During this month of thankfulness, let us start by being thankful for the point in history where we find ourselves. Take a nostalgic walk with me back in time for a moment to the 1990’s when the very first websites were created. Back then, if you wanted to build a website (which was little more than a list of information with links to more lists of information) you needed to be an expert in computer science.
Now fast forward to the present and just about anyone with some time and inclination can create and maintain a basic website. My how the times have changed.
Thinking back on those early days of the World Wide Web makes me really thankful for all the tools that are available to make developing and maintaining an online presence easier for small business owners today. Beyond saving us time, these tools are really essential to taking advantage of rapidly advancing technology.
Are you making the most of what’s out there? Here is a list of some tools we have been using a lot of in the past year and for which we are thankful.
Web Design/Maintenance Tools
If you don’t have an automatic backup system for your website, you need one NOW. Have you learned nothing from my blog post about getting hacked last month? There really is no reason not to be using a plugin that automatically backs up, updates, and scans for malware. At Spring Insight we use ManageWP for our clients. Not only does it offer peace of mind, it is a real time-saver when it comes to maintaining your WordPress website.
When it comes to marketing, wouldn’t we all like to know about tools that can help us to make our brand standout? Canva.com is one of my favorite marketing tools. It allows anyone, regardless of design ability, to create professional looking marketing collateral. Canva offers lots of images, photo editing tools, inspirational design graphics, and tutorials. Plus, there is a ton of stuff you can do for free.
Team Project Tools
From the perspective of internal business operations, tools that allow team members to communicate more effectively are big winners. At Spring Insight, we recently started using Slack and it has become an integral part of our day-to-day operations. Slack allows us to communicate with subsets of the team (so people aren’t seeing messages that they should simply ignore), in real time (which is especially helpful for companies, like Spring Insight, that have team members who are not located in one geographical location), on project specific communications (without filling up email inboxes). Setting up Slack was seamless and it was super easy to get everyone using it right away.
While podcasts aren’t new technology, 2015 has been a revolutionary year for them. The introduction of quality long form programs such as Serial and the titles by Gimlet Media have taken the standard from repackaged content or rants by random people to media worth knowing about and listening to. I was thrilled this year to even appear on a Podcast! This brings me to my next point; the increased prevalence of podcasts and ease of making them has made them a great vehicle for getting your brilliance out there!
If you know anything about me, you know that I love learning about new tools that people are loving (you should see my latest sticky-note organizational system). So, tell me—what technology tools are you most thankful for this year? Send me a tweet @SpringInsight or leave a comment here.