11 Jun 2019

How to Choose a Web Design Service in 2019

Starting a website is both exciting and quite daunting in an age when there is so much to choose from. Realistically you have a few choices – use a website builder, use a content management tool like WordPress or make a website from scratch.

Each option has it’s pros and cons. However, what is true in all cases is the fact that your online image can make or break your business.

Selecting the best website and design service

Selecting a website and design service that suits your own business requirements is a must (if you decide to go down that route). When it comes to choosing a website design and development firm, you’ll need to decide whether you want a full stack end-to-end digital agency, or a focused design and development team. Also your budget will make a BIG difference in who you can choose.

There are thousands of web design companies to choose from if you decide to go down the bespoke website build route. They can either start from scratch or use a CMS like WordPress and build your website inside that framework. With WordPress you have the choice of creating a new theme, or if you’re not a fan of reinventing the wheel, you can easily choose a professional theme from somewhere like Themeforest.

PRO TIP: If you are going to have your web designer create your website on your behalf then consult with them before putting any money down on themes or frameworks.

When looking around for a UK based web design company all of the top 10 lists had US companies on them (instead of UK ones) which is frustrating as some of the companies (like Hibu) look great but don’t serve companies outside the USA. I’ve made sure to list some of the best website design and marketing companies inside the UK.

What Qualifies THE BEST Website & Design Service?

The best website and design service needs to be measured on a few criteria. Certainly their portfolio and key (famous) clients are important, however we feel that there are a few things you need to look out for. Before diving into our top 10 UK web design services, let’s go over the criteria.

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1. Look Out For Awards

Web design companies must first and foremost have great design abilities and have won some awards. The top web awards include:

. Horizon Interactive Awards
. The Webby Awards
. The Interactive Media Awards

There are also a wealth of National Awards that are too many to mention.

1. Look Out For Awards

Web design companies must first and foremost have great design abilities and have won some awards. The top web awards include:

. Horizon Interactive Awards
. The Webby Awards
. The Interactive Media Awards

There are also a wealth of National Awards that are too many to mention.

2. A Key Focus on Innovation

Every year there are giant leaps forward in technology and the online space. Most recently the vast numbers of people using smartphones to view websites has altered web design and development.  Therefore your website design company must be keeping up with the latest trends.  An innovative technology company is continually disrupting and innovating.

Make sure that your chosen web design service offers responsive website design – meaning a website design that works well on mobile phones.  Web design and development companies need to keep ahead of the latest trends and changes to ensure that their clients websites are kept up to date.

3. Wide Portfolio of Work

A web design company normally works in a wide range of industries. However, there are some industry specific companies that might have more insight in your particular industry.  In general, we are looking for companies that serve a broad range of niches. A web design company is more likely to be able to meet the demands of your project if they have a strong and versatile portfolio of work.

4. Wide Range of Digital Services

In 2019 a web design company is expected to do more than simply web design. The best companies are offering full stack digital development in all areas of marketing, design and brand positioning.

5. Satisfied Customers

The best web design companies need to prove that their customers are happy with the service. Web design companies should have top tier clientele from well-known brands, a wide range of great feedback and some long standing accounts.

6. Expansion

Company growth and expansion is a key indicator of success. How many offices do they have? How many staff do they employ? Additionally the best web design and development companies need to be growing in revenue.

When looking for the best web design companies in the industry these are a few things to take into consideration.

Innovify UK

BEST FOR – Back end systems development / end to end project management

Innovify “Innovate. disrupt. transform” is a web design company with offices in nine locations all around the world, from London to Dubai. Founded in Sept 2011 in London, UK – Innovify have a wealth of experience in all aspects of digital project development.  The most well-known clients of Innovify are Nokia, BBC and HSBC to name but a few of their famous customers. They offer end-to-end digital project management to bring any idea to life.

Innovify tick all of the boxes of our 6 key factors the make the best web design and development companies. They have a large team, a key focus on innovation, some impressive clients and an expansive portfolio of work.

  • Average Project Cost: $25,000
  • Team size: 50 – 249
Pros

✔ London, UK based

✔ All areas of digital product development covered from websites to apps

✔ Award-winning agile and scrum teams

✔ Growth hacking solutions

✔ No project too big or too small

✔ Reasonable pricing

✔ Clear workflow

✔ Award-winning app development

Cons

✘ Need to call to get an indication of price

FatMedia

BEST FOR – Social media marketing web design

FatMedia is a UK award winning digital marketing company with an inhouse team of 100+ experts. They were founded in 2005, so if you’re looking for an experienced yet innovative web provider in the UK then Fat Media are a contender. Based in Lancaster, UK – FatMedia work with both national and international clients and are known as a full stack digital marketing agency. As well as winning a tone of awards such as the BigChip 2013 award winner, they are accredited by Bing and Google.

Fat Media provide the full gamut of online digital services from PR and digital marketing to hosting and Branding. They also have some great customer testimonials on their website. Key client accounts include Warburtons and Yotel.

  • Team size – 100+
Pros

✔ Award winning agency

✔ Full stack digital agency, get all of your digital marketing done in one place

Cons

 ✘ Site is a little bit slow

B-Reel

BEST FOR – High-end digital projects

Founded way back in 1999 by Anders Wahlquist in Sweden, B-Reel is an impressive award winning digital product and strategy lab. They are the force behind the award winning Google Earth Studio. B-reel has 5 offices in total in Stockholm, NYC, London, LA and Barcelona.B-reel is keeping ahead of trends by shaping a modern approach to brand strategy. They have some impressive long term partners such as H&M Nike and Netflix. B-reel are the people to go to for high-end digital technology projects and their revenue is said to be $46.4 million.

  • Team size – 150+

Codecomputerlove.com

BEST FOR – World class digital experience creation

Code or Codecomputerlove.com is an impressive and expanding Digital Agency founded in 1999. Their UK offices are in Manchester however they are owned by MediaCom in the USA. Way more than a simple web design company Code works on all aspects of digital business development from strategic planning to branding. Their key focus is on building “brilliant digital products”. They create “future proof” digital products in a wide range of areas including Agile team management and leadership and high-quality software engineering.

  • Team size – 51-200
Pros

✔ Award winning

✔ Innovative and expanding team

Cons

 ✘ Not for small businesses

Critical Mass

BEST FOR – Long establishment marketing agency

Critical Mass was founded in 1996 and now has an anual revenue of £500million per year. Although their headquarters are in Calgary, Canada they also have offices around the world including London, UK. Criticalmass.com is a multi-award winning digital agency who has served massive companies such as Apple, BMW and McDonalds.

  • Team size – 950+
Pros

✔ Multi-award winning

✔ Innovative and expanding team

Cons

✘ Not for small businesses

CSI Media

BEST FOR BEING – Family run digital agency

CSI Media is a web design and development company based in Cheshire, UK. They have served some big clients such as Dell and Citroen. Founded in 1998 by a father, son and friend team – CSI Media has expanded into a team of 32.They also offer some digital marketing services, design and app development.

CSI Media began by creating travel websites and now specialize in hospitality and leisure projects for small to medium sized companies.

  • Average project cost $10,000
  • Team size – 32
Pros

✔ Small tight knit family team

✔ Experienced team of professionals

✔ Best for – cost effective website design

Kingslun

BEST FOR – Smaller website specific projects

Kingslun is a Website design agency founded in 2018 in Leicester, UK. They have a key focus more on the website side of digital technologies. Kingslun is a newer web design company that offers website design services with a lean toward the design rather than the features. They also offer a few other services like PPC and SEO to get people over to your place on the web.

  • Average project cost $1,000
  • Team size – 2-9
Pros

✔ Online chat

✔ Small projects catered for

Cons

✘ Don’t offer marketing or complex back end app development

Together

BEST FOR – Tech start ups

Together is a London based web design agency founded in 2018. Together works with companies on their online brand placement as well as offering key services like copywriting and web design. They have a key focus on the mobile user experience and will work with you to create a UX strategy, imperative in the current online marketplace. Together has worked with relatively few large brands but Hewlett Packard Enterprise stands out as a key account. Their key focus as a company is web design with minor focus in other areas like UX design and branding.

  • Average project cost $10,000
  • Team size – 2-9
Pros

✔ Offer complementary services like copywriting

✔ Web design specialists

Cons

✘ Haven’t worked with many massive brands

Bird Marketing Limited

Bird Marketing Limited is a London based digital agency founded in 2010. They offer three services – PPC, SEO and website design.  They have a focus on return on investment (ROI), so you’d be sure to get a nice website from them.

  • Average project cost $10,000
  • Team size – 10-49
Pros

✔ Established for 9 years

✔ ROI is a key focus

✔ Extensive knowledge in key areas

Cons

✘ No focus on innovation

✘ No marketing services offered

Tech ICS

Tech ICS unique selling point is innovation – which is perfect for a web design and development company. They also offer branding and digital marketing as well as videography services.

  • Average project cost – Price match offered, start at $200
  • Team size – 10-49
Pros

✔ Cheap prices

Cons

✘ Work outsourced to Bangladesh

What About Using a Website Builder Instead?

It is really easy to get started in the online space with a web builder. A lot of them are more sophisticated and anyone can use them to build a website, even directly from your mobile phone.  Let’s ook at the Pros and Cons of a Website Builder…

Pros

✔ Great for the beginner

✔ No coding required

✔ Cheap

✔ Quick

✔ Themes provided

✔ Update website from mobile phone

Cons

✘ Not very scalable

✘ Not as much control

✘ Design restrictions

✘ Feature restrictions

In Summary

There are far too many web design companies to choose from. A lot of them are full stack marketing companies that serve huge organisations. The smaller companies tend to lack scope and experience, so it might be an idea, if you’re looking to keep costs down to go for a website builder or a one-click installation on a web host until you find your feet in the digital world.

There are some companies that can create your online brand and presence for under $500 however, that is fairly rare. A more comprehensive full-stack company that can create your whole marketing plan is certainly favourable.

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11 Jun 2019

14 Best Photography Website Hosting Sites in 2019

To succeed in any industry in 2019, you’ll need a professional online presence.  A business web site is still required in this social media-driven age, especially if you’re looking to stand out as a professional photographer.

Sharing your photographs and style is paramount to getting photography work and selling your prints. However, most Photographers don’t have time to learn all of the ins and outs of technology and hosting.

In this article, we’ll be doing the legwork for you, and reviewing 14 of the best photography sites that will make you stand out from the crowd.

Having a professional online store or portfolio allows your work to spread globally, as people no longer need to meet you in person to see your work. If you sell prints, then that can be done easily with all of the photography hosting sites that I’ll review.

To decipher the very best solutions for photographers in 2019 we’ll look at:

1. Ease of use

2. Price range

3. Storage capacity

4. Photography themes

5. Gallery options

6. Photographer tools (like client proofing)

1. Pixpa ($6/month)

BEST FOR – end-to-end management for photographers

Pixpa is an exciting end-to-end business platform that is perfect or Photographers. Pixpa is specifically designed for creatives to share their portfolio and manage their business. With Pixpa you can share your images, create a blog and store client proofs all in one place, making it an ideal solution for Photographers.

Clients can view proofs and purchase images directly from your Pixpa website. What’s more you can sell your images as downloads, so that you don’t even have to do anything to make money once you have uploaded your images. Client galleries are available for you to create specific apps for your clients.  Basically, Pixpa has everything that you need to run your creative empire, hence it is top of our list!

Packages & Pricing

Pixpa offer 2 distinct packages. The first plan is called “Start” and is just $6 per month. With the start package you get everything you will need to get started – including themes, 200 images, unlimited galleries and unlimited gallery apps. If you find yourself running out of space then you can upload to the “Grow” Plan for an extra $3 per month, which will allow you to upload unlimited images.

Click Here To Visit Pixpa

Pros

✔ 15 day free trial

✔ Create personalized photo galleries

✔ Mobile gallery apps

✔ Flexible and scalable

✔ Enough space for a large number of original images

✔ Manage access rights for collections

✔ Price lists

✔ No commission on sales

✔ SSL certificate

✔ Integrated e-commerce features

✔ Connect your domain name

Cons

✘ Everything hosted on Pixpa, which could pose problems if you rely on their site for everything

2. Wix (FREE)

BEST FOR – Beginners

As a creator, you’ll want to your website to showcase your work in the best light. Wix is top of our list as it is so easy to use (even for complete beginners with no technical experience) and offers some nice themes, designed to showcase a portfolio of artistic work. I love the fact that you can upload your work to a private gallery with Wix. This will come in handy if you want to reveal your work to a select group of people. Additionally you can use the link to show to a prospective client or gallery.

