Valentine’s Day is all about sharing the love—so today, I want to tell you about the tools and resources that I personally adore. Without them, I’d be lost! As you know, I’m excited to pay it forward, so I hope one of my favorite resources will sweeten your days, too. (And, I’m not even going to use my affiliate links!)
Tools I use every single day that rock my world (and why they’re awesome):
I live and breathe TeuxDeux. I keep my lists, organize my projects, and schedule everything! It’s great because it shows me Monday-Friday, I can move stuff around, and it lets me check-off the things I’ve done (which is so darn satisfying). It also keeps track of my “someday” tasks – no date needed! If I want to do some prioritizing away from the computer, TeuxDeux travels everywhere I go on my iPhone. Designed by Swiss Miss, it’s fun, easy to use, and the blog is great.
I fell in love with FreshBooks in 2008—and I would pay twice as much as I do for this wonderful service. It’s by far the easiest way to manage invoicing, reporting, time-tracking, estimates and expenses. My bank account is even hooked up so my expenses get automatically imported. Piece of cake! I run reports in two seconds, and if I have questions, they respond almost instantly. To add projects and time-tracking on the fly, I use the (FreshBooks compatible) ChronoMate app.
Ideal for newsletters, MailChimp integrates nicely with WordPress and Freshbooks—and has a cute little chimp that makes me happy. Oh yeah, it also prevents you from making the number one newsletter mistake. That’s a biggie! Another bonus—it’s 100% free to use if you have under 2,000 subscribers.
Best. Content. Management. System. Ever. Period. Why is it so fabulous? Let me count the ways. WordPress has a huge community behind it, they are constantly updating to stay current and secure, it’s free and it’s limitless. I love it as a designer, and my clients love easily updating their content and testimonials (more about those goodies coming soon). And speaking of wonderful WordPress, I must share these plugins I can’t live without:
- Gravity Forms – for everything form-related.
- BackupBuddy – to painlessly backup your site.
- Jetpack – to supercharge your site with awesome features like social media sharing.
- Akismet – to prevent spam coming in through blog comments and forms.
- Yoast – to keep up with search engine optimization.
Adobe Creative Cloud
If you’re a creative, you’re probably using Adobe Creative Suite. But are you using the Creative Cloud? If not, it’s a must! It is one of my biggest headache preventers. Pay a monthly fee and you’ll always have the latest, industry-leading version of the software, you’ll never have to worry about not being able to open files, AND you’ll get a free plan with TypeKit, which is an online font management service (this means free access to majorly cool looking fonts)! It’s a no brainer, love bugs.
And now to the geeky stuff:
- Sublime Text 2 – The magical place where I translate design into code.
- MAMP – So I can develop sites locally without being connected to the internet.
- BrowserStack – For testing websites in every browser, device and system you can think of.
As you can see, the things I love have something in common: They make my job easier! Can I make your job easier? Let’s talk about how.