Why you need Sumo

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.77" background_layout="light" border_style="solid"] The tools offered by Sumo are just so amazingly useful that if you don't know about them I really want to introduce them to you.

I found myself referring to them frequently throughout my book Create Your Own Website the Easy Way, and since I wrote it, the suite of tools - which I've come to find indispensable - has grown even more. And all of the tools I'm mentioning here in this article come absolutely FREE!

First of all, it used to be a little bit of a hassle to configure a pop-up on your website. But now... Sumo makes it really, really easy.

I know that you are probably saying.. not popups! I don't want a popup on my website! They're so annoying and people hate them!

But the thing is that popups work. They are the absolute hands-down most effective way of getting people to sign up to your email mailing list.

Sumo's popups you can configure to only appear at certain times, every so often, or only when a reader is leaving the page, and not if a reader has already subscribed, or not if they're reading on a smartphone, and so on... so they really don't have to be intrusive or annoying. You can either leave it up to the system to detect when it's a good time to make them appear, or you can control everything yourself.

Take it from me that this works, because my Sumo popup form is the one that gets me the most people signing up from my website, out of all the different forms I have in different positions.

You can also set popups to appear at the bottom of your website so they slide into one of the corners as the reader scrolls down (of course, you only set it to appear if they haven't seen the other one)... now this can in no way be construed as intrusive, and it works well too ... it's the second most successful of my website signup forms.

Other signup tools are a strip at the top of the page (called a "Smart Bar;" see below) which you can also configure as a simple button to take your readers to another web page, an embedded form right within your web page content, or - and this was one that you couldn't do until recently without a paid-for program - a form that comes up when the website visitor clicks on a text link. Brilliant for including signup possibilities as part of your text, which is one of the best ways of having people sign up for more from you... when they're already busy reading and enjoying your words.

Finally, in terms of signup form possibilities, you can get a "Welcome Mat." This is a full-screen subscriber form that the user sees before they go on to look at any of your content. You get lots of different templates and can add your own photo background so you can make a "mat" that looks really professional and inviting. It's up to you whether this kind of thing fits in with what you're doing, but it's a brilliant way to offer a discount coupon or some other irresistible giveaway, and they work astonishingly well to increase your signup rate.

Your welcome mat could look like any of these (these are all templates that you can use with your own wording and images; apparently the plain one is surprisingly successful):

All these tools are amazing but what makes them even more amazing is that they come with a built-in autoresponder tool... and that is free as well.

So now you can have the people who sign up get an instant, automatic email reply from you, and you can even send them an email attachment which could be a checklist or tipsheet, or whatever it is that you want to send them.

You can also group-email people who have subscribed from within the Sumo interface, which could mean that if you're just starting out, you can avoid setting up an email list manager just at the outset; although as your list grows, this will be something you'll want to do.

Unfortunately with a free Sumo account, you can't connect directly with an email provider service such as MailChimp, so if you do use one of these you'll find yourself adding your subscribers to your MailChimp (or other provider) list manually. For my part I've been using Sumo tools for a while and when I set up with them, this was part of the free package so I am lucky enough to have my subscribers added automatically to my list. But to be honest it isn't really a big deal to have to do it manually and when you get to the stage when it is becoming annoying to do, that will mean your website is doing really well and getting hundreds of subscribers and you might want to upgrade to a paying account in any case. However, the autoresponder system will mean that your subscribers get an automatic welcome message from you in any case (once you set it up), even if your Sumo form isn't connected to your email mailing list provider, and I think that is the really important thing.

List-building tools aren't everything that Sumo can do for you. The vertical strip of social media sharing buttons that you've no doubt seen all over the web (shown in the screenshot below) come from Sumo too. You certainly want to implement one of these so that your visitors can recommend your site to their own network when they find something of interest there.

You an also configure a contact form on your website which is a brilliant way of getting interaction from interested people and building personal relationships with your site visitors. You can set it up so it's a small tab that appears at the side of your website that's easy to access and encourages people to interact (and it does; I've had loads of messages this way - I've had it set up on my online course page since I launched and that way have been able to answer dozens of potential students' questions; see below, on the bottom right where it says "Any questions?").

That's not it: Sumo also provides stats via Google Analytics, image sharing buttons, website heatmaps so you can see how your users are interacting with your site...

I strongly advise you go to https://sumo.com and have a look for yourself.  Whatever kind of website you have - WordPress, Squarespace, or any other - you can use these tools, and it takes just a few clicks to install.

No matter what you're doing with your website, I think you can really benefit from these three tools (and look at the rest as well):

  • the signup forms (whether you use a centre-page popup, a corner popup or a "smart bar" at the top)
  • contact form tab (to answer questions)
  • social media sharing tool.

Let me know the results!



Create Your Own Website the Easy Way: DIY website-building resources

[et_pb_section bb_built="1"][et_pb_row][et_pb_column type="4_4"][et_pb_text _builder_version="3.0.77" background_layout="light" border_style="solid"] Here's a directory of the resources listed in Create Your Own Website the Easy Way.  I'll continue to add more as I come across new ones. I have not personally used all of these resources and I welcome your feedback, as well as other recommendations you may have.

The ones with an asterisk next to them are services are affiliate links, which means that I will receive a commission (at no extra cost to you) should you decide to purchase something when you click on the link. I have used all these ones myself, and have confidence in recommending them to you.

