I have tested every recommendation on this page. Like you, I’m looking for tools and platforms that give me the highest value for the lowest price.
Before digging into the awesome resources I know and trust, an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links, which means that if you choose to make a purchase, I will earn a commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please understand that I have experience with all of these companies, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make if you decide to buy something. Please do not spend any money on these products unless you feel you need them or that they will help you achieve your goals.
Recommended Brand and Logo Design
I’ve been using 99designs since my first website in 2006. I wish they were around when I threw $1500 each at two new logos when I first started my businesses!
My favorite feature: I still love the survey tool that allows you to share the designs you’ve received with your team or your friends so that they can vote on their favorites.
Ideal for: startups, new projects, trade show graphics, marketing materials and all things design.
Pricing: Custom business cards start at $149, basic logo and social media pack is $399
Recommended Web Hosting for WordPress
All my sites and my clients’ sites are hosted on WPEngine. I’ve been with them for years and simply cannot remember a time where my site was down. Their customer service is outstanding and accessible either via phone or chat with zero wait times.
My favorite feature: I use the Managed WordPress hosting which gives me a “staging” site where I can try new things without breaking the site and taking it offline. Another wonderful feature they have is the option of having them update and test all of your WordPress plugins.
Ideal for: If you already have a WordPress site but don’t want to “deal with” the technical details of updates.
Pricing: The Managed WordPress hosting starts at $35 per month
Recommended DIY WordPress Theme
I update my website every three years to stay on trend and make sure that both users and search engines can find their way around quickly and easily. The Divi Theme from Elegant Themes is my favorite drag-and-drop theme because it gives me a professionally designed look without having to hire a web designer or developer to implement it.
My favorite feature: Divi comes with dozens of pre-designed themes and entire website designs that you can customize by simply replacing the images and text with your own.
Ideal for: Businesses who are ready to update their website but don’t have a lot of technical or design resources.
Pricing: $89 per year or $249 one time. You absolutely cannot beat this with a stick!
Recommended Content Marketing Editorial Calendar
CoSchedule is my secret content management and promotional tool. I’m not kidding when I say this, it’s like having an employee that does nothing but promote your content 24/7 in exactly the way you want it promoted.
My favorite feature: The social template feature is the ONE thing that CoSchedule does that no other tool does. It takes about two hours to program (CoSchedule gives you the exact template to use). Then once your blog post or article is complete, you open up the template, enter your customized social messages, click “apply” — and literally forget about it.
Ideal for: If content marketing is a key strategy for your business, CoSchedule is a must have. If you’re a small agency and managing content for multiple clients — this is your secret weapon.
Pricing: The individual “marketing plan” is $49 per month. You can pay less but you won’t get the social templates — and you NEED social templates!!!
Recommended Onine Meetings and Webinar Platform
Zoom is the new standard for online meetings and webinars. It’s a feature-rich platform at an affordable price. The overall quality of the platform beats much pricier alternatives hands-down. I’ve used Zoom for years for meetings, webinars and for streaming live to Facebook and have never been disappointed.
My favorite feature: Integrated video and screen sharing and Facebook live streaming. Any of the low-cost options come with wonderful options for showing and recording video. You can customize who you want to be on the featured video and you can also see everyone on a video call in addition to any screen sharing.
Ideal for: If you work with a virtual team, have virtual employees or customers or create a lot of video content.
Pricing: There is a free option, but it has a limit of 40 minutes. Your best bet is to invest the $14.99.
Recommended Social Listening and Online Reputation Management
Are you missing out on potential new business because you didn’t see questions your prospects were asking where you could help? You’re not listening — err, you’re not practicing social listening.
Brand24 gives you the ability to filter through millions of conversations on all social media platforms and find the ones where you can engage, answer questions and yes, ultimately gain a new customer.
My favorite feature: I use Brand24 to track engagement of my #BizapaloozaChat hashtag. I can see who engaged with the hashtag I can track new members to the community and I can even report the success of my marketing campaigns to the brands I work with.
Ideal for: Businesses who serve a national or international audience, businesses whose customers are likely to request customer support via social media.
Pricing: $49 per month
Recommended Workflow, Process and Checklist Tool
Process.st is an amazing online process checklist that makes creating processes, procedures and training an absolute breeze. I simply create a checklist along with step-by-step instructions (including screen sharing video walk-throughs) and share that list with my team. Now, everything is done right, done on time and I can see where everyone is in the process.
My favorite feature: Process.st gives you the ability to create a master checklist and have it run regularly (daily, weekly, monthly). This way your team members are notified when it’s time to start the process, and once they complete their step, the next person is notified that it’s their turn!
Ideal for: Process.st is ideal for a business where following a process in a specific order is critical to maintaining quality. Or, a business with a virtual team that has to hand-off elements of a project to another team member.
Pricing: Starts at $12.50 per month (annual rate)
Recommended Web Site Tech Support
You can have access to a tech expert or web site developer at the exact moment that you need something done on your WordPress web site.
Ask Lorem is a WordPress plugin that connects you to a team of tech experts ready to help you with any tech help you need. They can install a plugin, write some custom code or just about anything you need.
My favorite feature: The Ask Lorem WordPress plugin gives you immediate access to a tech.
Ideal for: Small business owners who want access to a low-cost tech support team for their web sites.
Pricing: Custom quote- but don’t think it’s out of reach. I’ve had projects completed for less than $50.