I’ve been in the digital space for quite some time and in many different roles. During that time I’ve worked with countless vendors, some were great, some nearly caused me to slam my head through my display. I’ll write about the great ones here and update this post as I experience new services that really stand out, or if some of my old recommendations stop living up to my hype.
Note: Some of these providers may have affiliate programs. When they do, I’ll use an affiliate link so I can make a couple extra bucks. I use all recommended services personally.
What do you need help with?
CRM & Business Apps
Digital Photo Delivery
G Suite by Google (coming soon!)
Managing Workflow (coming soon!)
Better Small Business Accounting (coming soon!)
Email Autoresponders (coming soon!)
Host Your Website with SiteGround
I’ve experimented with hosting companies for the last 10 years. And for the past three straight years, I’ve hosted all my sites and client sites with SiteGround. Here’s why:
- Very solid and quick customer support (available via phone, chat, or ticket 24×7)
- My sites stay up all the time – unless I break something 🙂
- Even their inexpensive shared hosting is very FAST
- Free SSL certificates (this is a must for all sites now and most hosts charge extra every year for an SSL)
- They have a bunch of user-friendly tools that empower non-developers to manage an account
I recommend going with the “Go Geek” package as it utilizes more powerful servers that will help your site be as fast as possible. This is particularly important with sites that contain a lot of images, like a photography site! If that plan is out of your budget, the other options are still leaps and bounds ahead of the competition.
Due to S’more Brands’ internal processes and the speed at which we need to work to get your project live in about a day, we require all new websites we launch during a Brand Camp to host through SiteGround.
Manage All Aspects of Your Business with Zoho One
I’m going to write up a full post about this service at some point because they have truly blown me away. They offer a suite of software that handles:
- CRM – Customer Relationship Management software to keep your sales process organized
- Accounting and Invoicing – get paid online by your clients instantly and track business finances
- Electronic Signatures – Get your contracts signed online, easy and fast
- Website Chat – Integrate a chat box in your website and speak with leads instantly
- Email – A really good web email client that integrates with the other apps
Those are just a sample of the apps in the Zoho One Suite which I use every day. But the package comes with over 40 apps! It’s really the one single subscription you need to run and automate everything in your business.
The best part? It’s $35 per user to get the enterprise version of ALL the apps. This has literally saved me thousands of dollars over the past year, and I have more capabilities than I did when I pieced together the same functionality from a bunch of different companies.
Now before you run out and sign up, there’s one potentially big downside to the service. It’s technical. Nothing too crazy, but particularly with the CRM and how customizable it is, there’s a learning curve for sure. So if you’re confident using a computer in general, maybe creating filters in your email account or something like that, then you should be fine. If these things intimidate you, you could be in for some unnecessary frustration.
Zoho is running a free trial on this service, so you can always sign up and see how you like it.
Deliver Photos Beautifully and Efficiently with Pixieset
This recommendation is an exception because I don’t use it personally. However, I have spent a good amount of time on the platform and have come to appreciate what it can do.
Pixieset is a platform that allows you “to share, deliver, proof and sell online.” If you’re not using a similar platform that you’re happy with, I highly recommend taking a close look at this service.
I appreciate the clean and minimal design aesthetic, which really lets your photos take center stage. They’ve also built in quite a bit of functionality in a way that isn’t distracting or complicated. It makes it easy for your clients to download their images once you share them, order prints or books, or share images on social media.
I always recommend getting your hands out of as many aspects of your business as you can, such as ordering prints. Why not just let your clients do it themselves after you set the pricing? If you’re on another platform that you’re not excited about, Pixieset has migration plans available so you can take your albums with you.
Now Go Automate Some Stuff!
I hope this list has been helpful. I’ll be keeping it updated as I discover new ways to automate your business, make things better or faster, and keep things organized. If you have a photography resource you can’t live without, share it in the comments!