The resources below are tried and trusted tools SolFusion recommends for starting and running your online presence.*
Namecheap – Straight forward, easy and inexpensive domain registration. Purchase URLs here and then point them to your selected host.
Siteground is well known, reputable, economical, and 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.
Elegant Themes – Beautiful themes (including the very popular and user-friendly Divi). For a reasonable annual membership, you get access to every theme and premium plugin they offer.
ThemeForest – Theme Forest has a wide variety of WordPress themes ranging from approximately $30 – $60.
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 is approximately $60. Once the framework is purchased, additional themes are approximately $100 – $130.
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.
Constant Contact – A long standing contender in the email marketing arena. Pretty intuitive to use with many template options and they implemented “tags” in 2014, which allows for better list segmentation.
Convert Kit – Small Business integrated Sales & Marketing platform with flexible ways to break out and categorize your lists for targeted marketing efforts. If you need a higher level than Mailchimp or Constant Contact, Convert Kit is a very good option.
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.
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.
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.
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 (when you set up a free Adwords account).
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.
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.
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.
Zoom – One of the top video and web conferencing platforms. Get up to 40 minutes for free, or choose from paid plans based on your needs.
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.
*Please note that some of the links referenced are affiliate links, which means we receive a small commission if you purchase a service via the link. All links provided are recommended from experience using them, and due to their value in increasing marketing success and efficiency.