I highly recommend all the applications and platforms on this page. I use many of them now, and the rest I’ve used at some point. So I can vouch for them personally.
Recommending software is part of my business. Many of the images and links on this page (and website) are affiliate links, which means I earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you) when you click them to buy the linked software. Affiliate links in body text are italicized on this page and identified elsewhere that they appear on the site. You can always identify my affiliate links by hovering your cursor over them; they begin with lakeshorelocalseo.biz/recommends/.
Writing & Content Calendars
A content calendar is the heart of a mature blogging or content marketing system, and CoSchedule is one of the best. I use it to schedule, manage, and create all the posts and social media for this and my personal blog, and with the Marketing Calendar plan I can schedule and manage email blasts, newsletters, courses, webinars, and more. A plugin makes it all handily available right in WordPress.
Airtable is a project management app married to a spreadsheet, like a cross between Trello and Excel, except more fun to use. Scores of templates cover a wide range of personal, business, creative applications, and, best of all, a content calendar for planning and tracking your blog and social media. It comes with lots of templates, and it’s free.
Scrivener is a general writing app that’s now my writing environment of choice. Its versatility suits all my needs: blogging, essays, and fiction. I don’t need plugins, browser extensions, or additional apps to collect my notes, research, links, or anything else. Designed for professional writers, but versatile enough for anyone.
Mind-mapping tools are all the rage, and there’s lots of great ones out there. Problem is, they’re all way too complex for my simpler needs. What good are hundreds of outstanding templates if I don’t actually need any of them? Enter Scapple, a really simple (and affordable) alternative from the same folks who make Scrivener.
Search engine optimization tools tend to come in two varieties: 1) free tools (e.g. Google Trends) that are pretty useful but still rather limited, and 2) really powerful, sophisticated tools that are also really expensive. Rank Math is the perfect happy medium: a sophisticated tool that’s very affordable (there’s free and paid versions). I use it on this site for setting structured data, tracking keyword rankings, and a whole lot more.
The complex Google Analytics dashboard is great for deep dives but MonsterInsights displays the daily data you need right in your WordPress dashboard for easy access. Premium versions enable you to see all your analytics and SEO data in one place.
I use the Social Warfare plugin to create the social sharing icons on my blog posts. I like the available designs and power functionality that lets me customize how my posts are shared. Learn more about Social Warfare and other sharing plugins in my post “Supercharge Your Social Sharing.”
Hootsuite does more than schedule; you can also monitor other social media accounts, which is more than most similar app can do. Plugins both free and paid add a wide range of functionality. As a bonus, Hootsuite is a B Corp committed to socially responsible business practices.
If you promote your business heavily on Instagram, Tik Tok, or Pinterest, consider Planoly. Hootsuite and some other schedulers publish to Instagram, but Planoly lets you plan your grid visually, respond to comments, and engage with the Instagram community.
Create opt-in forms of all shapes and types with this one-stop lead gen platform. Targeting features let you control how they’re displayed, and analytics show how well they’re working for you. OptinMonster is created by the same folks as MonsterInsights. Connect OptinMonster with the email platforms below and you can do anything.
I use ConvertKit to send blog updates and newsletters to my own email list. I like its uncluttered, no-nonsense approach. I also like that ConvertKit is a conscious company dedicated to enabling creative people to make a living through their art. I’ll always support that. It’s just the right size for solopreneurs.
For Lonny Foster, artwork is art that works. A Lakeshore Local SEO partner specializing in WordPress website design, logo design, and business cards for local business owners once again getting out to press the flesh.
I switched to DreamHost because its user-friendly interface makes everything about my website easy to manage. The basic shared hosting is super cheap, but the pricier DreamPress hosting plan (which I use) provides greater security, faster site loading, and more, including a staging site for testing and making changes before going live with them.
An annual Thrive Themes membership gives you everything you need to create an attractive, conversion-oriented website. This site is built with it. Included plugins provide a wide range of functions — lead generation, testimonials, a countdown timer, a headline optimizer, and more — so you don’t need to buy those plugins from another vendor and risk potential conflicts.
My Local Business Coaching Partners
Business coach Lisa Cain specializes in helping local businesses with email marketing, Google Ads, and support through her Small But Mighty community for small business owners.
Gail and Cory Nott are Take Wing Coaching, offering a wide range of support especially for coaches, consultants, and purpose-driven businesses. They cover marketing and sales, networking, mindset, business strategy, and much more in their LIFT community — where Lakeshore Local SEO presents a local SEO mastermind on the second Wednesday of every month.