As you’re trying to build your website and brand, you can save a lot of frustrating and money by finding the tools to do it right the first time. I’ve decided to cull a list of some of my own favorite tools — from social media to website hosting — to help you with this task. Below, you’ll find this list and the reasons why I enjoy every solution.
Disclaimer: While I recommend absolutely all of these services, some of these links are affiliate links. If you choose to use these companies because they provide the best value for your money, I will receive a small commission. This is no way colors my opinion. These companies stand on their own either way.
Domains and Website Hosting
1and1 offers such fantastic prices on Web hosting that it doesn’t matter if you’ve previously used another registrar. You can often find .NET and .COM domain names for less than $1 per year, which is amazing compared to the $14 annual fee most other domain registrars charge. 1and1 also offers website hosting and eCommerce tools if you want to keep everything with one company.
HostGator is among the better known website hosts around. HostGator offers shared, seller, VPS and dedicated server hosting, so there’s absolutely something for everyone. Plus, you can easily find discount codes and HostGator regularly has sales for up to 50% off the price of hosting and other services. You can get your domain name directly from the host, and customer service is among the best around. The company has even made efforts to go green over the past few years.
Bluehost is another Web host that you’d probably heard of, and I’m just as glad to recommend them to my readers. Uptime and customer service are excellent for the low price. Furthermore, even new website owners find Bluehost easy to navigate. With 1-click installation, you can have a forum or a blog up and running in just a matter of minutes. Bluehost also has plans specialized toward WordPress users if you plan to use the most popular blog and CMS solution in the world.
Media Template‘s site hosting also caters to WordPress users. You can add up to three WordPress installations to your account with their 1-click tools. Media Template also updates WordPress to ensure that you’ve got the tightest security available. I really like that Media Template has integrated the hosting control panel and WordPress dashboard into one control panel because newbies often experience frustration when trying to learn two new systems.
Hootsuite is the app you need once you get serious about social media. With this program, you can connect Twitter, Facebook and Google+ and schedule posts across all of your networks. Hootsuite makes a big impact while using less of your time. Hootsuite also provides analytics so you can see which content you’re posting gets the most response and post more of that!
Not everyone loves Hootsuite. That’s why I also use SproutSocial. This app also offers breakdown of engagement with social media followers and clicks on your links. However, SproutSocial also works with LinkedIn, which is important if you’re trying to network with other professionals. SproutSocial is perfect when your entire staff is using social media because you can view tasks and reach for every individual. When you have incoming messages, you can send them to the right people in your company, and this makes SproutSocial fantastic for companies who want to strengthen branding.
GroSocial doesn’t focus on engagement. Rather, this service helps you create the most appealing social media presence. It’s ideal if you run contests from Facebook or want an unforgettable cover photo for your Facebook page. GroSocial also helps you create visually appealing Twitter feeds, too. GroSocial does help you post content, and it even suggests content that your visitors might like to ensure that you’re not just promoting your own business on social media, which is key to keeping followers interested.
The right graphics set your website apart, which is why I recommend 99Designs. This website connects you with freelance graphic artists so you can find quality logos, website graphics, infographics and images to use in emails at unbeatable prices. The system encourages multiple entries from different designers, so you’ll have plenty of ideas to choose from. You might just find a designer that you want to hire for good!
Press, Marketing and More
If your company is in the habit of writing and disseminating press releases, then eReleases is going to save you a lot of time. This service spreads press releases to news sites and offers press release writing services, too. eReleases has four tiers so you can find the perfect fit between length of your press release, number of recipients and search engine optimization services. The top three tiers guarantee that your press releases will appear on at least 75 website with the PR Pro plan guaranteeing time on 100 news website. You’ll connect with real people and use your press releases to boost your website’s SEO.
InfusionSoft is a solution that small businesses can’t help but love because it makes everything more efficient. With the app, you can keep track of all your appointments, contacts, accounts and even website history. However, InfusionSoft does more than that. You can boost eCommerce sales with email marketing while InfusionSoft even helps you locate and close sales with the best leads. Finally, this program offers a way to create your eCommerce presence, process payments and create reports — and it’s all automated!