150+ Best Tools, Apps & Gear
Over the past decade, I've spent an insane number of hours and days researching the best tools and gear for my business!I can't tell you how many hours and days I've spent researching the kit. It's a good job it's something I love doing!
I thought it was time to share all of these with you! Here is a list of the tools,
Here is a list of the tools, apps and gear which I use on a daily basis to help with running Seriously Social!
You can do so much within the web browser these days, but you can't beat a dedicated desktop app for certain tasks. Here are some of the main desktop apps I use.
Adobe Creative Cloud (Windows and Mac)
I use Photoshop, Audition (for podcast editing), Dreamweaver (for some code editing and FTP) & Acrobat (for creating and editing PDFs.
Ninite (keeps most of your apps up to date)
f.lux (give your eyes a rest and sleep better with this nighttime filter)
Parallels Desktop (for running Windows on my Mac)
Spinrite (Currently PC only) Disk Maintenance
Hemingway Editor - An amazing writing tool with a spelling/grammar checker and help to make your content easier to read.
Social Media Management Tools
Social Media Management Tools try and help you with all aspects of managing social media accounts - not just publishing/scheduling, but help with engagement, reporting and analytics. They are kind of the "One Tool to Rule Them All".
But no social media management tool is perfect, and you may need to supplement it with a few other tools tool
The social media management tool I've used for years is Agorapulse. It integrates with Facebook (pages and groups), Twitter, Instagram, LinkedIn and YouTube and helps with publishing, social engagement (via the social inbox for comments, messages and mentions), reporting, listening and community management.
There are a few alternatives I'd recommend if Agorapulse isn't for you. For example, SproutSocial, Sendible and SmarterQueue.
As well as Agorapulse, I also use Tailwind. This is a powerful social media management tool for Pinterest and Instagram. I use Agorapulse for all other platforms and use Tailwind for Pinterest. Tailwind is amazing at curating content, amplification (through Tailwind Tribes) and for posting/scheduling content together with the powerful SmartLoop feature.
Twitter Management Tools
And from time to time, I still use TweetDeck for managing Twitter lists. Agorapulse doesn't yet integrate with Twitter Lists and ManageFlitter doesn't offer this feature anymore.
Publishing & scheduling
Although social media management tools should have a very robust publishing platform, I prefer to use separate apps in my system for publishing and scheduling.
- Social Champ
- Tailwind - For scheduling and managing Instagram and Pinterest accounts
- Later - For scheduling to Instagram (and other social media accounts)
Brain.fm (I'm not usually into listening to music while I work as I find it too distracting, but brain.fm really works for me. You can choose different soundtracks for relaxed and focussed work)
SimplyNoise - If I am working in a noisy coffee shop, then white or brown noise is great at blocking out all the noise and not as distracting as music.
RescueTime - tracks your productivity on your computer, browser and smartphone. Gives you a weekly report.
SaneBox - Helps make you really productive in GMail by moving the less important email to a SaneLater folder, leaving only important email in your inbox. You will get a daily digest of your SaneLater email sent to your inbox. These can also be sent to your VA for management. There are other automatic folders such as ones for mailing lists and reminders.
Nimble - A social customer relationship management tool. Integrates with Gmail, G Suite, Office 365 and more.
I'm now mainly an iPhone user, but I still love Android. As well as my iPhone 7 Plus, I still use my Google Nexus 6P.
Most of these apps are available for iOS and Android.
Standard Social Networking Apps: Twitter, Facebook (inc Groups, Messenger, Page Manager, Adverts), Google+, Instagram, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Snapchat
Social Management: Buffer & Agorapulse
Questions & Answers: Quora
Listening: Pocket Casts, Audible, BlinkList
Reading: Feedly, Amazon Kindle, BlinkList
Note Taking: Cogi, Google Keep
Security: LastPass, Google Authenticator, Private Internet Access VPN
Project Management: Asana, Trello & Harvest time tracking software
Phone & Voicemail: MightyText & HulloMail
Chat: Zoom, Skype, Appear.in, Slack
Synching & Back up: Dropbox, Google Drive
Productivity: ClearFocus, SimplyNoise
Cool Stuff: IFTTT, Tasker, Trigger
Life: Sleep Cycle, HabitBull, RunKeeper, Twilight
Reporting & Analytics
How do you optimise your content or give some feedback or reports on how successful you've been with your social media and content marketing? I use these tools to help me with that!
- Native social analytics: Twitter, Facebook Insights & Pinterest Analytics
Alerts & Monitoring
Attracting new leads, helping with managing my list and sending newsletters out, creating surveys, free videos and lead generation tools are all important in my marketing process. I use the following tools as part of this:
To help manage projects for our clients or with the booking process or with a mastermind group I am in I use the following tools.
