So many of the questions I get from new business owners and bloggers are something along the lines of “What tool should I use for X?” My first recommendation? Do your research and then PICK SOMETHING. Tech resources are undoubtedly important to your business, but there’s no use in spending all your time agonizing over the perfect suite of applications. My favorite blogger describes this as collecting underpants.
You know when your analysis paralysis is kicking in. Go do the thing. You got this!
Please note that I might receive a commission from some of the companies listed here. I would never recommend something I don’t love and using my affiliate links won’t increase the price you pay!
- Namecheap: My personal choice for hosting, their support is great and they’ve got everything you need under one roof. It’s very easy to navigate around your account.
- A2 Hosting: If you’re in the Ann Arbor/Detroit area, A2 is a fantastic local choice! They have amazing prices and the people I know that work there are wonderful humans.
- WP Engine: Several of my clients use WP Engine for managed WordPress hosting. It’s a little more of an investment because hey take care of so much for you. They offer excellent support via chat and have a built-in staging site as well as automatic backups.
- Namecheap: My personal choice for domain registration as well, they support a ton of TLDs from .com to .guru! (For the record, I recommend going for .com and/or the relevant country code TLD.)
- WordPress: Self-hosted WordPress sites can be nearly anything you want them to be! Make sure you use the .org version and not .com to take full advantage of this powerful platform.
- Shopify: If your goal is to set up an online store, this is an excellent choice. All of Shopify’s features are centered around making you money, from analytics to security, from shipping to inventory management.
- Jekyll: Sometimes, a static site is all you need! Jekyll is a super easy to use static site generator. If you’d just like to get your content out there and don’t need a database, consider making use of this. Don’t fear the code! Here’s a guide to launching a site with Jekyll and GitHub Pages.
- Freshbooks: I use Freshbooks for my web development business because it comes with everything I need. I get time tracking, invoicing, financial reports, and I can bring other people in to collaborate on projects. The mobile app is also great!
Learn to Code
- How DNS Works: A delightful webcomic that explains the ins and outs of DNS. This is essentially the story of how any ever reaches your website!
- CSS Specificity Calculator: One of the most misunderstood (and sometimes overlooked) aspects of CSS. If you’re not sure why a certain rule isn’t being applied, you might want to check its specificity as compared to other rules in your stylesheet.
- Don’t Make Me Think: My absolute FAVORITE text on usability. This is a highly approachable introduction to usability and usability testing. A must-read for anyone who designs, builds, or owns websites.
- Chrome Accessibility Developer Tools: Audit any website for accessibility issues. This Chrome extension will tell you exactly what needs to be fixed to make your site more accessible, particularly to users navigating the web via assistive technology.
- Free Code Camp: This an awesome free (obviously) resource for learning web development. There’s hours and hours worth of content that will take you from zero to professional. With periodic projects to make sure you’re able to apply the skills you learn, it’s a great option for people who like self-directed learning.
- Treehouse: My favorite online learning platform because there’s something for everyone and the videos, quizzes, and code challenges mesh well with my learning style. I started learning on the platform years ago and now I guest teach for them! You can get started with a free trial. Be sure to check out my courses on jQuery and web accessibility!
- Pluralsight: Especially if you’re a little further along, or even if you’re a very experienced developer and want to explore another discipline or dive deep into a certain technology, Pluralsight is an awesome choice! Their platform allows you to test your knowledge in a wide range of areas to help determine what you should learn next.
- Girl Develop It: The most wonderful group of ladies you’re likely to meet, GDI teaches adult women to code through affordable, accessible in-person workshops. Our mission is to support women in tech, but we welcome anyone to learn or teach. Check to see if there’s a chapter near you!
I’m always looking for awesome tools for myself, my clients, and my students. Is there anything I missed? Want to see a tutorial or review of something? Contact me and let me know!