to make that part easy too.
PayPay is pretty much the industry standard for getting paid and sending money today. If you’re a freelancer, one of your first stops should be to set up a PayPal Business Account. From there, you can use it to get paid by clients, create invoices, and generate payment buttons on your website.
Another really popular payment tool is Stripe. This is great for freelancers who want to be able to collect payments via credit card. Stripe is also useful for people who run eCommerce shops or if you want to collect payments in person, you can get signatures right on your phone or tablet.
It’s time to get paid, yay! While there are plenty of ways to generate invoices; via PayPal or creating a GDoc template, you can also use a tool like Invoice Generator. It’s super simple to enter your information. Once the invoice is ready you can download it or create a link to send it to your client.
Once you start working for yourself, you’re in charge of keeping all your receipts and information organized come tax season. An app like Shoeboxed makes it really easy. All you have to do is use your phone to take a photo of the receipt and it will get automatically tagged and sorted so you can use it later.
Once you start getting some income from freelancing, you’ll hit another milestone, paying taxes on them. While that might not be quite as fun, there’s an easy way to save money out of your bank account every week that you can use to help pay those taxes. That tool is Digit.
- Learn how to create a budget.
- How to manage your finances as a freelancer.
- How to set your freelancing rates.
Best Social Media Tools
A lot of people rely on social media automation to share Tweets and Facebook posts on a consistent basis. After all, you can’t be online all the time, right? Buffer is hands down pretty much the best tool out there for easily scheduling and sending social media updates.
If you want to get a bit more advanced with your social media automations, turn no further than Zapier. You can use it’s ‘zaps’ to trigger movies. For example, if you post something on Instagram, Zapier can also make sure it gets posted on Twitter too.
Imagery is a big part of social media, especially if you want to get good at it. Use a tool like Canva to create your own images for both your social sites and your website too. It’s free for the basic plan and has tons of templates full of attractive designs that make it really easy to start.
Once you get your website up and running, you’re going to need a place to find images. Pixabay is where you should start. They have a massive directory of images that are free for use and don’t require attribution. Chances are, you’ll be able to find what you’re looking for here.
If you’re big into Twitter, you know that the standard Twitter app doesn’t do much beyond the basics. So you can upgrade to a tool like TweetDeck. Use it to manage multiple accounts and track a variety of streams and lists all in one place so you always know what’s going on.
HootSuite is my instagram tool of choice for scheduling posts. If you have a business account you can schedule your posts ahead of time, which is a truly killer feature if you’re busy and aren’t able to devote time every single day to your Insta posts.
- How to create graphics for your social media and blog.
- The stats you should pay attention to on social.
Best Travel Tools
When you spend a lot of time working from cafes or on the road traveling, you want to make sure your information is protected. One of the best ways to do that is to use a VPN, which allows you to securely connect to a network remotely. Here at LR HQ Express VPN is our top pick.
TripIt is the app to use to keep track of all your trips. That especially comes in handy if you’re on a long adventure or making a lot of stops. Rather than trying to find all those confirmations in your email, TripIt has it all right at your fingertips with a few taps.
Use a tool like LastPass to keep track of all your passwords. It can come in really handy if you’re away from your computer and need to access your stuff or if you have a lot of different passwords for your sites that are impossible to remember. It’s just another added level of security.
When you’re traveling, it’s critical to have headphones to cancel out noise. That matters for both for blocking out noisy spaces like planes, trains, and cafes and when you just want to listen to some good tunes. The Bose QC35 ii Headphones are the best out there for comfort and noise canceling.
Portable Hard Drive
It’s important to have a way to back up your data; that includes photos and videos too. While the cloud is a great choice, sometimes you’ll need something more heavy duty. That’s where a portable hard drive like the Seagate Portable 4TB comes in. If you’re taking lots of photos and videos while traveling, it’s critical you have one of these. For under $100, this is a great high capacity portable drive.
Best Hardware for Digital Nomads
Tools and apps are great, but what about the pieces of hardware that actually allow me to do what it is I do.
If you want an all-in-one computer that can do the heavy lifting of photo and video editing, plus something that’s still portable enough to take anywhere, you can’t go wrong with the Macbook Pro. If you’re only worried about basic stuff like blogging, it’s fine to go with the smaller screen size but once you throw in photos and videos a little more screen real estate is nice to have.
While it may not have the bass or super hi-fidelity audio of other brands, Bose QC35 ii Noise Canceling Head Phones headphones do one thing extraordinarily well: cancel out noise. That’s really important both for traveling and if you spend a lot of time working in cafes and don’t want to get distracted.
Camera for Stills
With technology advancing in smaller cameras, you’re seeing fewer and fewer people lugging around legitimate DSLRs these days. That said, I always travel with my Nikon D7100. Any time I haven’t taken it, I regret it. The primary reason for using it is for golf course photography, but it’s great to have when you stumble upon a killer sunset as well.
Camera for Video
The Canon G7x is one of the most expensive point and shoot cameras on the market, but the larger sensor, excellent video quality, and great portability made it a no brainer for anyone who really wants to get serious with video. You can check out the results on your YouTube channel.
Pretty much any point and shoot or DSLR cameras have awful built-in sound. So having an easy way to record an external soundtrack was crucial. The Zoom H4n is one of the most widely used external recorders out there. It’s not the smallest recorder available, but if you have a bag full of camera gear, it isn’t too big of a deal to have this in there.
There are lots of options for external mics that you could use with your Zoom (if you go that route), but in terms of bang for your buck, the Audio Technica: AT-875 is an excellent choice. It’s small, lightweight, and works great with the zoom.
- Blog vs Vlog: Where Should You Create Content in 2019?
- YouTube Video Ideas: 31 Ideas for Your Next Vlog or Blog Post
- How to Vlog (Even If Your Life Isn’t that Interesting)
We’ll keep updating this page with new and better tools when we come across them, but for now, this is everything you need (and probably a bit more) to get started.
Creating Your Own Resources Page
This page has a ton of potential to help you generate a little extra cash on your own site.
See what I mean in this video:
Affiliate Disclosure: Some of the links on this page are affiliate links. Meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase. If you have any questions about this, feel free to contact me!