Here are some products and services that I use, trust and recommend. I hope that some of them can help you in your own business.
Note: Some of the links to the products and services below are affiliate links, which means if you purchase them, I may receive a referral fee. Rest assured that this fee never increases the cost to you, and that I only recommend products that I fully believe in.
WP Engine or Kinsta
I used to recommend Siteground for hosting, however recent changes to their system have caused caching-related problems that lead to inconsistencies in user experience, such as users being denied access to pages they should have access to, or being redirected to the login page. AccessAlly (as well as other LMS and membership systems) have not been able to resolve these issues through Siteground support, and so Siteground is no longer a recommended hosting provider for use with membership or LMS sites.
To go along with WordPress, you’ll need a theme. I believe it’s always worth getting a premium theme; they tend to have better documentation, testing, support, and potential for customization.
This is a great theme for people who are looking for a highly customisable, well-supported, theme. It’s got an easy to use, drag and drop interface. Once big bonus that makes BeaverBuilder better than Divi and most of the other drag and drop theme builders out there, is that it doesn’t leave any nasty shortcodes behind if you ever decide to switch themes later. (But why would you?).
Elementor is another popular and flexible theme that has all the same advantages as BeaverBuilder, including not leaving shortcodes behind if you switch later.
Backups: Save yourself some potential heartache and make sure your WordPress site is backed up! I use and recommend Backup Buddy from iThemes on my own site and my client sites. It’s saved my bacon on numerous occasions, and is the first plugin I install when I’m setting up a new site. Can’t. Live. Without.
The AccessAlly family of plugins
As a proud AccessAlly Certified Partner, I recommend all of the following plugins, created by Nathalie Lussier and Robin Li. These two care so much about creating the best products to serve their user community. You can always be sure that their plugins will be of high quality, with new features added regularly.
If you want a polite popup for your website (i.e., one that converts rather than annoying your visitors), and you want it to be easy to configure so that it looks professional, look no further than PopupAlly!
Building a Membership site? AccessAlly is hands-down the best membership plugin for you if you are using Ontraport, Infusionsoft, ActiveCampaign, or ConvertKit. It’s packed with cool features, and easy to use. The Pro version of the plugin includes a rich set of gamification features that make your online courses and membership areas interactive. Visitors can track their progress through your content. Oh, and did I mention that you can now use this plugin to create simple quizzes, certificates, and social sharing? Get a 7-day free trial of AccessAlly here.
Need help implementing any of the above? I’m an AccessAlly Certified Partner. Contact me for a chat to see how I can help.
AccessAlly supports vimeo, Wistia, and YouTube for hosting your videos, and integrating with video progress objectives (i.e., progress objectives that are automatically checked off when someone watches your video). Of all of these solutions, I recommend vimeo. It hits the sweet spot, balancing reasonable pricing with a rich feature set.
Email Marketing & Lead Generation
ONTRAPORT is an all-in-one marketing automation solution. It houses your email system, your CRM database, your landing page builder, your marketing funnel manage, and more, all under one roof. It automates, personalizes, analyzes, and makes your toast for breakfast! (Okay, I’m kidding about the last one, but it does everything else!).
I love the way the interface lays out sequences in a logical, step-by-step fashion. ONTRAPORT is made for the way my brain works :-).
If you’re thinking of getting started with ONTRAPORT, make sure to contact me. As an ONTRAPORT Certified Consultant, I can help you find the right plan, and get you started with some onboarding services.
Website Analysis Tools
GTMetrix and Pingdom
Visitors will click away if your website does not load within a couple of seconds. Google is starting to tag web pages with a “SLOW” tag if they are slow to lead, which indicates that they will start to use page load speed as a ranking factor. Check the responsiveness of your own site with these free tools:
GTmetrix (checks website performance)
pingdom (checks page load time)
If you don’t know where your visitors are coming from, or what they’re doing on your website once they get there, then how can you improve? Get yourself signed up for Google Analytics and start tracking! It doesn’t cost anything, and you can learn a lot about your site.
Peek User Testing
Want to know what a real human being thinks of your website? Try peek. You can get a 5 minute video review of your website from a real person. And it’s free!
I recommend WordPress.org as the platform for creating your website. WordPress powers 30% of the Internet; that’s over 75 million websites! WordPress is extremely flexible, and comes with loads of great plugins (extra bits of pre-built functionality for your site), many of which are free. If you use WordPress, make sure to create a self-hosted WordPress.org site, as opposed to a WordPress.com one. Although WordPress.com offers free hosting, you end up with many restrictions and lots of advertising on your site in exchange. I think it’s far better to have control of your own website by using WordPress.org on your own host.
What others have to say ...
