I’ve rounded up all my favourite tools of the trade for keeping my clients and my own marketing and businesses on track.
Before you get into the tools and resources I’ve found to be helpful, please note this important disclosure:
Some – but not all – of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you sign up or click ‘buy’ on them, I may earn a commission (at no additional cost to you).
My relationship with YOU is more important to me than the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something, which is why I’m truly only sharing the tools and resources that I’ve actually found to be helpful and useful (and have actually used prior to promoting).
You don’t need every tool at every stage of your business. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you are looking to solve a problem they will help you with or they will help you to achieve your current goals.
Build Your Website
I always recommend building your website as a self-hosted WordPress site. The WordPress system itself is free (although you will have other costs) and there is a huge global community of people who can help you through forums or by hiring a professional.
The biggest benefit to using WordPress is that it is a Content Management System (CMS) which means it has been designed to help website owners add and keep the content on their website up-to-date without having to learn to code.
There are a few different levels to setting up a new WordPress website, and while you might choose to hire the process out if you’re not techie I strongly recommend that all business owners understand at least the basics of how their website is set up.
I use a house analogy for explaining the roles of each of the different systems and tools I recommend.
See below for my recommendations on getting set up with WordPress.
Your home address so that people can come for a visit.
To get started with building a website, you first need an address to send people to. I recommend using domain.com because the website is simple to use, however you’re really not going to go wrong with any domain registrar.
Whenever possible, go with the .com version of your domain. You can usually get a great deal on a new registration, but make sure you keep an eye on the annual renewal price so you know what the real cost of running your website will be long-term.
The land you’re building your house on.
I used a slightly ‘cheaper’ web host for years, but the extra benefits that came with switching to SiteGround more than paid for themselves with me. Using a managed host helps to lighten some of the load when it comes to keeping your site updated (and secure). As a newbie, the one-click WordPress install is incredibly useful and means you do not have to dig into web code to get started.
Personally, I use the GoGeek level plan to handle web traffic and to use the staging options for making changes to my website as well as my client’s in private. However, if that option is not currently in your budget, I still recommend starting with SiteGround and moving up through the plans as you need the higher-level features.
The foundation and blueprint for your home.
The absolute easiest way to DIY your website is to choose a theme (blueprint) that you would be happy with as is. I’ve included my favourite theme resource below.
I’ve worked with free and premium themes from a range of developers for years and while some have been great, others have been lacklustre and were not maintained by the development studio. The internet itself is always changing, so buying from a trusted source who will stay on top of those changes is worth a little extra to me.
That’s why I switched to the Genesis Theme Framework. How it works is that you buy the framework (the foundations for your house) plus a theme (the blueprint to your house structure). If there is any problem with the foundation, it can be fixed without any major disruptions to the blueprint or design.