The right tool for the job makes your life easier. This applies to your web design business too! I’ve been a solopreneur & freelancer for nearly 10 years now and I’ve found some amazing tools that make running my business easier than ever. These tools help me to work smarter, not harder, and they can help you too! Try these tools to run your web design business in 2019 and make it your most efficient year yet.
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My email provider of choice. It makes managing your newsletter list easy and provides a lot of free services including automation & landing pages!
This is a fantastic CRM that makes managing clients & 0prjects easy. Its developer is amazing and always involved in the community. New features are constantly being added as well.
I’m so torn between 17hats and Plutio for favorite CRM. You can’t go wrong with either but the biggest benefit of 17hats is that it also does accounting and has integrated lead management. This means you can create a lead generation form in 17hats, put it on your website and have clients automatically added to 17hats. Use my link to sign up you get 10% off!
Classic, but necessary. If you have Google Docs you can get away with not having it, but I am partial to Outlook for my email.
Google Docs is my preferred rich text editor. I create all of my worksheets and workbooks in it. You can export your documents or just send out a link to grant access to contributors or as part of an opt-in or offering.
Google Drive is a wonderful & free service. It integrates with some of my favorite plugins, like UpdraftPlus to easily save site backups. I use it as a backup for my online files, like website backups, as well as a repository for documents & files I need to access on the go.
My preferred payment platform. It’s so easy to use and integrates with many common apps and allows your clients to easily pay for your services via credit card.
Paypal is my secondary payment platform. It’s a great option to accept payments and has the benefit of being widely used and familiar to your clients.
My tax software of choice. Makes filing your taxes a breeze.
Quickbooks make managing your business’s finances easy. It also has online Federal tax payment support so paying those quarterly taxes is easy. It even estimates your payment for you and sends reminders.
Industry standard design software. Enough said. If you’re a designer, you need this.
I love Creative Market’s selection of goods, especially fonts! It’s also a great place to find templates, sell your own goodies, and score their free weekly deals.
An amazing collection of free fonts. Can’t live without it.
Looking for a free & open-source alternative to Illustrator? This is it! even though I now have Illustrator I still like Inkscape for SVG work, especially converting drawings to SVG.
Canva is my shortcut to create social media images. Their templates make it so quick & easy to create social media images, plus they include a large selection of free fonts & free stock assets.
My current favorite text editor. It’s so customizable and what I love most about it is its Git & GitHub integration. I no longer have to have other windows open to use Git. It’s all right there!
This is a free program from Adobe, and I really like it. It’s a pretty simple text editor that I think is really nice to use. I only switched to Atom due to the Git integration.
The best, and easiest local WordPress development environment! I tried for years with WAMP and others but always, ALWAYS, had installation issues and had a difficult time getting it up and running. Local makes it so easy! You can get it up and running quickly and manage all of your local sites from it. I highly recommend it!
I love the Genesis Framework! It provides me with a solid base to build my WordPress themes on. I was hesitant to buy it at first and wondered if it stood up to the hype, and it did. It’s paid for itself time and time again.
This is a simple FTP and SSH program. I like it because it’s small, simple, and does exactly what I need it to.
Tailwind has helped me grow my Pinterest account and increase traffic to my site from Pinterest. It’s wonderful and easy to use tool that will help you schedule your Pinterest pins with ease and re-share old ones without having to keep track of them yourself.
Buffer is my favorite social media scheduling platform. It does everything from Twitter & Facebook to Pinterest and Instagram. It has an easy to use mobile app and browser add-on that makes sharing content easy.
I can’t suggest this enough! It’s a must have to keep backups of your important files, and it also makes accessing your files from another computer easy – just in case your internal hard drive dies or something. It’s happened to me! Don’t lose those files, get an external HD to keep them safe, yes even if you use a cloud service to back up your files. You can never have too many backups! Plus when the internet goes out you can still access them.
This is my mobile solution since I’m currently desktop-bound. I have an original series 1, Surface Pro. It’s super small and easy to bring with me while traveling and features everything a tablet can do with all the power of a laptop.
What’s the best computer for web designers/developers? The one you like!* Mine is currently
a 5+-year-old custom-built mid-range gaming desktop on Windows 10 64-bit. I love my computer and it’s run amazingly for this whole time and survived 2 international moves an HP Omen laptop. My sturdy desktop succumbed to hard drive corruption and operating system issues. This makes it a good time to mention again, to always, always, always backup your important files on an external hard drive.
Windows or Mac? Really whatever floats your boat. I hate Macs with a passion and am a gamer, so I prefer Windows. If you are thinking of switching OS just make sure to try it out first and be sure your new OS supports your favorite programs as some are one OS only, like Sketch.
*And meets all required, but preferably suggested or recommended program system requirements.
Hosting & More
Namecheap is my current domain registrar & host. They have great prices & service. I’ve been with them for years and am very pleased with the services provided. They have everything from hosting plans, reseller plans, domain names, SSL certificates and much more (now even a VPN!). Plus the company has great morals and support a free & open internet & security/privacy, which is something I love.
Free SSL certificates! Yes, free! Get all the setup instructions on their site. Your host doesn’t support them? Try SSL For Free, it’s the easiest way to install it.
These are the tools I use to help me run my business and I know they will help you run yours! Using the right tool makes your life so much easier and gives you more time to focus on your clients, and life outside of your business.