Which Apps do I recommend?
After completing over 300 website reviews for my clients I have seen what tools work best for running an online business.
the building blocks
These are the 4 most important areas for your digital business
Everything you need to manage your website.
Everything you need to convert leads to sales.
Everything you need to get more qualified traffic.
Apps to get more done in your day.
Yes WordPress is free and open source but thats not the reason I recommend it. With the largest developer community in the world, WordPress shines as the website publishing platform that can do it all. Whatever your mind can conceive their will be a plugin for that, which saves you time and money on costly developers.
Having a reliable website hosting company is one of the most important decisions you will make when starting an online business. WPX Hosting is what I use because they use lightning fast servers designed to work best with the next app on this list WordPress. They also have amazing support and nothing is ever too much trouble for them to fix even if it was your own fault your website blew up. Yes it happens and its good to know you have WPX on your side when it does.
Elementor is a page builder for WordPress that gives you the exact design tool to make WordPress look like a professionally designed website. You will find no ugly blog layouts on your website when using Elementor (free version here) and Pro version has unique features that allow you to build entire websites without using a dedicated theme. This makes your website faster and gives you full control over the entire layout of your website and not just what the theme designer allows you to edit.
As your website popularity grows, you may want a membership system to provide your fans with exclusive content. When that time comes Member Mouse should be high on your list to install. It gives you a lot of flexibility to create products and membership levels to protect any content you choose. It also integrates with PayPal, Stripe and other payment gateways.
This plugin comes to you from Automattic who are the people behind WordPress so you can be confident knowing that this is the app to use when selling products from a WordPress website. Best of all you can get all the core functions you need as part of the free version.
Talk to any leading digital marketer and they will rant on about how they wish they started email marketing from the beginning and the reason is simple it still works. Active Campaign is what I use and many other top marketers consider this to be the creme de la creme of email marketing because of its excellent A/B split testing tool for getting every bit of conversions out of each email you send. They also have a $9 per month “Lite” plan perfect for starting out.
I use SERanking primarily for its rank tracker to see how work I do on site correlates to getting higher rankings on Google. It has a number of other tools that could easily lead to you feeling you don't need the next tool on my list but it has to be added because its the leader when it comes to search performance.
SEO is still the king of qualified traffic strategies and Ahrefs is the best tool to give you the insights you need for creating a content marketing plan. It also has an overview of how your website is performing in search engines and what to do about it.
It also gives you an inside look at what your competitor's are doing and all those websites that are currently ranking higher in Google for a specific search.
If you are starting to do any form of Facebook advertising this is the tool for you to get the most results for every dollar you spend.
They have a 14 day trial to test it for yourself first and what it advises you to do with your Facebook ad campaigns. Great app whether you are new or experienced to Facebook Ads.
This is a toss up for me because yes you must absolutely install Google Analytics because of the amount of other apps that integrate with it but the app I use most is Clicky Analytics.
Its so easy to use compared to the complicated reports in GA and the ability to spy and see exact actions people do in real time is implemented way better too. They have a free version which you can use for up to 2,000 visits per month and their premium plan costs $70 per year.
Hotjar is free to use software for collecting feedback from your website visitors and conducting polls, surveys and screen recording sessions. All of this is designed to give you the website owner valuable data about your website design and what can be done to improve it.
Getting real user feedback is still the number one strategy for effective conversion rate optimization.
If getting real people's feedback is the best strategy for improving website conversion rate it makes sense to get as many people's opinions as possible. You can do this by asking questions from your current customers but using UserTesting you can see what brand new people who have never done business with you before think about your website.
You can specify any question you want the user to answer as they browse your website and you will get other valuable information as you listen and watch them using your website.
Google Optimize is a tool to replace a lot of those costly enterprise level A/B split testing tools. The only drawback is that its complicated to use and will require a learning curve before you can get the full value out of it. (Think multivariate testing)
With that being said, if you just start with the basics like A/B testing your homepage headline for conversions of your number 1 goal it is actually not that difficult to get started.
Once you do that and are familiar with the Google Optimize interface, you can then try your hand at multivariate testing.
Discover life changing ideas and concepts in under 15 minutes. Blinkist is a mobile and desktop app that summarizes key takeaways from some of the best selling nonfiction books.
Well worth the small investment to get some of the best minds of our time and the past into your head
Brain.fm is designed by actual neuroscientists to use music to stimulate your brain for focused productivity. It works and is backed by so much scientific research that its an absolute must to check out. Your first five sessions are free.
LastPass is a huge time saver and stress saver because this little app always remembers your password so you don't have to. Not only does it make your life easier but also a lot more secure as it can automatically generate Fort Knox level passwords for you, instead of using the same password across multiple websites.
This is a useful app you set and forget and it keeps a backup of all your files in case of the worst happening like your laptop being stolen (it has a laptop locator) or when spilling your morning coffee over your keyboard. If such a terrible day is in your future that Backblaze will have you up and running in no time on your next device.
The logo of Evernote is the trusty elephant who never forgets. This is the power of Evernote that as soon as you have a though you need to remember just fire up this app and record it for future. Then when you review them you can create a project or task using an app like Trello (see below) to track progress.
UPDATE: I am actually using Notion now instead of Evernote which has a better user interface.
Trello is a project and task management tool that is ideal for businesses in a growth phase and have multiple team members working on projects. It is also useful for solo entrepreneurs to quickly track progress and checklists too and is easy to use wherever you are with its companion mobile app.
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