Below is a list of various online applications and tools that Craft Beverage Media uses to run our business, do our work, and assist in our digital lives. We use this list as often as we refer others to it, and do not recommend products and/or services that we have not used ourselves or that we’re not happy with – so they’re testimonials too.
Disclosure: some, not all, of the resources below are provided by affiliate links – meaning we will get paid a commission if you purchase the product/service via this link. If you decide to purchase a product and/or service through us, thank you!
WordPress – The best website platform for any level of DIY website builder. WordPress is FREE (you have to purchase your domain name and add hosting) and has great support available for the novice to advanced user. If you’re new to building websites, select a hosting service with a convenient one-click install option (referral below) and select a theme that best suites your needs so you need to do little customization. There are many free and paid theme options.
StudioPress by Copyblogger – this site is StudioPress! I am using the Epik child theme on Genesis Framework. Genesis is a great framework to work off of, is very well built, and I like it a lot!
Elegant Theme – A suite of beautifully designed premium themes for WordPress that I have used for other sites. For one modest yearly fee ($39) you get access to all themes. These are pretty much ready to go “out of the box”.
Dreamhost – I am very happy with Dreamhost; they’re a smaller hosting service than some of the others, so I feel I get personalized attention when I need it. There are 1-click install services for WordPress making using Dreamhost very easy. Use promo code CM2014DH at checkout to receive 1 free registration when you sign up for hosting.
WPEngine – (disclosure – I haven’t yet used WP Engine. Stressing Yet.) This hosting provider has me drooling, and I’m eager to have the need to sign up and start using them. Full service, fast, scalable, and secure. All the things you need and should demand from a hosting provider. WP Engine is a premium service, so expect to pay a bit more.
Aweber – A robust and powerful email marketing platform that assists in growing leads and managing your business email communications. I highly recommend Aweber to those who want to take their email marketing communications to the next level. This is a paid service, but affordable compared to other paid options.
MailChimp – a very easy to use email marketing platform with a free option for growing businesses (less than 2000 contacts). The emails look great, but once you reach a larger subscriber base, it can get pricey.
PicMonkey – an online photo editor that offers a ton of free tools as well as an upgraded service. Enhance existing photos or create graphics with an assortment of backgrounds, fonts, and images. Note: I upgraded to the premium/yearly service and not that excited about the value I received. I think the free version is just fine.
Canva – a new online photo editor that is still in Beta (so it’s working out some kinks like slow load time). It’s free to use unless you use one of their stock images – all of which are $1.00 each.
LeadPages – Landing pages RULE! They increase subscribers and conversions, and they’re fun! LeadPages is the best of the best – making the art of making quality landing pages easier than a walk in the park 🙂
Online Management / Productivity
Sprout Social – If you want a robust social media management dashboard, I highly recommend Sprout Social. I’ve been a paid user since 2013, and I couldn’t survive without Sprout Social’s powerful reporting tools. Sprout Social assists me in understanding what is working online, and it facilitates community building like no other platform. Though I also use Hootsuite, I do use Sprout Social’s publishing platform too. Great looking reports, and great support.
Google Apps for Business – What was life like before Google? It was a different world! That’s how I feel about Google Apps. From gmail, to Google Drive, to Hangouts, Google products save my butt, and I recommend them to businesses I work with. What surprises many people is that you can power your company email via gmail (and keep your own url).
note: I have a handful of coupons to handout if you do want to sign up for Google Apps for Business. Contact me to receive one.
Hootsuite – I don’t know how I could do my job without Hootsuite, and they are regularly adding features that make it better and better. I especially love the auto scheduler and bulk tweet upload features.
IFTTT – This tool rocks and is free. You can create hacks to make your online life work for you better. Or – you can activate hacks (or “recipes”) that other’s create and use for yourself.
Evernote – Evernote is how I keep track of everything! I clip links, info, images, and draft a lot of content using Evernote.
Unroll.me – Unroll.me is an email management tool that bundles all your subscriptions into a daily digest and allows you to easily manage all your subscriptions. I can attest that the quality of my life has improved since starting to use unroll.me because I’m no longer being bombarded by email.
Eventbrite – Eventbrite is a great online resource to promote local events! You can list free events, ticketed events, limited seating events, and various pricing tiers for your events. You can easily embed your event listings on your website, sell tickets, and even promote and sell via Facebook. The sharing features allows your customers and fans to help promote your event for you via email and social networks.
ShareASale – Drive more traffic to your online store using performance based marketing. If you would like to grow your business with the help from affiliates, I definitely recommend signing up with ShareASale.