Domain & Hosting
Getting your website's domain and hosting right the first time is the important first step to launching a successful website. Here are some tools for small businesses that I recommend.
Bust A Name Domain Naming Tool
Coming up with the perfect domain name is hard. I've search high and low for tools that make it a little easier. This is one of them.
With this domain naming tool, you can enter words related to your business, industry, service, etc. The tool looks for any possible combinations of those words available for purchase as a domain name.
I recommend using the tool to come up with the name then getting it FREE with your hosting purchase through SiteGround (below).
Impossibility Domain Naming Tool
This unique domain name generating tool is fast and easy to use. I've used it for several projects and recommended it to others hundreds of times.
Choose to add nouns, adjectives, or verbs to the beginning or end of the word you enter on the page. The tool will show you all available combinations available for purchase.
Simple isn't it?
Don't forget to get 1 year of your domain free when you get hosting at SiteGround.
SiteGround Website Hosting
Website hosting is the foundation to your website. Making sure you have the right hosting partner will save you a lot of headache. I've had to deal with a bunch of web hosting companies in the last 7 years and most of them are an absolute nightmare!
SiteGround does two things really well. They provide a great hosting service and they have unbeatable customer support.
I've never waited more than 30 seconds to talk to someone at SiteGround on live chat. At other hosting companies I've waited up to an hour!
Logo, Graphics, Photos and More
Every website needs good graphics, photos, video, and of course... a good logo. Here are the tools I use just about everyday. You will grow to love these resources. They are a lifesaver!
Fiverr for Graphic Design & Logo Design
If you are on a tight budget and don't mind doing a little hand holding, Fiverr is the best choice for a cheap logo. Fiverr is a marketplace for finding all kinds of service providers.
The marketplace originally offered deals or "gigs" for 5 bucks. Providers on fiverr now have multiple options for selling their services.
This is one of those small business tools that just makes sense to have in your back pocket!
Freelancer Contests for Killer Results
Working with one graphic designer doesn't always end up the way you want. The design can take longer as they slowly hone in on the results you are looking for.
With Freelancer contests, you get design submissions from multiple designers at once. Posting a Freelancer contest is a little more expensive than Fiverr. Contests are great for logo design, print graphics, website graphics and more.
No matter where you are having your logo or graphics created, I recommend getting together some examples of things you like. This will make the process easier.
Affordable Stock Photos
Stock photo prices can easily throw any website over budget. That's why this recommendation gets 5 stars from me. Photodune is one of the Envato marketplaces. Photos range from $3-$15 and the quality is great.
You can add all your stock photos to your cart, checkout, then download them. Really easy.
As with any photos on your website, you are going to want to make sure you use your Pixlr image editor to size your photos down before uploading to the website. This makes your website load time better.
FREE Photos to Use Anywhere!
Here is where I go first when I am looking for photos for a website project. All the photos available on this site (except for the paid ones that show in the search results) are free for personal and commercial use.
The collection doesn't have many generic industry specific photos but have a look to see what you can find.
Don't you love small business tools that make getting things done more affordable? I know I do.
Pixlr Mobile & Desktop for Photo Editing
Look, the #1 thing you can do to your website to screw it up is have bad images. Plain and simple, images and video sell. If your photos look like something you downloaded from your mom's 3 mega-pixel camera, your doomed.
Pixlr has 2 great tools for photo editing and awesome-ization. Start with the paid desktop editor. It is only $14.99/year. They have a free mobile app for editing too.
Use Canva for Easy Graphic Making
Images and graphics say a lot about a company. This is why I recommend Canva. Canva is an online tool that allows you to easily [super easily] create all kinds of graphics. If you can dream it, you can design it.
Every graphic you see on this website was created with Canva! This is one of those tools you just can't live without.
Website Building Tools for DIY
Today, building a great website for under $500 is doable. I've spent 7-years finding the website building tools that work and struggling with the one's that didn't. Below is my list of top recommended tools for getting your website up and running as quickly, easily, and cheaply as possible.
SiteGround Hosting for Your Website
Even though I listed this resource above, I wanted to make sure to include it here as well.
Website hosting is the foundation of any website. You have to have it. The trick is finding the right web host as your solid foundation. I've had the unfortunate opportunity to work with dozens of hosting companies. They all fail my standard of excellence I expect... except for 1 - SiteGround.
