In my internet adventures, I’ve used countless tools and services. Some I loved, some I wasn’t crazy about.
Here I’ve collected my absolute favorite tools of the trade. From Project Management to WordPress Plugins, these are my tried and true faves.
WordPress Themes & Marketplaces
StudioPress / Genesis Framework – I am a huge fan of the Genesis Framework. It’s powerful, versatile, and fast, and provides a fantastic platform for development. Plus, with their new StudioPress Sites & pre-made Child Themes, it’s great for bloggers too! (Looking for a custom child theme? Look no further.)
Elegant Themes / Divi – Divi is a DIY Website dream. The theme is powerful, flexible, and user-friendly. Not to mention the visual builder is a fast, easy way to build your pages to really stand out. (Already using Divi? Frustrated with it? Maybe I can help.)
WordPress Plugins (Free)
Advanced Custom Fields – Need to build out custom fields for your website, but don’t want to spend hours coding and debugging? Try out Advanced Custom Fields. It’s simple yet powerful, and will forever change how you develop!
Regenerate Thumbnails – Just switched themes and your pictures look wonky? Regenerate thumbnails will fix that for you by regenerating the images in the correct sizes for your theme.
Yoast SEO – Easily manage Google Search Console tags, sitemaps, and improve your site’s SEO with Yoast. More a tool than a proper “plugin”, it will suggest how to make your posts and pages more Google-friendly so you can bring in traffic.
WooCommerce – My go-to, industry-standard WordPress e-commerce plugin. Simple yet powerful, with hundreds of extensions, Woo is easily one of the best platforms to build your online shop with.
Ninja Forms – My favorite contact form builder. It’s easy to use and powerful, and has a ton of extensions to connect it with email marketing providers, have conditional logic, and more!
WordPress Plugins (Paid)
Advanced Custom Fields (PRO) – ACF is my ride or die plugin. It’s a fantastic platform for custom development, handling the creation and management of all your custom fields. The Pro version has even more bells and whistles, allowing you to create dynamic page layouts and more, all through ACF!
WP Rocket – WP Rocket is one of the best caching plugins I’ve ever used. It’s built for simplicity and speed – and it delivers. If you’re looking to make your website lightening-fast, you can’t do any better.
LayerSlider – LayerSlider is one of the best-selling plugins on CodeCanyon for a reason. This plugin allows you to create powerful, flashy, dynamic sliders for your website. Display media, text copy, links, and more in an attractive, eye-catching way.
Bloom – Made by Elegant Themes, Bloom is a super easy-to-use plugin to create email opt-in forms and popups. It connects to dozens of email marketing providers, keeps track of conversions, and more!
MDD Hosting – I have never been more impressed with a host. They’re a smaller company, but their customer support and uptime are stellar. Plus, their LiteSpeed servers make your website’s speed soar.
GoDaddy Managed WordPress – I know, GoDaddy isn’t anyone’s ~favorite~ host. But their managed platform is easy to use, solid, and great for simple blogs and websites.
Flywheel – Super powerful, versatile managed hosting. Great for sites who want something more reliable and powerful than GoDaddy’s solution, but also don’t want or need to worry about managing every aspect of their hosting setup.
Zoho Mail – I’ve been using Zoho for my email for several years. It’s easy to set up, reliable, and you can use your own domain name! The best part? It has a free tier for smaller businesses and will migrate your email from your existing provider free!
MailChimp – MailChimp is great for small businesses, or for businesses who don’t need a lot of special interest groups for their email. Getting started is free and sending out emails is a breeze!
Constant Contact – Another major player in email marketing, Constant Contact is great for businesses with multiple special interest groups, or businesses who regularly host events and contests.
Trello – I love love love Trello. It’s a super-simple, ultimately-flexible that allows you to manage just about anything. It’s my go-to for organzing web design projects, collaborating with clients, and even managing my grocery lists!
Basecamp – Everyone knows about Basecamp. It’s kind of the gold-standard in Project Management tools. For a good reason too – it’s a powerful, all-encompassing tool that kicks ass when it comes to team collaboration.
Asana – Simpler than Basecamp, but still well-loved, Asana is great for those of us who sort their tasks into lists and aren’t worried about keeping everything in one place.
QuickBooks Self-Employed – Managing finances as a freelancer is a pain. After bouncing from solution to solution, I settled on QuickBooks Self-Employed. It automatically connects to my bank, categorizes transactions, and makes taxes a breeze!
Other Business Tools
Google Voice – Want a separate business line, but don’t want to shell out an arm and a leg for it? Google Voice and its accompanying app are a great way to have a business-only phone number without fees clunky, weird apps.
Toggl – Toggl is my go-to time tracker. Using it is as easy as pressing a button, but it’s also powerful enough to keep detailed logs of every second you spend working. Want to know a little more about Toggl? Lewis at The Freelance Effect has written a great review on it!