We offer you handy tips, tools, links and how-to's as well as a list of books we've read that we can recommend to entrepreneurs

POST AUTHOR

Blog Post written by Ronel Pieterse

Ronel has 24 years corporate experience at senior levels (finance, mining, IT, manufacturing & agriculture), a B.Com degree (Business Management & IT) and postgrad Business Management (Henley). She has also started 5 small businesses over the past 20 years, 4 of which are still operational today due to her expertise in Digital Marketing. Ronel helps entrepreneurs to grow their businesses via a sustainable competitive advantage in the Digital Arena.

POST DATE: 2017-02-20 (WIP)

DIGITAL MARKETING RESOURCES, LINKS & RECOMMENDED BOOKS

You know how we often start Googling for answers to some pesky digital marketing question we have, hoping that someone else has solved it and written about it, or written a handy tool to help save us time? Well, I certainly do this all the time.

I am a ferocious reader and researcher. I love business and digital marketing books and blogs; and I spend hours each week researching the latest Adwords Campaign Tips, SEO trends or website development best practices, or looking for tools to improve my Digital Marketing Engine. I try out several tools or links before I settle on one that I find to be robust, trust-worthy and easy to use.

The idea with this post is to share the best tools and books that we've found, with you.

This post will change over time as I add on new tools discovered, or remove tools I previously loved but that no longer exists (like the Firefox Style Sheet Duster), or to add on a book that really helped me in my business or life. If you have a tool or book that you'd like to recommend to us, please pop us a comment below and we'll gladly add it on if appropriate.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS FOR ENTREPRENEURS

Readers are Leaders. Or at least, they are better poised to be self-aware and ever-evolving!

I've been trying to limit my list of the best books that influenced my life and business and it has proven impossible; I will most certainly keep adding onto it regularly. At present, the list of books I'd recommend to entrepreneurs and small business owners include:

  • The Paradox of Choice - Barry Schwartz
  • Boundaries - Cloud & Townsend
  • The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
  • Outliers - Malcolm Gladwell
  • Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
  • The Magic of Thinking Big - David Schwartz
  • Purple Cow - Seth Godin
  • Influence, The Psychology of Persuasion - Robert B. Cialdini
  • The Great Disruption - Paul Gilding
  • The Gifts of Imperfection - Brené Brown
  • Loving what is - Byron Katie
  • The C Zone: Peak Performance Under Pressure - Robert Kriegel PH.D & Marilyn Harris Kriegel PH.D.
  • Slowing Down to the Speed of Life - Richard Carlson & Joseph Bailey

What other great books can YOU recommend? Please let us know below?

We love reading, and we tend to love readers. Here are just a few of the books we recommend entrepreneurs (and everyone else) read.


USEFUL LINKS & TOOLS IN DIGITAL MARKETING

By no means exhaustive, here are the links to some of the digital marketing tools and website development resources that we use most often.

  • https://www.kayeputnam.com/brandality-quiz/ - find your brand's archetype, ideally BEFORE you have a logo designed or a website built.
  • https://www.canva.com/color-palette/ - derive a colour palette from a strong image central to your web design.
  • http://kb.restaurantengine.com/remove-logo-background-make-it-transparent-using-photoshop/ - for how to make a logo's background transparent.
  • https://www.favicon-generator.org/ - favicon generator.
  • https://romannurik.github.io/AndroidAssetStudio/icons-generic.html - icon generator.
  • https://www.tailorbrands.com/logo-maker - this is for when you are desperately trying to create a basic logo or logo placeholder, or ideas, for a client when the designer is slow or the client needs something cheap & simple.

  • https://www.w3schools.com/cssref/css_websafe_fonts.asp - web safe fonts.
  • https://fonts.google.com/ - find google fonts that are easy to incorporate into websites but does come at a tiny speed sacrifice.

  • http://www.mail-tester.com/ - test whether anything about your e-mail account, or individual e-mails flag your mails as spam, so that you can fix it.