Recommended: Check out our full Wix review here

You can choose from 40 Photography templates from Food or Fashion Photography to Wedding Photography.  “Wix Pro Gallery” is free and really easy to add to any of the templates on Wix. it has nine layout options and allows you to upload thousands of photos and even videos. Your visitor can hit the heart icon to let you know what photos they like best. There is built in image control where you can control the quality of your images and more…

Packages & Pricing

If you’re looking to accept online payments and sell your work through your Wix website then you’ll want to upgrade to one of the ecommerce plans. The main difference with the three ecommerce packages from Wix is the amount of disk space that you get. You also get a professional logo with the higher tier plan.

Click Here To Visit Wix

Pros

 Get started for free

✔ Paid plans have a 14 day money back guarantee

✔ Create a website from your mobile device

✔ Fully customizable templates

✔ Over 40 Photography templates to choose from

✔ Easy to use drag and drop interface

✔ Paid plans offer a free domain name

✔ Signup in seconds with your Facebook account

✔ Photography specific templates

✔ Up to $300-worth of ad credits

✔ Access to 1,000s of templates and additional tools in the App Market

Cons

✘ Advert supported, so your FREE Wix website will have adverts

✘ Just 500 MB disk space and 20 GB Transfer for free account

3. Hostinger ($1/ month)

BEST FOR – People who have some technical ability

Hostinger has everything you need to set up a professional Photography website. Best of all, they are currently offering shared hosting for just $1 per month, where you can host 1 website, 1 email account, you get 100GB of bandwidth. That is more than enough space to host 1000’s of images.

Read our full Hostinger review here

Packages & Pricing

If you are comfortable with the ins and outs of web hosting, then Hostinger could be for you. With Hostinger you are in control as your website will be hosted on your own server. The prices are also considerably lower than most of the site builder based Photography hosting. Hostinger also have a free web builder tool and you get 10GB of server space to store your images. If you want to upgrade to get some more space, host unlimited websites and snag a free domain, you can do so for just $3.50.

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Pros

✔ Cheap and professional

✔ Easy Web builder

✔ 99.9% Uptime Guarantee

✔ 24/7 Live support

✔ Easy to use control panel

✔ 30-day money back guarantee

Cons

 ✘ Need to be comfortable with being in control of all aspects of your website

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4. A2 Hosting ($3.99/month)

BEST FOR – A more hands on approach to designing and creating your Photography website

One reason that A2 Hosting is great for photographers is that they offer a Turbo Hosting option that is 20x faster than other hosting providers. A2 Hosting offer several high powered 1-click solutions for Image hosting including: Piwigo, TinyWebGallery, Coppermine, Chevereto and Lychee. Each option has its own USP and can be installed on A2 Hosting in seconds. They also have a custom Gallery option that allows you to upload images, create albums and watermarks.

Packages & Pricing

From just $3.99 you can get Gallery Hosting from A2 Hosting that is perfect for Photographers.

Pros

✔ Free HackScan Protection

✔ (DDoS) Protection

✔ Turbo Hosting

✔ 99.9% Uptime Commitment

✔ 24/7/365 Guru Crew Support

Cons

✘ For the more advanced tech savvy user

5. Weebly (FREE)

BEST FOR – Complete beginners

Another great web builder that has massive appeal to Photographers is Weebly.  Just like Wix, Weebly is fantastic for people with limited technical ability when it comes to creating websites. Weebly has a fantastic built in e-commerce solution that allows you to easily sell your photographs directly from your website.

Weebly’s drag and drop website creator is really easy to use to customize your website exactly the way you want it The stats dashboard allows you to see your visitors and overview your website. Weebly offers both free and paid options, so you can get started today with nothing down and only pay when you publish or require extra resources.

Recommended: See how Weebly stacks up against Wix

Packages & Pricing

You can get started on Weebly for free, however if you require additional resources or features then you can upgrade. There are quite a few options when it comes to upgrading inside Weebly. They have plans at $8, $12, $25 and $38 per month. You get nice $100 worth of Google Ad credit with all of their plans.

Pros

✔ Update website from your phone

✔ Sell your photos

✔ Professional themes

✔ 30 day money back guarantee

✔ 500MB to unlimited storage space (depending on the package you select)

✔ Change your template when live

✔ Clean and simple templates

✔ Perfect for beginners

✔ $100 Google ad credit

Cons

✘ Limited add-ons

✘ Restricted flexibility

6. BoldGrid ($4.99/Month)

BEST FOR – Photographers who want to use WordPress but don’t know how

BoldGrid is owned by InMotion hosting. Designed to make the whole process of creating a WordPress website easier, Boldgrid has some nice solutions that suit Photographers. For example they have hundreds of themes to choose from with a multitude of WordPress plugins that give your website added functionality.

It’s easy to set up your portfolio over on Boldgrid, which is one of the reasons they made it into our top 14 list. Boldgrid offer some great features such as automatic backups, which means that your website and photos will always be safely stored as a backup (in case anything goes wrong with your website, or it gets hacked). With Boldgrid you can simply drag and drop features rather than getting into the whole WordPress development side of things.

Packages & Pricing

You can try out Boldgrid for free (with limited features). If you decide that Boldgrid is for you then they offer one upgrade option – an annual plan at $60 per year.

Pros

✔ Great for beginners

✔ Drag-and-drop, WYSIWYG editing

✔ 200+ FREE wordpress themes

✔ 90 day money back guarantee

✔ Automatic Backups

Cons

✘ No photographer specific tools

✘ Just one upgrade option

7. Squarespace ($38/month)

BEST FOR – Complete beginners

If you are looking to create a blog and a portfolio to showcase your Photography work then Squarespace is a great option. Squarespace has a great easy to use drag and drop web builder that allows you to create galleries in no time. They also have a very helpful customer support department if you should get stuck at any point.

There are a few other features that are perfectly suited for creatives, for example Squarespace offer a free portfolio app to showcase your work and allow clients to view your gallery. Additionally you can arrange openings and shows via the event features.

Packages & Pricing

It’s a good idea to get started with the Squarespace free trial, where you’ll get two weeks to try everything out. If you are looking to upgrade then the ecommerce pricing is pretty expensive at $38 per month.

Pros

✔ 24/7 Customer support

✔ Free portfolio app

✔ 14 Day Free trial available

✔ Mobile ready pages

✔ Full screen slide shows

✔ Light box feature

✔ Cropping feature

✔ Clean templates

Cons

✘ Expensive

8. 500px (FREE)

BEST FOR – Connecting with other photographers, access an existing Photographer community

500px is an exciting social network of Photographers. More than 15million Photographers are on 500px collaborating and sharing their work.  As with most social media channels you get your own feed, where you can share your work with the 500px community. 500px has an online marketplace much like the Facebook marketplace where photographers can exhibit and sell their work.

Packages & Pricing

500px is an ad supported community. However, you can upgrade to view the community feed without adverts. Additionally you get unlimited uploads. There are two options (both billed annually) – “Awesome” and “Pro”.

Awesome is $3.99 per month ($47.88 per year) and gets you in depth statistics, unlimited uploads and ad free browsing. Pro is $5.99 per month ($71.88 per year) and gets you everything in the “Awesome” package plus priority listings and a customizable profile.

Pros

✔ Free account creation

✔ Limited uploads on free account

✔ Get started instantly

✔ People to communicate with and share your work

✔ Apps for iPhone and Google Play

✔ Keep up to date with the photography industry

Cons

✘ People outside 500px can’t see your feed inside the community

✘ Ad supported

✘ Not as professional as a website

9. Zenfolio ($5/month)

BEST FOR – Great for – end-to-end digital Photography business tools

Zenfolio is voted No.1 by Photographers as they have tailored the whole business around the needs of the Photographer, offering everything from unlimited photo storage to selling photo sessions. You can get started for free and create the perfect digital space to advertise your Phototgraphy services. You can create a stunning Photography website within minutes with Zenfolio. There is no need to think about running out of storage space with Zenfolio as you can upload unlimited images with the paid plans.

Packages & Pricing

There are three packages to choose from – Starter, Pro and Advanced. All of the packages feature unlimited image storage. However, if you are looking to integrate your Paypal account and accept payments, then Pro will be the package for you. Pro is $20 and offers all of the features you’ll need to run a professional Photography business. The advanced option is for those that have a growing business. You can also pay annually to save money.

Pros

✔ Created just for Photographers

✔ Unlimited image upload

✔ Create your website in minutes

✔ Partnership with top printing companies

✔ Cost effective

✔ Pay annually or monthly

Cons

✘ Chat and email support only for highest tier membership

10. Shopify ($29/month)

BEST FOR –  People who don’t need the additional Photography business tools and are more focused on the ecommerce platform

Shopify might not be the first Photography website host that springs to mind, but it is one of the best ecommerce hosting companies. Many art galleries rely on Shopify to showcase and sell artwork, so it seemed fitting to add it to our list of great Photography hosting websites.

With Shopify you can add on a great deal of features to help you promote your store, for example promo codes. On the Shopify website you can browse successful art and photography stores to assess how you could benefit from creating a Photography store with Shopify.

Packages & Pricing

The “Basic Shopify Store is $29/month, which is 6x the price of many of the other basic photography sites. However, many restrict access to ecommerce in their lower packages. With all of the Shopify stores you’ll benefit from unlimited product listings. The only thing you’ll be missing out on, that are offered at the higher levels of service are reports and gift cards. Shopify also offers a “Shopify Lite” plan that allows you to sell directly on Facebook or your own blog for just $9 per month.

Pros

✔ 14 Day FREE trial

✔ No credit card needed for free trial

✔ Professional ecommerce stores are easy to set up

✔ 24/7 customer support

✔ Process payments directly from Shopify

Cons

✘ Lacks advanced Photographer tools like proofing and gallery apps

✘ Very expensive

✘ Commission added to purchases

11. Format ($6 per month)

BEST FOR – Portfolio websites

Format is a website builder that has been created specifically for portfolio websites, such as a professional Photographer’s website. You can use your own domain name, and Format will even help you set that up.  Format offers a complete end to end solution for Photographers with some great support and features like eCommerce being available on all plans.

Packages & Pricing

You can get started with Format for free. You don’t even need to provide your credit card details, which is awesome. The free trial lasts 14 days, which should be more than enough time to figure out if Format is the web builder solution for you. The paid packages start at just $6/ month for their “Enthusiast” package. Here you can upload up to 100 images, if you want to upload unlimited products with Format that will cost you $25.

Pros

✔ Can pay monthly

✔ 14 day free trial

✔ No credit card required for free trial

✔ Pricing is reasonable

✔ Sell directly from your website

✔ Proofing feature

✔ Collection of responsive themes

✔ Flexibility to change plan

✔ 24/7 support

✔ Blogging support

Cons

✘ Slightly more expensive than other portfolio website builders

12. SmugMug ($5.99)

BEST FOR – Beginners that want to get started with a  free trial

Smugmug offers completely customizable image websites that are perfect for Photographers. They provide an easy to use drag and drop site editor. You can also customize your site to match your brand. However, these features are restricted to the higher price bands. You can get started with Smugmug for free with their 14 day free trial.

Packages & Pricing

SmugMug plans are a bit more expensive than the others on the list, however they do allow unlimited image uploads on all of their plans.  The basic plan is $5.99 per month, however you can’t sell images with that plan. The Pro plan offers client tools to help you run your whole enterprise.

Pros

✔ 14 Day free trial

✔ Great for beginners

✔ No credit card required

✔ Features created specifically for photographers

✔ 24/7 customer support

Cons

✘ You can only sell your images on their more expensive plans

✘ Prices displayed exclude VAT

13. Photodeck ($12/month)

BEST FOR – Fast SEO friendly photography galleries

Photodeck has optimized their websites for SEO and speed, a very basic but clean approach to presenting your Photography portfolio. They also offer hundreds of easy to use customization features so that you can showcase your photos and videos exactly as you want, in line with your brand. They also have a private gallery feature.

Packages & Pricing

Photodeck is a lot more expensive than the other websites that we have covered so far. However, their USP is the SEO and server performance. The starter package rom Photodeck is called “Essential” and costs $12 per month. With this package you are restricted in terms of the amount of images and videos you can upload (just 3 video clips).

