Looking for resources to help you run your small business? This post features tools, apps and resources for your website, email, social media and content creation. I have personally used most of these tools in my own business or found the resources useful and interesting.
Website, Domains & Website Hosting
- WordPress – WordPress is a free content management system that provides you with a powerful structure for your website. Allowing you to edit, update and add to your website yourself at any time you like. With the abundance of plugins and themes, you can have your website up and running in a matter of hours.
- Squarespace – Squarespace is an all in one website platform and host with a variety of features and themes to help you get a nice looking website with little tech know-how.
- StudioPress Sites – Managed WordPress Hosting and access to 24 Mobile-Optimized Ready-to-Go Themes.
- Shopify – Ecommerce software that makes running an online store easy.
- Siteground – I recommend Siteground hosting to all my website design clients. It’s fast, the support is excellent and they even give you free SSL.
- WP Engine – WP Engine is a host specifically suited to WordPress websites. By tailoring their service to WP websites and blogs, it is faster and more stable than regular hosts. The better security provided also reduces the likelihood of getting hacked and losing all your precious content. WP Engine is slightly more expensive than some hosts but if you have a large or high traffic website, it is definitely worth the investment.
- Google Analytics – Every website owner knows what Google Analytics is, or, at least, they should. It is the daddy of website statistics and despite being completely free if offers so much value. You can find out where your visitors are in the world when they visit, what they view and even whether they using a mobile or desktop.
- NameCheap – Register domain names for an affordable price.
WordPress Resources & WordPress Themes
- Genesis Framework – Genesis is one of the best frameworks around for WordPress websites and blogs as it is streamlined, built with SEO in mind. And even with the most basic HTML and CSS knowledge you can do amazing things on your blog.
- Coded Creative – Fresh & modern feminine WordPress themes.
- Restored 316 – Good selection of WordPress themes for female business owners.
- Station Seven – Minimalist WordPress & Squarespace themes.
- iThemes Security
- Social Warfare *
- Widget Options
- Instagram Feed
- Yoast SEO
- Beaver Builder – Create and update your website easily with this page builder.
- Ninja Forms
Articles for more information on websites, WordPress & hosting…
- Design Bombs compare the 8 best hosts for WordPress
- Check out this guide to website hosting from Cloudwards
- Make A Website Hub – The hardest part of creating your first website is knowing where to start. Here’s a great site to help you along every step of the way.
- Design Bombs guide on How to Start a WordPress Blog
- SiteBeginner – Is a free website setup guide to help you get online in less than an hour even as a complete beginner.
- How To Speed Up WordPress – Excellent guide to help speed up your WordPress website.
Planning & Content Management
- Evernote – Evernote is a fantastic app that makes it super easy to write notes, keep track of websites, thoughts and random tit-bits as well as having a handy to-do list option. If you want to be more organised or plan your blog posts than check out Evernote, there are free and paid plans available.
- Grammarly – Grammarly is helpful for your spelling or grammar or if just want to double check that you don’t miss any spelling errors (we all make them).
- Dropbox – Dropbox is an online cloud storage facility that allows you to upload documents, files, photos and downloadables. Providing you with a handy place to store or backup your files incase something tragic happens to your computer and you lose everything.
- Google Docs – Create, share and collaborate on documents, spreadsheets with colleagues and friends on Google Docs. A big benefit of Google Docs is that you can access your documents from anywhere with an internet connection. So you could be writing your blog posts on the train, in the bath or at the beach (if you really wanted to) and its saved real time to your account.
Contracts, Documents & Project Management
- Hello Sign – Hello Sign is the perfect choice for those running businesses who need clients to sign documents and contracts online. The service is so easy and you can have your contracts signed in minutes.
- G Suite – I’m a huge fan of G Suite and use it for my business email as well as giving access to the whole app suite which includes docs, spreadsheets and drive.
- Better Proposals – I switched to Better Proposals for sending out my project proposals to clients – it’s fantastic. You can design your proposal using the templates or from scratch, you get notifications when they have been read and signed.
- Plutio – The ultimate app for running a freelance or small business. I’m totally loving it. Plutio allows you to invoice, set tasks, manage projects, communicate with your team. It’s basically everything you need all in one place.
- AppSumo – AppSumo offer apps, resources and goodies at a significantly discounted rate for a limited time. Often with a one time fee for lifetime access.
Graphics & Photos
- Canva – Canva is an online graphics program that allows you to create your own designs from social media images to ebooks, you can do the lot. The drag and drop interface and a vast selection of fonts, templates and images mean you can let your creativity run wild and produce stunning graphics yourself.
- Stock Photos – If you have a website or a blog you’ll know how important it is to have good images. Thankfully, there are now brilliant free stock photo resources available where you can get photos that don’t suck. Check out my list of some of the best free stock photo websites.
- PicMonkey – Looking for an online photo editor? Then check out PicMonkey, which allows you to crop, edit, touch up, filter, add graphics or even make collages of images. Ideal if you want to make your photos more professional but don’t have or want to use Photoshop.
- Creative Market – Creative Market is an online marketplace where you can buy and download ready-made designs from over 10,000 graphic and website designers. You can literally find everything on there from fonts, themes and cards to CVs and media kit templates and best of all the prices start at $2. Every Monday they offer 6 free downloads.
- Google Fonts – Instead of sticking to the ‘web-safe’ fonts you can add some jazz to your website, blog and graphics with Google Fonts. There are over 700 fonts available to use on your online spaces for free; adding a little variety to your content.
- Depositphotos – Thousands of premium stock images and vector art to use on your designs and website.
- MailChimp – MailChimp is a newsletter facility that allows you to send emails to your mailing lists easily. It has a pretty and functional control panel so you can manage lists, subscribers, design templates and check mailing list stats with just a few clicks. Another bonus is that for up to 2,000 subscribers and you can send 12,000 emails per month for free.
- ConvertKit – If you have outgrown your free email campaign account then ConvertKit is definitely for you. ConvertKit is ’email marketing for professional bloggers’ and there accounts have a whole host of features that are perfect for helping you grow your list.
- MailerLite * – I recently switched to MailerLite for my newsletter, there are so many options and it’s free for up to 2,000 subscribers. You can also set up multiple forms and automations.
- Buffer – You can schedule your social media for Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest with Buffer. Free and paid packages are available.
- Tailwind – Schedule on Pinterest & Instagram
- Later – Schedule up to 30 posts on Instagram for free from your computer.
- Click To Tweet – Click To Tweet is a fab little tool for creating tweets, quotes or delightful insights that you want to people to share from your blog posts or pages.
- Social Warfare – My new favourite social media sharing plugin. Social Warfare has a ton features including responsive and highly customisable share buttons, custom Pinterest images, click to tweet options and so much more.
There are affiliate links on this page. If you choose to purchase through these links you are supporting Wildflowers & Pixels. The links are all recommended and used by me on a daily basis.
Last updated 14 Jan 2018.