The Iris Writing Int'l Recommended Tool List
Running an online business – solo or with a team – has never been easier because of the many tools available to help accomplish any business task. When choosing the right tools, you need to answer these five questions honestly, without getting swayed by the rave reviews and excellent features:
· Is the tool Customizable to your unique business cases? The tool must be compatible with your needs.
· How easy to use is the tool for you and your team members? Ease of collaboration is the one thing that must be the first criterion.
· Will the tool keep your data secure? Lack of security can undermine your brand image and business growth.
· Is the pricing right? Because a nifty tool that is beyond your price range is practically useless for you.
· Are your competitors using it? If yes, it probably fits your industry's requirements.
Let us discuss the different types of tools you should use to elevate content reach.
Whatever the size of your company, branding is essential for business growth. Every communication, be it in the form of ads, landing pages, emailers, or interaction on any social media channel, must be accurate and consistent.
Many tools are available in the market that will help you define brand guidelines, build brand awareness, visibility, and reputation, and establish a strong presence. They also help maintain consistent communication across all channels.
Here are a few tools to help you brand different aspects of your business identity:
HubSpot Email Signature Generator
Email signature can be much more than your name and company address. The free HubSpot Email Signature Generator enables you to create an email signature that is your online business card complete with social media profiles, blogs, and of course, company details.
Logo Design Studio Pro
A logo is the most crucial part of your brand identity as you use it across a website, app, social media, ads, and more. Logo Design Studio Pro enables you to create a unique brand identity using its library of 6000+ logo elements.
Video is the most popular content consumption medium on the internet these days. People consume 5.5 hours of video every day. So you must use videos to promote your business. Vidyard enables you to create high-quality videos that can be shared across multiple channels easily.
Vidyard has a forever-free plan, and paid plans start at $15/month (billed annually).
Domain Name and Web Hosting Tools
You first need a domain name for your business and a service provider to host that domain name. Your domain name should represent your business idea accurately, whereas speed, security, and reliability are the factors you should consider when choosing the right web hosting tool for your business.
There are many business domain names and web hosting providers out there, but these are the top two:
Bluehost has multiple service options, from shared to dedicated hosting and everything in between. The starting price is $2.95/month.
HostGator is the blue-eyed boy of website hosting because it is the tool of choice for pretty much everything else from cloud and email to a reseller and dedicated hosting.
HostGator basic plan starts at $2.75/month.
Both Bluehost and HostGator have lots of freebies thrown in, like a free domain name for a year. Compare their offerings carefully before you choose one of these.
Content Management System
The moment one talks of a content management system (CMS), WordPress comes to mind. And why not? As mentioned, 40% of websites are hosted using WordPress. But the CMS you choose should depend upon the type of website you plan to have and the amount of data you need to track for each piece of content.
Starting out as blogging software, WordPress has evolved into the world's most popular CMS platform. As it is open-source, a developer or even a tech-savvy web editor can get you an excellent website with all features. And if not, you always have the option of 1000s of customizable WordPress themes to choose from.
CMS hub from HubSpot is the content management system of choice for enterprise-level websites. It helps you get your enterprise-level website up to speed quickly. Publishing, tracking, monitoring, lead generation, speed testing, and device customizations are very easy, which help you establish a reputation and grow quickly in your domain.
The starting plan for CMS Hub is the Professional plan at $270/month, but you can ask for a free 14-day trial to test waters.
Drupal is the most secure open-source CMS, ideal for a wide range of business cases. Its templates allow even newbies to create stunning layouts, and all these are easy to follow and share for visitors.
Being open-source is entirely free.
Web Designing Tools
Web designing is essential for modern websites because visitors always expect high speed, responsive design, and a fantastic browsing experience. Depending upon your technical expertise, you might want to go with a full-fledged website builder or just a website design tool. Here we list two each.
Wix is a user-friendly web design tool for novices. Its AI automatically builds your page after you choose a template and answer a few questions. If you are tech-savvy, you can use its drag and drop interface to build your website.
Wix has a forever-free plan, but plans start at $18/month if you need professional features.
Webflow is a fully responsive web design tool, content management system, managed web hosting and free SSL certificate provider rolled into one. Its drag and drop feature allows you to put together an excellent website using pre-built elements. And if it starts getting unwieldy, you can always export and ship the code to a developer to finish it off.
Webflow plans start at $12/month (paid annually).
Figma is a web-based vector graphics and prototyping app that can be used to design mockups. It has a rich features library, and you can add up to two editors in the free version itself. You can share as many designs as you want to collaborate with your editors on the scene.
The pricing beyond two editors is $12 per editor/month (billed annually) or $15 per editor/month.
Sketch is the undisputed leader for designing user experiences and user interfaces due to its interactive prototyping, smart layouts, and a rich library of plug-ins and integrations. Its only downside is that it is a native Mac app.
The standard plan for Sketch starts at $9/month.