For the professional Photograper their “Business” plan is $45 per month. If you’re looking to sell photos directly from your site, the you’ll need to go for the “Standard” ($25/month) or “Business” packages.

Pros

✔ Average load time 20ms

✔ Zero commission eCommerce stores

✔ 14 day free trial

✔ Mobile friendly

✔ Pay monthly or yearly

✔ No contracts, cancel any time

Cons

✘ Expensive

✘ Limited storage on low plan

14. Photoshelter ($10/month)

BEST FOR – Full stack Photography tools

Photoshelter is an all in one business solution for photographers. They provide a wide range of features from galleries to client proofing tools to save you time and effort. Currently Photoshelter supports 80,000 with their online tools and websites, showcasing some 400 million images, impressive. They offer a wide range of features, including proofing tool, mobile app, social sharing and image licensing.

Packages & Pricing

Client proofing is only available on the two higher tier packages. Photoshelter has everything that you need to run a professional photography business and some great security features.

Pros

✔ New York support team

✔ 14 day free trial

✔ Cancel anytime

✔ 100+ features developed for Professional Photographers

✔ Enhanced security features

Cons

✘ Credit card required for free trial

✘ No refunds or money back guarantees

Other Available Options For Photographers

If you don’t want to go to the bother of creating a full blown website then you can use a photo hosting website. These sites allow you to store and share your images without creating a front end website. The best examples are Dropbox, Flickr, Imgur, Photobucket and Google Photos.

You can also share your work on social media. Instagram is a fantastic platform for photographers to share their work. However, if you are looking to upscale your photography business, then creating a fully-fledged online web presence, complete with an ecommerce store is a brilliant option. Combining social media with your website to drive traffic to your space on the web remains a great way to get more people to see your work.

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11 Jun 2019

The Best Web Design Software + Free Resources in 2019

The thought of designing your own website may be a little daunting. There’s plenty of decent website builders out there, but for some, designing their own website is an exciting venture. Even if you’ve never designed a website before, don’t feel put off. There’s a whole bunch of software ready for you to sink your teeth into.

If you’ve never built a website before, it may be worth considering a free tool or free trial first. I’m going to cover a selection of the best web design software in 2019, as well as loads of free resources.

This guide is designed to show you that anyone can create a website. You can create web pages, content, images, videos, etc. It doesn’t matter if you know (or don’t know) how to use FTP, this collection of the best web design software will assist you.

Even if you’re a web designer but don’t know how to code, web design software can create pages using the likes of What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG).

1 | Adobe Dreamweaver CC (Best Overall Software Package)

 

 

 

Adobe Dreamweaver has been around for a long time, so holds a high reputation. You can code your website directly into Dreamweaver (you don’t even need to know much programming). Dreamweaver allows you to edit your website visually as well as using HTML/CSS editing (a lot of which you can obtain from free resources).

Although Adobe Dreamweaver doesn’t offer any website templates, it does allow you to preview your creation at any time. Dreamweaver ensures you can develop responsive web design, meaning you can optimise your website for multiple devices. This is essential to a good user experience and can affect your SEO if you don’t incorporate it.

If you’re lucky enough to be more of an advanced user, Dreamweaver supports the following technologies:

  • Multi-monitor support (Windows only)
  • Git
  • Chromium Embedded Framework (CEF)
  • HTML5
  • CSS

Adobe Dreamweaver CC does come with a free trial. All the elements within the free trial are functional and allows you to enjoy the full experience. If you want to purchase a full copy of Adobe Dreamweaver CC, an annual plan (paid monthly) will cost £19.97 per month. If you’re not ready to commit to a full year, you’ll be looking at a hefty £30.34 per month.

Pros:

  • Responsive design
  • Easy to use
  • HTML5 support

Cons:

  • Quite expensive

 

2 | Google Web Designer

 

 

 

 

Google Web Designer offers users a simple GUI with point and click tools. It offers basic shapes, text, 3D animations and more. Although it ‘s great for creating interactive content, it’s main purpose is to build adverts.

Google’s software has a large library of images, videos, and other useful advertising features. The interface is easy to use with accessible panels allowing you to customise options like colours and fonts. The service is entirely free, so it’s worth playing around with!

That said, Google Web Designer is currently in beta testing, so not all features are operational. You can’t open HTML files that have been created outside of the software which is somewhat frustration. However, you can preview your work at any time using the preview option. It’s also really simple to publish content from a Windows, Mac, or Linux machine.

Pros:

  • Easy to use interface (WYSIWYG)
  • Includes support for Google Maps & YouTube
  • Great for building adverts

Cons:

  • Still in Beta

 

3 | BlueFish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BlueFish’s lightweight installer is just over 50MB in size. This probably makes it the smallest web design software available to download. Because of this, it’s really easy to setup and get running in a matter of minutes. BlueFish is by no means the prettiest web design software as it is just text.

My thoughts are that BlueFish is designed for beginners, using obvious toolbars and customisable menus to navigate with. Although it’s main focus is HTML, BlueFish also support a wide range of languages including:

  • XML
  • CSS
  • PHP
  • JavaScript
  • Java
  • SQL

Perhaps due to it’s size, BlueFish’s software can handle a lot of queries. You can have multiple projects open, perform searches, and open documents without any trouble. My only real grumble with BlueFish is that they don’t support direct uploading via FTP. It’s not a huge deal but it’s something I’d expect to see of web design software in 2019.

Pros:

  • Lightweight web design software
  • Free to use
  • Advanced code can be used

Cons:

  • Lacks a visual interface

 

4 | Webflow

 

 

 

 

Webflow is a perfect web design software solution for those with no coding experience. It’s cloud-based service offers a drag and drop interface where you can seamlessly use elements, text, and images. Templates are available for those who want to use them, making it a great choice for beginners to the industry.

What’s unique about Webflow is that even when you use their WYSIWYG editor, the code produced is actually really good. Often these kind of editors produce messy code that can actually slow down your website. The ‘no coding experience’ option is ideal for new users, but gives the flexibility to make changes through the HTML and CSS code if you want to.

You an try Webflow for free before committing to a subscription. You can actually continue using Webflow for free, forever. But if you want to make your site live, you’ll need to pay for a plan. Site plans start from around $12 per month (if paid annually). The cost goes up if you want to include additional features or web hosting.

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Drag and drop interface
  • Perfect for beginners

Cons:

  • Quite expensive

 

5 | WordPress

 

 

 

You may be surprised to see WordPress on this list. Although it’s not web design software in the way you may know it, it is a content management system (CMS). For those of you who have never used WordPress before, you can setup a new website in literally a few minutes. It’s super easy to install, and most web hosting providers include WordPress for free.

WordPress is user friendly, but it can take a little while to get used to where everything is. There’s a whole wealth of web design templates available (both free and premium), with tonnes of support and plugins.

You don’t need to know anything about coding to use WordPress efficiently. In fact, there are millions of websites powered by WordPress that you wouldn’t even imagine. Big brand names, musicians, you name it! Professional looking websites with creative design can be published in no time at all.

WordPress offers a wealth of plugins (add-ons) for your website, which makes customising it actually pretty fun! Plugins can be installed with the click of a button, and uninstalled in the same way.

Pros:

  • Extremely popular with lots of support
  • Loads of plugins
  • Professional designs for free

Cons:

  • Can take a while to get used to

 

6 | Wix

Wix offers a very powerful drag and drop tool to create your perfect website. When you sign up to Wix, your website is hosted for you, meaning a complete solution in one place. Wix provides a user-friendly web design platform allowing you to create a professional website within a very short amount of time.
What I love about Wix is how intuitive the software is. It’s super easy to drag and drop elements onto your chosen template. You can integrate forums, a blog, and even eCommerce features (without any prior experience).
Wix’s templates are ready-made for you. There’s no need to create a separate website for your mobile users, as this gets done automatically. What’s great however is the fact you can customise your mobile site separately if you want to. Wix’s advanced technology and Wix ADI makes creating a website a pleasure, not a chore.
If you’re not sure whether you want to commit to paying a subscription for Wix, they do offer a basic free account. You can get a feel for the software and decide whether it’s right for you before investing in it.

Pros:

  • Drag and drop tools
  • Very easy to use
  • Professional templates come mobile ready

Cons:

  • Pricing can get expensive

 

7 | Adobe Photoshop

 

 

Adobe Photoshop is an incredibly popular web design tool that’s been around for years. I’d consider it a premium tool because it’s purpose is solely focused around design (and it is pretty expensive). Photoshop offers a wealth of tools to create web design templates, edit them, and even create images for your website.

Photoshop’s tools go into greater detail than other web design software I’ve seen. For example, there’s no limit on colour options, you can import downloaded fonts, and edit your design pixel by pixel if you really wanted.

Adobe Photoshop offers a blank canvas to start your web design journey. You can create whatever you want, or use the mass amount of resources available to you (check out the resources at the bottom of this post). Whatever you can think of doing, Adobe Photoshop probably allows you to do it.

You can create your website layer by layer, undo or redo steps you’ve taken, move elements around (or even hide them). Not only does Photoshop allow you to design your website, it gives you the tools to design elements and objects for your website. There’s plenty of tutorials and guides available to help you through your journey, though it does take a fair amount of time to get the hang of.

Pros:

  • Advanced web design tool
  • Insane amount of features and tools
  • Create your website from a blank canvas

Cons:

  • Requires a lot of time to learn

 

8 | Sketch

Sketch is specifically for Mac devices. This web design software offers professional tools in order to create web designs and web templates. Sketch uses vector images which produce high resolution imagery. The Sketch interface is very simple, but this provides an intuitive user experience to start your web design products.

Once you’ve created your design (or even during the process), you can use Sketch’s mirroring feature. The mirroring feature allows you to test your template across multiple devices. Ensuring that your website looks great on mobile devices and tablets is really important; not only for user experience but also for SEO.

 

You can try Sketch for free via their website, this way you can see whether you like the software before committing to purchasing it. If you do decide to buy Sketch, a licence will cost you $99 for the year. Although that might seem like a lot, it’s actually very reasonable considering other software like Photoshop which is a lot more costly.

Sketch has plenty of plugins and extensions to keep you going. These are developed by third party companies but are available to download on Sketch’s website. They have a large community to engage with should you need advice, as well as tutorials and support.

Pros:

  • Affordable pricing compared to other software
  • Intuitive toolbar and design elements
  • Test your site on multiple devices

Cons:

  • Can be a bit difficult to get the hang of

 

9 | Figma

Figma is a great choice for businesses or those that require multiple users to work on one project. It’s offers a multi-user design experience allowing you to collaborate with your team. This comes in handy when you’re working with your own design team as well as showing mock-ups with customers etc.

This software has a pool of fonts and colours available when editing. The toolbar allows you to create icons, logos, and ultimately an entire website template.

You can try Figma for free, which will enable up to two editors on a project. Their ‘professional’ plan offers unlimited editors and comes in at $12 per month (per editor), and finally their ‘organisation’ plan which is $45 per month (per editor). Their pricing is quite costly, especially when you consider this is per editor, so if you have a large organisation, you’re going to have to dig deep in your pockets.

Figma gives developers the tools to inspect, copy, and export assets. You can also copy CSS from the design file itself. You can always see who’s editing what in Figma, allowing you to easily keep track of who’s working on what. Content writers can edit directly in Figma too, so no one will feel left out.

Pros:

  • Fairly easy to use
  • Collaborative software

Cons:

  • Price is per editor and can be expensive

 

10 | Canva

Canva is a free design tool which can be used to create a professionally designed web template. What’s great about Canva is that it’s not limited to web design alone. You can create other designs to compliment your web templates like logos, advertising, and pretty much any imagery you can imagine.

Canva offers lots of templates to make life easier. If you don’t have any web design experience, you can use Canva’s templates to start your journey. This is always useful if you’re just starting out and want to experiment before investing too much time or money into paid design software.

Canva’s features tend to represent what software like Photoshop offers, but in a simpler way. For example, you can create speech bubbles on images, crop images, edit transparency and enhance your photos.

I find Canva useful if you’re lacking inspiration. Sometimes it’s hard to come up with a design unless you get ideas from other places. Canva has a large library of icons that you can use in any of your designs (free and paid).

