My Website Toolkit
Here’s an overview of the tools I use along with a brief description of what each tool does, reasons I’ve chosen to work with the tool, and associated costs.
This is the engine that runs your website. It has a built-in platform for blogging (an excellent way to let your people know what you’re about) and because search engines like Google like internet content that’s updated often, they LOVE WordPress.
Cost – FREE!!
Why do you need a hosting company and what do you get for the money you keep paying them? A hosting company provides the web servers (computers) where your website lives. They provide this service for many different clients and you’re paying them to ensure that your website is always accessible. You don’t have to worry about ensuring that backups are taken or that those servers don’t crash.
Benefits of using HostGator include the following:
- unlimited domains (if you decide you absolutely must have 17 different websites)
- unlimited space (for the pages for those 17 different websites you want)
- unlimited email accounts (that’s where that nice professional firstname.lastname@example.org email account comes from)
- very nice tools that help me create your website and not charge you the proverbial arm and leg for my services
- free built in stats that tell you more than you’d ever want to know about visits to your website – that means that you don’t need Google Analytics that can potentially slow down access to your site and give visitors an excuse to leave because it’s taking too long to load pages
Cost – Plans starting at approximately $4 – $8 monthly
Thesis (WordPress theme)
A theme has built in functionality that helps me build your website quickly and easily without having to spend lots of my time (and your money) creating custom code (that will cost you lots of money in the future when something needs to be changed).
Benefits of using Thesis include the following:
- easy to use (less money to build your site and make changes later on)
- well designed (think web pages that load quickly so your client doesn’t click away from your site)
- built in mobile design – the ability to adjust the site to different devices like Phones and Tablets without having to scroll
- flexibility to add opt in to mailing lists in different places and to different lists on individual pages of your site
- easily found by the internet search engines
- flexibility to easily create templates for just about any design you might want
- flexibility to easily add new templates during the lifetime of your site for new services you may think of after your original website launch
Cost – FREE or one-time $87 fee (should you want your own personal licensed copy of Thesis).
You are welcome to purchase your own Personal Copy of Thesis, but since my Developer License allows me to purchase low cost add-on Client side licenses, I do include Thesis Licensing for your site in my package options and that’s how we get to that FREE option.
This is your email marketing best friend that gives you a way to build the tribe of your people who follow you and are interested in what you’re doing. The service hosts the list of these people, sends them automated messages conforming with US anti-spam laws when they choose to join your list, provides an easy way for them to get off your list when they’re no longer interested in following you, and provides a platform where you can distribute regular newsletters to your people. Benefits of working with AWeber include easy links to many different applications such as PayPal, and Shopping Carts.
Cost – $19 monthly
MailChimp is another great email marketing tool. Benefits are the same as for AWeber above. The advantage of using MailChimp is that the service is FREE for your first 2000 subscribers. The disadvantate: if you end up creating many different lists (your newsletter list, lists for specific classes you may run, etc.) MailChimp does not do a good job of allowing you to send Broadcast email messages to all your lists without sending duplicate messages to subscribers who may be on more than one of your lists. That would be why my personal preference is AWeber.
Cost – FREE