The big pro for Google Analytics is that it’s free! A big con for Google Analytics is that it is difficult to understand what all of the data actually means.
SEMrush is really good for organic search tracking, and to keep up with what your competitors are doing.
We use InboundWriter to monitor content engagement. It analyzes data from Google Analytics, and site and social sharing, and comes back with information that helps us determine the likelihood that a topic will engage our audience or not.
Geckoboard is great for tracking KPIs, and for monitoring our systems.
We use a third-party program, Wordsmith, which integrates with Google Analytics, and puts all of the data into layman’s terms. It’s extremely useful for our clients. Instead of making custom reports in Google Analytics, Wordsmith does it all for us. It shows all of the big hitters like bounce rate, visits per week, visits per quarter, top referral sites, etc. It gives us, and our clients, everything in a consolidated report that’s easy to read, especially for someone not familiar with Google Analytics.
Slack has been able to replace a lot of email. Email is such a full channel, and usually full of garbage. We have a central Slack channel that we all use to to talk to each other. We’re really happy with it and, so far, no cons. We have no other tools integrated with Slack. We’re all about integrations, but people are moving more and more toward limiting themselves to as few tools as possible. So we’d rather have Slack do more, than have more software integrated with Slack.
We were using Chase Paymentech and Authorize.Net, but we recently switched to Heartland. We haven’t completed the switch yet, but we’re excited about it. Heartland has lower costs and, more importantly, they don’t hold onto your money as long as their competitors.
We don’t see a lot of our corporate business accounts using PayPal, and most B2B companies use wire transfers, pay by check or use ACH. But occasionally, we do have some businesses that pay us via PayPal. And a bunch of our affiliates pay by PayPal, as well.
CircuPress is custom-built into our content management system, WordPress. It’s mostly pre-programmed and there is not a lot of customization available, but it is automated and inexpensive, which are huge advantages.
We use FreshBooks for invoicing, and we totally love it. We have no complaints about it, and it’s very easy to use. You don’t need any sort of accounting background; you can just start using it. FreshBooks is a piece of cake, which is really important for new companies just starting out.
Our accountant uses QuickBooks Desktop.
For employee reviews and evaluations, we recommend one of our clients, Standard for Success. We don’t use them ourselves because there are only two of us, but it’s great for companies that need a good review and evaluation software.
Adobe Creative Cloud is cheaper now than it was in the past. But it still takes a large amount of storage to use programs. If you don’t have fast computer, you’re screwed. To save space, you don’t have to download them all at once--only as you need them. We haven’t had a lot of problems with them.
We use Join.me for video conferencing. We’re also testing out GoToWebinar. But all of these companies seem to kind of bait and switch you, and we’ll all of a sudden get huge bills from them.
Depositphotos is great for stock photos. The quality is just as good as iStock and Shutterstock, but it’s cheaper.
You can set up a master account and add users to it, so you can manage email signatures for your entire team easily. You can add an image for your whole team’s email signatures, and the master user can update those images whenever they want. It’s really useful when you’re promoting white papers and infographics, since you can just update one signature and it updates everyone’s signatures at the same time.
Brightpod has been great to work with. They are really responsive; if we ask them to update something, they update it! The biggest con is that they still don’t have a mobile app, and we need them to get on that. We’ve suggested they release an integration with Slack, which would buy some time before they can build a full mobile app, but that hasn’t happened yet.