SiteGrounds WordPress hosting is awesome and their customer support is rated the highest in the industry. You cannot go wrong with these guys.
WordPress CMS Website Platform
Like the house atop the foundation, WordPress is the website platform of choice. WordPress is a CMS, or Content Management System. This basically means it has the editing tools built into it.
Although WordPress is suppose to be pretty simple to use, It can be a bit overwhelming and challenging. This is why I recommend BeaverBuilder too.
The WordPress platform is secure, scalable, and used by almost 30% of all the websites online today. You can't go wrong.
BeaverBuilder Drag & Drop Editor for WordPress
There are 3 types of websites today. Easy but limited, great but difficult, expensive and hard. WordPress falls into the great but difficult option because it can be hard to use. I don't like things hard, I want them simple.
So... I found Beaver Builder. Basically it takes the Easy from "easy but limited" and combines it with the great. Easy great websites built with Beaver Builder give you total control of your website through a drag and drop interface. It's awesome!
If you've got a speck of creativity in your body, you're ready to go.
The Top Recommended Add-on for Beaver Builder
Beaver Builder is an amazing website building tool. Even the most amazing tools deserve add-ons though. Ultimate Beaver makes creating a website fun, easy, and really really quick.
Every website I build takes half the time thanks to the modules, sections and page templates of Ultimate Beaver.
Simply build each page using pre-created sections or pick an entire page template and add it to your website page. You'll be up and running in no time!
See How to Improve Your Website Easily
Let's face it, we all want to think our website is the bees knees. Well... you're probably way off. The only real way to see how well your website is performing is to track visitors.
For this, I introduce Lucky Orange. These guys focus on helping small business owners improve their websites. There are a lot of companies out there that do what Lucky Orange does...but not at their pricing. They will even beat the pricing of any competitor.
See live recordings, create polls, see form entry stats, have live chat and more. Highly recommend this if you are serious about having an awesome site.
Search Optimization (SEO)
So your WordPress website is built... now it's time to start focusing on traffic to the website. Search Engine Optimization can help with that. In as little words as possible, Search Engine Optimization is when you optimize your onsite content and offsite engagement and links to be more attractive to search engines. There are many aspects to SEO. Here are some tools to get you started in the right direction.
FREE Website Audit Tool
The first step to optimizing your website for search engines is to understand what you are not doing right. As mentioned, there are many factors that play an important role in how you rank on Google and other search engines. This free audit tool will shed a little light on what can be improved. You'll even get a checklist so you know exactly what to do.
What's great about this website audit tool is that you can do your scan of s specific page for a specific page you would like to rank for. So if I want my web design page to rank for web design services, enter the keyword and the link and get started. It's that simple.
FREE Local Listing Scanner
Did you know that one of the fastest ways to show up on the internet is to create your local directory listings? Places like Google, The Yellow Pages, Yelp, foursquare and others allow you to create free directory listings that drive instant traffic to your site.
This FREE local listing scanner will show you exactly where you can improve your local directory listings. Don't miss out on important (and free) website traffic.
Zoho Social for Easy Social Media Management
We all know we should be using social media for our businesses, but how do we find time to do it effectively? Zoho Social is a great solution.
Zoho Social makes it easy to schedule, respond, post, and keep tabs on your social activity. Other social media management tools are really expensive and somewhat complicated. Zoho Social sticks to the basics.
For just 10 bucks a month, you can't go wrong with this option. You'll be jumping on the social media bandwagon in no time!
Other Recommended Tools for Small Businesses
Over the years I have used a bunch of tools I've been impressed with. Here are some more that I use on a regular basis or recommend highly.
NEED HELP FROM A PROFESSIONAL?
I've designed and built over 700 websites for business owners and entrepreneurs around the world. This website ranks for almost 1000 keywords on the 1st page of Google. I've spoken at universities, WordPress events, and Google I/O.
Tell me about your business or project and I'll show you how to make things happen.
How to: Comment & collaborate in a Google Doc
Google Documents makes it really easy to collaborate in real-time. We use Google Docs for clients and web consultants to easily talk about website copywriting.
After you make a comment in a Google Doc, the collaborator is notified immediately.
The collaboration can go back and forth as much as needed. Once the conversation is done, anyone participating in the commenting can mark it as resolved.