In the course of our online design career, and particularly with WordPress, we’ve figured out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to tools that make running your business a joy rather than an exercise in tearing your hair out. We’re constantly discovering and testing, and conferring with the experts to determine which plug-ins, shopping carts, membership programs, etc. are the best options for our clients.
Here’s a list of just a few of the tools we love:
- Thesis Theme for WordPress – An one-stop theme solution for most online business owners. It’s flexible, easy to manage and getting better all the time.
- Digital Access Pass – Without a doubt the most comprehensive, flexible membership program for WordPress you’ll find for the price.
- Sucuri – Hands down the most affordable, fastest and easiest to use malware monitoring and ‘repair’ service out there.
- Riva Slider – My favorite image slider for WordPress. It’s incredibly flexible and looks amazing.
- Gravity Forms – If you need more than just a basic contact form (like maybe you want to create forms to gather client information), this is your best bet.
- Aweber – A robust email marketing solution with solid analytics capabilities. What does that mean? You can see how effective your campaigns are! And it’s used by a lot of the pros.
- Mailchimp – A simpler, fun-to-use email campaign solution with attitude. I don’t recommend if you’re building a business and require serious analytics of your mailing lists, but for many people, Mailchimp works just fine.
- AudioAcrobat – There are lots of choices out there for hosting your audio and video files, podcasts and more. Audio Acrobat gives you a place to keep them all in one place. And they’re adding new features all the time.
- Surveymonkey – Does what it says – surveys!
- Basecamp – I couldn’t run my business without Basecamp. It’s like having an extra brain! Allows me to keep track of tasks and to-do lists, and my clients to keep track of everything in one place.
- befunky.com – A free online photo editor that does almost all the things Photoshop can (except without the skill requirement – or the cost). I use this to do some effects for online photos and love its simplicity. After the demise of Picnik, this was my go-to for referring to clients who didn’t want to spend the money or time on more complex photo editors.