Tools I Recommend

Everyone benefits from a great set of tools. Here are the ones I like the most. Some of these are affiliate links – ie, if you end up buying from them, I will receive some compensation. Thanks for checking them out.

Website Hosting: BlueHost

  • or, the one I’m using now is HostPapa

Email Marketing: My various email newsletters wouldn’t look so good and my whole setup wouldn’t be so fantastic without Constant Contact and their incredible support system. Get a free 2-month trial, here. I’ve been able to build lists for my various projects over the years – The Eleven: my monthly email to friends and family – Albertideation newsletterall about email marketing and social media. Then, there’s Song a Day where I share my love of music. Finally, Farm My Yard is a project I’ve had going on for a few years to connect urban farmers with nearby homeowners who have yards to farm.  Sign up for one or more lists and see what you think. I’ve added my other email service provider links here.

If you want to take your email marketing to the next level you might give SharpSpring a try. 

I’ve been using Republic Wireless for my cell phone for years. I pay $20/mo. for unlimited everything.

Car Insurance. Metromile. I know it might seem strange to see this here – but I signed up for Metromile a while back and that has lowered my car insurance considerably. You pay a base rate and then for every mile. Thus, if you’re not driving a lot (which is the case for many people right now) your rates plummet. 

Scheduling: I’ve used vCita in the past as a scheduler. If you need help setting this up, let me know. There’s more to this platform than meets the eye and it’s a great way to offer various packages.

Webinars: For webinars I use Gotowebinar.  I’ve also heard good things about Zoom and I’ve used a couple of other platforms, but so far, GotoWebinar has them all beat.

WordPress plug-in for Social Sharing: Sumome

WordPress plugin for pop-up boxes to collect email addresses: Privy. This brings you the pop-up sign-up form for my sites.  It’s probably led to more email list sign-ups than all of my social media efforts combined.

I use Wisestamp to create a professional-looking signature on my outgoing emails. It makes things look like this

Wisestamp in Action - tools

I use Canva for editing images and creating memes, for instance. I’ll add more to this post as I recall what’s missing.  I hope this is useful to you – I really couldn’t do what I do without the aid of these (mostly free) tools.

I also love Fiverr to get images/designs created quickly. Here’s a code for $10 off your first order.

For business travel – AirBnB

If you have any questions about a tool that’s not on the list, feel free to run it by me – I may have tried it in the past.  If you’d like to work together, check out my new guide to getting started.

Save your ears and be styling at the same time – Hearrings!

Here are my 11 Life Tips – tools for living a happier/healthier life. Like how to get a great night’s sleep.

6.26.18 Tools I learned about at this year’s Digital Summit in Portland, Oregon

Single column emails only from now on

Postmaster tools in Gmail

Microsoft also has a version of this. – blacklist lookup

Fixed width emails – 375 pixels – look into this

Note to Chambers – I can offer your chamber training – virtually $ or in person $$ – a way to learn what well-designed emails look like + they have a really awesome sign-up process.

Tools for ubiquity – Litmus,, email on acid

Subject Line Matters a Lot! – the simpler the better – superlatives matter a lot

Always include Easter Eggs in an email.

Always say hello.

Keynote speaker mentioned: Countable page – Chelsea Handler mentioned it.  Emily’s List.

Viewing in a Browser is not a thing.  Social Links at the top -= not a thing, either.

MOZ – – to do category research if you’re using MOZ.  Hard to find this page on their site…

Tumblr seems to be a thing.  I didn’t realize that.

Google Lighthouse:

– for a tech review of your website

– key to have a robot.txt file on your site for this to work and for better searchability

Google Search Console – worth signing up with

Screaming Frog – a way to check your website

Siteliner – checks for duplicate content

URL Profiler – link checker –

GTMetrix – check page speed – – full test of the website.

Enjoy, and let me know if you have any questions.

Speak Up About Hearing Loss

From the Beloved Music and Art Festival - Teaching the next generation :)

From the Beloved Music and Art Festival – Teaching the next generation 🙂

Hearing Loss

Anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge fan of sound. I grew up in a musical household – one that featured many instruments and much music making. We’d often have people pass through offering house concerts – something I continue to promote and host as an adult. And, if we weren’t playing music ourselves my home had a huge record collection that I listened to as a young person, teenager, and then young adult. The music was mostly folk music but there was some Allman Brothers and blues in there, too. At 15 I started playing the guitar, continued listening to recorded music and eventually found my way to large-scale concerts featuring people like Bruce Springsteen, the Grateful Dead, and others.  These were some mighty large and LOUD shows and after the music ended my ears would continue to ring long into the night. At around this age, I first became aware of the issue of people losing their hearing.

This attraction to large-scale concerts, music festivals, and music, in general, eventually led me to Burning Man where the music is pretty much non-stop – comes from stationary “sound camps” and roams the playa (as the Black Rock Desert is known) via art cars pretty much 24-7.  I’ve been to Burning Man 12 times – and each time the “music” seems to get a little louder – sometimes to the point of shaking the ground even when it’s happening a mile away. Though the Burning Man organization has created some rules to limit the deafening levels of sound at the event, it still seems that the experience is marred by the abundance of loud music – usually playing over other loud music – repeat and stir.

Now I love attending Burning Man and other events. But when there is so little attempt to treat sound like a possibly harmful element, one has to wonder whether a safe environment is being created or thought about.  Knowing that hearing loss is a growing problem in the world that affects our quality of life, I do what I can to comment back to event organizers that I have a concern about the issue.

This is also an issue affecting folks who travel to more mainstream events such as professional sports. The other night I attended a Portland Trailblazers game with a friend and was surprised to see earplugs being sold for $1 a pair at stands outside of the main hall.  I didn’t have to wonder why this might be the case long because as the game began I listened as the DJ used the sound system to bludgeon both the audience and the teams playing with ultra-loud announcements and encouragement for us all to cheer.  This went on throughout the night and I wondered to myself what the effect of this might be on the players who play the game night after night. I suspect their game is also interrupted by the intensity of the sound system, but that’s just another bad side effect of music/commentary being turned up too high.

As much as I worry about my own hearing loss, I’ve been saddened over the years by relatives’ loss of hearing. You may struggle as I do with a relative who’s lost all or some of their hearing. Many people use hearing aids, but many don’t – and it’s challenging to figure out how to help. One way is to suggest that your friend or relative find an audiologist.  Here’s a website that can provide that information.

I hope I never lose my hearing and I’m taking more and more precautions with time to protect myself and those who I know from this and other environmental effects (leaf-blowers, car alarms, lawn-mowers) that exist in our modern world.  If you agree with me that sometimes the music/noise at an event is too loud, please feel free to speak up. Often DJs who are spinning their music have been doing it so long that they are a bit hard of hearing, too – and thus, don’t really have a sense of just how loud things are. I know that often this turns up as a way too loud bass thrumming sound. Please say something!

Things won’t change unless we stand up and speak out.  Thanks for caring enough to take a stand on hearing loss issues.

Here‘s a great, short PSA video about Hearing Loss. And, feel free to share this posting with friends and family – hopefully, it will lead someone to get the help they need.

Speak Up About Hearing Loss

Click here to find an audiologist

I wrote this blog post while participating in a campaign by on behalf and received payment for my participation. All opinions stated within are my own. Truley 🙂

August 2019 – Check out this cool new hearing protection! Hearrings (they also have styles for men).