Pros:

  • Easy to use
  • Great for creating images

Cons:

  • Not as professional as other design software

Free Web Design Resources

Fribble: Lots of free PSD files and mock-ups (icons, UI kits, mobile resources)

DaFont: Thousands of free fonts that you can install to Windows and Mac

Textures: Loads of textures and website backgrounds

UI Cloud: Nearly 50,000 UI kits to choose from

Creative Market: 5 free downloads per week (fonts, templates, and patterns)

CoffeeCup Software: Free apps, HTML editor, web form builder and shopping carts

InVision app: Prototyping and collaboration tools

Pixlr: Edit images straight from your browser

Canva: Graphic design software with drag and drop functionality

Easel.ly: Infographic templates for free 

Pixiden: Loads of free icons

Font Awesome: Allows you to use popular FA icons

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19 May 2019

21 Ways to Advertise Your Business Online in 2019

We are very lucky to be living in a world where online advertising is so vast. Even if we look back just a few years ago, online advertising offered quite slim pickings, relying on pay-per-click advertising and not much more! However, there are now loads of ways to reach out to existing and potential customers online.

Technology is constantly evolving, and so are ways to advertise your business online. Adverts are becoming more easily tracked, able to be customised, and provide a lot more value to customers and business owners. Now that a large proportion of the world has gone mobile, it’s opened up a whole new way to reach out to people.

Let’s take a look at 21 Ways to Advertise Your Business Online!

1. Google Search Network

When you perform a Google search you may have noticed the green writing display the word ‘Ad’. These adverts show at the top of a Google search result and will be the first thing most people see or take notice of.

Google themselves decide which adverts to place here based on a real time auction process. This is processed from the keywords used in performing a Google search. The results can change minute by minute as the value of each term and keyword changes.

Regardless of your budget, you can take part in the auction process. However, for certain keywords, those who are willing to put in the most money will likely win the bid.

In order to maximise ad spend via GoogleAds, determine which keywords are most relevant to your product or service. Which words are searched for more than others, and which are less likely to have too much competition.

2. Bing

Bing is Microsoft’s competition to Google. It uses a very similar model in terms of bidding, keywords, and a search/display network. Adverts are displayed on Bing, Yahoo!, and AOL. Although Bing may not have as far reach as Google, it’s still worth investing in.

AdEspresso states that Bing users can reach over 60 million users who aren’t accessible through Google. When someone buys a PC, the operating system is likely to be Microsoft Windows. Windows uses Internet Explorer or Edge as their default browser of which Bing is the default search engine. For those who can’t be bothered to change it, this works in your favour.

3. Facebook

Facebook is a brilliant choice for targeted advertising. Facebook allows you to select demographics by age, location, and interests. You can narrow your interest search down to the finest details; cats, gardening, parenting etc. You can even target people who might display certain behaviours like whether they’re interested in buying a new house or thinking about going abroad.

Your Facebook adverts can appear in a variety of locations as shown in the image above. Ad success on Facebook is more about the relevance of your ad to the user viewing it. Facebook have a relevance score which is quantified by how much you want to spend.

4. Instagram

Facebook now owns Instagram and has done since 2012. Instagram ads can be seen in news feeds or in stories. The most favourable ads on Instagram seem to revolve around branded or sponsored content. Sponsored content happens when a company pays ‘influencers’ to advertise their brand. They do this by speaking about the brand, showing images of the brand, and generally having a large following.

Costs are roughly the same as those of Facebook as they use the same Ad Manager. Although having a popular celebrity would be great to advertise your brand, that’s likely not to happen. Instead you can find smaller influencers on Instagram amongst its 1 billion users.

5. SMS advertising

Reputable brands often turn to SMS or MMS messages to advertise. I’m sure if you think about it you can recall a time you’ve received a text message from a company advertising special offers on their website or in store. Clicking on a link from a text messages takes little effort from the end user and can encourage them to browse items they may not have considered beforehand.

It’s estimated that 4.68 billion people will be using mobile phones in 2019. That’s an insane amount of potential reach or at least a great statistic to encourage you to use SMS advertising.

6. Geo-targeted advertising

This type of advertising focuses on a very specific area. We’re not talking users based in the same country, or even county/state, we’re talking a few miles away at most. Geo-targeted advertising is ideal for local businesses who aren’t necessarily interested in reaching worldwide status.

You can target people nearby to your location easily with geo-targeted advertising. Maybe your business has an offer on, a discount, or even an event. You can let potential nearby customers know and they may just decide to make a visit.

7. Retargeted Ads

Have you ever noticed that you’ve viewed an item on a website and it seems to appear in targeted adverts when you’re browsing the Internet? This is known as retargeted advertising.

The idea behind retargeted ads is that you have shown an interest in a product by viewing it. But for some reason you didn’t make a purchase. Maybe you were pushed for time, couldn’t decide, or were saving it for a later date. Retargeted ads remind customers of a product they showed interest in, in the hope they’ll revisit the website again and make a purchase.

8. Chatbot advertising

Companies are using chatbots to answer FAQs, provide simple information, and even advertise. When you view products online, you’re not just viewing them for yourself. You’re letting the company know what you’re interested in and therefore opening yourself up to marketing.

If you have customers browsing a particular product online, for example a necklace, you can use your chatbot to your advantage. The chatbot can pop up at any time whilst browsing and suggest something to keep your customers engaged. It could provide a link to a bracelet to match the necklace as well as offering discount for purchasing both.

9. Branded Apps

Although it may seem like a tall task, creating your own branded app is great for business as well as marketing. Companies often use branded apps as a place to advertise information, latest news, and even a wallet to store reward cards.

Mobile apps aren’t that hard to create, especially with today’s technology. If a customer enables push notifications and has your app installed, you can send them reminders to keep engaging with your brand.

10. QR Codes

QR codes are a great link between online and offline behaviour. A QR code can be scanned anywhere that a person has their mobile device.

QR codes are easy to generate and there’s plenty of apps available that can be downloaded to read them. If you put a QR code in your store or on a leaflet, a customer could scan the code for upcoming offers or to be added to a mailing list.

11. Email Data

Email is used everyday all around the word. Having a method available that can capture email data is really important. You can integrate something like this very easily to your website.

Having an email signup option means you can collect your customer’s email data and therefore build up a mailing list. Mailing lists are great to inform customers about upcoming news, events, and offers.

12. Email Marketing

Building on from point 11, now that you have your email data, you need to create emails to send to your customers. You’ll need an email marketing service like Mailchimp to get started. Mailchimp often comes as part of your web hosting package so check this out beforehand!

It’s important your email marketing isn’t considered spam to your customers. Make your emails worthwhile and offer your customers something they want. It’s easy for them to subscribe as well as unsubscribe!

13. Video Marketing

Videos account for a large portion of how online time is spent. Video marketing can come in several forms; via your own YouTube channel, on your website, or through social media.

Remember you don’t need to create stunning videos with tonnes of effects. A simple video blog or small advertisement showing exciting news and products will be plenty to keep customers engaged.

14. Twitter

I’ve mentioned other social media channels on this list, and Twitter doesn’t get the chance to escape I’m afraid! Twitter may not have as large a reach as Facebook or even Instagram but it shouldn’t be dismissed.

Twitter is a great way to retweet interesting content, create hashtags for your products, and encourage reviews from customers. The important thing to remember about Twitter is to continually engage with your customers and followers.

15. UGC

User-generated content (UGC) is when users write about or share information about your business. This act often happens organically (on its own without intervention or payment) but can be encouraged.

You could offer something in return for users posting content about your brand. Perhaps create a featured section on your blog or website and offer a reward to the winner each month.

16. Social Media Giveaways

As advertising usually does, this comes at a cost, but a small one. Giving away merchandise from your business to existing or potential customers is a great way for them to advertise your brand for you, as well as promoting it on social media.

All you have to do is create a competition or such on social media and let your customers battle it out! The winner will receive something free from you; an item, discount, etc. and will hopefully continue to engage on social media whilst advertising your brand.

17. Customer Testimonials

Although this isn’t direct advertising, if customers or potential customers read other peoples (hopefully positive) experience of your business, they’ll likely make a visit or return.

Testimonials aren’t often on the forefront of your customer’s minds but a gentle prompt or reminder could be enough. If you’re not getting enough testimonials, you could offer a discount in return for your customers writing one for you.

18. Contribution

People like it when they feel like a brand is representing a good cause and is engaging with people on a regular basis. It’s important that you contribute to meaningful discussions, forums and blogs as well as advertising your brand at the same time.

It’s not too difficult to set a small amount of time aside each week to find relevant information that you can contribute to. A few words can actually go a long way and will also provide back links to your website if done online.

19. Write a Blog

Creating content is a great way to engage with customers, let them know about upcoming news and events, as well as advertising your business. Creating a blog is really easy to do, there’s absolutely no excuse not to create a blog in 2019.

One of the key things about blogging is making your content relevant and useful. Don’t write just for the sake of it, write about content people want to know about and want to engage with. They’ll in turn share your content, creating back links to your website as well as advertising your business online.

20. Guest Posts

Having guest posts on your blog is another sure fire way to gaining authoritative back links and high quality content. You should only really aim for high quality sites when using guest blogging as a marketing tool. You’ll need a site with high domain authority and a zero spam score.

Guest posts can give your business exposure it might not have otherwise received as well as back links which will increase your SEO. And with a higher SEO score comes more visitors to your online business.

21. List your Business

It might seem a bit old fashioned now, but including your business in directories is actually more important than you might think. If your business isn’t listed in an online directory, people may struggle to find you.

Online directories like Google My Business, Yelp, and Thomson Local are great starting points. Make sure you only list your business where it’s relevant though. You wouldn’t want to advertise your clothing business in a tradesman directory!

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16 May 2019

How To Build a Website from Scratch (Beginners Guide)

Building a Website from Scratch is Actually Easy!

Once you have chosen your website creation tool of choice, you then need to figure out how to use the thing. In this article, we’ll explore how to create a website from scratch.

This is designed as a step by step guide for someone just starting out in the online space. I’ll cover everything so that all you need to do is follow the guide.

As a complete beginner using a website builder is advisable. This will make the whole process of creating a website so much easier. For this example I have chosen Wix and WordPress, however in the end I decided that WordPress was a little bit complex for complete beginners, and would advise Wix. I’ll explain why…

Ok I’ll have to admit, after owning and creating websites for years I was a bit of a WordPress snob. Wix just seemed to be a bit naff. But I have completely changed my mind today, sorry WordPress! Wix is so easy for beginners to get up and running inside just a few minutes. The whole process is completely streamlined – I’m now a Wix fan.

Before You Get Started

It’s a good idea to own a domain name or buy one for your new website. This will be your online presence. I never made this a step in the process; because you don’t actually need a domain name to get started with Wix, which is awesome.

Both Wix and WordPress.com guide you to purchase a domain name, however if you are feeling adventurous then you could even snag a completely free domain name and point it to your WordPress or Wix website.

Recommended: 10 Ways to Get A Free Domain Name (In Less than 1 Minute!)

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Setting Up A Website With Wix

BEST FOR – Complete beginners who want to get up and running quickly

All you need to get up and running with Wix is an email address and an idea, simple.

STEP 1

Head over to Wix.com and hit “Get Started”.

One great thing about Wix.com is that you can sign up in seconds with your Facebook or Google accounts. Alternatively you can input your details to create your account (which takes a few seconds longer).

You’ll then be taken to a fill in the blanks style questionnaire

STEP 2

Fill in the blanks on the questionnaire to let Wix know more about the type of website you are creating – the answers appear as a prefilled dropdown so it’s really easy to follow.

STEP 3

If you’re a complete beginner then the “Let Wix ADI Create a Website for You” is free and makes life so much easier. Simply hit the “Start Now” button (on the left) to be guided through the process from creation to publishing your website in minutes (literally).

You’ll then be asked a few questions about your blog or website. I chose a “Health Food Blog”, however you can fill in a few keywords and select the type of website that best suits your project or organisation.

STEP 4

Decide what features you want on your website. If you are not sure you can skip this part for now. However, I’d advise selecting a few features that you think that you might use from the available options which are as follows:

  • Live Chat
  • Online Store (eCommerce solution)
  • Bookings
  • Video
  • Events
  • Instagram Feed
  • Paid Plans
  • Subscribe Form
  • Music
  • Bandsintown (display upcoming bands in your area)

I chose the following features for my blog – subscribe form, paid plans, Instagram feed and bookings. However, if you want to display videos or sell tickets to an event then you might choose the features “Video” and “Events”.  You can even sell online plans and programs, which is pretty neat.

