Behind the Scenes at Jewels Branch: 25 Tech Tools

Behind the Music and How It’s Made

When my babies were babies I had a real addiction to Behind the Music on VH1. Give me a day of Gwen Stefani talking about heartbreak, song writing, and wanting to become a mom, and that’s where you’d find me. I loved to see all the work and effort and drama that goes into making music.

My babies themselves had an addiction to How It’s Made, a show that details the manufacturing process of things like motor boats, Fig Newmans, ice skates, and all kinds of other cool stuff. The technical details fascinated them and they would watch episode after episode and then recount all the details to their dad when he got home from work.

Turns out it’s not just my kids and I who like to know how things are made. You do, too! One of the questions I get asked most frequently is: “What tools are you using to run Jewels Branch?”

So, here’s a look behind the scenes at all the different tech pieces used to put together The PDF Workshop and the Jewels Branch Creative Community.

25 Tech Tools

Website:, WooThemes Canvas custom child theme designed and programmed by Jewels Branch

Hosting: Linode, VPS (virtual private server) administered by Jewels Branch

Media file storage and delivery:
Amazon S3 and Cloudfront

Video player: JW Player

Screen Cast Recorder/Editor: Screenflow

Membership Plugin: WooCommerce Groups and Wishlist

Store: WooCommerce/PayPal and WP eStore/PayPal

Course Management: WooThemes Sensei

Affiliate Program: WP Affiliate

Autoresponders and newsletter: MailChimp

Conference line: Instant Teleseminar

Content Creation: Adobe (affiliate link): InDesign, Photoshop, Illustrator, and Acrobat; Apple: Keynote, Pages

Microphone: Rode Podcaster

Data Transfer (FTP): Forklift

Computers: Apple MacBook Pro

Community: Facebook groups

There are many, many more tech tools you can use to put together online courses and membership sites:
from free to more expensive, and from more streamlined all-in-one services to piece-by-piece approaches. What you choose will depend on your budget, tech skill level, audience, Mac/PC preference, and much more.

Have more questions about the course creation process? Comment below.


  1. Kristi on at

    Thanks for sharing your tools! I love the transparency. It will help others in their course development 🙂

  2. april on at

    this is so helpful, christie – thank you! especially what you use for teleseminars (my next project). oh – and my kids used to enjoy “how it’s made” also. 🙂

  3. Nathalie on at

    Hi Christi, nice list of tools!!

  4. eyenie on at

    I am a total sucker for Behind the Music + Gwen Stefani…people’s creative processes and the tools and techniques they use to make their ideas a reality are fascinating! Thank you for sharing what works for you–I haven’t heard of a lot of these (maybe because I’m a techie rookie!), so this list is much appreciated! Thank you! 🙂

  5. Belinda Rose on at

    Christie thank you for sharing your toolbox with us! 🙂 I have not put together a course yet but I am planning on it in the future and it is the technical, how to’s that always intimidate me! I so appreciate it when those that understand the tech aspect are willing to share their knowledge to help those like me, move forward! Thank you! xo

  6. Leah Shapiro on at

    Thanks for sharing your fabulous collection of resources and tools. I haven’t heard of many of them. I’m going to check them out to use with the digital product I’m creating.

  7. Teresa on at

    How cool to see your toolbox and only know a handful of the tools in it! So much exploring I can do now! Thank you! Hugs and butterflies, ~Teresa~

  8. Claire Wade on at

    What a brilliant and generous post! Thank you so much for this list of great resources.

  9. Great post, and I share some many of these tools. : ) I use Canvas, Wishlist and more. This will be a big help to someone starting out or needing to boost their site.

  10. Great post Tracey, I feel so behind the times… I don’t know what half the items you posted even were. At least I know where to go when I need some web site help and support 😉
    I love your story (your “about” page on website ;).

  11. Jessica on at

    Christie, one of the (many!) reasons I look forward to your posts is because each one is such a wealth of information! Thank you so much for introduding me to some new tools and confirming the great things I’ve heard about others. Off to check them out now…..