There are all sorts of tools businesses can use to grow their business online. Some are extremely complex, but my favorite are the tools which are the easiest to use and most simple to use - especially for small business owners. After helping businesses with their online marketing for over 8 years, I've tried all sorts of web platforms and tools - and have found that the following programs are the best ones currently in the industry for small business owners. There are a lot of opinions out there for what tools are best, but these are the best ones that I've found by working with over 600 businesses in the last 8 years.
Squarespace - for websites
While virtually everyone in the web development industry argues that WordPress or Shopify are the best ways to go for building your website, over the 8 years I've done web design professionally, I've seen too many small businesses fail because they used WordPress or Shopify. Squarespace is by far the easiest platform for a small business to manage without too much help from a web developer over time, which helps keep costs down and allows you to market your website and make edits on your own pace.Use code JPW20 at checkout on Squarespace to get 20% off your annual bill as well. I am an Authorized Squarespace Trainer.
Mailchimp - for email marketing
This is another underdog in the industry, as everyone knows Constant Contact. But Constant Contact is out of date and certainly not an industry leader. The easiest tool for small business owners to learn is Mailchimp. They constantly improve the way you can easily create email marketing, and the tools for tracking Analytics on how to make your email campaigns better is even easier.
Google Analytics - for website analytics
No one disagrees that Google Analytics is the most powerful analytics tool in the industry. While the amount of data it provides is incredibly overwhelming, if you check in on it at least once per month and work to get familiar with it, Google Analytics is an incredibly helpful tool to help figure out how to optimize and perfect your website's page structure and which pages, forms or products are performing best, and which are performing worse.
Google Search Console - for SEO keywords
This is a lesser-known tool, but absolutely essential if you want your business to be found more through SEO (when someone does a search on Google and finds your website). The Google Search Console tells you which keywords your website is performing best at, which then gives you ideas for new blog posts or pages to create. For me, Google Search Console is the most powerful marketing tool that brings in new clients & customers and thousands of page views per month.
Adobe Photoshop - for graphic design
Photoshop is the leading graphic design tool in the industry, and is essential for creating shareable graphics. My favorite reason to use Photoshop for my website is to create images that people can "pin" on Pinterest. This is because Pinterest is not really a Social Media platform. Pinterest is another very powerful SEO tool that can help your website get thousands of views over time. When people pin your images onto their Pinterest boards, it has the opportunity to be shared over and over on the internet, which is unlike Facebook, Instagram & Twitter which focus on short-term trending topics. Pinterest is based on SEO keywords, which makes it extremely helpful to build a longer-term stable presence on the internet, and why creating graphics in Adobe Photoshop is important for building your website blog or portfolio pages.
Asana - for project management
I have tried numerous kinds of online project management tools over the past 8 years. And most of them feel more like a chore than a helpful tool. Asana took me just 24 hours to learn and adapt to for keeping track of client projects, internal marketing and business ideas. The interface is simple, and your team can easily jump in and adjust to the workflow quickly. Just like Squarespace & Mailchimp, Asana is probably the easiest project management tool to learn and manage.
Paper Planners - for tracking daily tasks and goals
I've used digital planners like Google Calendar and Apple's iPhone Reminder app, but all the studies show that hand-written daily planners and writing out your schedule on paper is exceedingly more effective than using a digital planner. So I've personally made a strong effort to get as many plans, ideas and goals on paper. I also have put together digital download planners on Etsy for others to purchase and use for their own personal and business goals.