  • https://gtmetrix.com/ - test your website pages' load speed; please note that it may change from time to time. Also note that there are factors a developer cannot do anything about or constraints within which any results need to be understood. For example, it's prudent to leave caching switched off while a website is still new and may undergo small tweaks and changes. Another example is when a user insists on embedding videos on a page, or using third-party plug-ins that will slow a website down, there isn't much a developer can do other than advising the client accordingly. A tool like this should form a starting point for discussion, not a hammer to beat some poor developer (whose advice you ignored).
  • https://tools.pingdom.com/ - another useful tool for testing web page load speeds from different ervers around the world. Speeds are mostly slower from abroad due to latency, so take that into account before you panic. Please note that many factors are at play, so you can get different results minutes apart, but it will still give you the general trend. I like to test several times throughout a typical day. It also gives useful pointers as to what can be done to speed up your website. PLEASE NOTE: Sometimes it gives incorrect results (like with other foreign testing tools); there seems to be a problem linking from some foreign servers to some South African servers, resulting in time-out errors that do not occur locally. Someone explained to me that this has to do with Inbound Switching but I'm not sure. Even large, ranking, reputable websites will load perfectly and FAST when loaded from SA, but time-out when loaded from abroad - if you know why this happens, PLEASE enlighten me as many people contact me re this and it's not my area of expertise.
  • https://www.giftofspeed.com/cache-checker/ - indicates what cache-ing, if any, is enabled on a page, at file level.

  • https://validator.w3.org/ - to test the html code validity of individual web pages. Please note that the validation is dependent on the DOC-TYPE specified in the HTML. Please also note that a web page can fail this test (and most web pages do!) and still show perfectly fine on most browsers. This is used by website developers who want to deliver a superior product, or by prospective website clients wanting to test a web developer's own website ;)
  • http://responsivechecker.net/responsive - to check a website's mobile-friendliness over and above using Chrome's Developer Tools.
  • https://www.inspyder.com/products/OrFind - a great tool for finding orphaned website images and more; free for single use.
  • https://www.kadabra.co.za/ - test a website's Speed and overall SEO score here. This tool is continually being upgraded so scores can change over time! It is the best tool for getting a sense of your South African website's speed compared to others (overseas testing tools tend to show speeds skewed slower due to domain name lookups and latency). There are some wobblies on this tool around W3C and speed vs cacheing. Sometimes a developer cannot improve on a score within given constraints (e.g. Shopify code snippets tends to slow a website down.)
  • https://www.jitbit.com/unusedcss/ - this is a BETA tool still in testing, but a free way to find unused CSS (since Firefox's handy CSS Style Sheet "DUSTER" disappeared and I find Chrome's built-in tester laborious to use. It helps to clean up CSS (unused style sheet elements) to make your web pages load faster. It does seem to have a bug in its recursive sub-link crawling though, so take care.
Tools like these can result in cleaner code, leaner css style sheets, faster page load speeds and better digital marketing.


  • https://developers.facebook.com/tools/debug/og/object - use this tool to see how Facebook interprets a given web page when crafting a Facebook Post from the website link. Use Open Graph to specify to Facebook exactly HOW you want your posts to show; either way this is the testing tool. Hint: sometimes you need to hit the "Scrape" button twice to get it to fully load - scroll down to see the post preview. You'll notice that in live Facebook, your title line sometimes wrap when it doesn't wrap in the tool - that's life folks! Test it here, test it live...

  • https://www.sslshopper.com/ssl-checker.html - checks what security certificate (SSL) is installed on a server / for a domain, if any.

  • https://combinepdf.com/ - for when you need to combine PDF files.
  • https://www.pdf2go.com/split-pdf - to split large PDF documents (e.g. in order to e-mail them, or to upload them to e-filing - URGH!)

Are you trying to avoid something nasty on your to-do list (like a tax return)? Then I highly recommend you go back and play with these links one by one!

Work through this list of links if you are trying to avoid something on your to-do list.


If you have a good book or handy link to share with us, please don't be schnoep! Send it to us below, please?


COMMENTS ON THIS POST

2018-05-09 Victoria: I just passed this onto an entrepreneur friend who was trying to find good books to read. He actually bought me lunch since I sourced this post for him, so let me rephrase: thanks for lunch!

Ronel: Haha! Pleasure Victoria.


2019-03-09 Irwin: Would you mind letting me know which web host you're working with? I've loaded your blog in 3 different browsers and I must say this blog loads a lot quicker then most!

Ronel: Thank you Irwin. We prefer to custom-code websites where possible to gain web speed, which we believe has become a critical SEO factor. We use a South African hosting company – I've mailed you their details.


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