Welcome to Spark Bits Weekly where I ask a panel of homeprenuers a blazing question about running and growing their business from home.
Today’s Q is:
What are two or three web tools you can’t do without and how are they helpful in your business?
Reba Collins from PLR One Stop says:
By far WordPress is the best web tool ever created. I used to build websites using Dreamweaver and html one page at a time. Now, it just takes minutes to set-up a site and within a few hours, I can have most of the graphics done and in place on the site.
The second tool I use and could not live without is Photoshop. I’ve been using Photoshop for about 15 years and have always kept my version updated; I don’t think I could create like I do without it. I also use the other Adobe products like Illustrator and Fireworks but I can do without them, Photoshop is my go-to image editor/creator.
And that does it. Those three tools give me what I need to build a website for any niche, industry or business. Granted, I might need other things like a shopping cart or directory depending on the site, but these are the three things that I need and use for every site.
Jessica Lee from Psychic Readings Guide says:
I just learned about Canva and I’m really liking it. Quotes and images are huge in my niche, and Canva allows me to create these images in just a few minutes. I also use Social Graphics Pro Software from Coach Glue for this – which I love!
These tools allow me to create custom graphics so that I can really brand myself on social media. And, because the posts are so pretty and inspiring, they often go viral which leads to more people liking my page and visiting my site.
I have also been using Hootsuite, which is helpful because it saves me a lot of time each day. I think of Hootsuite as my “mission control” for social media. It’s so convenient to be able to see all Tweets and posts in one place. A huge time saver!
Other people are probably going to say this too, but Aweber is one tool that I could not go without in my business. It took me a long time to decide to start building a list, and looking back, it was also a costly bad decision. Aweber allows you to build a list of people who are interested in what you have to offer and recommend; and, it allows you to stay in touch with them so that you can build a relationship.
Another tool in my business, which I could not go without, is Amember Pro. It is the program through which people are able to purchase my PLR products from my websites. I use it for my affiliate program as well.
Christa Jensen from ChristaJensen.com says:
Google Calendars has been a super valuable tool for my partner and I when we are working on business projects together. It helps with staying organized.
ActiveInbox for my Google email is a new tool for me. I am a newbie to it but I am seeing the potential in its value already with keeping many things organized.
Getting better organized while using these tools has helped me in completing projects quicker in order to meet or exceed deadlines. These tools have helped increase productivity in my business and I don’t think I could do without them!
Stephanie L. Watson from Barry Publishing says:
Dropbox: I love Dropbox. It’s so easy to use and makes it easy to work with my clients. You can start with a free version but I use an upgraded version for business so that I can easily work with my clients. I share files, collaborate, and can work from anywhere due to Dropbox. Even if my home was destroyed with everything in it, I could find a computer from anywhere and do my work.
Freshbooks: This is an invoicing service in the cloud that I really enjoy using. I have flirted with other options but Freshbooks just works. It allows me to manage projects, keep track of time, bill by projects, and keeps track of expenses and more. It reminds me and my clients of unpaid bills and automatically adds late fees. It makes it easy for me to give a discount too. I can send professional looking invoices via email or via mail.
WordPress: I build all my websites and client sites with WordPress. I love it. I only wish I would have jumped on board sooner. I used to build simple sites with Dreamweaver and there is no real point in using that when WordPress works so well. I’m speaking of WordPress.org, not WordPress.com. Self-hosted WordPress works so well for most needs that there is little reason to choose something else.
Make a list of the things you need to run your business and there is most certainly something out there that you need.
Brenda Trott from Done4UMedia Marketing says:
Wow, since nearly my entire business is conducted on-line, I’m having a tough time boiling this down to three but I’ll give a try:
Onlywire: I use this service to syndicate my content to 50 web2.0 sites. This includes videos I make, podcasts I’ve been featured in, press releases and news stories I’ve written or been featured in, including places I contribute to like SparkPlugging.com. It helps the Google Fairies know that I have things to say to help small business owners market. It is also great for SEO (search engine optimization) and get’s my content found.
Sendreach: This is my auto-responder. It helps me make sure that whenever someone new connects with me on my email list, they get valuable content sent to them on a regular schedule. This allows me to spend less time sending the exact information out to people and more time finding new people to connect with.
Pinterest: Last week you asked how I make sure I stay productive and I mentioned that I use sticky notes…well, Pinterest is like my digital set of sticky notes. Whenever I find a resource, or join a program I want to use, I “pin” it to my appropriate board. If it is something I want to keep to myself, I pin it to a secret board. I use Scoop-it in a similar way when I organize my research.
As mentioned by some of the members of our panel, listing 2 to 3 important tools that are “must haves” to my business was quite difficult. As a digital marketer (in training), the livelihood of my entire business relies heavily on working with tools that manage and grow the business. I find that there are way too many good ones to enumerate in a snippet of content but learning about what works for each person and how was enlightening.
I agree, WordPress has been an absolute game changer and lifesaver for many of us who don’t have the skills to build our own websites. Since I lack the knack for technology, it is safe to say that without it, I wouldn’t be publishing this post independently. For that I send my sincerest gratitude for those people who have designed tools that make it possible for people like me to work from my laptop in the comfort of my own home.
In the recent weeks, I’ve been exploring the use of Evernote. As an avid life long learner, I find inspiration in many places. Having one central location to keep all my spontaneous research organized for easy access from anywhere, is very appealing. It’s easy for things to disappear in the wave of superfluous information that penetrates my brain on a daily basis. Although, I am loving the idea of having a secret pin board on Pinterest too.
What about you? Are there any spectacular tools you use? Which web tools can you not live without?