If you’re looking for digital marketing product recommendations, look no further than this helpful list of products we tested for your convenience.
The below have all been tried and tested by staff at The Online Advertising Guide, and we can honestly say they are all great for small businesses and startups. If you need to find a new service for your website, check them out.
Our main criteria for everything we put forward are ease of use and money. If you can set something up without trying too hard, and it makes/saves you money, it gets our approval. This is simply because, for most small businesses and startups, time is your most important commodity, and not spending time on technical issues means you can spend it on things that need it more.
Disclosure: We have not been paid to recommend any of these products, although we do use affiliate links on this page and within *some* of these articles – because why wouldn’t we? However, everything in these Product Recommendations is our honest opinion based on our testing and researching of these products & services.
For New Sites: AdSense
When a website is starting out (up to 25,000 monthly page views), the best way to monetise content is by using Google Adsense. It’s the default ad network for most of the internet for a reason – it is exceptionally low effort and pays reasonably well.
For Small Sites: Media.net
For Mid-Size WordPress Sites: Monumetric
For WordPress sites, Monumetric is amazing at earning you a lot of money (they have great RPMs). I would recommend turning off their auto ads and placing them yourself, which can be a bit of a pain – but they have great customer service that will help you with all your problems.
We Don’t Recommend:
[Please note: Ad Networks are only as good as their staff, which change frequently. Just because we had a bad experience with them at one point, it doesn’t mean they haven’t changed significantly since then and are worth trying again]
Ezoic – they put ads in crazy places on our site, which caused a significant reduction in visitors.
GAM – had an incredibly complicated set-up process and provided no help with it.
Analytics: Google Analytics
The beauty of Google Analytics is that it is great for almost any level of knowledge. If you want to know the basics about how your site is performing, you can find helpful stats on the homepage when you log in. If you want a deep dive into your stats to understand and optimise anything about your site – you can do that too.
Data Visualiser: Google Looker Studio
Google Looker Studio is a free product that you can use to easily create beautiful and powerful charts, dashboards, and reports. It plugs into most Google products for free (Google Analytics, Google Ads, Google Search Console, Google Sheets and more), and companies are always building connectors for other platforms.
We Don’t Recommend:
Facebook Analytics – too many stats are missing or wrong to be helpful. It’s also hard to use. Note: It’s now dead.
Twitter Analytics – ok for looking at Tweet stats, but even then, individual tweets often go missing from the downloadable spreadsheet.
Social Media Scheduler: StatusBrew
StatusBrew is the best value social media scheduler out there, bar-none. It comes with bulk uploading and a suite of reporting tools that tell you what you need about your social media efforts quickly and easily. They also have outstanding customer service (which always helps sell things to me). In short, they are great.
Paid Social: Twitter Ads
Twitter Ads is the only paid social platform that makes me want to use it more. Bear with me, but after trying out all the main social media platforms’ advertising options, I find myself saying something I never thought I would: Twitter Ads are pretty great. More than that – I think all small businesses should start advertising on Twitter as standard.
Local SEO: Google Business Profile
Google My Business is a free business listing service which works directly with Google Maps, Google Search, and Google Ads. Google Business Profile creates profiles of businesses it shares with Search and Maps, and by claiming your profile on Google Business Profile, you can provide the public with useful information about your business.
Audit Tool: Screaming Frog
Screaming Frog is the top tool in any SEO’s arsenal. This oddly named product can be used to scan your website and then hunt down every little SEO issue your site has – including broken links, duplicate content, missing metadata, problems with canonicalisation, hreflang, and so much more.
For small businesses and startups looking for a host for their website, Bluehost is a great choice. It’s straightforward to use, it’s good value and has great customer service. It also works especially well with WordPress.
Website Builder: WordPress.org
There are many ways to build a website, but for most small business purposes, WordPress.org is the best choice. This is because it’s free, commonly used (so you can Google any problem), and exceptionally versatile.