Running a business can be hard, thankfully each and everyone of us have our own special set of tools to make it easier. Here’s what I currently use in my business. It’s not a one time set and forget list, it changes month to month and year to year as the business evolves and changes along with me.
If you think there is a better tool than what I’m using, please let me know. I’m always curious to know and learn what other use and how they use it. I’ve arranged the tools and resources by general topic by use.
- WordPress: Most of my websites run on WordPress. It’s super easy to use, very extensible and they have a plugin for pretty much anything you can imagine. I tried things like Typepad, Posterous, Drupal, Joomla … but nothing seemed to have the usability, speed and functionality that I needed. WordPress fit the bill perfectly. That, and it’s free and I can host it myself super easily.
- Akismet: If you run a WordPress blog, this is pretty much required. It stops most comment spam from ever getting into your website. Period. Without this, you’ll have so much spam on your blog that it’ll ruin your website and rankings in search engines. Simply said: get it.
- Disqus: I used to like just the normal WordPress comments, but now I use Disqus (again). I used to use it a long time ago, but things weren’t right for us back then, now I’m using them again because I love how connected and simple their system is now. It ‘just works’, which is what I want and need. Disqus replaces the whole WordPress comment system with something much greater and better.
- Gravity Forms: I use Gravity Forms to handle all our forms, with the exception of newsletter sign-ups. All our contact forms are in Gravity forms. It’s very easy to use, they have many advanced features and they are constantly adding on tools and resources.
- Pretty Link Pro: Pretty Link is a plugin that help hide links. For example the link to Pretty Link Pro in this post. Instead of showing my long and scary affiliate link, it shows a nice pretty url that is easy to understand. Very handy for affiliates. It also does automatic keyword cloaking, which is nice.
- WordPress SEO by Yoast: This is probably the most important and best SEO plugin you get can. It is well integrated into WordPress and it does an extremely good job. Ever since I started using it here I’ve keep writing more seo friendly posts and been using the tools this plugin provides to better organize/setup my posts for search engine friendliness.
- WP-Markdown: I write everything using the Markdown language these days, especially these blog posts. It lets me concentrate on the text and it handles the ‘pretty’ aspect of things mostly by itself (kind of like LaTex, except much simpler). If you’re interested in Markdown I recommend you read these original post about Markdown: https://daringfireball.net/projects/markdown/.
- BufferApp: It takes your posts, updates, links and what not and ‘buffers’ them to be posted at a set schedule later in the day or week. I have it setup to post 3-5 times a day generally in the later parts of the day. Simple to use and well priced. I like it.
- TweetDeck: This program was originally made to make managing Twitter easier. Currently it does a little bit more than that, and that’s all I use it for. I use it to follow certain keywords, make private lists of interesting people I want to keep track of and generally easily tweet and manage my posts. The best part is that it can connect to Bit.ly using custom domains!
- Bit.ly: I’ve written about Bit.ly before, and rightly so because it’s free and it’s absolutely great. It’s a link shortening service that takes your very very long and complex links and makes it into something super short. Even better, if you have a spare domain you can connect it to Bit.ly and have your own custom domain for link shortening. We use cklph.com for that. I’ve written all about how to setup Bit.ly with custom domains within 5 minutes on this article.
Sections I will add in the near future:
- Programming tools and setup
- Basic Business Tools (Finances, billings, crm, ect…)
- Consulting resources
This list isn’t complete by any means. I will keep adding on to this list as time progresses.