"Engaging Julie for the custom development of my AccessAlly membership site was hands down the best business decision I could have made. My membership is unique with surprising complexity but Julie’s creativity and solution-focused approach turned my dreams into reality, even finding a solution for a seemingly unsolvable problem." Read the full case study.
CEO, Mental Health in Minutes, Calgary, AB, Canada
"Our site looks amazing, our members love it AND I have resource documents I can access when I need to know how to do something.
The amount of feedback I personally have received about the site and how easy it is to access member resources and update member profiles has been astonishing!
Julie follows through with her commitments and the final product is exactly what we wanted."
Vice President of Operations, neXco National Oakton, VA, USA
"I started with an old broken down site. Julie has single handedly created a website that has a global presence and runs without problems. The professionalism of my site now is on par with the best in the industry. Julie and her team are totally responsible for that transition and for that I am so grateful!
You can tell Julie cares about her clients and goes the extra mile. She also has the ability to problem solve like no other. Her expertise with AA and Ontraport are better than anyone else I have experienced on the market. And she is Canadian!
I would absolutely recommend anyone to Julie, she is in a league of her own in many ways, one of the best in the business. She saved our online business. With her patient and attentive way she figured out what we needed and turned it into a reality.
Thank you so much from the bottom of my heart for everything you have done! Now that we are working together I will never be leaving!"
Online Entrepreneur and Horse Clinician, Colinton, AB, Canada
"I had no hesitation in working with Julie - the initial call I had with her confirmed that she not only was able to deliver a comprehensive solution (critical since I'm brand new to this) but she also asked really insightful questions and even suggested solutions for things that came up on the call.
Our favourite thing about Julie is that she listens to understand the needs of her clients. She definitely knows her business and her questions are to the point. Thanks to her experience she was also able to provide us with tips and recommendations that we haven't thought about. Julie is also very flexible and was able to fully meet our expectations and then some.
I would 100% recommend Julie. Hers wasn't the least expensive solution but I'm positive it provided me with the greatest value."
President, WBE Canada, Toronto, ON, Canada
"As a result of working with Julie, not only were we able to get our new portal up and running in time but she showed us so many new ways to automate all our systems that continue to save us time and energy. Julie brought even more value than I could have imagined for what I asked her to do for us.
I can't speak highly enough about Julie and her team. She somehow made it easy to relax even though we were quickly coming up on two launches.
If your website is stressing you out, she's amazing at sorting out what's important and making sure all the i's are dotted and the t's are crossed. I wish I could hire Julie to run my whole life 😉 I felt so supported and taken care of. Thanks Julie!"
Founder of Harvest Club, GrowYourOwnVegetables.org, NY, USA
“I had been searching for a web solution that would allow me to offer more content to my VIP Members, but it had to integrate with Ontraport. I’m so grateful I found Julie Waterhouse - who’s certified with both Ontraport and AccessAlly. She’s just the techie expert I needed to make my vision a reality.
Julie “got" what I wanted to accomplish, offering support to guide me along the way. Her project management and communication skills are exceptional, going above and beyond to deliver on her promises every step of the way.
I’m so glad I found her! If you haven’t hired Julie yet - do it today. She gets the job done.”
Direct Sales Motivational Speaker, Best-Selling Author, Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Founder of Million Dollar Party Girl, MillionDollarPartyGirl.com, Philadelphia PA, USA
"Julie is not only incredibly competent and professional, she’s also personable and easy to talk to as well - none of the “tech speak” that can be so confusing for us non-techy types! She was able to take my fuzzy ideas and, by asking just the right questions, understand my intention and translate that into the perfect blog design. And the best part - everything worked right away, without any glitches!
My email subscriber list has literally doubled in the past month since Julie installed the changes on my home page. She’s smart, personable, efficient, and delivers on time. In fact, it was an absolute dream to work with her, and I know she will definitely be my go-to blog guru from now on!"
PhD, RHN, Cookbook Author, Professional Recipe Developer, Holistic Nutritionist and Anti-Candida Crusader, RickiHeller.com, Toronto, Canada
"I had been looking for my “techie” angel for a long while. I didn’t just want the techie results - I wanted them delivered with friendliness and understanding. And that’s what I have with Julie. She also is happy to talk to me about strategy, design and all the elements that go into my website. And then implement it. I feel like I have a soul sister on my team – just what every girl wants! And no techie condescension either!
With Julie I have trust, rock solid accountability and superb work. That means I can focus on what I love – helping my clients hone their brilliance.
THANK YOU so much for being there. I feel fully supported in this adventure! You are more than a star. You are a galaxy! Gratitude."
Momentum Coach and Author of Everyday Happiness: EFT Tapping for Self Transformation that Really Works, ClairePHayes.com, Scotland