All-in-one (hosted) website-building systems

Strikingly* Wix* Weebly* Squarespace Shopify* (specifically for webstores) Big Cartel (specifically for webstores) About.me The Grid Supadupa

For musicians

Website builders, selling music online and digital distribution:

Bandzoogle ReverbNation Bandcamp

For photographers

Sites, storage, selling prints online:

SmugMug - store photos and create websites, with built-in online store for professionals. PhotoShelter 22Slides  Exposure - for “photo stories” rather than full-blown websites.

For creatives

Hosted online portfolio makers:

Dunked Format Carbonmade


WordPress.com Self-hosted WordPress

Other blogging options

Blogger (Blogspot) Ghost Posthaven Medium

Domain name registration

NameCheap* GoDaddy* HostGator eNom 1&1 Hover Name.com

Tools to help you come up with a good domain name

Namemesh Domainr

Hosting companies (webhosts)

Bluehost (US)* Dreamhost (US)* Heart Internet (UK) WP Engine (international) SiteGround

Payment processors

PayPal Stripe Square 2Checkout Skrill Plus many others...

Selling online

Ecwid Spaces Square Gumroad

Good places to get WordPress themes

ThemeForest* Creative Market* Elegant Themes* - home of the very popular Divi theme. Organic Themes WooThemes WP Explorer Dessign ThemeTrust Graph Paper Press StudioPress Bluchic AngieMakes ColorLib WordPress free themes directory

Identifying WordPress themes

What WordPress theme is that?


Etsy Storenvy Bonanza Handmade at Amazon Ziibra Zibbet

Email that matches your domain

Google Apps for Work Zoho

Graphics tools

Pixlr Gimp Fotor ON1 Perfect Photo Suite Canva PicMonkey

Instagram tools (these can be used to make graphics for your website or Instagram)

Red Cact.us WordSwag A Beautiful Mess Made With Over


Piktochart Easelly Infogr.am  Visme

Colour pickers

Color Picker Color Zilla Color Hunter Photocopa Adobe Color


Google Fonts Typekit Font Squirrel  Creative Market* Font Pair (font combinations)

Online quote-makers

Make images from quotations:

Stencil  Pablo

Resources for making your own graphics

Creative Market* (patterns, mockups, styled stock photos, web elements) Etsy (search "web elements" or "brand pack") Subtle Patterns COLOURlovers InspirationHut IconFinder Noun Project

Stock photos

Shuttershock iStock  Fotolia Dreamstime Big Stock  Unsplash Pixabay Stocksnap Negative Space PicJumbo Death to Stock Gratisography Public Domain Archive Google Images LibreStock (search across several free stock photo providers at once - this seems to be down right at the moment but I'm hoping it will reappear as it's really useful)

Logo makers

Squarespace Logo  Withoomph Hipster Logo Generator  99designs Fiverr


iMovie Windows Movie Maker


SoundCloud Audacity GarageBand Call Recorder for Skype Audio Hijack MP3 Skype Recorder Pamela

Podcast Hosting

Podbean PodOmatic Buzzsprout Spreaker Libsyn

Landing pages

Instapage Leadpages Unbounce

List-building and traffic building


Mailing list managers

Mailchimp AWeber Mad Mimi Convert Kit (email marketing for bloggers)

Online scheduling software

Allow customers to book their own appointments with you:

Calendly Vcita Time Trade  Appointy Acuity Scheduling

Live chat

Zopim Live Chat Inc. Click Desk Pure Chat Olark Spreaker Libsyn




Wufoo Type Form Form Stack Google Forms


Event Brite

Displaying videos


Multi-lingual website builder


Social Media Tools

Buffer Hootsuite Edgar PostPlanner Click to Tweet Bitly (shortens links) Internet Marketing Ninjas (social media photo resizer)

Submitting to Search Engines

Google Bing


Google AdWords Bing Ads Facebook Ads Twitter Ads LinkedIn Ads Instagram Ads

Customer Reviews

TripAdvisor Yelp Google Business Trustpilot


StickerMule Moo

Online Competitions

Contest Domination


Webinar Jam Webinars on Air Click Webinar Go to Meeting Webinar Ninja

Online Courses and Membership Sites

Teachable Zippy Courses Course Craft Kajabi Teachery

Digital Download Delivery

Send Owl e-Junkie Pulley App Sellfy Getdpd Fetch App

Order Fulfillment

Amazon Services Shipwire Rakuten

Tracking Traffic and Site Performance

Google Analytics SumoMe App Optimizely Google Search Console Bing Webmaster Tools

Plug-ins for self-hosted WordPress

These can be added directly from the Plugins section of your admin area. No need to download separately and upload.

UpdraftPlus Akismet Yoast SEO Contact Form 7 Jetpack Google Analytics Google XML Sitemaps Email Address Encoder Events Manager MailChimp List Subscriber Form PopupAlly Bloom (for attractive opt-in form signups, popup and embedded; can be used with any theme) WP Google Maps Coming Soon My Post Order NextGEN Gallery Sell Media Easy Digital Downloads Sensei WPML Polylang

Finding Professional Help

WordPress Support Forum WordPress FAQ Page WooCommerce Expert Squarespace Expert Wix Expert UpWork Freelancer WordPress developers