One of the main reasons that companies and individuals get overwhelmed by the process of building a digital presence is because multiple tools are often needed for the job. What starts as “let’s build/update/optimize our website” can quickly turn into a multi-month research project on how your website software integrates with your email campaign software integrates with your customer relationship management software. It’s no wonder those deadlines keep getting pushed!
Of course, building websites that integrate software with design and the latest in digital marketing is a large part of what we do here at Brand Presence Agency. So if you want to take the headache out of the process entirely, you can simply hand it over to us. But we also don’t mind giving some airtime to a few of our favorite 3rd-party software integration tools and vendors.
Without further ado, here are our top 10 favorite software integrations:
Building blocks for easy software integration: WordPress, Elegant Themes (Divi Theme), and CSS Hero
WordPress was one of the first platforms to offer easy website building for everyone from amateurs to professionals, and it’s still one of the best. As a cornerstone in the industry, WordPress is both a safe choice and a flexible one: you can rest assured that they’ve got a plug-in for everything, and almost all 3rd-party data integration software has been built to work with WordPress.
With WordPress as your base layer, we’re big fans of using Elegant Themes to build out the next one. These themes are specifically designed to make your WordPress site look great. Elegant Themes is used widely among industry professionals, but it’s simple enough to learn and work with that even a newbie can make a website look professional.
Finally, we love CSS Hero (a WordPress plug-in) for making customization a breeze. CSS Hero has taken the code-writing aspects of web design and turned them into an easy-to-use interface. Sure, you could spend months or years learning how to write code to build your ideal website—or you could simply download the CSS Hero plug-in. It’s that simple.
Digital shopping cart integration software: WooCommerce
Once you’ve got the basics of your web design down, it’ll be time to look into the tools that make it function as more than just a digital advertisement. WooCommerce is our go-to solution for any client who needs their website to act as a digital storefront as well. We like WooCommerce for many of the reasons that we like the website builder tools above: it’s flexible, customizable, and easy to use. Plus, it’s built to work with everything from Paypal to Amazon Pay to the United States Postal Service.
B2b integration software: HubSpot
HubSpot is lead generation software, and while it can work for both B2C and B2B companies, we often find ourselves recommending it for B2B integration software. That’s because it’s especially well-suited for building out buyer journeys for complex customers and offers marketing, sales, and CRM software all in one. HubSpot takes a little getting used to in terms of the interface, but once you know what you’re doing it’s a powerful tool. And the good news is their HubSpot Academy is free to use for anyone, and is a terrific resource for everything from understanding the basics of inbound marketing to using the tool itself.
SEO keyword analysis: Ahrefs
Ahrefs is one of our current favorite tools at Brand Presence Agency. It’s not cheap, but it’s also hard to beat for SEO keyword analysis and tracking. We use it on behalf of all of our clients—not only to monitor their SEO keywords and website traffic, but for monitoring their competitors’ as well. With Ahrefs, you can set up a dashboard for any site on the web and see which keywords it’s gaining traction for and their content strategy at work. It’s like being a fly on the wall at your top competitor’s marketing meeting, and that kind of insight can be a goldmine. The ahrefs blog can also be a great source for sound SEO advice for companies looking to understand the SEO industry.
Email automation: MailChimp and Constant Contact
When it comes to solid email automation software, we couldn’t choose just one. Both MailChimp and Constant Contact are easy to use and will send out great looking emails to your audience. We tend to recommend Constant Contact to clients who are tracking multiple email lists as their tool is more robust for that. If have one list that you email regularly, go with MailChimp (especially if it’s a smaller list so you can stay with their free plan). If you’re regularly emailing more than one audience, try Constant Contact.
For putting the pieces together: Zapier
Once you’ve got all of these tools hooked in to your main site, you’re bound to realize that they do take a fair bit of upkeep, much of which can end up feeling like menial labor after a while. Zapier is a nifty little tool that helps your apps work together all by themselves. Rather than constantly importing new contacts from Gmail to MailChimp, for example, you can let Zapier do it for you.
When you’re ready to improve (again): Crazy Egg
I know, I know: once you’ve done all the hard work of getting a website up and running, it can be tempting to call it a day. But the best websites are the ones that are constantly evolving based on consumer feedback. Crazy Egg is a straightforward tool: it provides you with a heat map of your site so you can visualize where customers are clicking (and where they’re not). Even the free 30-day trial can give you a lot of insight into what may or may not be working on your site.
Besides these gems, the best advice we can give you when integrating software into your website is to create a software integration test. It works like this: visit your website and click on absolutely everything. Test all the paths and make sure the correct pieces of software are firing at the right times—sending you an email at the exact moment you’d want your customer to receive an email, for example.
When software systems integration is working as it should, it’ll do the work of your top salesperson and marketing guru for you—smoothly, seamlessly, and with data at every step of the way. If you’re struggling to make your website software play nicely together, don’t hesitate to reach out.
About Brand Presence Agency
Brand Presence Agency is a design, marketing, and advertising agency located in St. Paul, Minnesota. Serving clients of all sizes across the United States, we pride ourselves on both transparency and guaranteed customer satisfaction. We specialize in everything from logo or website design, to marketing automation management, brand presence, Google Adwords advertising, geofencing advertising, and mobile advertising. By making our clients happy, we know our clients will refer more great clients to join our family.