Recommendations

Sarah's Toolchest

*I'm an affiliate for all the products listed on this page, unless otherwise noted. I only recommend items I would buy and use myself. I'm terrible at selling things I wouldn't buy myself or that I consider overpriced -- and I don't see the point in joining an affiliate program for something I don't consider worth the expense.

This list will probably grow and change over time.  

*See my affiliate disclosure page for more information.

AWeber - Email marketing manager

I started with MailChimp, and while it’s come a long way since I started with it, I honestly found AWeber to be more intuitively-designed and user-friendly. It’s also one of the least expensive non-free options, and it integrates well with my Thrive plugins (Architect and Thrive Leads). I design most of my subscriber boxes with Thrive Leads and then integrate them easily with AWeber. 

Plus, AWeber has a smartphone app that I LOVE -- definitely one of the things I missed when I went back to (free) Mailchimp. I recently switched back to AWeber, so now I get to watch my list grow just by checking my phone!

AWeber has a free downloadable PDF guide that provides a run-down of what they can do for you.

How to Make Money with Amazon Affiliates - Affiliate Marketing ebook

Carolina King and Suzi Whitford put together an ebook to help Amazon affiliates make more money with the program, and since I find so much on Amazon (starting with books and moving to furniture and other items for my home office, etc.) to share on my blog and on social media, it made sense to fill the gaps in my knowledge that were making it harder for me to earn a decent income with the program.

So, I snatched this ebook up and started reading it. Of course, when I learned there was an affiliate program for the book, it was a no-brainer to sign up, because I was eager to promote this gem anyway.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing - Affiliate Marketing course

I've come close to buying this course by Michelle Schroeder-Gardner in the past, and when I finally did, I learned so much -- and enjoyed it so much -- I was annoyed at myself for waiting so long.

If you’re not sure where to start or where to go from where you are, this course is worth the investment. Michelle shares the same methods that help her generate around $50K per MONTH in affiliate income, and she shares them in a way that makes sense and isn’t overwhelming.

Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course Michelle Schroeder-Gardner

Pretty Links plugin

Pretty Links allows me to create more appealing web addresses for my affiliate links. So, instead of a long string of strange characters, I can have a link like http://www.hypothyroidwriter.com/aweber, and the Pretty Links plugin keeps track of where that pretty link actually leads to. It's brilliant, and I love it.

I can't use it for Amazon affiliate links (they forbid it), which is fine, since I'd have to create a new Pretty Link for every single thing on Amazon that I wanted to share. If I want to share an affiliate link for AWeber, though, there's just the one link I can easily swap for a Pretty Link.

PrettyLink also helps me keep track of my affiliate programs and products, which is a huge part of its appeal. Another is the fact that if the url for a particular product changes, I can simply go to my PrettyLink page (on my WordPress dashboard) and change the target url for that product. So, when someone clicks on its corresponding PrettyLink anywhere on my blog, it'll take them to the right page.  

Pretty Links

PlaceIt.net - Free Mockup Generator

PlaceIt.net is my favorite tool for creating shareable mockup images with my book covers (as paperbacks or as ebooks). They have subscriptions and image download packs, and you can also buy high-resolution images one at a time. 

I've been using it mainly to download free (low-res) images for sharing on social media and my blog, though I'm not against the idea of paying $8 once in a while -- for particular images -- to get high resolution (most likely for the blog).

PlaceIt.net will even let you create short videos with your book cover, t-shirt design, logo, or a screenshot of your website home page -- which you can then share on your blog or on social media. I've yet to do this, but I've been tempted! 

PlaceIt.net screenshot

Social Warfare plugin

This is by far my favorite plugin to optimize my blog posts for sharing. One of my favorite features is the area below each post’s editing window, where I can upload my images for Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter, along with customized descriptions for each one.

Social Warfare plugin

Vitamin Shoppe

This is where I buy my thyroid-support supplement. I signed up for their delivery service, which gives me a discount and free shipping and ensures that a fresh bottle arrives at my door every 90 days (each bottle holds 100 capsules).

The supplement I’d been taking earlier was helping, but it costs just under $100 for a one-month’s supply (which I was stretching to two by taking one packet a day instead of two). My new supplement from Vitamin Shoppe costs a little over $10 for a 100-day supply. Sold!

Plus, if I shop through the Swagbucks portal, I earn Swagbucks for every dollar I spend at Vitamin Shoppe (which I then usually turn into Amazon gift cards). Ebates also offers cash back for purchases made at Vitamin Shoppe. 

One Stop Savings! Check out all of Vitamin Shoppe's deals, coupons and more!

Vitamin Shoppe

Swagbucks

I earn most of my Swagbucks by using their search engine and occasionally shopping online through their savings portals -- when there's something I need or want to buy anyway. I don't bother with the surveys, because for the most part, I see them as a giant waste of time. But I do like to earn money back for things I'd buy anyway, and I love turning my Swagbucks into Amazon gift cards (book money!).

Ebates

Ebates is another favorite for earning money back on things I buy anyway. I usually like to check whether Swagbucks or Ebates will give me more money back for buying a particular item at a particular online store. If they both give the same amount, I'll usually go with Swagbucks, since Ebates won't pay out until you have at least $10 accumulated, whereas with Swagbucks, I redeem 300 Swagbucks for a $3 Amazon gift card. Ebates will send you a "big fat check," though, so if you prefer cash to gift cards, Ebates might be more your thing.

Tailwind - Scheduler for Pinterest & Instagram

I first heard about Tailwind from the Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing course, and I used the free version for a few days to play with it before I upgraded to the Pro package, which I love.

Honestly, this is the first social media scheduling app that hasn’t irritated or overwhelmed me. It’s also designed for those who love Instagram, but I’m sticking with my social media triad (Pinterest, Facebook & Twitter); it’s enough for me to keep track of. 

Once you join Tailwind, you can also join Tailwind Tribes -- which are like Pinterest groups but are housed on the Tailwind program rather than on Pinterest.

Tailwind logo

Bluehost - Web Hosting Platform

This is the only web-hosting company I've ever tried, since they hooked me with the sweetest deal I could find when I was looking to create a self-hosted blog. Plus, if you use the Ebates savings portal for Bluehost, you'll get $10 back on your purchase! If you click on my affiliate link and then accept Ebates' little banner invitation to earn cash back through them, click on it. I don't know what it does to the affiliate pathway, but ... get those $10 back, if you can! I would. 

Another bonus with Bluehost -- besides the low price -- is the fact that your domain name is free with your web hosting. Getting that set up with your web-hosting company makes sense, anyway, and if it costs you nothing extra, it's another win.

Bluehost logo
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