STEP 5

The intuitive questionnaire will populate your website with some relevant content and you can select the right template to fit your needs. All you have to do is select the type of theme you want and select from the displayed choices (my options are shown below).

The theme options are fairly limited with Wix.

STEP 6

You can easily edit the theme by hovering over areas and pressing the “edit” button (shown in the image below)

When editing your website design, you’ll see a panel appear on the left hand side of the page that will allow you to change the text and images.

Pros

✔ You get a FREE Wix domain name

✔ There is an option to use your own domain

✔ Creating and publishing a site is free and easy

✔ Questionnaire style web creation makes the process fun

✔ Set up a feature rich website in minutes (seriously, it’s that easy!)

✔ Great features like live chat, bookings etc…

Cons

✘ Limited scope for customizing templates

✘ Wix advert displayed on free options

✘ Bandwidth is limited

Setting up a website on WordPress.com

BEST FOR – More competent website owners or small businesses

Creating a website with WordPress is not as straightforward as Wix. You’ll require a domain name to get started. You can get one from WordPress.com easily; however bear in mind that you’ll need to pay for the DNS service. Even if you have your own domain name, WordPress.com wants paid for you to have the privilege of using your own domain host.

Transferring your domain to WordPress.com or purchasing a domain name from them seems to be their preference. If you are happy to host your domain name with WordPress.com then the process is straight forward.

Creating a WordPress website is a great option if you want to scale your business up in the future. There are unlimited options and additional plugins that you can get to upgrade your WordPress website. I’d suggest going for a .com domain name extension and taking the time to learn WordPress (or employing someone to upgrade your theme) if you are serious about your online presence.

STEP 1

Go over to WordPress.com and hit the pink “Get Started” Button.

STEP 2

Create your account using your email address, create a new username and a secure password. Unfortunately you can’t sign up with Facebook or Google like you can with Wix.

STEP 3

Pick the type of website that you want to create from the following 4 options:

I decided to choose a food blog as I want to write about raw living foods and share recipes. However, you might want to choose a professional portfolio site, if for example you are a Graphic Designer or Photographer.

STEP 4

This is where your domain name comes in. You have three options, you can either choose to buy a new domain name, transfer your domain name to WordPress.com or map your domain to your WordPress.com (which costs $14.50)

STEP 5

Choose a theme by clicking on “Themes” down the left hand side menu. There are a great number of themes to choose from. To find a theme that suits you then use the search bar (where it says “business”) and enter keywords relevant to your theme to narrow the search.

There are both free and premium themes to choose from and you can toggle between both (depending on your preferences). Your theme will decide the look and feel for your business, and can be changed at a later date with ease.

STEP 6

Customize your theme by hitting the customize button on the top of the page. Here you can change the title of the page down the left hand side menu. You can also many other aspects of your website appearance.

STEP 7

By default your website homepage will show your latest blog post, to change the website to a static homepage instead (With content of your choosing).

To create a static homepage create a new page (from the menu on the left).

Then call this page “home” and set to a “static” page type

STEP 8

The entire website can be customized further for example you can change the colors of the site by choosing colors and backgrounds on the menu.

Then you can choose a color scheme that matches your brand

Your WordPress website can be tweaked over time, keeping the blog content intact.

Pros

✔ Easy to upgrade to a feature rich professional WordPress website on your own hosting if you should choose to at a later date

✔ Great for adding in blog content in the WordPress CMS area

✔ Lots of plugins

✔ Content can be downloaded at any point

✔ Lots of templates to choose from

✔ More customizable website options

Cons

✘ No completely free option

✘ You’ll need to buy or own a domain name

✘ The interface is hard to use for a beginner

✘ If you use a domain name you own you’ll still be charged an extra $14.15 per year to keep your domain name on your current DNS/ domain name hosting provider.

✘ Time consuming & confusing

✘ No Facebook or Google signup option

In Conclusion

If you are looking for a TRULY simple way to get up and running then Wix is your best option. The whole process is streamlined and perfect for beginners. However if you want to get more indepth and are not baffled and bewildered by the huge amount of customizable features, then WordPress is the best option. To get WordPress looking like you want can take days or weeks. However, Wix can be up and running within a few minutes – so defintetly the more convenient option.

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16 May 2019

15 Places to Learn to Code for Free in 2019

There are lots of places where you can learn to code for free. With the boom in using website builders, people are turning to learning code to build and enhance their websites even more. People who know code already, are in a similar profession or are professionals, have been creating resources for many years in order to help others.

If you’ve never looked at web design or web development before, free coding resources can be a great go to, or at least a starting point. Once you’ve got to grips with the basics, you can find more in-depth courses to further your journey. Learning code does take a reasonable amount of time and effort, and you’ve got to want to learn it. Like most things, if you’re not interested, you’re probably going to struggle at the first step.

Who can learn to code?

Anyone can learn to code if they want to. Sometimes it’s worth considering what types of people might benefit more from coding in the long run. Let’s start with a few simple questions to establish if you’re the right person to learn code and make use of our free coding resources.

  • Do you enjoy web development, or the technical theory behind web development?
  • Would you like to be able to turn an application or website idea into something real?
  • Do you write content for a blog and therefore care about the quality and user friendliness of your site?

If you’ve answered yes to any of the above then it’s probably worth you learning code. Although it might seem daunting at first, it can actually be really fun and very rewarding.

You don’t need to be a computer geek to learn how to code. Coding can be done by anyone who has the thirst and desire to learn it. You can make mobile apps, websites and software, no matter who you are! And who knows, you may even turn it into a career or start your very own business.

Why should I learn how to code?

Learning how to code can reduce your overall costs if you are thinking about or currently hire a programmer or developer. In fact, if you become an expert in the field, not only could you save money, you could make money too!

Even if you just learn the basics of coding you could make a big difference to your site or business. Having the bare bone knowledge can often lead to more without even realising it.

Because coding is so popular, the amount of resources available can be overwhelming. That’s why I’ve put together some credible free coding resources for you. I’ll show you where to go (and what for), allowing you to decide the best route for your coding adventure.

Online Courses

1. Codecademy

Codecadmey is like a giant online free coding boot camp. The community at Codecadmey is absolutely massive and is an ideal spot for beginners to jump right in. When you’re learning a new skill, it can often be very useful to have access to a community whereby you can ask questions and discuss ideas. Codecadmey provides this on an extremely large scale with literally millions of users worldwide.

Codecademy is free which is why it’s listed here. Unlike many other companies, you don’t need to have a subscription to learn from Codecademy. One of my favourite features of Codecademy is that you don’t need any kind of software to begin coding. Their easy to use interface is built into their website so everything can be done in your browser.

Codecademy covers the following coding languages:

  • HTML
  • CSS
  • Sass
  • JavaScript
  • Rails
  • Ruby
  • SQL

(And much, much more).

2. Coursera

Coursera offers a large online library of free coding courses. All of the courses available are 100% free which is a great opportunity for anyone wanting to learn coding.

Coursera’s courses aren’t just run by anyone, they’re put together by leading universities and companies in the industry. Although it’s just as valuable to learn new skills from people who use them on a day to day basis, some people find it reassuring when there’s a big name behind the education.

If you want to obtain a Coursera verified certificate to ‘prove’ your coding skills, you’ll need to pay for it. The certificates range from $30+ and can go up to $100. Although this may seem a little steep, if you consider how much it would be to actually go to university of learn from leaders in the industry, it’s very reasonable.

Coursera doesn’t just offer your basic coding languages. They do cover HTML, CSS, JavaScript etc. but they also go far beyond this. There’s specific specialised courses available too (which you do need to pay for).

3. Udemy

Udemy isn’t solely focussed on coding languages but they do offer courses on these. You can access a wide range of in-depth courses through Udemy’s library. Whether you want to improve on existing coding knowledge or learn new skills, Udemy offers it all. From game development to software development, creating apps to testing them, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into.

Courses allow you to learn at your own pace, and will save your ‘history’ so you can come back to it at any point. There are both paid and free courses available, from web development to data science (and more).

Udemy courses can actually be created by anyone, so they don’t necessarily represent the ‘standard’ in any particular topic. Each course has a list of reviews from actual users, so you can judge whether the course is right for you or not. I’d recommend checking out the reviews before you start one!

4. Free Code Camp

Another free coding boot camp, Free Code Camp has a wide and established curriculum to teach from. All of the projects available allow users to work with hands on experience. What I love about this coding resource is the community behind it. There are millions of other users willing to support and help each other which is lovely to see in this day and age.

Free Code Camp doesn’t just teach you coding languages. It offers a lot more, such as being able to apply said coding to real world scenarios. You can build projects and take part in them with others as well as getting a certification at the end of it.

For example, they will actually prepare you for your developer job interview! How cool is that? Free Code Camp is a non profit organisation offering accessible coding to anyone.

YouTube Channels

5. DevTips

DevTips is one of Travis Neilson’s YouTube channels, who specialises in ‘making things for human people’. The YouTube channel focuses on web design and web development and sometimes offers live Q & As.

DevTips provides weekly shows for those that want to be inspired. The channel opens up opportunities for people to learn development and programming together. Watchers can get involved during the shows, creating a community aspect on a weekly basis. Shows start at 8:00 PM (GMT) every Friday.

6. Coder’s Guide

YouTube channel Coder’s Guide provides a video series on coding languages like JavaScript, HTML and CSS. You’ll find a range of videos from quick learning to in-depth courses, job interview preparation and more.

Neil Rowe offers up some easy to follow video tutorials for anyone wanting to learn coding and web development. He shows you step by step what to do and how to do it. What’s nice is that Neil himself will respond to comments on his videos, answer questions, and get involved in conversations.

7. LearnCode.academy

LearnCode.academy’s YouTube channel is regularly updated. As well as offering free coding videos to help you learn, they also provide tips and tricks to making the best website.

The YouTube channel covers web development tutorials, web design tutorials and more. Some of the languages that are covered are HTML, CSS, JavaScript, CSS Layouts, Responsive Design, and React.js.

HTML & CSS

8. Learn CSS Layout

Learn CSS Layout is ideal if you know the basics of HTML and CSS to begin with. If you don’t have the basic knowledge, you can use some of the other resources I’ve mentioned in this guide to get you started.

It will teach you the best ways and fundamentals of setting up a website in terms of layout. This is going to be valuable know-how when you start creating your own website, and useful for ensuring your site is mobile-friendly.

9. Mozilla Developer Network

The Mozilla Developer Network provides free HTML and CSS documentation to anyone and everyone. They provide tutorials for a selection of topics, from beginner to expert skill levels.

The idea behind the Mozilla Developer Network is to provide articles about Mozilla code. Whether you want to download it or build it, you’ll need to know how the code works. Topics also cover add-ons for Mozilla apps.

10. HTML Dog

HTML dog has some great beginner HTML tutorials (like this one). They also cover CSS tutorials and appeal to beginners and advanced users alike.

HTML dog is a useful resource for anything HTML, CSS, or JavaScript. These languages cover the basics of web development and web design and provide a useful stepping stone into the world of development and programming.

Git

11. Try Git

Created by Code School, Try Git pretty much does what it says on the tin. You can try out your Git knowledge (if you have prior experience) or simply experiment with Git.

12. Git Immersion

This is the place to go if you’ve never used Git before. Git Immersion offers its users a guided tour into the world of Git, setting you up with the basic knowledge.

Coding Blogs

13. Tuts+

Tuts+ offers loads of coding tutorials which can be pretty helpful if you’re looking for something specific. They do have courses too, but these are paid for.

Tuts+ has over 1200 video courses, 250 eBooks, and almost 30,000 tutorials. You can use your newly founded knowledge and skills and make use of Envato Elements. Here you’ll have access to thousands of website templates and themes, designs, and almost half a million photos.

14. David Walsh

David Walsh is a senior developer at Mozilla. His blog (with other contributors aside from himself) offers demos, tutorials, and how-to guides.

David’s blog covers popular topics including .htaccess, CSS, WordPress, SEO, JavaScript, HTML5, and lots more. His blog offers news related to the web development world, alongside incredible demos and feature discussions.

15. CSS Tricks

There’s a whole bunch of stuff on CSS on the CSS Tricks blog. They’ve got loads of resources as well as covering other subjects like JavaScript and PHP. When owner, Chris, started the blog in 2007, he was mostly writing about CSS. It occurred to him that HTML and JavaScript were being mentioned a lot as they both form the basis of creating websites.

