RESOURCES FOR NEW BUSINESSES ONLINE


These resources for your new business online, will help you save time, grow your business and know what the heck you're doing, along with why you're doing it.  I've included tools I use or recommend, books for marketing business strategy and some great productivity resources as well. Enjoy. ♥

Websites for your new business online

When you're looking for resources for your new business online, your website is your biggest marketing asset. Take some time to choose the right website platform for you. If you want ease and simplicity, I recommend Squarespace.

Wix is also a good choice for many, and WordPress is a great option if you have dedicated support, or you don't mind hiring someone to help you with your website. Depending on your technical abilities, you might need some help managing your website no matter which option you choose. Some options are easier for the DIY entrepreneur than others.

 Squarespace

Squarespace is loved by many, and for good reason.  These websites are relatively easy to build and maintain, and they look great. For service-based entrepreneurs who want a professional-looking website, that is easy to manage and work with, Squarespace is a good choice.

  • Squarespace is a website service and you pay to use their platform
  • Squarespace is fairly simple to use and manage
  • Squarespace has many beautiful ready-made, free designs you can choose from
  • Squarespace has many features and options you can add to your website
  • Squarespace offers a reliable service the code builder produces reliable results for desktop and mobile
  • Squarespace is easy to manage and DIY once you learn it

I highly recommend Squarespace for new service-based entrepreneurs and particularly those who feel non-techie. 

The website example here is created with Squarespace and is one I designed for a coach who wanted something simple to manage, within her budget that could handle booking, payments and marketing. BOTH Squarespace and Wix websites work well for service-based businesses such as this

Website design by Val Cline on Squarespace
Wix DIY Website Example from Website in 7 Days Course with Val Cline and Wix

WIX

I do love all the design features Wix has and how easy it is to be creative with it. You can design a beautiful website using both Squarespace and Wix, but it might be a little easier to get the look you want with Wix - faster.

Similar to Squarespace, Wix is also a website service you pay to use and build your website with. 

  • Wix has a load of free design elements, graphics, videos, photos and more you can use to achieve the look and feel you want
  • Wix is fairly simple to use and manage, however, you can break your mobile design fairly easily
  • Wix has many beautiful ready-made, free designs you can choose from
  • Wix has a lot of features and options you can add to your website, perhaps more than Squarespace but more than you would need
  • Wix can be a bit temperamental once you start working with the website builder. If you know how to play with it, that becomes manageable
  • Wix does not offer a seamless mobile website builder experience. You must approach your mobile websites separately as an extra step

The website here was created with Wix, by a student of mine, with no website building experience. She was a student of my Website in 7 days course and created a wonderful website that helped her to grow her business.

WordPress.org

WordPress comes in two flavours. WordPress.org and WordPress.com.  I am talking about WordPress.org.

And the difference between the two is this: one is self-hosted and the other is hosted. For the kind of WordPress website, I will be talking about here, you will need to purchase your own Website Hosting service. Then you "host" your WordPress website with them.

  • WordPress offers you the most features, options and flexibility -you can do pretty much anything with a WordPress website
  • WordPress is more complex and can take more skill and expertise to manage and work with over time
  • WordPress requires that you also pay for web-hosting, however, WordPress itself is Free
  • If something goes wrong with your WordPress website you are more on your own -whereas if you have a Wix or Squarespace website, there is support available to you
  • WordPress is best suited for people with tech support or more tech abilities and time to deal with a more complex website
  • If you are going to go with WordPress -go with WordPress.org.

WordPress, if you haven't guessed by now, is more technically complex to use and set up. Non-technical people often find it overwhelming.  Nonetheless, WordPress offers premium features and options for when you are ready for that. It's best for pro bloggers and more advanced businesses.

 

Client Management for your new business online

17Hats

This tool packs a lot of value for the service-based business online. 

If you run a service-based business, your time is extremely valuable because you exchange time for money. So a tool that can help you grow your business, get more clients, work with more people, do that work better and all in less time -well that's pretty stellar.

With 17Hats you can manage your clients, leads, invoices, billing, questionnaires, quotes, approvals, messaging and so much more.

It's a powerful "I LOVE MY CLIENTS" tool that helps you do your thing really well, with ease. It's been around for a while, has loyal fans, great customer service, lots of online help and is *much* more affordable than Dubsado -the copycat that came later.

I personally think it's easier to use as well. It's all you could want and more to help you serve yourself and your clients.

I've used 17Hats for years and couldn't live without it and I only recommend it because I know it well and believe it's the best tool for helping service-based entrepreneurs grow their business while making their work easier.

I'm all over that.

Why I like 17Hats

  • Price, Service, Ease of use
  • Works well for Canadian Businesses or American Businesses due to how they work with currencies
  • Comparable systems I've used like HoneyBook and Dubsado just don't have the features and flexibility for the price -I keep following up with the available options and 17-hats continues to win

What I use 17Hats for

  • Booking system! I am so happy with this new feature as it integrates with all the other features for such a seamless workflow, it's a pleasure to use
  • Flexible invoicing with recurring payments, discounts, payment plans etcetera
  • Surveys & Questionnaires great for things, such as  market research, feedback forms and testimonials
  • Automation and productivity features for bookings and emails and payments (oh my) that can adapt to most needs
  • Templates for contracts, quotes, agreements, reviews, emails, workflows and more
  • Client Management so I can easily manage coaching clients and leads
  • Handy client portals that can be customized and help make my clients lives super easy
  • Online payments
  • Time tracking &
  • Financial management and reporting

Email Marketing for your new business online

MailChimp

MailChimp is just too valuable not to use for its free version if this is what you need for your budget.

I changed the list for this site back to MailChimp, so I could beef up my offerings to clients who are in the very early stages of business and need free options that can help them grow their business. This is an excellent free tool that can help you grown your email list. MailChimp has continued to grow and adapt its service over the years, to the needs of its customers and I wanted to reacquaint myself with all it offers today, so I could help my clients best

When you're ready to upgrade I recommend ConvertKit and when you need a great FREE option I recommend MailChimp.

Web Hosting for your new business online

SiteGround For WordPress Web Hosting

This is for those of you who want to have a WordPress website. And by this, I am talking about www.wordpress.org not wordpress.com as these are two very different website options. If you are thinking about a WordPress website, go with SiteGround and the whole process will be as easy as clicking a button.

Why I love SiteGround

SiteGround is officially recommended by WordPress.org :)

SiteGround has more options than Bluehost and they really know WordPress. Plus, they are affordable if you're just starting out at $3.95/month and can grow with you easily.

What I really love is their AMAZING support, the reliability of service and the Go Geek package which is, of course, built for me :)

Features I love

  • Quick one-click install of WordPress
  • Free WordPress Website transfer (if you've got a site somewhere else)
  • Affordable packages for each stage of business
  • Website backups
  • Free email addresses (you don't have to pay extra for something like G-Suite)
  • Reliable service and "uptime"
  • Excellent support
  • Fast website performance
  • Free SSL certificates (everyone needs these now for security)
  • Stellar security all round
  • I'm in love with their staging environment that comes with the Go Geek plan <3

For the same price as the cheap options like Bluehost, you have a superior (in my opinion) service that can grow with you.

SiteGround also has a package that provides a "Staging" environment with a 1-click publish feature. This is gold. I can fluff around with updates, courses and membership sites behind the scenes and then launch it all with ease once I am ready, with just the click of a button. I can integrate this with SVN for those coders out there.

Basically, SiteGround offers many options for online businesses. You can feel confident starting with them, that you have all you need to grow.