Content Research & Amplification
The world of social media, marketing and technology is very fast moving and it's very difficult to keep up. Using tools to help to find and contain the latest articles is so useful. I also use tools to help with my blogging process, taking notes, doing research and to help with amplification of my blog posts.
SEO & Analytics
How often do you check your website's analytics? Google Analytics is an amazingly powerful tool. However, there are other tools that can help you get the most out of understanding your analytics as well as with SEO. These are the tools I use.
Images and design have always been important, but with visual networks such as Pinterest and Instagram becoming ever more popular, good design is vital.
There's a great list of free stock image sites here by Bryan Innes.
Security & Passwords
Using strong passwords as well as managing them effectively and storing them securely is vital. I also use a Virtual Private Network service if I ever find myself having to use a public WiFi hotspot- so that my connection and data is secure.
- VPN: Private Internet Access
- Password Management: LastPass
Where would we be without browser extensions. The following are for Google Chrome, but most are also available for Firefox.
- Awesome Screenshot - The best screenshot extension I've found. You can take a screenshot of the visible browser screen or the entire page. You can also take a shot of a selectable area and take a delayed screenshot. Once taken, you can add text, arrows and other callouts.
- Grammarly - state of the art spelling and grammar checker.
- Video Speed Controller (although you can speed up YouTube videos, you can't normally speed up videos on Wistia, Vimeo and other videos. This extension allows you to speed up any HTML5 video so that you can get through more content)
- Page Ruler - measure the dimension of certain elements on web pages.
- ColorPick Eyedropper - get the hex code of colours on the screen.
- What Font - like a font on a web page? This extension shows you which font was used on elements on a web page.
- uBlock Origin - I'm a great believer in supporting content providers. Unfortunately, ads can get out of hand, and I've seen some malicious ads try and infect my machine. uBlock Origin is an Ad Block on steroids and can speed up your browsing significantly.
- The Great Suspender - I love the Chrome browser, but it can get very slow, especially if you have a lot of tabs open. This extension suspends tabs after a period of time. You can reload tabs easily and even add certain websites to a whitelist so they never get suspended.
- Web App Extensions: Buzzsumo, MightyText, Buffer, Edgar & LastPass
- TubeBuddy (for YouTube)
- Ecamm Live (Mac Only, from $12/mth)
My top pick for Mac users
- Streamyard (Browser-based, free & from $25/mth)
My top pick web app. This runs in your browser and so works for both Mac and PC users. Really easy to use and integrates with Facebook, YouTube, Periscope and more. (web app, free and from $25/mth)
- SwitcherStudio (iPhones & iPads only from $29/mth)
Use your iPhones and iPads to create a mobile video studio. Really powerful yet easy to use solution.
- OBS Studio (Macs, PCs, Linux - Free)
This is what I cover in this article. My top pick for a free app that works for both PCs and Macs. A bit difficult to use, but extremely powerful and flexible.
- Wirecast (Macs & PCs, from $249)
Taking things to the next level - for Macs and PCs. More powerful but also more difficult to use. Gives you the ability to stream to more than one destination at the same time.
- BeLive (Browser-based, free & from $24/mth)
Podcasting & Video
I love video and I love podcasts. Whenever I am creating video, in a group chat or being a guest on a podcast, I use some of the following websites.
- Captivate FM - My go-to podcast host
- Vimeo Pro
- Skype, Appear.in & Google Hangouts
I run a small web agency, Select Performers, where we manage and host customers websites.
- FlyWheel WordPress hosting
- Cloud Server from Clook Internet (managed by Select Performers)
Website Speed & Security Optimization
WordPress Website Development & Management
- Beaver Builder
- Resizer (Displaying & testing your responsive website across desktops, tablets and smartphones)
Here are some of the main plugins I use on my site as well as many of my customer's websites.
I have used and would recommend the following themes:
- Beaver Builder Theme (my go-to theme)
- Beaver Builder Theme Builder (Customize your theme)
Backup & Cloud Storage
Hacks & Scripts
Although this is a list of my digital toolbox, I do have to include some physical items. We do live in the real world after all! Here is a list of my computers, smartphones, gadgets, coffee and other stuff.
MacBook Pro 15" (late 2018 edition)
Specs: 2.9GHz Quad Core i9 processor, 16Gb RAM memory, Radeon Pro 480 Graphics with 4GB VRAM, 1Tb Flash storage
I've been a happy PC and Windows users for over 20 years and never been a big Mac fan. But in 2016 I decided to buy a Mac for the first time for a number of reasons. Most people in my industry have Macs. Also, I needed to provide training and support to Mac users. Despite its high price, I've really happy with it. I still think Windows is a great operating system, but now I can use both on one computer!