Because the blog was made on WordPress, Chris found himself talking about WordPress too, so the name quickly became desolate as he now covers a large range of topics.

CSS-Tricks mainly focuses on building websites and everything else that goes with it. The blog have permanent staff writers as well as guest authors who all offer a different perspective within their content.

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15 May 2019

10 Ways To Get A Free Domain Name (In Less than 1 Minute!)

Need a domain name, but don’t want to pay for it? Believe it or not there are many ways to get a free domain name. If you’re looking to get started in the internet space then a business domain name is essential.

Normally the best way to get a FREE domain name is with web hosting. Many hosts and website builder companies offer a promotion where they’ll give you a free domain name for a year. After the free year has expired you could transfer your domain name and hosting to another provider (if they also offer free migrations, this could be a good option). However, in some cases domain registrars will offer completely FREE domain names.

10 Ways to Get a Completely FREE Domain Name #FREE #domainname Click To Tweet

You’ll normally only get a free domain name for legacy extensions like .co.uk, .com or .net. Premium extensions like .club, .coach or .academy are not often offered free of charge from many domain hosts, with the exception of Bluehosts, Dreamhost and Hostinger, who offer a wide range of extensions for free.

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1. Wix (FREE .com)

BEST FOR – small businesseses with limited technical experience who want a .com domain

You can get a free .com domain name from Wix when you sign up for one of their website builder plans. Wix is ideal for people who are just starting out online and have limited technical experience. Websites can be made with templates and customized with drag and drop tools.

Recommended – See how Wix stacks up against Weebly

Pros

✔ Great for novice

✔ FREE .com domain name for 1 year

✔ Easy to use web builder

Cons

✘ Free domain name only available with web builder

✘ Restrictive in terms of web development

2. Bluehost (FREE .com)

BEST FOR – Best for – WordPress hosting and domain names for a professional business

 

With Bluehost you have peace of mind that you own your domain name. They allow you to transfer it to another hosting provider and access your chosen domain name, which is great. You can also get access to a wide range of domain names, even premium domain names like .club and .tech. They offer a free domain credit (worth $11.99) if you don’t select your domain name straight away.

Recommended – View our full Bluehost review here

Pros

✔ Site builder included

✔ Free domain name

✔ 24/7 support

✔ 1-click WordPress installation

✔ Reputable domain host

Cons

✘ Prices displayed are for a 36 month term

✘ VAT is not included

✘ No monthly billing, only annual billing offered

3. Dreamhost

BEST FOR – offering a wide range of domain name extensions

To qualify for a free domain from Dreamhost you must sign up for one of their hosting packages. Starter Shared/ Unlimited Shared hosting or DreamPress plans all come with a free domain name. You can choose from a wide range of domain name extensions including: .blog, .club, .com, .global, .info, .net, .online, .org, and .shop

Pros

✔  You own your domain name and can transfer it

✔  A wide range of domain name extensions available

✔  Easy to set up hosting within the control panel should you need it

✔  Domain name credit can be redeemed at a later date

✔  Unlimited subdomains

✔  Straight forward domain management tools

Cons

 ✘ Free registration must be redeemed within the first month (otherwise it expires)

 ✘ Limited opening ours for customer support

4. 1&1 IONOS (FREE .co.uk)

BEST FOR – FREE .co.uk with optional hosting

Want a domain name for free with no hosting? Then look no further than 1&1 IONOS. Provided you are looking for a .co.uk domain name, then you can snag one 100% free of charge for one year. This offer is unusual as hosts normally tie you into a hosting agreement to get your free domain name

Pros

✔ You don’t need to buy anything to get your free domain name

✔ Freedom to use your domain name as you like in the future

✔ 1 email account

✔ SSL Wildcard included

✔ 10,000 subdomains

Cons

Offer only available for .co.uk domain names

✘ Not for the novice

5. Weebly (FREE subdomain/ .com)

BEST FOR – early stage start-up/ personal projects

If you are not too fussed about a professional domain name and are happy with a subdomain (eg. yoursite.weebly.com) then Weebly could be an option. Weebly is a website builder designed for complete beginners. On the other hand, if you upgrade to their $8/ month package then you can get a free professional .com domain name.

Pros

✔ 100% free option (for both domain name and hosting)

✔ Free professional domain name with hosting purchase

✔ Website builder available

✔ Easy to use

Cons

 ✘ Ad supported (your site will have adverts on it unless you upgrade)

6. Hostinger

BEST FOR – grabbing a free domain name from a reliable website host

For just $1 per month you can get hosting and a free domain name from Hostinger. You also get access to a free web builder, so you can be up and running within a day.

Recommended – View our full Hostinger review here

Pros

✔ Free professional domain name

✔ Cheap hosting

✔ Bitcoin payment accepted

✔ Custom email address

✔ 99.9% uptime guarantee

✔ Website builder

✔ 24/7 support

Cons

✘ Free domain only available with annual hosting package

7. Dot.tk (FREE.tk)

BEST FOR – small projects or those that want to raise awareness of Tokelau.

FREE .tk extension domain names are available at dot.tk “Free domains for all”. Dot TK is a project of the government of Tokelau in the South pacific. Dot.tk was created to offer free .tk domain names that would raise awareness about Tokelau throughout the world. The only thing is they don’t offer hosting or website builders should you require one. You can however, transfer your domain name to another host.

Pros

✔ Completely free domain name

✔ Raise awareness about Tokelau

Cons

✘ Can only register for one year

✘ No website builder or hosting

8. Biz.nf (FREE .co.nf)

BEST FOR – projects or small businesses who need FREE hosting and FREE domain

If you’re looking for a 100% free domain name with free hosting then you can get these from Biz.nf. Unlike other free domain name services, you can register your free domain name for an unlimited time. Normally hosts only allow you to register your FREE domain name for a year. A decent free service to get you up and running

Pros

✔ FREE domain name

✔ Register domain name for unlimited period of time

✔ FREE hosting available

✔ Good for info sites or sites where the domain name extension doesn’t matter too much

Cons

✘ Unusual domain name

✘ No legacy or memorable domain name extensions available

✘ File size restricted to 15MB

✘ Domain name non-transferable

9. One.com (.co.uk, .com, .uk, .org)

BEST FOR – wide range of credible free domain name extensions

One.com offers the widest range of credible domain name extensions. You can secure your business identity on all the major extensions like .com, .co, .co.uk, .org and .uk for FREE. The only thing I would point out here is that they do apply a monthly $1.24 DNS fee, so the domain name is not really free. Bummer.

Pros

✔ Wide range of credible “free” domain names

✔ No hosting required to claim free domain names

✔ Website builder can be added on for under $5

Cons

✘ Tempting to fill your basket with free domains

✘ DNS fee of $1.24/ month is applicable (eg. not free)

10. Names.co.uk (FREE .co.uk)

BEST FOR – companies that want a UK presence with a free .co.uk domain name

If you want to register a domain name for free then you can do so with Names.co.uk. You can get a FREE .co.uk domain name without ordering hosting from names.co.uk. If you do decide you want hosting for your domain name, then you can take advantage of the free website builder and email service offered by Names.co.uk

Pros

✔ Part of a reputable domain registry group

✔ 100% free domain name

✔ Free Email

✔ Free Suite builder

✔ 24/7 support

Cons

✘ $0.99 for domain name privacy

In Summary

Whether you are looking for a  domain name for a personal project, or want to get your new idea off the ground there are plenty of FREE domain name options, for example DOT.tk or Biz.nf. A professional brand should still be on a .com domain name, so if you are looking to expand in the future then you can get a .com from Wix, Bluehost, Dreamhost, One.com or Weebly. It’s a good idea to consider what is important to you, do you want a website builder? Or would you like a one click installation for WordPress?

10 Ways to Get a Completely FREE Domain Name #FREE #domainname Click To Tweet

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13 May 2019

25 Mobile Marketing Statistics for 2019 & Beyond!

Mobile marketing in 2019 is at an all-time high. Every time you use your phone to access the internet, you’re hit with marketing. Remember those adverts on YouTube? Perhaps you’ve seen an advert whilst browsing your social media?

Everyone would’ve experienced this kind of marketing on a mobile phone or smart device. Mobile adverts generate a lot of money; they drive 75% of all digital advert spending.

I’m going to show you some astounding mobile marketing statistics in 2019. Sit tight and digest all there is to know about mobile marketing, you may be surprised!

Mobile Marketing Statistics

References:

Forbes: https://www.forbes.com/sites/johnkoetsier/2018/02/23/mobile-advertising-will-drive-75-of-all-digital-ad-spend-in-2018-heres-whats-changing/

Statista: https://www.statista.com/topics/779/mobile-internet/

Business of Apps: http://www.businessofapps.com/news/mobile-advertising-now-makes-up-92-of-facebooks-ad-revenue/

Hollywood Reporter: https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/amazon-ad-revenue-top-11b-year-as-digital-overtakes-traditional-spend-study-1188292

Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/241462/global-mobile-phone-website-traffic-share/

Tech Jury: https://techjury.net/stats-about/smartphone-addiction/

Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/262875/development-of-the-world-population/

Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/924632/planned-investment-video-use-mobile-marketing-worldwide/

Leighton Interactive: https://www.leightoninteractive.com/blog/2018-most-insightful-email-marketing-statistics

Think with Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/interactive-report/gen-z-a-look-inside-its-mobile-first-mindset/

Citrus Bits: https://citrusbits.com/50-mobile-statistics-facts-and-trends/

Stat Counter: http://gs.statcounter.com/browser-market-share/mobile/worldwide

Impact BND: https://www.impactbnd.com/blog/mobile-marketing-statistics

Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/303817/mobile-internet-advertising-revenue-worldwide/

Statista: https://www.statista.com/statistics/617136/digital-population-worldwide/

Convince and Convert: https://www.convinceandconvert.com/mobile/7-mobile-marketing-stats-that-will-blow-your-mind/

Think with Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/marketing-resources/experience-design/mobile-speed-scorecard-impact-calculator/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/wsjtech/status/451886622788055040?lang=en

Fortune: http://fortune.com/2017/01/19/linkedin-redesign/

Smart Insights: https://www.smartinsights.com/mobile-marketing/mobile-marketing-analytics/mobile-marketing-statistics/

Think with Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/consumer-immediate-need-mobile-experiences/

Think with Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/data-gallery/detail/online-mobile-transactions/

Twitter: https://blog.twitter.com/marketing/en_us/a/2015/new-research-twitter-users-love-to-watch-discover-and-engage-with-video.html

Ad News: http://www.adnews.com.au/news/marketers-still-lagging-as-consumers-shift-to-vertical-video

Think with Google: https://www.thinkwithgoogle.com/consumer-insights/local-search-mobile-search-micro-moments/

Download this infographic.

Embed Our Infographic On Your Site!

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13 May 2019

9 Best Domain Hosting Companies of 2019

Building a website? You’ll need a domain name. Your domain name is separate from your website hosting, but most hosting companies offer domain names. To encourage you to have your domain name on their server, some hosts will even throw in a free domain name.

I’d suggest that you think about this in depth because for the past 20 years I’ve found:

Having your domain names on a different domain host is preferable #domain #host Click To Tweet

What is a domain name?

A domain name is your website’s online address. Computers find web servers via a long string of numbers known as an IP address. These numbers are hard to remember so instead we use domain names like “YourBusinessName.com”.

Why keep your domain name/s on a separate host?

Keeping your domain names and your data on two separate hosts has many benefits. For example, if you don’t pay for a domain name – all that happens is a domain name becomes inactive (normally for about a month). While it is inactive you can still pay for your domain. Think of it like a grace period. If you don’t pay for ONE domain name after it has been inactive for a month, and you have TEN, then you can keep the other NINE. You’ll just loose the one that you didn’t pay for, ideal.

On the other hand if you decide to keep your domain names and host on the same hosting provider, then it’s a case of having all of your eggs in one basket. Let me explain…

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Profit from Domain Names

A domain name, in and of itself can increase in value. You can even flip domain names to make money online. In fact, you can buy and sell domains to turn a serious profit on sites like EmpireFlippers.

Domain names have inherent value and so you should keep them in a safe place. You can also make money from your parked domains (domain names that you are not using) with GoDaddy’s CashParking service.

The domain name cars.com sold for $872 million #mostexpensivedomain #host Click To Tweet

Why Is Keeping My Domains On ONE Host Not Advised?

