If you’re thinking of starting or already running a digital business, you’ll need to use lots of tools and services for it to run efficiently. You’ll need a domain name and hosting for your website, then you’ll need some free and premium tools and services to help with your day-to-day tasks.
What follows is a list of tools and resources I use to run this website, manage and create content, and earn an income from my sites and services. I hope you find it useful.
- WordPress – Naturally! I use the self-hosted version of WordPress to power my websites.
Domain names and hosting
- Fasthosts – The company I used for buying domains between 2003 and 2017.
- Namecheap – The company I now use to buy and renew domain names.
- WPX Hosting – Excellent hosting service with outstanding support.
- StudioPress – I’ve used the Genesis Framework for many years and I’m still happy with it. Read a review here. At the moment, I’m using a self-modified version of Sample theme.
- Akismet Anti-Spam – Stops comment spam.
- Category Sticky Post – Places a post at the top of a specific category.
- Contact Form 7 – Creates contact forms.
- Crayon Syntax Highlighter – For displaying code.
- Genesis Columns Advanced – Use shortcodes to create different column layouts.
- Genesis eNews Extended – Neatly place signup forms in widgets.
- Genesis Simple Edits – Lets you edit the post-info, post-meta and footer areas without editing the core files.
- Genesis Simple Sidebars – Lets you create and use sidebars for specific posts and pages.
- Genesis Title Toggle – Lets you hide the page title on a per-page basis.
- Jetpack – Lots of useful tools (I use it mainly for stats).
- ManageWP – For managing WordPress websites.
- No Category Base – Removes the ‘category’ part of a URL.
- No Self Pings – Stops WordPress from sending pings when you link to your own pages.
- Post Type Switcher – Convert a post to a page or a page to a post.
- Pretty Links Lite – To shorten long affiliate links.
- Really Simple SSL – Adds a security layer to your site.
- Redirection – For handling redirects.
- Renegernate Thumbnails – For resizing thumbnails when switching theme or adding a new image size.
- Social Warfare Pro – Social sharing plugin.
- The SEO Framework – For handling all SEO settings.
- WP Broken Link Status Checker – For checking the status of internal and external links.
- WPForms Lite – Creates nice contact forms.
- AWeber – There are a lot of options for mailing list software/systems, but this one still works for me.
Affiliate programs and ad networks
If you want free stock photos you can use on your website or blog, check out the sites listed below. If you’re looking for paid images, check out Shutterstock.
- Pixabay – The first site I visit if I’m looking for a free stock photo.
- Death to Stock – They release a new themed photo pack each month.
- Unsplash – Very similar to Pixabay.
- Flickr – Not a service I use very often these days but when I do, I only use photos with a Creative Commons license that can be used commercially.
Social media automation
- Buffer – Buffer’s a great solution for automating tweets.
- Tailwind – Perfect for Pinterest.
- Hootsuite – Handy for viewing several Twitter feeds at once.
Business tools and software
- G Suite – Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive and email.
- FileZilla – FTP program for accessing web servers
- Asana – Project management software that’s simple to use, packed with features and easy on the eye.
- Trello – Board-based project management software.
- Office 365 – Mircosoft’s Office suite of products.
- LastPass – Password management app.
- Google Analytics
- Evernote – Note and information management app.
- Norton – Anti-virus software.