My Top Recommended Tools
I’ve put together a list of my favorite resources that I use myself. You’ll find a description of each tool, what it’s used for, and why I like it.
Full disclosure, I do get a small commission if you use my links. If you don’t want me to get paid, that’s okay. You can still use these tools, just go directly to the vendor’s website instead of clicking below.
Flywheel (for WordPress websites only)
Every website’s physical files live on a server somewhere. This is called “hosting”. You can save yourself a lot of time, headaches, and risk by choosing a safe, reliable web hosting provider. For WordPress websites, Flywheel is the service I use and highly recommend. I’ve tried several providers over the years and Flywheel is my top pick for small businesses. Flywheel is specifically designed for WordPress sites and has specific bells and whistles that make it super easy to manage your WordPress site. One of my favorite features is that the Flywheel team will migrate (transfer) your site for free from your previous hosting company.
Need to purchase your domain name? Namecheap is the cheaper alternative to GoDaddy! Best of all, Namecheap includes Privacy Protection for free which will hide your personal information from spammers and scammers! With prices starting at just $0.88, you can’t go wrong.
Namecheap is usually half the price than GoDaddy (avg. $8.88/yr)
My favorite feature – they include Privacy Protection for free!
Citation Services (for Business Directory Listings)
BrightLocal’s platform provides several SEO tools for small businesses. But I recommend it primarily for their Citation Builder service. Listings start at a one-time cost of $2 per directory. You purchase listings in packs of 10, 15, 25, 30, 50 and 75. All listings are manually created by real people, unlike other popular services like Yext that automate the process. BrightLocal is very good about communicating notes within the platform throughout the process as well as providing login credentials for the listings. Other tools available on the platform include a ranking tracker, reputation management, and SEO audit tools.
Tracking & Reporting Tools
CallRail (for tracking phone calls)
CallRail is one of my favorite tools for tracking online marketing efforts. CallRail allows you to track where the phone calls to your business are coming from, eg. Google organic, Google My Business, ads, Facebook, and more, using virtual tracking numbers. How it works: Within CallRail, you create tracking numbers that will forward directly to your main number (or whichever phone number you choose). Next, you place a small piece of code on your website which then swaps the main phone number listed on your website to the CallRail tracking number when someone visits your website from Google organic, Google My Business, ads, Facebook, etc. You can also create and place tracking numbers on other assets you’d like to track like Google My Business and Bing Places. Plans start at $45/month and gets you 10 numbers and 500 minutes.
Site Speed Improvement
WP Rocket (WordPress plugin)
Website page speed is a crucial SEO factor. You should aim to have your website load in under 2.5 seconds. If your website is running on WordPress, then I highly recommend the plugin WP Rocket. This plugin handles all the technical complexities of page “caching” and can cut down on loading time by 50%. Just install the plugin and watch as your page speeds improve within minutes!
Reputation Management (for Online Reviews)
After trying several tools for managing online reviews, I’ve landed on GatherUp. First off, the price is right – starting at $75 per month, per location. GatherUp allows you to send automatic (and fully customizable) email sequences to your customers requesting their review on Google, or whichever platform you prefer (Facebook, Houzz, Zocdoc, etc). GatherUp is a reputation management platform that makes it easy to keep your online reviews updated and organized. GatherUp offers a custom setup with all necessary integrations allowing you to monitor the success of campaigns at a glance and use free analytics from within the platform.