Core Tools (and other life savers)

 

Bluehost

I use and recommend Bluehost  as a hosting company. You can also purchase a domain name and get all of your website needs met in one place.  I’ve used other companies but Bluehost has 24/7 customer service and that’s hard to give up despite there being cheaper alternatives like Hover and NameCheap. Their cPanel has a 1-click WordPress install too. Woot.

 

WordPress

My website uses the WordPress platform as a content management system. I can create posts, pages and make quick updates without overthinking it. WordPress plugins can optimize your blog posts for higher search engine rankings. If you know basic HTML/CSS you can play around with the stylesheet (and revert to previous versions if you don’t like what you have done).

 

Buffer – Easy social media sharing.

A social media scheduling app that lets you queue posts and images to your Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest accounts . The browser add-on lets you buffer texts and images instantly while you surf the web.  I have the paid Awesome Plan. It’s pretty awesome.

 

MailChimp

Send newsletters to 2000 peeps free, perfect when you’re first starting out. Simple and good-looking and a vast collection of  newsletter templates make this mailer service better (in some ways) than Aweber, Constant Contact, Campaign  Monitor.

 

Google Drive, Google Apps , Google Analytics, Calendar

File storage, collaborative  documents, sheets, slides, AND traffic metrics. Drive has dropped their rates to match rival Dropbox. It’s 9.99/month for 1TB of data. Google Drive better suits my needs in the future as it integrates with Gmail and Google apps, am eager to eliminate redundant apps and tools for my workspace. 

 

Dropbox

A lot more organized and has flexibility in sharing, more so than Google Drive. I have DropBox folders synced locally and enjoy the convenience of the right-click “share DropBox link” and “share Dropbox folder”. Sharing files with others is super easy. That being said  I have plans to migrate all my data over from Dropbox to Drive with the year in experiment to simplify my workspace. Will report back once I do. 

 

Canva – Free and easy tool for the non- designer

The user interface is really intuitive, beautiful even, with lots of layouts and free graphics to pick from. With Canva you can make your own banners, blog images, social media and web graphics using pre-laid out templates. I’d recommend it.

 

Photoshop,  Lightroom, Illustrator, InDesign

I use the “big guns” when needed. Actually this website was designed and sliced in photoshop before it was converted to HTML and integrated with WordPress. I use Lightroom for photo editing, it’s very efficient, and I’ve become very comfortable using it. Illustrator is used for vector based graphics. Indesign if I have to create ebooks and adjust web files for traditional print format, though rarely.

 

Evernote

My brain and it’s ramblings all in one cloud-based notebook. Search functionality and tags are what makes this tool what it is.

 

Trello – Organize Anything. Together.

Don’t use this much but it’s a great project management tool that employs cards, lists, and boards to visualize workflows. Helps capture an overall view of all tasks in the pipeline. Organised and visual.

 

Asana – Teamwork without the back-and-forth emails

Manage your big projects. Assign team members to tasks. Comment, set reminders and meet deadlines. It’s overkill for some of the team-based work I do now, but it’s in my arsenal of useful apps.

 

Skype

Free skype-to-skype calls. Pretty standard video communication app amongst freelancers and contractors that work on the web.

 

Slack

In-browser app designed for effective team-driven  communication. Privacy is achieved via channels. Known for it’s seamless integration with various other project management and web tools like Asana, Trello, Google Apps etc.  Currently, I don’t use it for team communication, but still recommend joining a community that suits your special area of interests. I belong to a couple slack groups geared towards the creative industry.

 

Paypal Looking into Stripe

Pay for goods and services. Send money to friends and family. Invoice and get paid. Set up subscriptions and donation buttons on your website. Paypal hooks up to your personal bank account which means you can transfer funds between your Paypal wallet and your actual wallet in a day or two.

 

Mint

Can be glitchy for Canadian users like me, but Mint lets you keep track of all your possible income streams if you separate them by different banking accounts and authenticate them through this app. Monitor your spending and set budgets based on your spending history.

 

LastPass

All my web passwords stored in a digital vault. Browser add-on auto-fills your password when you hover over a password field.  You can give access to your online accounts with other LastPass users, without ever revealing your actual password.

 

Jing for Mac

Shareable screenshots and videocast for mac, for freeeee.

 

Better Snap Tool, for mac

Too many windows and not enough real estate on your screen left? No problem. Enter the Better Snap Tool.

 

JumpCut

Cut multiple snippets from anywhere on the web and offline. You get “access to text that you’ve cut or copied, even if you’ve subsequently cut or copied something else” – JumpCut

 

F.lux

We all understand the importance of uninterrupted rest and can only wonder how detrimental late night screen glow is to our natural sleep schedules. Flux makes the color of your computer’s screen display adapt to the time of day and the colour of the room you are in. Move over melatonin.

 

Udemy– online courses, tutorials, training!