Welcome to My Favorites page. I created this page to show you the vendors that I personally use and recommend to my clients. I try to strike a balance between price and quality, but quality of the product and top notch customer service is how they end up on this page. I encourage you to use the free resources listed below before paying for any services. I created this page simply because I receive hundreds of questions every month about ‘who I recommend’. I have had long term success with all of the vendors listed here and can confidently recommend them to you for your business needs.
To Your Success,
Customer Experience Designer (CXD)
If you are not really sure where to start, check out my free workbook ‘Wish Upon A Brand’, which will help get you going in the right direction. No, I’m not going to make you give me your email address to get my guide. This tool is here simply to help you think about developing your unique brand as part of your overall customer experience.
Get To Know Me
Listen to my Podcast on iTunes and read my free workbook 'Wish Upon A Brand' that goes along with the first nine episodes. Create your own customer experience.
My Favorites Categories
Evaluating Your Competitors
One of the most robust free tools that I can recommend for all of the categories listed below are my free workbook ‘Wish Upon A Brand‘ and the first 9 episodes of My Podcast. They are designed to go together. They are both free and they will give you a wonderful starting place to begin creating your unique customer experience.
Understanding how your customers judge you against your competitors is an immensely important part of designing your customer experience. Check out my Rules Of The Click PDF and YouTube video to see what your customers actually do while evaluating who they choose to do business with.
Google and Facebook are the two best free tools that are at your disposal for evaluating your competition. Your potential customers will use these tools to locate vendors to provide them with the product or service that you are selling, so you should go through the same process that they will. For example, if you are local lawn service in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, you would google ‘lawn service baton rouge’ and see who comes up.
Then based on that search, look at the available vendors and ask yourself, “Who would I choose and why?” This is a wonderful exercise to go through to understand what the competition looks like for your business.
Learning About Your Customers
Keyword Tool is a unique tool that you may use to see what your customers are searching for on the top websites for your industry. For example, you may see what search phrases that your customers are using on Amazon, Google, YouTube and more to help you to understand what keywords to use on your website and what hashtags to use on your social media channels. Additionally, if you enter these keywords into Google and look at who is repeatedly listed, that is also a wonderful indicator of who your competition main competitors are.
Ubersuggest.com is a tool which is very similar to the Keyword Tool above, but you can see a lot more of the data without having to upgrade your account. The reason why I am listing them both is to give you a way to build a list and crosscheck it. If you see the keyword on both sites, then this is probably a good indicator that this is a solid keyword for you to address on your site.
Quora.com is a valuable tool to consider when trying to develop your list of keywords. You probably know this site as a place where you go to ask and answer questions about pretty much everything, which is exactly why this is a powerful tool. You may go here and type in your main keyword, for example ‘lawn care california’ and you will see what customers are talking about. This can provide you with an amazing list of blog articles that you could write. If it has a lot of votes, then you know that it is a popular topic and this is content that you should have on your site.
Creating Your Brand Name, Image And Promise
Wish Upon A Brand Workbook is an easy to understand and free tool that walks you through the 9 steps of developing and clarifying what your brand name, image and promise will become. There are podcast episodes to go along with each of the 9 steps. I would highly recommend this workbook and podcast for anyone who is developing a brand.
Finding Your Social Media Brand Name
Namechk.com is a very useful tool for helping you to quickly see what domain names and social media profiles are and are not available. Simply enter the name that you are considering and then you will be able to see instantly whether or not the domain name and social media channels are available.
WordHippo.com is another powerful tool to use while trying to name your business. When you put names into the site above and see that they are taken, simply take the words that you are trying to use and plug them into WordHippo. This site generates alternative ways of saying the same thing.
Creating Your Logo And Slogan
Canva.com is one of the most polished platforms that I could suggest to you for creating and editing high end images, logos, stationary and more for your business. They have so many ready to use templates that you may customize and use for free. This will become your go to site I promise.
Slogan Maker is a good place to start when you are trying to write your slogan. This is a great tool to enter the word or emotions that you are trying to capture and have it generate some potential slogans for you.
Fiverr.com is probably one of the most important tools that I will ever tell you about. This is a wonderful place to have logos, slogans and so much more created for your website. Vendors on this site will complete tasks for your business for $5 or more and the possibilities are endless. Simply hover over the menu at the top left that reads ‘Graphics & Design’ and you will see logo services listed.
Finding Images For Your Website/Social Media Channels
Unsplash.com is in my opinion the single best resource online for gathering images to use on both your website and social media channels. You may use these images in conjunction with Canva.com to produce some very high end looking results for free.
Setting Up Your Domain, Hosting And Email
Small Business Domains And Hosting is a great way to save money annually and to receive the exact same product as you would with GoDaddy. I have a reseller account, which is run by GoDaddy. GoDaddy offers a reseller account to customers who sell a lot of domains to their customers, which I do. You will receive the exact same service as you would through GoDaddy, as it is still GoDaddy, but it’s just my reseller storefront sitting over top of the GoDaddy platform.
The customer service number on my reseller site is the same area code (408) phone number that you would call for GoDaddy, once again, because all of this being run by GoDaddy. GoDaddy has two customer service phone numbers (480) 505-8877 for their GoDaddy.com direct customers, and then they have the phone number that customers who purchased through a reseller have, which is (480) 624-2500. GoDaddy’s reseller program is called Wild West Domains, should you ever have a need to begin reselling domain names to your customers, I would encourage you to look into it. It does cost a few hundred dollars a year, but depending on your volume, it may work for you.
