Over the years I have found some amazing tools that can save you dozens of hours per week, give you full control over your online presence, automate key marketing activities, and save you thousands of dollars on pricey freelancers.
My commitment to you is that I will always try a program prior to recommending it. I continually explore what’s needed to market a business online. I experiment with what works and what doesn’t and then report back to you what you need to create a profitable business you absolutely love.
Technically if you’re looking for a quick website and an online store, you can skip the hosting with Square. Square gives you a free website with your account and allows you to integrate all of your products into an online store. You don’t have to have a domain name of your own to set up a square online store, but I recommend you do. For all of my local fundraising efforts, I have found that using Square alone is really simple and efficient. Square is free to set up an account and start adding products, the only time they charge is if you add additional services, or swipe a credit card. Be sure to use my link, and we both get free processing!
Step 1. Hosting & Domain Name
Godaddy Website Hosting & Domain Names
We use GoDaddy for all of our domain names and combined website hosting. We DO NOT use GoDaddy’s website builder (it works great for one of the organizations I work with, I just haven’t used it personally)
Once the account is set up for hosting and a domain name has been purchased, I install the WordPress application onto my website so that I am able to create my site with a built-in news platform. (Go Daddy’s 24/7 customer service is great about assisting with installation of wordpress and helping you get set up with your domain name, hosting, and whatever application you choose to use. I have literally been on the phone with them at midnight when my kids were finally asleep getting websites set up!)
Step 2. WordPress Themes
Once you become familiar with designing your website using WordPress, you may find that the free templates inside of the application do not fit your business needs.
BluChic WordPress Themes
BluChic is a premium feminine WordPress and brand design company. I am currently using their Maggie Theme. BluChic has provided the best installation instructions for me to-date. They also have an excellent customer service response time.
Restored 316 Designs is another creative agency that designs Feminine WordPress Themes. I don’t currently have one of their themes installed, but I have happily used their themes in the past. If I ever had to build a website that was for a female photographer – this is the company I would use for a design template.
Envato Market – Theme Forest WordPress Templates
I use Theme Forest for many of the websites that I put together. You just want to be conscious of your purchase inside Theme Forest that you are purchasing a WordPress Theme, not a page template. (I have made this mistake before) All of the theme templates usually come with great instructions that allow for an easy setup process.
I currently use two social media platforms to market my business online: Instagram & Facebook. As time changes, my platforms could change as well, but I always try to plan my entire month of social media marketing in 1 day. I plan my posts using an excel spreadsheet and a couple apps.
I use canva for a lot of graphics on the computer, but I also use the app on my phone to create quick square graphics for Facebook and Instagram. The great part about this program is the graphics are sized to fit the platform you are posting to. Wether this be an Instagram post or even a Facebook cover photo.
Canva also has great Twitter graphics layouts – if your a tweeter!
I use the Preview App to plan the layout of my instagram page and schedule my posts. Although Instagram does not currently allow third party apps to schedule posts, this app does send a reminder to my phone at the scheduled time so I can go in and create the post by simply copy and paste.
We use square for our coffee shop as point of sale system, but the cool thing is I can transfer the products that I have set up in the system to go into a free online store, which we use for online ordering as well! We also use square for our employee time cards and so much more. To have the simplicity of adding products, tracking inventory, and having an online store that all works seamlessly with our Quickbooks square is the best. Square is free to set up an account and start adding products, the only time they charge is if you add additional services, or swipe a credit card. Be sure to use my link, and we both get free processing!
Quickbooks Simple Start
We use quickbooks for our accounting software because it is backed up online, integrates well with our square system, and is easy for our Accountants: Williams & Company CPAS, to grab the data that they need for payroll, sales tax, and income tax.
I started using Canva after my computer crashed and I couldn’t get photoshop back. Since then I have had no desire to download photoshop again to design flyers, social media posts, invitations, or business cards. Most of the graphics on my site were created using Canva.
I like to us Photoshop Express on my cell phone to enhance my iPhone photos. Wether I need to change the temperature, exposure, or even remove a blemish – this app is simple and it has far better filters than most.