There are certain tools and services I’ve come to trust and use for all of my efforts. And occasionally someone will ask me for a recommendation. For those just getting started or who want to get a jump start on the process, here are a few of the sites, services, and platforms I recommend for your needs.
Full disclosure: Some of these services have affiliate links. If you decide to signup for them, I will receive a small commission. Despite that, I only list services here that I personally use and highly recommend.
WiredTree – I’ve been using WiredTree as my VPS managed host for this site and eleven others since 2009. This company has been a partner in my success every step of the way and I recommend them to anyone looking for the next level in hosting services.
BlueHost – For those getting started, the higher costs of a managed solution may be too much. That’s where BlueHost comes in. Everything just works and the services are designed for our sites – especially their managed WordPress option.
Theme and Plugins
WooThemes – I have a subscription to WooThemes that I turn back on at least once a year. While the company has shifted pretty heavily to WooCommerce in recent years, their themes remain some of my favorites for quick sites when I need to get something up fast. This site runs on Canvas and has for years.
Genesis Framework – Genesis is a beast of a WordPress framework with some of the best looking child themes on the planet. It takes a bit more energy and time to set it up, but the things you can do here are outstanding.
Freshbooks – While I don’t need a service like this in my current position, Freshbooks was a trusted tool for years, helping me manage invoices and recurring payments from clients and customers from 2007 to 2013. It’s the best option online by far and very affordable for small businesses and freelancers.
List and Landing Page Management
Aweber – If all you need is a list service, I highly recommend Aweber. It’s reliable, delivery rates are high, integration is strong with WordPress, and they recently upgraded their forms to be mobile responsive. The starting cost is reasonable and it scales based on contact volume, which makes good sense.
LeadPages – WordPress does a lot of things well, but landing pages is not one of them. It can take a LOT of extra work to create and manage good landing pages in WordPress, even with a plugin. That’s why I often recommend LeadPages. The cost is reasonable, the tools are outstanding, and the guys running this company are wizards with conversion optimization.
To Do List Management
OmniFocus – If you’re on a Mac or use iOS devices for your to do list management, get OmniFocus. They now offer two price tiers so you don’t need to spend a huge chunk of money to get in with the software, and it is the most powerful (and flexible) GTD app on the app store.
Toodledo – If you don’t need all that power under the hood or if you’re on a Windows machine and need a GTD style tool for your to do list, use Toodledo. This one is free to use with almost all the basic functions and is web-based so you can boot it up from anywhere with a connection. It also has a decent mobile app – while not as good as OmniFocus on iOS, it’s very good for a free app and what I use at work.
Note Taking and Journaling
Evernote – Evernote is by far one of the most versatile pieces of software I’ve ever used, allowing me to easily take and keep notes on any computer, both at work and on my mobile devices.
Day One – This is an iOS and OSX only app but it’s a great one. It allows me to take notes, protect them without having to lock them down and access them from my mobile or laptop. It’s essentially a journaling app, but it looks great and works perfectly for keeping track of my notes on a daily basis.
Screen Sharing and Communication
join.me – The free version is more than enough for most people and the paid version is extremely affordable, with extensive resource options that go above and beyond much more expensive pieces of software.
Skype – Skype is the ultimate communication tool and a must for anyone who runs a home business or operates with clients or contractors around the globe. It’s also free and runs seamlessly on pretty much any device you can name.