The resources below are tried and trusted tools Interactive Savvy recommends for starting and running your online presence.
Please note that some of these links are affiliate links, which means Interactive Savvy receives a small commission if you purchase a service via the link. All links provided are recommended from experience and due to their value in increasing marketing success and efficiency – and many are free!
Dropbox – Save files to the cloud, access them from any device (phone, desktop, pad, etc). In a nutshell, DropBox just works! Accounts start at free and increase depending on space needed.
Freshbooks -Easily invoice clients and get paid. You can set up hourly rates, item/packages and recurring invoicing. Again, start for free with cost increments as your clients increase.
Asana – Asana is a cloud based project management system that is clean, user friendly, intuitive and makes it fun to collaborate and manage your projects. The free account offers all the functionality you need with the exception of “private folders.”
Boomerang (for Gmail) – If you use Gmail (including for business emails), this browser extension is awesome. Want to get reminded about an email in a couple days, or schedule an email for Wednesday at noon? You can do it with Boomerang! Oh yeah, did we mention it’s free?
Rapportive – A free tool that works in conjunction with gmail (to which you can feed other emails through to organize and minimize spam) populates your gmail screen with valuable information about the people emailing you – their title, location, twitter handle, last few tweets, as well as Facebook, Linkedin and other links.
LegalZoom – For DBAs, sole proprietorship and single person LLC creation, you can submit paperwork to your corporation commission yourself, or if you prefer business organization assistance, check out LegalZoom. They provide a wide range of legal and personal services at great prices.
Google Keyword Planner – Enter a few phrases and this tool kicks out a list of related phrases and terms that people are searching for online; complete with global and local search traffic as well as competition. They key here is decent search traffic with low competition. This tool is amazing for search engine strategy and often doubles as a business domain name generator. Oh, and it’s free.
Knowem – Have a likely URL nailed down? Good. Then it’s time to pick your social media handle. Visit knowem for a quick way to search on various handles to see if they are available across platforms. You want consistency and availability. Once you find one you like and is fitting, go to the desired social platforms to reserve yourself, or let Knowem do the work for you for a fee.
Skype – Skype was one of the original providers to blaze the path with online video conferencing. Get started with small group video (or non-video) and screen sharing calls for free.
Google Hangouts – Turn a Hangout into a live video call with up to 10 friends, or simply search for a contact to start a voice call from your computer. You can also stream your video conference to your YouTube page if you want to allow additional viewers to watch live.
Bluehost is well known, US based, reputable, economical, has a user friendly cPanel,and has the ability to grow with your business. They also have excellent customer service to boot.
WP Engine is robust, fully managed WordPress hosting. If you want to “set it and forget it” with peace of mind for security, backups, customer service and more, WPEngine gives you the white glove treatment.
Website / Blog
WordPress.org – The core software is built by hundreds of community volunteers, and when you’re ready for more there are thousands of plugins and themes available to transform your site into almost anything you can imagine. Over 60 million people and businesses have chosen WordPress to power their websites.
ThemeForest – Theme Forest has a wide variety of WordPress themes ranging from approximately $10 – $55.
WooThemes – WooThemes offers great WordPress templates for $70 per theme (standard package) as well as subscription packages should you need more than one template.
Genesis / StudioPress – A powerful framework for WordPress (Genesis) and beautiful themes (StudioPress) that offer responsive design and extensive flexibility (this site is built on Genesis). Initial purchase of Genesis and a theme runs around $80. Once the framework is purchased, additional themes are approximately $18.
WP101 Training Videos – High quality, easy to follow, brief videos that show you step by step how to perform a wide variety of tasks in WordPress from beginning to more advanced. Videos are continually updated for the most current WordPress version and techniques.
Mailchimp – A zero to minimal start up cost, easy user interface, great social media tie in and entertaining directions, compliments of Mailchimp, make this a great email program for many business. Especially those just starting to build their email lists.
Aweber – Reputable, trusted and good autoresponder functionality make it easy to build your email list and stay in touch with prospects.
Knowem – This tool allows you to search on possible social media handles and select one that makes sense for your business and is available across most/all social platforms. Use it for research alone and secure handles yourself, or use their paid service and they’ll reserve the handle for you.
Buffer – Pre-schedule tweets throughout the day and even let Buffer suggest tweets (quotes) you can use. Use alone, or in conjunction with HootSuite. Single account free with upgraded paid accounts for more than 1 twitter account.
HootSuite is Mashable.com’s current top pick for managing social media accounts from one dashboard. HootSuite is free for the first 5 social media accounts, then paid for $9.99 per month for 5 to 50 accounts.
TweetAdder – Add followers faster with TweetAdder. Select the settings you desire including auto-follow and auto-reply to new followers. Then sit back and let TweetAdder do the work for you.
IFTTT – “If That Then This.” Want photos taken with Instagram to automatically save to your DropBox account? Just set it up via IFTTT. There are many existing “rules” that others have set up which you can use, or you can create your own. It’s like having your own personal assistant and autodrive.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics should be one of the first things you install on a website. Analytics will tell you how many visitors you have, where they are coming from, how many pages they are viewing in a visit, how long they stay on the site, top keywords used to get to your site, and additional information that is critical to your online success.
Google Keyword Planner – This is a favorite. Type in a few phrases on your relevant topic and Google provides the top 100 search terms related to your original phrase(s). Sort by “Global Searches” and then glance through the competition bar to find keywords and phrases with good search numbers and low competition. This is a great tool for keyword / search engine marketing research!
Google Trends – Thinking about adding a product to your line up? Or a new service? Check out the trends on the topic to see if the trend is up, down or stable.
Google Correlate – Search on a term of interest and view the top 10+ terms being used in relation to the main term. Then click any of the listed terms to see how closely the main phrase correlates to the additional term. This can provide some interesting overlaps for marketing strategy planning.
Google Alerts – Set up alerts to monitor your company name, or research what’s showing up online on a particular key phrase.
PollDaddy – Brought to us by the same company behind WordPress.com, PollDaddy is a natural fit for WordPress. They offer free as well as paid plans depending on survey volume. Forbes, Microsoft and Lego are a few of PollDaddy’s customers.
SurveyGizmo – Provides more robust functionality and integration, which comes with a current minimum cost of $15 per month.
SurveyMonkey – Survey Monkey offers a limited free package starting at $17 per month.
Gravity Forms – A reputable form provider that integrates very well with WordPress. Currently starting at $39 for one site.
Elance – Tap into the world of freelancers by posting a project. Review work screenshots, approve time worked and pay all through Elance. Freelancers are motivated for positive ratings so work hard to complete work satisfactorily.
Fiverr – Need a simple image edited, video editing, book cover design, or similar project? For simple projects such as this, you can usually get it done quickly on Fiverr for $5 – $25.