Product Recommendations

We often get asked to recommend certain products or services. And in this line of work, we try out a lot of different things. So we’ve put together a small list of some of our favorite products & services.

(And don’t forget, we’re offering discounted website packages this holiday season, so take advantage!)

Hosting.

This is a huge one. We’ve now worked with a plethora of hosting companies and we’ve only repeatedly had great experiences with one: Dreamhost. Dreamhost is only hosting company we make recommendations for when asked, and the only we’ll continue to recommend. Register your domains with them as well. They’ve got a super user-friendly process for registering domains & securing hosting (vs. Godaddy’s hideously and amazingly confusing interface), they’ve got a great panel & dashboard setup, top-tier customer service (they always get back to me within the hour with above-&-beyond support/advice), and they offer easy secure ftp access. Also, they’ve got easy one-click installs for WordPress CMS.

Project Management.

This one’s a new one. We’d been looking awhile for a good project management service. Basecamp wasn’t an ideal situation for us, though it works great for many people. Podio allows businesses to manage various processes, projects, and work tasks in one place, all with the customizable feature of “spaces.” There are a ton of free apps for tracking for specialized tasks, plus you can easily create your own. Offering task management, file sharing, and calendars, Podio offers all the features that competitors like Basecamp do, but in a fast, easy, customizable interface. Plus, you can access your account from your smartphone. Read Mashable’s writeup of Podio here.

Collaboration/Whiteboard.

The only thing we wished Podio had was a built-in whiteboard function. We usually use Skype for our meetings, but sometimes it’s useful to be able to simultaneously chat and collaborate over a mockup or wireframe. So we found Scribblar. We looked at a lot of different services, free & not free, and Scribblar was our favorite. It’s free, you can upload images (ie. mockups, wireframes, design drafts), collaborate or sketch on top of these images with their editing tools in real-time, and then download those images to keep for reference. We love this for in-house collaboration, but also to talk with clients and go over design specifications.

Social Media Management.

There’s a ton of tools out there right now: Tweetdeck, Buffer, etc. But our favorite is still Hootsuite. You don’t have to download any software and can easily manage multiple Twitter, Facebook, & LinkedIn accounts, plus even your Foursquare, WordPress, and Google+ profiles. You can schedule your messages for anytime in the future (we use this feature religiously), and track your success.

Content Management System (CMS).

A Content Management System (CMS) provides clients with the convenience of being able to control and update their own content. We currently use WordPress for all of our client websites because it is quick to develop, offers diverse functionality & flexibility in design, and comes with a full-fledged CMS for the end user (you, the client). It is trusted by web designers & developers worldwide and is one of the most developed blog frameworks available today. The great amount of support, customization, and convenience means we can spend less time reinventing the wheel and clients can spend less money for a quality website. Some of its competitors also have great support and huge communities surrounding them, but we still prefer WordPress for its ease of use, especially for the end-user or client.

Web Statistics.

At this point, Google Analytics probably needs no introduction. It’s a free service by Google that allows marketers to track vital web traffic statistics like visitor types, traffic sources, browsers, clicks per page, and more. It’s a vital tool now for anyone managing a website or blog. And because it’s free and easy to integrate, there’s no reason not to use it. From the Google Analytics home page: “Google Analytics is the enterprise-class web analytics solution that gives you rich insights into your website traffic and marketing effectiveness. Powerful, flexible and easy-to-use features now let you see and analyze your traffic data in an entirely new way. With Google Analytics, you’re more prepared to write better-targeted ads, strengthen your marketing initiatives and create higher converting websites.”

Web Development Tool.

Ahh. The faithful companion of web developers everywhere. This free and open-source tool works as a Firefox plugin and enables web developers to view & edit code within the browser, debug, & even run Javascript within the panel. Can anyone remember what it was like to before Firebug existed? I’m not sure if I want to. Another great tool we use in conjunction is YSlow. Another free plugin for Firefox, it measures web page performance and load time, another invaluable resource.

***

And check out our BestVendor profile for more recommended products & services.

 

Comments are closed.