5 Tools I Recommend To Start Your Small Business Website

Hey there, I’m Tyler and welcome to my get started page. Chances are we’ve already talked and I suggested you start here for your website.

Before I can move forward with designing your website, we’ll need to:

  1. Register Your Website Name
  2. Setup a Space For Your Website

If you’re ready to start, you can click the links above to register your website name with NameCheap, and get the entry-level hosting plan (called “Start-Up”) with SiteGround.

The total cost should be $12 per year for your website name, and $36 for the first year of your website’s space/rent. Remember to write down or save your login information so I can connect the two for you and start designing your site.

If you’d like to learn more about what these services are and why I recommend them, click the links below.

Necessary Services for a Website:

  1. Domain Registration (Website Name)
  2. Hosting (Website Rent)

Other Useful Services:

If you have any questions about anything, please reach out to me via tyler@tylerziton.com or (512) 541-7719.
Thank you.

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Probably Don’t Do Everything Yourself

When I started my first online business in 2020, all I had to focus on was writing decent articles with a bit of SEO. Today, that’s no longer enough. Maybe it’s from increased competition, or some other reason, but the reality is as small business owners, we have to wear many hats.

For example, take my website design business.

While I can get decent results by only doing design work, to grow the business, I’m required to be a:

  • Facebook Manager
  • YouTube Creator
  • Article Writer
  • Technical Support Agent
  • Email Marketer
  • Customer Service Rep
  • Course Creator
  • Employee Trainer

I say this not to overwhelm you, but to encourage you to offset as many of these as you can to affordable services.

In the beginning, I tried doing everything myself (sometimes I still fall into that trap). But today, I take a hard look at the time I spend on tasks and the amount of money it would take to get it off my plate.

If I don’t enjoy a task, and simplifying or outsourcing it costs less than I make per hour, I’m handing it off.

If I can save 10 hours a month from sorting through emails and replying to customers by only spending $20, you bet I’m on board.

For example, instead of managing and losing customer emails in your basic mail application, use a dedicated customer support app, such as HelpScout (more about them later).

Help Scout Screenshot from my business
The HelpScout dashboard for my garden website.

Generally, I’m a fairly frugal person, and I like to commonly check that I’m receiving the best value for my money. Because of this, I’m always looking out for affordable tools that get the job done and are worth the cost. Even if that means replacing one of my tools with a more affordable, better alternative.

After 4 years and 3 million+ website visitors, I’ve come across and used some of the best tools to automate and expand a business online. Below is a list of the tools that have exceeded my expectations and I continue to use to this day. I don’t recommend products or services that have given me a bad experience.

Domain Registration (NameCheap)

namecheap screenshot
Image credit: namecheap.com

Domain registration, or registering your website’s name/address, is already super cheap (averaging around $12/year per website). However, some companies charge you for extras such as privacy protection, SSL, and more.

I’ve found that good domain companies include these services at no additional cost.

For years, I used Google Domains as my provider, but as of late 2023, they recently were bought out by SquareSpace.

Today, I use and recommend NameCheap. I first heard of them in the passive income group I’m in (FatStacks, more on them later). NameCheap has provided me with great service at the best price.

If you’re just getting started with your website, go ahead and come up with a website address and check NameCheap to see if it’s available and purchase it if you’d like it. If you need help with your name, feel free to contact me and I’ll give you a few tips.

If you’re working with me on your website design, remember to write down or save your login information for NameCheap so I can connect it to your host.

Hosting (SiteGround)

siteground screenshot
Image Source: SiteGround.com

Hosting, or paying for the “rent” of your website space, can cost several hundred dollars a year or more.

I’ve found affordable and reliable hosting options typically cost about $36 for the first year, and between $150 and $250 per year after.

custom website hosting comparison graphic

Recommended: How Much Does Website Hosting Cost in 2023?

However, if you manage multiple websites, you can get bulk hosting for cheaper. For example, I have a 15-website plan with WPX for about $400 per year, or about $2 per month per site.

While this may sound expensive at first, paying $36 for the first year to get your business online will likely more than pay for itself.

For many businesses, you only need to get one client from your website before it pays for itself.