I really like the computer, but I have had quite a few issues with it - the display has had to be replaced twice and the keyboard once. Thankfully Apple has replaced it with a 2018 model and I expect this to be much better!
iPhone 7 Plus (128Gb) with TOZO Case
Google Nexus 6P smartphone (128Gb) with Speck Candyshell grip case
I love having access to my Android phone as well as an iPhones. Both of their pros and cons. With my iPhone I tend to have access to my top apps first and it has a better battery life and camera. However, I love the power and flexibility of Android.
Panasonic LUMIX DMC-LX100 Camera
A lovely camera for high quality still images and video. The big downside for me is the lack of an HDMI output to use as a camera for live video.
Logictech C920 Webcam - An excellent, highly rated and good value for money webcam
Blue Yeti USB Microphone (a really nice quality mic for the money)
Razer BlackWidow Chroma Clicky Mechanical Keyboard (a wonderful keyboard to type on despite technically being a gaming keyboard)
Sennheiser HD 380 Pro Headphones, Panasonic earphones & splitter (I use the earphones when I'm on video, otherwise I use my headphones)
EasyAcc 20,000mAh USB battery pack (My phone has a decent battery, but I can charge multiple devices on the go with this)
Samsung M3 Portable External Hard Drive (1Tb) (because backing up is vital!)
ScotteVest RFID Travel Vest - Pockets for all your gadgets, very comfortable, RFID pocket for your passport and cards. Great for going through Airport security.
Field Notes (Expedition Edition) - Great little notebooks that are very durable (waterproof, flame-resistant and tear proof). Great for jotting down ideas on the move.
AeroPress - For a smooth coffee experience
Tools for 2019
As I mentioned above, I've just got the latest MacBook Pro and am investigating a range of Mac apps. I'll update this article in due course, but here are the apps I am currently enjoying. The ones in bold I am definitely going to continue to use.
- Keyboard Maestro
- WhiteNoise Free
- Giphy Capture
- Grammarly for Mac
- Hemingway Editor
- Tweetbot for Mac
- Memory Clean 2
- Ethernet Status
- Gemini 2
What's in your Toolbox?
What tools and gear could you not do without? I'd love to know! Share away in the comments below.
You'll notice that some of the links above have asterisks after them - these are affiliate links and generate a little income for the site. If you end up signing up for the service and paying it may result in a small proportion going towards the upkeep of this site. You shouldn’t notice any difference in the sign-up process. The editorial line is NEVER impacted by these links. I will only ever recommend a product or service if I think it is worth recommending! If a product or service does not have an affiliate scheme, then I will still include it in the same way.
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Look at your suggestions and their great, thanks! It just gets crazy with the amount of tools out there. Great stuff much appreciated!
My pleasure, Gareth. It does get crazy! And actually a lot has changed and I need to add some more to this article! Ian
I’m curious about your decision not to use Agorapulse for scheduling and posting content; could you touch on that a bit more? What don’t you like about how Agorapulse handles publishing?
We’re looking at switching to something more robust/paid from Hootsuite, and have kind of narrowed it down to Agorapulse or Sendible (need IG/FB/Twitter posting, scheduling, engagement, reporting).
Hi Maria, Great question! The thing is now I am using AgoraPulse for almost all my publishing. Since I published the article the publishing features within Agorapulse have improved drastically. You can now post, schedule, cycle and queue content across all your social channels. And all of this works really well across a team if you have one. I need to update this! Hope that helps.
SO helpful, thank you! I was thinking that platform looked pretty good, but it’s so hard to tell until you really dive in and start using things. Thanks for your feedback and this GIANT tools list!
This is a ton of useful stuff. I will definitely take this into consideration. Thanks for sharing!
My pleasure, Yurii. Glad you found it helpful. Were there any tools, in particular, you’d like to try?
Great collections of tools
Great list of tools! I’m currently trying out brain.fm as per your recommendation 🙂
I’m curious about your use of both Thrive Architect and Beaver Builder. Do you have them both installed on your website, and if so, do they stay in each other’s way and don’t cause issues to each other?
Glad you’re trying out Brain.FM. How are you getting on with it?
I used to use Thrive Architect but I’ve totally switched over to Beaver Builder. Even with the new version of Architect, I personally prefer Beaver Builder – particularly since it works so well with the Beaver Builder theme and theme builder. But I still do have Architect and Beaver Builder installed, since Architect powers a few of my older pages. They don’t cause issues, as long as I don’t try and edit a page that was created with
hi what does the star next to some of the tools mean? thanks
Hi Genevieve. Great question. There is an explanation at the bottom of the article. It’s to signify which links are affiliate links. If you click on those and end up buying, I get a small percentage back of the sale. As I say, I will only ever recommend a tool if I really like it – whether it has an affiliate scheme or not. Hope that makes sense. Ian
Wow, that was some impressive list! I heard about many of these tools for the very first time (and will try to incorporate some of them into my workflow – Grammarly seems like a cool addition, as well as Awesome Screenshot and TinyPNG). I was wondering, do you still accept new ideas? Perhaps you could investigate https://www.smartlook.com/ – it’s become my favourite heatmap and user recording tool. What do you think about it?
