We thought it would be useful to create a resource page that you can always come to for all of your web design needs. We are always learning new, better ways to do things and when we do we’ll add them to this list. You should bookmark this page for your reference and convenience.
HostGator: They are reliable, inexpensive and the customer support is the best in the industry. Are they perfect? Nope. Is anyone? Nope, but they do seem to be the best in the hosting industry. We highly recommend getting a HostGator Reseller account if you will be making websites – this will allow you to host an unlimited number of domains for the same low price (meaning that you can charge your clients a monthly hosting fee but your monthly payment to HostGator stays the same).
NOTE: We recommend that you do not host your website with companies such as NetSol or 1&1 as they do not offer a standard CPanel interface (this will make your life a lot harder when it comes to moving a website). We also have a server with BlueHost but it frequently has issues, so we’re not their biggest fan either.
GoDaddy: They have been the leader in domain names for years and we register 100% of our domain names with them You can always find a coupon online and getting around their control panel is easy.
WordPress: It’s 100% free, it’s easy to use, constantly being updated and it’s incredibly flexible in what it can do. This is the ONLY platform we create websites in – we recommend the same for you.
Genesis Framework: This sites on top of WordPress and gives you a great foundation for your design/seo
Dynamik Website Builder: This sits on top of the Genesis Framework and gives you ultimate design control… if you want complete control over your designs you need Dynamik Website Builder. It might be a bit overwhelming, but the Web Designer’s Academy will help you through it.
Dynamik Website Builder Designs: Why start from scratch with each new website? We’ve created a bunch of designs and we are recommending because we actually use the same files we sell you as starting points in designs for our own clients.
Gravity Forms: This is by far the best form creation plugin for making every kind of form you can think of. From simple contact forms to advanced multi page forms with conditional logic fields, Gravity Forms does it all. If you are making websites for a living, you need this plugin.
BackupBuddy: This is a must have plugin. Not only can it make a complete backup of a website, it makes the process of moving sites headache free. It’s never been more easy to move a site from domainA.com to domainB.com It’s so simple…like done in less than 10 minutes simple!
WP Triggers: We created this plugin because we had a client who needed certain functionality and there wasn’t any plugin that could do it. It’s flexible, simple and just works. From a zip code finder to virtual scavenger hunts this interactive plugin is an easy way to give sites a “little something extra.”
Under Construction: We use this constantly. Let’s say you are building a site on siteA.com but you don’t want your client (or the general public) to see it while it’s being built, install this plugin and only logged in users (ie: you) can see the website.
Visual Composer: Want fancy page layout like this? Then you need to go beyond just a standard WordPress page. Visual Composer takes creating pages to whole new level. There is so much to talk about, I don’t think I can do it justice here… just go check out the demo.
WooCommerce: Traditionally ecommerce websites are the most difficult to setup but they are the most profitable. WooCommerce takes the difficult setup and makes it super easy. Every ecommerce site we create, we use WooCommerce.
PayPal: We use PayPal to collect payments from clients and to sell products online. It’s easy to setup, you can email your clients links to pay you, millions of people already have a PayPal account and you don’t need your own merchant account or SSL.
Adobe Creative Cloud (Creation): In order to make great graphics for websites, you need an image editing program. Nothing beats Photoshop. Adobe recently got smart and realized that people don’t like having to pay $1,000 per year for the latest version of Photoshop – now you can always have the latest version for just $10 a month. If you want the entire suite of Adobe products, it’s just $50.
DropBox (File Backup): All computers will die at some point, don’t lose all your files! We have been using DropBox for years (we share a folder so we each have all our clients files whenever we need them). #genius
Filezilla (FTP): There are a lot of FTP clients around but Filezilla is fast, free and has been our choice for years.
Chrome (Browser): It’s fast and it’s not IE. 🙂
FireFox (Browser): It’s got great developer tools and is pretty quick
Kindle Apps (Reading): Buying physical books is so 1990’s. We buy all our books digitally and can read them almost anywhere thanks to Kindle.
iStockPhoto (Paid): Websites can either be made or broken by photography. Don’t let bad photos destroy your website. You can find great, professional photos for any website here. Kind of expensive but pass the cost on to your client.
Fotolia (Paid): They have decent photos at a cheaper price than iStockPhoto (but not as nice)
Flickr (Free): Flickr has gazillions photos and some of those are available for free for commercial use. Make sure you change your license type to Commercial use allowed (do NOT steal photos, ever)
Death to the Stock photo (Free): They send you a free bundle of stock photos each month for you to use for any purpose you want. They have really nice photos and it’s free… what’s not to love?
Mailchimp: It integrates with almost every major newsletter plugin out there, the interface is gorgeous, the mailings look great on any device and they even have a free plan (so it’s great for beginners)
Google Analytics: How do you know what page on your website is the most popular? Where are your visitors coming from? Find answers to those questions and more with a free Google Analytics account.
Optimizely: Which headlines convert the best? What colors get people clicking more? If you are into A/B testing (and you should be) then Optimizely is the fast way to test tons of variations.
Tony Robbins: Tony Robbins is amazing. We’ve read every one of his books and went to Unleash The Power Within event in New York City and it changed our lives (no joke).
Tim Ferriss: The 4 hour series is a must read for anyone not willing to follow the default life plan
Robin Sharma: Great messages crafted into brilliant stories, an interesting and inspiring author.
Deepak Chopra: If alternative health and wellness if your thing, Deepak is the man.
Seth Godin: He is a marketing genius! If you haven’t at least read the Purple Cow… go read it now.
Education of Millionaires: This is an eye-opening book, it’s so good that it’s one of the few titles that we own the digital and hardcover version.
The Secret: Your thoughts become things! It’s a fantastic book and the movie is great too (we own both)!
Vimeo: Sometimes you are building something that you don’t want the world to see, like if you are building a membership site. So putting your videos on YouTube is out, get a paid account at Vimeo and control where your videos show up. We use this for our video courses.
YouTube: More promotional videos are put on youtube because it is the biggest video site out there. Videos embed easily with WordPress, so if you have a product/marketing video that you want the world to see… put it on YouTube.
Please note that some of these links are affiliate links, and at no additional cost to you, we will earn a commission if you decide to make a purchase. Please understand that we have experience with all of these companies/products, and we recommend them because we think they are helpful and useful with client projects that we’ve worked on, not because of the small commissions we make if you decide to buy something.