The main reason that you should keep your domain names separate from your host is that you don’t want to lose access to your domain. A domain name is your brand identity and important for any business or website.

Say for instance you decide you don’t like your host, and wanted to change. If for any reason the host decides you need to clear an outstanding bill or similar, then they can lock you out of your account. This will in turn lock your domain name (even if you have bought it for 2 years).

When selecting the best domain hosts/registrars we consider the following:

  • Are there any additional (or hidden) fees for transferring your domain name?
  • Longevity, history and reputation of the hosting company
  • Cost (I’ll compare prices of .com and .net)
  • Make sure the company is: Internet Corporation for Assigned of Names and Numbers (ICANN) Accredited
  • Do they provide easy domain transfer and forwarding services?
  • 24/7 customer support
  • WHOIS registration policies (and associated costs)
  • Renewal – Both manual and automatic is preferred
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1. GoDaddy.com

BEST FOR – cheap .com domains and domain flipping

GoDaddy has been around since the very early days of the internet (founded in 1997). They are the largest domain name registrar in the world and have registered over 73 million domain names.

FUN FACT: GoDaddy used to be called Jomax Technologies #domain #hosting Click To Tweet

With more than 17 million customers, GoDaddy is a reliable and stable choice to store your domains. GoDaddy offers great features for domain management that makes organising your domains simple. You can also create forwarders and subdomains easily with GoDaddy.

Read our full GoDaddy review here

Domain Pricing & Features

GoDaddy is probably the most feature rich domain registrar. With features like bulk domain search, domain privacy and protection, domain value appraisal, domain auctions, discount domain club, domain investing and CashParking. The introductory price for a .com domain is very nice!

  • $0.99 for a .com for the first year ($14.99 thereafter)
  • $12.99 for the first year (19.99 thereafter)
  • WHOIS privacy protection costs an extra $7.99 per year
Pros

✔ Domain name transfers are free (for .co.uk domain extensions)

✔ The largest domain name registrar in the world

✔ Offer a wide range of web and email tools

✔ 24/7 customer service via phone and chat

✔ Amazing domain investment & management tools

Cons

✘ Price rises after first year

✘ Prices displayed exclude VAT

✘ Cluttered DNS management interface

2. Domain.com

BEST FOR – 24/7 customer support

Domain.com was founded in the USA in 2000. Domain.com is owned by Endurance International Group which is massive company with over 2500 employees. Keeping your domain names on Domain.com is a great idea as you’ll always remember that URL – feels organised.

Domain Pricing & Features

Pricing with Domain.com is average; however they don’t have any low introductory prices like Godaddy.com offers.

  • $9.99 per year for a .com
  • $12.99 per year for a .net
  • Free domain with hosting
  • WHOIS privacy protection costs an extra $8.99 per year.
Pros

✔ Feel organised with all of your domains on Domain.com

✔ Pricing is reasonable

✔ Get a free domain with hosting

✔ Reputable, longstanding company

✔ 24/7 customer support

Cons

✘ It is tempting to get hosting with a free domain

✘ You need to pay extra for WHOIS Privacy protection

3. Namecheap.com

BEST FOR – free Whois Guard privacy protection

Namecheap.com is one of the biggest domain registrars in the world. Founded back in 2000, Namecheap now has over 3million global customers. Namecheap is accredited by ICANN.

Domain Pricing & Features

Namecheap.com has cost effective domains and great value-add bonus features like: 100% free email forwarding services, secure DNS, free WHOIS privacy feature and custom name servers. I’m a fan of their FREE WHOIS privacy protection. Also after the free period WHOIS protection is still really cost effective.

  • $8.99 .com for a year
  • $12.99 .net for a year
  • FREE WHOIS Guard for a year ($2.88 thereafter)
Pros

✔ Great security features

✔ ICANN Accredited

✔ Domains are simple to transfer

✔ 24/7 customer support via help desk

✔ Free privacy protection from WhoisGuard

Cons

 ✘ Domain extensions can be expensive

✘ No phone number to contact customer/ tech support.

4. Bluehost.com

BEST FOR – organizing and locking down domains

Bluehost is the host of choice for many, even WordPress.org recommends Bluehost. Although they are a bit more expensive, they do offer a good range of tools and a nice 30-day money back guarantee.

See how Bluehost stacks up against HostGator in our review

Domain Pricing & Features

Bluehost offers a few nice features for domain management, such as an easy to navigate interface and control panel. It’s possible to enable and disable auto-renewal so that you don’t need to remember when your domain name expires. You can even lock your domain down so that it isn’t subject to any unwanted domain transfer, which is great to protect your online brand identity from hackers.

  • $11.94 for a .com for a year
  • $12.99 for .net for a year
  • Domain Privacy Protection – $11.83 per year
Pros

✔ 24/7 live chat, phone & email ticketing

✔ Decent domain management features

✔ Auto and manual renewal possible via control panel

✔ Free domain offered with hosting package

✔ 30-Day money back guarantee

Cons

✘ Expensive domain registrar

✘ Domain privacy costs extra

5. HostGator.com

BEST FOR – being an experienced and reliable host

HostGator is a popular host that also has a decent web-builder called Gator. Founded in 2002 and also owned by Endurance International Group, alongside Domain.com and Bluehost, so you know that you are getting good tools and an experienced domain host provider. I would say that you probably shouldn’t have your domains on one Endurance International Group site and then your hosting with another of their subsidiaries.

Read our full HostGator review here

Domain Pricing & Features

HostGator are really expensive for domain names, however they are an experienced and reliable host.

  • $12.95 per year for a .com (or $2.99 per year if you host with them)
  • $12.95 per year for a .net
  • WHOIS privacy $14.95 per year
Pros

✔  Tutorials and live chat support

✔  Get free unlimited domains with reseller, WordPress hosting, Baby Cloud and Business Cloud

Cons

 ✘ Privacy is $14.95 per domain per year, which is expensive

 ✘ No ticketing support system

 ✘ Pricing is not transparent

6. Name.com

BEST FOR – feature rich, secure domain management

Founded in 2003, Name.com is owned by Right Side Group and between the two companies they control 16.5 million domain names. Name.com well established and cost effective domain name host that has a fantastic range of premium domain extensions to choose from for instance .live .film or .best.

Domain Pricing & Features

Domain pricing from name.com is reasonable. Domain names from name.com come with FREE URL and email forwarding, FREE Two-Step Verification, FREE forwarding to social media and FREE DNS management.

  • .com cost $8.99 per year
  • .net costs $10.99 per year (usually $14.99)
  • WHOIS privacy is $4.99 per
Pros

✔ Free domain name with hosting

✔ Security conscious host

✔ Bulk domain search

✔ Expiring domain search

✔ Feature rich

✔ ICANN-accredited domain name registrar

Cons

✘ Customer service only via email ticket and live chat during limited office hours

✘ Domain transfers cost $8.25

✘ SSL Certificates from Name.com are expensive

7. 1&1 IONOS

BEST FOR – offering a FREE wildcard SSL certificate

1&1 is one of the oldest domain hosts around and was founded back in 1988. 1&1 is a massive company with over 7,000 employees. Transferring domains is free and easy to do with 1&1 IONOS, which is awesome.

Read our full 1&1 IONOS review here

Domain Pricing & Features

1&1 offer some nice features with your domain hosting including free email address, free privacy protection, free wildcard SSL certificate and if you get hosting from 1&1 you can get a free domain for a year. They also have a domain transfer lock on all domains, so that people can’t transfer your domain anywhere (unless you authorise the transfer).

  • .com $1 ($16.99 thereafter)
  • .net $9.11 per year for the first year ($20.83 thereafter)
Pros

✔ 24/7 customer support via live chat, phone, email, and social media

✔ .CO.UK domain names free for the first year

✔ WHOIS domain privacy protection is free

✔ Free personal consultant

✔ Free privacy protection

✔ Free SSL

✔ Easy to use subdomain feature

✔ Professional email addresses are easy to set up

✔ UK company

Cons

✘ Prices displayed exclude VAT and rise considerably after the first year

8. Register.com

BEST FOR – those looking to host with one of the longest established domain hosts

Register.com is a massive domain name host that is possibly the oldest. Founded back in 1994 in New York before most people even knew the internet existed. Register.com currently control over 2.5million domain names. Register.com is already an awesome domain name, they also own web.com which is a comprehensive knowledgebase and the owner of Register.com.

Domain Pricing & Features

Register.com has all of the features that you might expect from your domain host. However they are extremely expensive when compared to other providers.

  • .net $38 for 1 year
  • .com $38 for 1 year
  • WHOIS privacy protection $11
Pros

✔ AutoRenew feature included

✔ Established domain company

✔ Domain Expiration Protection can be added for $10

Cons

✘ Extremely expensive domain registrar

✘ $12.00 transfer fee

✘ Website is a bit sluggish

✘ Private domain registration is $11 extra

✘ No live chat

✘ Only open during office hours

9. InMotion Hosting

BEST FOR – feature rich domain management 

InMotion is an American hosting provider founded in 2001. A much smaller domain provider, with just 300,000 registered domains.

Domain Pricing & Features
  • .com $14.99
  • .net $14.99
  • Privacy protection $12.99
Pros

✔ Automatic domain renewal

✔ Free domains with some packages

✔ 24/7 customer support

✔ Free domain transfer

✔ Free domain with hosting

✔ Secure Transfer locking

✔ Automatic domain renewal

✔ Intuitive domain management control panel

✔ 90-day money back guarantee

Cons

✘ Pay extra for privacy protection

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10 May 2019

9 Proven Online Businesses For 2019 (that you can start today)

Building an online business is not much different to building a bricks and mortar style business. One thing holds true in both cases, you must pick a niche that you are passionate about. The main reason is that, when things get tough you’ll hang in there if you are dedicated to the business.  Online business is rewarding, fast paced, scalable and the best bit:

Work from anywhere that has a Wi-Fi connection

With so many different opportunities to choose from it is easy to suffer from “shiny object syndrome” and fleet from one idea to the next. I’m sure you have a tonne of amazing business ideas. However, it is important to stick to one area and be consistent before expanding into other areas.

Choosing the best online business idea that suits you is easier than you might have previously thought. It’s all about spreading a message, service or range of products that you feel will enhance lives.

The more lives you can enhance – the better your online business will do #online #business Click To Tweet

A few things I’d like to mention before we get started. Creating a website is great, but the main thing is getting people over to it. To even things out a little, it is important to balance your online business activity out. By that I mean – you should share your business with people who can benefit. Find out where they are (online and off) and let them know about your online business. Also you’ll need to split your activities up and wear three hats, namely:

1. Money making/ working

2. Administration

3. Marketing

Without further ado, here are:

7 Ways To Start Your Online Empire In 2019 Click To Tweet

1. Start a Blog

BEST FOR; People who are looking for a long term sustainable business, love writing and have a passion or idea to share with the world

It’s not too late to start a blog and share your message with the world in 2019. In fact there are many ways you can get up and running – TODAY & FOR FREE. So there are no excuses.

The main thing about your blog is being consistent in creating content. This doesn’t necessarily mean that you need to get organised (wink-wink) you can easily schedule both your blog posts and social media posts to advertise your articles. So if you’re like me and like to get everything done in one go – you can.

There are free tools that can help you stay organised with scheduling such as Sendible and Hootsuite, where you can schedule all or some of your social media activities. Hootsuite offers a nice 30-day free trial. However if you are super organized then your calendar will look more organised.

How long should your blogs be?

This is a great question, as Google’s algorithms change continually. In 2019, the perfect length of blog is 1705 (believe it or not). The minimum blog post length should be 300 words; however Google prefers blog posts over 1000 words. The SEO keywords in your blog are equally as important as the length.

What Will You Write About?

You have two choices here, create unique content OR go ahead and copy people that inspire you. Both approaches will take dedication – but the main thing you should do in either case, is write about subjects that are of interest to you.