Thanks, Michael. Always looking for new ideas. I’ve used Hotjar, but not heard of Smart Look. I assume you have some connection with them. What do you like about it as a tool? Ian
Very grateful and useful list.Thanks Ian
Thanks, Ashok. It’s a big list, but one that has taken a lot of research over time!
thanks Ian , you did a really good job. This list is so well curated and that’s why very helpful. thanks.
I must admit I am slightly overwhelmed. I had no idea there were so many interesting tools to dig through. Thank you for your diligence. I was just looking for a key to stream live on facebook that I found on your site before and voila! Now back to my search
Hi, Sherry. I hope I didn’t overwhelm you too much. I not suggesting you use all 150 tools! Glad you have found my blog helpful. All the best in your live streaming! 🙂 Ian
Another useful list Ian! It’s a bit long, but it’s worth it!
Will share it immediately.
Thanks, Anja. Yes, it is a long list, but it is the result of years and years of research! Thanks for sharing!
The web is changing faster than ever, I’ll give you that! I quite enjoy the change, but it can be difficult to keep up with it.
Good stuff! Thanks for sharing!
No problem, Angelica. Were there any tools in particular you liked the look of?
I haven’t explored many of these yet. I will be doing so after being aware of your list.
Blimey, Ian! That’s one heck of a list, and very well split up. I thought my own list of 71 tools was enough, lol!
And good luck at Mike’s #SMMW16 in San Diego 🙂
Thanks, Jon. It is a big list- it’s a list that has been built over 5-10 years and is constantly growing and being refined! I’d love to see your list- do let me know where I can see it!
Looking forward to SMMW- not long now. Will you be there?
I won’t be at SMMW as I already spend every other month in Vancouver so more time away would seem greedy, lol. I’ll be at #NMEU, though and I think you’re speaking there, too.
As for my list of 71 tools we use every day, it’s an optin at http://www.marketingforowners.com/71/ (downloaded over 5000 times). I’ll send you a copy as it’s quite a pretty PDF (I have a clever designer).
On my site (http://www.marketingforowners.com/ – shameless plug, lol) under the ‘resources’ link in the menu, I have lists of my book, podcast, blog and weekend challenges. That should keep most people busy for a while 🙂
Thanks, Jon. Really looking forward to seeing you at NMEU in London. I love your tool guide- and beautifully designed. I need a clever designer like yours I think!
It sounds like you are quite a traveller. I’d love to visit Vancouver- looks such as beautiful place. Love your site, I’m going to spend more time looking around when I get back from SMMW.
Thanks Ian for the great list. Have got couple of useful tools and ideas that will help in my business like wp-types, ithemes security pro, tinypng and pexels. Keep it up and let us know your findings about the “currently investigating tool” as well.
Never heard of Brain.fm before, just checked it out and it seems pretty cool. I love Slack, which improves internal communication within our company a lot. The tool from my toolbox which I like and can’t imagine my work without it is https://brand24.net. I also work for the company, but it doesn’t mean it can’t be one of my favourites, right? 🙂 It does a pretty good job when it comes to alerts and real-time social monitoring, so I am always up-to-date with the mentions of all the keywords that are important to me.
Currently, I’m doodling with this web design software “TemplateToaster”. Best for building responsive themes and template from scratch without wasting time on coding. You may like to add on your list.
No wonder you switched off over Christmas – you needed that long just to write this list!
I have been meaning to do something similar, partly for my own benefit, and of course, for my readers too. I imagine it would be a cathartic experience just to name all your tools. Isn’t it amazing how many we accumulate? And for each one there is usually a new password, so we definitely a password management tool!!
I was reminded of the classic tradesman’s van with the sign on the back door saying, “No tools left in this van overnight.” Imagine having to load and unload all of these 150 tools in your van each day! So thankful for working online 🙂
It’s a great list formed over your many years experience, so thanks for sharing here.
Hi David. I did have a good break, but to be honest, I’ve had this list for quite a while- it just needed putting into different sections and finding the links! It has been quite cathartic, and I think doing a tool audit every so often is really important. It’s very easy to forget how many tools we end up using over the years- and sometimes you can find out you are paying out for some tools when you don’t really use them!
Hey Ian, this post is great. You introduced me to some of the greatest tools! I bookmarked it. You rock!
Thanks, Akshay. Glad you liked my post. Which posts did you like in particular? Ian