As a small business owner, friends and family often ask me for recommendations when they're starting up a website or app. Some of the services we use here at Decipher Tools HQ make my life so much better, I can't believe I haven't written a blog post touting their awesomeness before. So, here we go, some of my favorite services that we use to power Decipher Tools:
Online Shopping Cart designed for Digital Products: DPD
Our primary products are Windows and Mac software, and we need our sales/shopping cart system to support our license codes. In theory, we could write our own payment pages on our website using APIs, but I don't want to spend my time reinventing the wheel. Moreover, I don't want to worry that we're missing possible sales because of bugs in our payment pages.
After trying a few services, we found DPD - Digital Project Delivery, who we've been using happily since 2013. DPD integrates with popular payment providers (like Stripe, PayPal, and Authorize.net), has a customizable responsive design, and works reliably. Every time we've contacted them for support (which we do not need to do often!), we've gotten quick and helpful responses.
Customer Support, Social and Email Client: FrontApp
Most of our customer support happens over email, and those emails need to be routed and handled by the right member of the Decipher Tools team. At our size, something like a Zendesk is WAY too much process and organization, but an unmanaged shared inbox or forwarding emails is not enough. Enter FrontApp, an email client for shared inboxes. Front makes our lives better. Period. (If anyone at Front reads this: seriously I love you guys. Thank you.)
Communication/Email Provider: G Suite by Google
As I already mentioned, most of our customer communication happens via email, so I want email that works. I also want company calendars, shared documents/spreadsheets, video chat, and everything else that I'm used to with my personal Gmail. It's easier for new employees to use our company infrastructure because they're already used to it from using their own Gmail.
If you want to use Gmail for your business, but have your email address use your domain, you're looking for G Suite. You can try G Suite for free for 14 days, and then the basic plan is $5 USD per user per month.
If you want to give G Suite a try, pay it forward and use our G Suite referral link to sign up.
Web Server: Google App Engine
I prefer to run a website comprised (mostly) of static pages, rather than a WordPress or similar kind of dynamic site. Here's my separate blog post all about using Google App Engine to host a primarily static site at very reasonable cost. App Engine has excellent server latency, reliability, and cost. I don't worry about our website scaling properly to high traffic demand, and I don't have to administer much.
Graphics for Social: Canva
We have an excellent designer, but I'm not going to ask him for every little image I need for a blog draft or social media share. Canva helps me create clean graphics with stock photos quickly. I used it for the title image in this blog post! (Props to The Collective article that originally recommended Canva to me).
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