Monetizing your blog 

OK, great, you’re thinking about starting a blog, or already have one and want to make the most of it. But how do you make money from your blog? Here are a few ideas to get you started:

·         Advertising

·         Digital Products

·         Donations

·         List / Community Building

·         eCommerce – Sell Physical Products

·         Membership

·         Sell Your Website

Pros 

✔ Get started for free

✔ Learn more about subjects that interest you

✔ Share your expertise and help others

✔ Work from anywhere in the world – live the “laptop lifestyle”

✔ Fans and traffic compounds over time (if done correctly)

✔ A great foundation to branch out into other areas in the future

✔ You don’t need to speak to customers

✔ Set your own schedule

Cons 

✘ You need to be interested in writing or hire someone that is

In most cases you’ll need to drive traffic to your blog

✘ It is a long term project, so it might time to build a following and make money

2. Start An Online Store

BEST FOR; Hardworking people who are comfortable dealing with physical products and customers

Again, the main thing (with any online business) is choosing products/ services that interest you and benefit others. Logistically an online store or “ecommerce” as it is known, is a lot more difficult than starting a blog.

You need to think about products, shipping costs, packaging, inventory, storage and so much more. If you want to go into ecommerce, then you need to be happy with that.

An eCommerce business is basically the same as starting any shop/ store, the only key difference is that people don’t normally visit your warehouse in person. When you ship the products you’ll need to ensure that this is handled professionally and the chosen company are competent and cost effective. Additionally, the postage and packaging, tax and other costs must be considered when deciding on a price for your products.

PRO TIP: 

Check out what others are doing on Amazon and on their personal sites to decide on pricing.

If you’d rather not set up your own ecommerce website to start with, then you can create a store on Amazon or Ebay. The benefit of starting this way is that you will have access to the site’s audience. In the case of Amazon, they have done so much advertising, it’d be silly to miss out on that opportunity. Even if you are thinking of starting your own ecommerce website, then it is a good idea to also sell on Amazon.

How Will I Get Customers Over To My Ecommerce Website? 

This is a great question, because often people start up an ecommerce store and then wonder why there is no traffic. Realistically, nobody is going to find your online store unless you advertise it. The best ways to advertise your online store are SEO, Social Media/ Google Ads, Inbound Content Marketing and taking advantage of massive sites like Amazon and Ebay.

How Much Does it Cost To Start An Ecommerce Store?

You will need hosting, an ecommerce solution and also a domain name. The domain name will be your brand identity – so that part is important. On the other hand, you can set up an online store easily with a solution like Shopify. Shopify now has 800,000 store fronts and does all of the hosting and tech stuff for you. They have a free trial, which means you can get started for FREE today (Which is amazing).

Pros 

✔ Building your online store is rewarding, both financially and as a business owner (there is something about tangible products)

✔ You can get started for free or minimal cost, as many hosts scale as you grow your business

✔ Delivery day is exciting if you are selling products that you are passionate about

✔ The opportunity to grow a massive business is very realistic

✔ Can be coupled with other online opportunities to drive traffic, like adding a blog

Cons 

✘ Products can get lost in the post

✘ Good customer service is required

✘ Suppliers can take time to deliver or run out of stock

✘ You’ll need a good secure, dry space to keep your products in

Alternatively if you don’t want to hold products you can dropship….

Dropshipping is where you advertise product and you don’t personally have it. When the product sells, you simply ask your supplier to send the product to your customer. For many this is a very lucrative way to do ecommerce, as they don’t have the financial outlay of buying and storing products. On the other hand – if you choose to dropship, the process is out with your control and you can find yourself stuck in the middle of the dropshipping company and your customer.

3. Affiliate Marketing

BEST FOR; Someone who has experience with sales funnels, SEO and online marketing principles

There are many avenues to venture down when it comes to affiliate marketing. Basically as an affiliate marketer you are getting in-between the supplier and buyer and taking your cut. A bit like drop shipping. Sorry to harp on again here, but it is preferable to select a market that you are really passionate about.

It is easy to get started with Affiliate Marketing and it can be incorporated in a blog. For instance, if you are in the health niche, then you can promote people’s detox or weight loss products and take your cut. The customer gets the product at the same (or lower costs) and you get to take some money home. Often Affiliate marketers can take home 50% or more of a digital product and quite a bit less if you are promoting a physical product.

How Do I Advertise An Affiliate Product? 

There are many ways to advertise affiliate products, such as sending a mail out to your email list, promoting on your Facebook business page (not your personal page), creating sales funnels and through your blog. Google Ads, Youtube and Facebook ads will be your best friend if you are an affiliate marketer.

PRO TIP: You’ll need to understand basic SEO, Sales Funnels and Copywriting to be able to succeed in this niche.

Pros 

✔ You can get started for free

✔ Places like Clickbank are a powerhouse of affiliate activity – you can find products in every niche

✔ Get started straight away

✔ Can be incorporated into other online business activities

Cons 

 ✘ Physical products normally offer a low commission

✘ There are some big dogs out there spending a fortune on advertising with tried and tested strategies

✘ Advertising can be expensive

4. Publish A Book

BEST FOR; People who love writing and have a story to share or something to teach the world

Always wanted to write a book? Today it is easier than ever to self-publish. Sure you’ll want your book to be amazing, but you can do this easily by setting aside time every day to focus on writing your book. When compounded, 20-30mins of writing per day amounts to over 150 hours (even with some time off).

The publishing part is now super easy thanks to platforms like Amazon. You can publish your book inside a day, easily. However, before you write your book it is a good idea to validate your idea. Also, and most importantly you’ll want to make sure that there is a sizeable audience.

In some cases it is good to niche down, however when it comes to books, you can niche down too much and create a book for a tiny audience. This guide is extremely valuable if you are looking to self-publish a book.

[81% of Americans Want To Publish A Book #selfpublish #author #book #publish]

PRO TIP: If you want to sell physical copies of your book, then bear in mind Amazon take quite a while to create a proof and send it out to you. There is an added fee for their expedited service, however – you’ll want to set at least a month aside to get the proofs looking perfect.

Pros 

✔ With just a few books you can create a great recurring income

✔ Very low start-up costs

✔ Your book is an asset or IP that you can build on

✔ Tell your story and inspire others

✔ Be able to say you are an author

Cons 

✘ Very time consuming

✘ Mental blocks can seriously get in the way of writing and promoting your book/s

5. Create a Course

BEST FOR; teachers, coaches, consultants or people who already have a book

If you’ve written a book, then you can use this as the foundation of your online course (especially if there is a lot of interest in your book). Online courses are becoming increasingly popular as more and more people come online. Your online course can also be turned into a live workshop, or vice-versa.

There are three parts to creating an online course:-

1. Advertising

2. Website

3. Course Materials

An online course can be a fantastic tool to share your knowledge (and turn a profit at the same time).  You can use a free or basic website and teach over Zoom or Skype and then create course materials on your laptop. To encourage collaboration and interaction,  you can also create a Facebook group for classmates to meet up and support each other.

Teachable is a great resource for people who are looking to start an online course. Alternatively you could share your course on somewhere like Udemy.

Pros 

✔ You can turn your book into a course

✔ Share your knowledge with an unlimited number of people

✔ No product outlay

✔ A course is IP that can build a nice portfolio of recurring income

Cons 

 ✘ Time consuming

✘ Can be overwhelming with all of the moving parts

6. Start a Podcast

BEST FOR; people who don’t like to be on camera but want to take advantage of a growing online platform

Podcasts are becoming popular as people are increasingly busy. Podcasts are great for people on the go. Simply listening to a podcast on your smartphone is so much easier than watching a video if you are short on time.

In short, podcasts are great for people who like to multi task. Consistency is key with a Podcast, when you get fans – they’ll want to listen at a specific time every single week. The good news is that you can record your podcast with your phone or if you want to edit it then you can use free software like Audacity.

6 Million UK Adults Listen To Podcasts (according to Ofcom) Click To Tweet

A podcast can be added to your blog – and so your online empire begins!

Once you know your niche and name, you’ll need to decide on your podcast show format. This is a good example of a podcast show format. A simple podcast can be done in an interview format. With a guest or interview based podcast you’ll never be short of people to reach out to so that you can share their expertise with your audience. You’ll also need a podcasting website, if you don’t already have one – you can set up a free website to get started promoting your podcast and show schedule.

Pros 

✔ Start for free

✔ No video required, so you don’t need to get dressed up every time you go live

✔ Free software to record and edit

✔ Use your phone as a microphone

✔ A booming industry

✔ Meet lots of new people with similar interests

Cons 

✘ You’ll need a high-quality microphone (unless you have a great phone)

✘ Building an audience takes time, consistency and patience

7. Start a Youtube Channel

BEST FOR; people who like to be on camera and have a message to spread

First off, I’d like to state, that becoming a Youtuber isn’t for everyone. It can take years to get your channel off the ground, so there is a lot of commitment required. However, for some people they are passionate about making videos, maybe that’s you, if so – I’m jealous.

Youtubing is a fantastic skill to have. Over time you can build your Youtube channel up and then branch out into some other avenues like we have discussed such as a blog, ecommerce store, digital products or merchandise.

Now is a great time to become a Youtuber. Many marketers are stating that they want to take advantage of Youtube and influencers. Youtube is extremely popular and can lead to a wealth of opportunities, such as speaking gigs and expansion into other online businesses. The best way to start a Youtube channel in 2019 is by using an iPhone. When speaking to the BBC I found out that they often cut videos from iPhone – so you’ll be creating professional content with very little kit.

Pros 

✔ Get better at storytelling

✔ Build your brand

✔ The best way to reach a large audience

Free and easy to start (so long as you have a good quality smartphone)

✔ Have to think about your character and presentation

✔ Very little outlay

Cons 

✘ Can be embarrassing if you are not used to being in front of a camera

✘ You’ll need to be consistent

✘ Video editing can be time consuming

8. Become a Freelancer

BEST FOR; people who want money upfront and already have a developed skill

In 2019 there is no longer a need to meet your clients in person. So there is now a lot of opportunity for people to share their skills to benefit others. Any area of a business can now be outsourced, from HR to graphic design – so no matter what you are good at, or what you want to try, there is a lot of scope for earning a decent income online. Here are just a few jobs that you can do online as a freelancer:

App Developer/ Programmer

·         Copywriter

·         Marketer

·         Graphic Design

·         Social Media Manager

·         Accountant

·         SEO Expert

etc…

Sites like Peopleperhour and Upwork make it really easy to connect with people who want to hire freelancers. You can make a profile for free and get started within a day. Payment is normally taken via Paypal and a cut will be given to the platform after you have successfully completed the job.

On the other hand, you can also create a Freelancer website to help you get higher paying clients. If you decide to go this route you can still use the freelancer sites and direct people to your online portfolio based website.

Pros 

✔ You can get started straight away (for free)

✔ There are many freelance platforms that you can find jobs on

✔ Get paid for the work you do quickly

✔ Work from anywhere

✔ No boss

✔ Choose your own clients

Cons 

✘ No job security (if that is even a thing anymore?)

✘ Days off and holidays are not paid

✘ No company pension

✘ Money can fluctuate

✘ You have to run the whole business and wear many hats.

9. Coaching or Consulting

BEST FOR; people who want to help others and make money at the same time

Starting a coaching or consulting business can be very rewarding. Consultants and coaches can make a lot of money (if they are good). What’s more there is a lot of scope for expanding into other areas. For example you could write a book on your expertise and use it to generate traffic to your consultancy website.

You can help people in just about every area of life, however you’ll need to choose your own coaching niche. Did you know that Opera Winfrey has a coach for every area of her life? When you need a little extra accountability or guidance, your coach is your guide on the side. You can lean on your coach. A coach can offer group or 1 to 1 coaching in all areas of life. There are even Fortnite coaches out there (believe it or not).

How do I get traffic to my consultancy website?

The best way is for you to set time aside to help others for free. So for instance you could provide assistance to people on forums or in Facebook groups. Make sure that you choose groups and forums that have a lot of traffic, so that you can reach more people.

Pros 

✔ Very low start-up costs

✔ High income potential

✔ Lots of scope to expand your business

✔ Help people from all around the world via Skype or Zoom

✔ Work from the comfort of your own home

Cons 

✘ You’ll need to be very confident in your sector

✘ Building rapport and positioning yourself as an expert can be time consuming

In Conclusion

There is now so much opportunity to make a great living online. However, it can be daunting to know what is best for you. Make sure you take time to figure out what you want to focus on. Pick a niche and the type of platform that resonates with you and your audience. If you love writing, then you could start a freelance copywriting business and a blog. On the other hand if you’d love to help others, becoming an coach or an online consultant could be the best route.

So What Are You Waiting For?

Start your online empire today with one of the above ideas, you can always add to it when you have the foundations laid.

Best Online Business Ideas of 2019 – Start Your Digital Empire Click To Tweet

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