Tech can be complicated.
There are so many options out there to choose from! Which are the best?
The answer is… there is no perfect combination. It depends on your business, your budget, what features you need, and your taste in terms of design and ease-of-use.
I’ve compiled this document to be a resource for you to start with your tech tools research. These are hand-picked by me, and I have personally used these or have clients who have used them and I recommend them as being ‘best in class’.
I’ve tried to include a range of tools from free to premium paid options, and made some notes about each tool where appropriate.
Disclosure: Bear in mind that some of the links in this document are affiliate links and if you go through them to make a purchase I will earn a commission. However, I’ve included these companies and their products because of their quality and not because of the commission I receive from your purchases. The decision is yours, and whether or not you decide to buy something is completely up to you.
My fav domain registrar hands down. Great service. Clutter-free interface. Smooth checkout experience with minimal upsells. They’ve been around since 2000 and are the world’s second largest domain registrar. I’ve used them for over 10 years and highly recommend them. Check their coupons page for deals on new .com registrations.
You’ve probably seen their superbowl ads. Largest domain registrar in the world. Easy to use domain name interface. Great ‘Auctions’ service for picking up domains that are for sale. Good pricing if you use coupons. However, GoDaddy doesn’t have the best reputation in the world, just search Google.
MANAGED WORDPRESS WEBSITE HOSTING
When it comes to website hosting, I’ve used dozens of them with my agency and clients. If you’re planning to use WordPress for your website, then I highly recommend using one of the two options below.
There are dozens of web hosting companies out there, but when it comes down to it you want a company that:
a) Has very fast servers so your website loads quickly
b) Provides an easy-to-use interface to manage your site and set it up
c) Has excellent support in case something goes wrong
d) Includes a lot of features that are necessary these days for SEO and e-commerce such as Free SSL certificate setup, a CDN service, and backups.
Kinsta is the hosting company I currently host my websites with. They work with massive brands including Ubisoft, Intuit, Ricoh, GE, and more. Ranked one of the fastest hosts, uses Google Cloud Servers, super easy to set up WordPress sites, excellent support.
$30/month starter plan (https://chadfullerton.com/kinsta)
Great quality for the price. Hosting features specifically designed for WordPress.
$19.95/month for GrowBig plan recommended
(Promo: 3 months for $0.99 https://www.siteground.com/go/wpcoupon)
RUNNER UP IF YOU’RE ON A BUDGET:
$5.95 on 12-month term, for first year. Then goes to regular rates of $8.99/month on 12-month term. Not the fastest host, but easy to set up WordPress, decent support including phone support. Note: There isn’t a month-to-month payment option. (https://chadfullerton.com/bluehost)
Note about HostGator: If you’re looking for a budget host, most people turn to HostGator because it is very inexpensive ($3-4/month). When it comes to hosting, you typically get what you pay for, and HostGator or BlueHost are good choices usually only if you have a very basic, static HTML website, or a basic WordPress site that you don’t expect a lot of people to visit (low traffic). If running a more complicated WordPress website with lots of plugins, an e-commerce store on WooCommerce, membership site, or anything where you expect to have a good amount of traffic and you’re making money with your website – then the first thing I would do is invest in better quality website hosting. The loading speed of your website is critical both for user experience but also for ranking in Google. Google considers page speed (site loading time) to be one of their critical factors for ranking, and it is even more important for visitors to your website from a mobile phone. You want your site to load very fast, and deliver images and media quickly on mobile devices if users are using their phone data plans to view your site. This is where upgrading your hosting to a company that uses cloud servers such as Google Cloud (Siteground and Kinsta both do) is a worthwhile investment in your business.
ALL-IN-ONE BUSINESS MANAGEMENT TOOLS
Starts at only $15/month for all features except client portals, which is on the $20/month plan.
Free plan with 3 clients. 20% off your first month or year: https://chadfullerton.com/dubsado
PROJECT / TASK MANAGEMENT
SEO & CONTENT MARKETING TOOLS
- Typeform – free account up to 100 submissions/month, 10 questions per form, 3 forms max.
