So you want to start a new project, but you don’t know where to start when it comes to hosting a website, getting a domain, managing your customers’ data and combining everything so it all talks together and just works?
You are in luck. Our team has years of trial and error with different web hosts, CRMs (customer relationship managers) CMS (content management systems) and every plugin under the sun for Shopify, WordPress and beyond.
The following is our curated list of recommended platforms and resources for new projects (and old ones that need a spruce-up.)
Full disclosure: some of the links below are our affiliate links, which we only do with trusted businesses and platforms that we use ourselves every day. Champagne Pilgrim receives a small commission for any sales made using those links.
Ok, the disclaimer is out of the way, on to the recommendations:
Where to host your website and register your new domain in 2021.
We have tried SO many different web hosts over the years and we can’t beat SiteGround for their speed, 24/7 support and built-in functionality. Our designers love the way it works with WordPress, and our developers love the added speed improvement functions and cPanel access.
We also recommend using SiteGround to purchase your domain. With every extension under the sun and easy set-up, you’ll be .com-ing or .org-ing in no time.
Got a bigger, more complex build? Try hosting with Cloudways.
Sometimes you are planning to develop something that is just that much more innovative and large-scale that you need a bit more flexibility. We’ve found the scalable resource management and hosting of Cloudways to be second to none. Great support documentation and expandable features via plugins makes this a great choice for your next build.
What’s the best CRM in 2021?
Ok this is near-impossible to answer, given that everyone has such different needs when it comes to customer relationship management systems. We’ve only found ONE system that is close to being able to basically do anything that you might want: from complex automation, segmentation and customer journeys all the way through to internal forms, custom fields and an expanse of integrations and plugins – who else but Keap? Keap (by Infusionsoft) have been making some huge leaps in the last few years with their interface and graphical capabilities, so now the hardcore CRM capabilities are paired with much better aesthetic output for your customers.
How about the best CMS in 2021?
Straight up, it’s WordPress. Sure you can get a Squarespace, Wix or some other off-the-shelf DIY system but hands-down for websites, we recommend WordPress. It’s unparalleled in terms of plugin and integration capacity and room to customise – the possibilities are endless.
There is a reason this CMS powers 40% of the web.
Best of all, it’s FREE.
Ok I have a WordPress, but it looks like shit. What is the best theme in 2021?
We like to develop using The 7 theme. It’s so pretty and fast and honestly, it’s a dream to build with. Some of the best parts are WPBakery Page Builder + the Elementor elements, which brings a lovely drag and drop graphical interface to setting up pages. There are so many widgets to choose from, you can easily make just about anything on any page with just a few clicks.
You can get the 7 for under $40, which includes 6 months support directly from Dream-Theme for an added layer of help.
What is the best restaurant/café/ordering app available in 2021?
We have quickly become fans of the Lightspeed/Kounta suite. There is just SO much you can do with their suite of platforms. There is a super easy-to-use POS, delivery system, reporting features, inventory, and kitchen management tools. If you run a café, bar, event space, hotel or restaurant this system can work wonders for you.
If that is all a bit much info and you’d prefer a hand with set up – you can book a call with us to talk through your needs. Otherwise, if you know what you want and you just need a digital team to do it, drop us your project info here and we will be in touch.