Mark of Approval Web & Marketing

Resources & Tools

WordPress Page Builders

Elementor – This is my preferred page builder. Elementor has wide community support so there are a lot of addons including free ones so you can create various web design layouts. Furthermore, the pro version makes a very powerful templating system so you can create a consistent look with less duplicate designs. Not to mention there is a lot of third party layouts already waiting for you to leverage their fast start design packs among many business niches.

Beaver Builder – Beaver Builder was a big deal prior to 2017. I had used it religiously but it’s not something I use anymore with Elementor’s rapid growth and expansion. Beaver Builder has an edge in markets with hard core developers and it is still a solid page builder. They also have a very supportive help desk and a nice team of founders.

Divi – This page builder component (available as both a theme and plugin) is a favourite among the Virtual Assistant market because of its user experience and speed of drag n drop. However, it is not as easy to scale with. But Divi theme and or page builder is a budget friendly page builder for small websites that do not need a lot of customisations and are unlikely to change in terms of the core design.

WordPress Themes

Astra – this is currently my favourite theme because it’s flexible enough for non-coders, like my clients, to make changes to fonts and styles. It also works extremely well with page builders including the 3 mentioned above + makes for an excellent ecommerce theme.

Genesis – I used to love Genesis and it will always have a place in my heart. But honestly it takes more programming knowledge to manipulate and thus takes longer to customise.

OceanWP – I tried out this theme after hearing lots about it. It seems to have a similar approach to Astra in that it’s great and friendly with page builders.

GeneratePress – Yet another great theme that has built in support for page builders like Beaver Builder. I haven’t used it for a while but you can check it out in the WP repository.

Private Labels Right Content

If you are looking to create an online course who find inspiration for your content marketing, why not start with Private Label Rights content. You can license someone else’s words as your own.

Unfortunately, quality PLR isn’t always easy to find so I’m giving you my shortlist.

Content Sparks – Doesn’t have a membership but sells premier content packages individually. Not the cheapest but really well researched content with an almost academic flavour on marketing, sales and business.

Coach Glue – Great quality content skewed towards service based providers, consultants and coaches. They also offer a VIP for access to all you can download for a year.

Online Help / Virtual Assistance

Getting help online is important if you want your business to grow. While it’s fine to start out as a one man team in the beginning, you’ll soon become overwhelmed.

My suggestion is to hire a VA if not for a few hours a month. Here are some places you can go to find Virtual Assisants or other freelancers.

Karen Kannegiesser – Karen is a multi discplinary Virtual Assistant who works in both content marketing and small tech jobs like website updates. Karen really helped me boost my social media presence and post engagement during her 18 month contact!

Kat Birkett – Kat is the queen of organisation and has become an integral part of my community. She offers a great deal of services but particularly likes working on WordPress Maintenance tasks as well as thorough research and administrative tasks.

VA Networking – This network is owned by Tawnya Sutherland and is the largest one around. Tawnya is a good friend of mine and has helped both VAs and those running online businesses. You can post a job to her board here.

Andrea Schloeder Williams – Andrea was one of my first VAs and helped me get a clearer vision for my own business with her consultancy services. She is currently offering website tweaking services such as adding content. She tracks her time in exact minute increments which is really cool!

Marie Mason – Marie is not only my rock solid accountability partner but she is a terrific event planner. She helped me plan & host two virtual summits over the period of 3 years and brought in a lot of eager speakers who made the event a truly magical experience.

Software, Tools and SaaS Solutions

Every business will need to invest in tools at some stage. While most of these tools are going to a subscription based, SaaS models; they are well worth the ROI if you keep up to date with them.

Here are a few I recommend:

Canva – This is a free tool but I used the paid version. The paid version allows me to have branding boards and magically resize my images in additional to downloading transparent backgrounds.

I love Canva for its premade designs. This tool has revolutionised the way we create banners, logos, ebook covers and a lot of other graphical stuff. It has so many professional templates which you just need to tweak.

Stock Unlimited – If you are looking for affordable images, look no further than Stock Unlimited. Although most of these images are business by nature; they are sharp and eye catching.

Dropbox – A well known cloud based storage service for keeping your files safe, uploading huge files and sharing them via a generated link. Did you also know with Dropbox that you can request files using an upload form? How neat is that!

OneDrive – Microsoft Office comes in a nice package which also allows for cloud storage. The storage may not be as sophisticated as dropbox, but you get the Office Suite with it for under $15 a month.

GSuite – It’s true you can get a free “Google Drive” for storage, sharing and collaboration. And I absolutley love it. But for about $12 a month, you can also get unlimited cloud storage plus access to Google’s apps, including advanced Calendar options.

I use GSuite to connect my business email to GMail which is a really cool webmail system with fast searching and filtering of emails. I also like using Google Drive to share and authorise access to documents among my team.

Asana – I use the free version but there is an upgrade available. The free version is still quite powerful for a project management system. It’s also very simple compared to others like TeamWork and Basecamp and has an intuitive interface.

Active Campaign – I use AC as my preferred autoresponder. It has useful automation rules and doesn’t charge you multiple times per subscriber per list. It’s a great deal for both starting out when building your list as well as scaling it.

Note some of these items contain affiliate links. That means if you buy through my link, I get a commission. Hope that’s cool with you! 😉

Creative Online Tools

Sometimes we need a bit of inspiration. I have curated some great tools I have come across to help get the creative juices flowing.

Looka Domain Name Generator – There comes a point when many of my clients want to productise their knowledge onto a new website but coming up with a memorable domain name is half the battle. I was invited by the creator of this tool to check it out and it is very impressive. In fact one of my colleague used it to generate her new domain!

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