I never have to wait on hold for longer than a moment, and I would say that the customer service is at least as good if not better on the reseller phone number as it is on the main number, as GoDaddy wants to keep it’s resellers happy. In other words, GoDaddy has to take extra special care of my clients and all other reseller’s clients if GoDaddy wants its resellers to be happy. You will see that the user interface on my reseller site works exactly the same way that GoDaddy’s does, because, that’s right you guessed it. GoDaddy is running this website for me.
The benefit of going through my GoDaddy store (Small Business Domains and Hosting.com) is that I can intervene if there is an issue, which there likely will never be. I personally purchase all of my new business domains through my reseller account and I set all of my clients websites up using my reseller account. I trust GoDaddy explicitly for domain name management. I earn a small commission from the sale of those products, which helps me continue to write and produce this kind of educational content for my readers. I always like to be upfront with my customers so that they can choose for themselves. That said, again, I appreciate your contributions towards this kind of content by using my account.
Additionally, though I am aware that GoDaddy runs .99 cent domain sales for brand new customers, you will only be able to use that for one of your domain names and then you will have to pay full price for the others, which is somewhere between 12.99-16.99. One little thing that I like to point out is that though you will pay $9.99 for your domain names on my website the first year, my reseller site charges less than GoDaddy’s for annual renewals for your .com domain names. That means that every year, GoDaddy will charge $14.99 to renew your .com domains, whereas my reseller site will only charge you $11.99. That means that you save $3.00 per year, for every single year that your domain name is registered through my reseller site. After a while, it adds up.
WP Engine is my hosting provider of choice. There are about 150 reasons why I recommend this vendor over the other hosting companies. If you read my blog for very long, you will hear several of them. When it comes to hosting, this is not an area where you want to cut corners. The company that is responsible for hosting your website controls how safe your site is, has a lot to do with how quickly the pages load and can be make or break in the event that your website pages were deleted or hacked. WP Engine is more expensive than most other hosting companies and there are very good reasons for this. Trust me, if you were having a problem with your website, you would want WP Engine technicians at your fingertips. This is one of those things that I could go on about for hours, but to save you a lot of trouble, I will just tell you that this is what I personally use and recommend for both my sites, as well as all of my client sites. If you trust my judgement on this one, you will not regret it. Excellent hosting equals peace of mind. It means that you can focus on running your business and let them focus on running your website so that it is always available and loads quickly for your customers.
Microsoft Office 365 is my personal favorite and the one that I recommend to everyone. A lot of companies like to bundle services together; domain names, hosting and email. Unfortunately, a lot of customers purchase all of those services from the same provider because it seems easier.
GoDaddy is probably the most famous domain name registrar on the planet. That’s what they are really good at, selling domain names. Every large company wants to spread their wings and offer as many products to their customers as possible, because it increases their revenue. That doesn’t mean that it’s a good business decision for you.
There are all kinds of servers that perform different functions. An email server is an extremely important tool for your business. Lost emails, delayed emails, etc. will cost you money. We want the best possible company to handle your business email, and that company is Microsoft, hands down, no one else even has a dog in the fight.
Whether you love Microsoft or you hate them, whether you work on a Mac or a PC, Microsoft Office 365’s email platform is world class and that’s what we want for your business. We want the absolute best so that your email is not a concern for your business. Yes, GoDaddy offers a partnered version of Microsoft Office 365 to its customers, but it is riddled with problems. You don’t have to take my word for it, you may read this forum page, or this one, or fifteen others just like it online. One of the most frustrating things is that the GoDaddy version of Microsoft Office constantly makes you sign in and out of GoDaddy to check your email. No one has time for all of that. It’s a workaround solution at best, and it is simply inadequate.
What you will read is that GoDaddy partnered with Microsoft to offer Microsoft email to its clients. That partnership may look great on paper, but in practice, it is not ideal. Yes, it would be convenient if you could purchase your email, hosting, and domain names from the same provider. That said, if you want those tools to work together well, to reduce stress and strain for yourself, your customers, and your employees, then we are not going to be able to bundle them together with one vendor.
Trust me when I tell you that I would love to earn reseller commission every single month from you using GoDaddy’s Microsoft Email solution, which you could purchase on my site. However, instead I am recommending Microsoft, for which I am not compensated a single penny. I am telling you to save yourself the headache and go with Microsoft right from the beginning. You are just going to have to trust me on this one. It is the right decision.
Building Up Your Credibility
Google My Business is an extremely important tool for your business. When your website is complete, simply submit your websites information, hours of operation and more. This tool allows you to complete and verify your business listing with Google, which is an important step in making sure that your customers can find you.
Getting Found Online
Google Web Tools is a step that you do not want to overlook. This tool gives you the ability to submit sitemaps for your website, which make it easier for search engines to find. There are hundreds of videos on YouTube about how to create and submit your website sitemap and it is free and easy. When your website is ready, make sure that you take care of this step.
Evaluating Your Website
GTMetrix.com is a free resource for you to run a check on your website. I will lead by saying that a lot of what you see here may seem too technical for you to address. That said, it will give you a good working list of any major problems that you may need to fix on your website. It addresses things like page load times, optimization, errors and more. It is certainly worth a trip over there when you are finished building you website.
SEMRush.com is a similar tool to GTMetrix from above. You may pay to upgrade to receive more detailed information about challenges your website may be facing. As your business and revenue grow, this can be a very valuable tool to push you further towards the top.
Where You Can Find Me
Want me to help you build your unique customer experience?
15655 Airline Highway
Prairieville, LA 70769
CONNECT WITH ME