Here are the hosts I use and recommend. To learn more, you can see my post on website hosting and prices.

Top Overall PickSiteGround– Best balance of price and performance
– Excellent customer service
– Reliable and beginner-friendly
Best Budget OptionBluehost– Most affordable without compromising too much on quality
– Good tools for WordPress beginners
– Popular and well-established
Premium ChoiceBigScoots– High-end performance and service
– Personalized attention and support
– Best for businesses wanting the extra edge
Note: while I started with Bluehost and they have the best price, I don’t recommend their support or service. For me (and my clients who had them), the headache isn’t worth saving a couple of bucks a month.

For newer websites, I recommend using SiteGround. For websites that are getting over 100,000 visitors per month, I recommend using BigScoots (I have two sites hosted with them).

If you’re working with me on your website design, go ahead and buy the entry-level plan (called “Start-Up”) with SiteGround. It should be $36 for the first year, which is the best price I’ve found out there. Remember to write down or save the login information so I can access and design your site. As always, contact me with any questions.

Customer Support (HelpScout)

Help Scout Screenshot from my business
The HelpScout dashboard for my garden website.

With a customer support app (such as HelpScout), it’s easy to set up spam filters and have a nice, clean dashboard to manage your customer emails.

When I had a 9-5, I managed customer emails through Zendesk (another customer support app) for 4 years. While it had good functionality, their prices are too high for me and I actually prefer HelpScout now.

I only pay HelpScout $25/month and it’s incredibly worth it not to have customer service be a major headache anymore. You can even have template replies for the basic questions you commonly receive and a chat bubble for your website (super easy to set up).

Here are some of the features I use and love with HelpScout:

  • Organized Customer Emails
  • Chat Widget for Your Website
  • Automated Replies
  • Template Replies
  • Knowledge Base
  • Spam Filters

As a best practice, I try to get back to my customer emails in HelpScout within 24 hours.

Email Marketing (ConvertKit)

Convertkit screenshot from my garden website
My garden website averages 200-300 new email subscribers per month during fall and winter, and 500+ email subscribers during the springtime. ConvertKit makes it simple to manage everything.

Oh man, email marketing was one of the biggest obstacles for me when I first started. Not only did I have to learn how to write emails for my audience, but I also had to worry about how to set up email forms, automated replies, and drip campaigns.

While these features aren’t necessary, it is nice to “drip” 10 emails over the course of 2 months to new customers, without any extra work. If done right, you can establish your brand while pitching a product or service to your audience.

I’ve tried MailChimp, Flodesk, and a few other email marketing providers. They weren’t for me. Then, I saw other online business owners in my space mention ConvertKit over, and over, and over again.

So, I gave them a try and found their platform is super easy to use and their service was great. The only con for me was/is cost.

For example, with my garden website, I have about 5,000 email subscribers and pay around $85/month. However, after some initial work, 90% of my email marketing is done and I can focus on other parts of the business.

To me, staying in semi-automatic contact with 5,000 potential customers (and converting some of them into paying customers) is worth the cost.

Passive Income (FatStacks)

I first learned how to generate passive income from Income School. They taught me how to build niche sites and write articles to get traffic from Google. However, I no longer recommend Income School as their quality and support have significantly dropped.

Today, I recommend FatStacks to get courses on successful strategies for SEO, Facebook, Pinterest, and more. Jon is the creator and makes over $100,000 per month from his websites. I’m personally nowhere near him, but have achieved between $4,000-$7,000 per month in passive income from my websites.

Here are the systems taught in the course.

  • Niche Sites
  • SEO
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • E-Commerce (Experts in the Forum)

While I found these courses to be a great starting place, the FatStacks forum is worth the cost alone, as it’s full of people making thousands, tens of thousands, and even hundreds of thousands per month. The ability to learn from their posts as well as commenting and messaging them is priceless for me.

The FatStacks forum is the primary place where I’m learning and sharing new strategies for what’s working for online businesses. These kind of insights grow more important every day as algorithms such as Google, Facebook, and Pinterest are constantly changing.

If you end up joining, say hi to me in the forum!