- SurveySparrow – free account up to 100 submissions/month, 10 questions per form.
- Involve.me – free account up to 100 submissions/month, unlimited questions and forms (15% off your first purchase at this promo link).
- SurveyMonkey – free account with 10 questions, limited to how many responses you can view.
- Question Scout – has a free forever plan to get you started
- Wufoo – free account with 5 forms, 100 submissions/month, 10 questions.
- Formstack – 14-day free trial, plans start at $19/month. HIPAA Compliance.
- Jotform – free account with 100 submissions/month, 5 forms, 1k views, unlimited fields, HIPAA Compliance starts at their ‘Silver’ Plan and up.
- Google Forms – free, limited design options, can save entries into a Google spreadsheet, can automate with Zapier.
FORM PLUGINS FOR WORDPRESS
- HappyForms (Free | Paid)
- Formidable Forms – Free plugin with paid version for conditional logic and advanced features (Free | Paid)
- Ninja Forms – nice drag and drop option (Free | Paid), $49 to add conditional logic addon.
- WeForms – free account with unlimited forms and lots of features, paid account for conditional logic.
GRAPHIC TOOLS & STOCK PHOTO SITES
- Unsplash, Pexels, and Pixabay (free stock photos)
- “Instant Images” WordPress Plugin
- Canva, DesignBold, Stencil, Youzign (graphic editors with templates you can start with)
- Relay That (formats your graphic into different sizes automatically)
- Pixlr X (a free web-based Photoshop alternative – can open .psd files)
- Beacon.by (ebook creator)
- PixelStudioFX (ebook cover templates)
- Abyssale (banner designer using AI to auto-generate designs)
- BatchWatermark (for putting your logo over many images at once)
- Camtasia ($249.99), Screenflow ($129), Wondershare DemoCreator ($59.99 lifetime license)
- Tyle (video slideshows, designed with AI)
- InVideo (like Canva but for videos, awesome templates)
- Anchor (free), Podcast.co
- Audacity, Audacity Dark Version, Garageband (editor software)
- Descript (amazing tool for transcribing, editing audio by editing the transcription text, and overdubbing)
- Headliner.app (waveform animations for social media)
SOCIAL MEDIA TOOLS
- Hootsuite, Publer (schedule posts across multiple accounts)
- OneStream, Restream (live stream distribution)
- Streamyard, Be.Live (live stream engagement tools, plus multi-stream)
APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING SERVICES
- Calendly – Free account does everything you’d need for 1 meeting type. Add Zoom integration and unlimited features on Premium plan ($8/mo annual)
- Bookafy – Pro plan has everything you need, with Zoom, 2-way sync, payments with PayPal/Stripe and more ($7/mo annual)
- YouCanBook.me ($9/mo annual)
- Harmonizely ($10/mo annual)
- BookLikeABoss ($10/mo annual)
- Acuity Scheduling ($14/mo)
APPOINTMENT SCHEDULING WORDPRESS PLUGINS
VIDEO CONFERENCING SERVICES FOR YOUR CALLS
- Zoom – Starts at $149.90USD/month annually.
COUPON CODE: Use “STAYCONNECTED30” to get 30% off so you only pay $104.93 USD/year.
- Vectera – $9USD/month annual – $107.88/yr – COVID: Use for free until June 1st
- LiveStorm.co – Free meetings up to 4 people, Premium account 100% free during COVID-19 with coupon MEETFR100, no credit card required.
- BigMarker (‘meeting space’ feature) (Promo link: Save 20%)
- 24Sessions (~30/month annual, hybrid service with appointment scheduling + video conferencing)
- WebEx – current free plan is up to 100 people, no time limit in meetings
PAYMENTS & INVOICING
LEARNING MANAGEMENT SYSTEM (LMS)
PROJECT ASSETS (TEMPLATES, AUDIO, GRAPHICS, PLUGINS, ETC)
- Envato Elements (INCREDIBLE deal, $16.50/month for unlimited asset downloads/licenses)