Tools help you to work faster and smarter, making your life and work a little more delightful. It’s one of the reasons I enjoy being a web designer. I get to use amazing tools that help get things done.
Since I get asked a lot, I’ve put together a list of tools I’ve personally used myself which have saved me time and frustration.
By the way, some of these are referral or affiliate links which means you get special discounts or premium features for free while I get a small reward.
Evernote – The #1 notetaking app. There’s a reason I’m listing this bad boy first: it’s simple and powerful. It’s like your second brain on all your devices. This link gets you 1 FREE month of premium which means you can access your notebooks offline, search inside PDFs, and more.
LastPass – Organizes your logins, generates strong passwords, fills form, and easily share logins with your web designer and team members who also use LastPass. This link gets you 1 FREE month of premium which gets you extra multi-factor authentication options.
Domain Names and Web Hosting
Bluehost – This is my personal host which I’ve been using since 2007. Their hosting plans include 1 domain name.
YouCanBook.me – If you’re starting out or just want something simple, this simple booking software integrates with your Google or iCloud Calendar. Works across different timezones. Free and paid plans available.
Calendly – If you would like to send a custom booking link for different situations, take a look at this simple and beautiful scheduling app. Integrates with Google Calendar. Free and paid plans available.
Skitch – A free and easy way to take screenshots of your computer screen. Features drag-and-drop export, works well with Evernote or by itself.
Jing – A free and easy way to start capturing and sharing images and short videos of your computer screen.
Snagit – If you like Jing but need more features, let me introduce you to Jing’s older sibling.
Trello – A free, flexible, and visual way to organize a project with anyone. The board/card idea is so simple that everyone gets it instantly.
Conceptboard – Collaborate visually with this virtual whiteboard. It’s perfect for working on website designs where you can drag-and-drop screenshots and mark them up to get your idea across. Instead of digging through your emails for the back-and-forth feedback, it’s all handled in Conceptboard right next to the screenshot itself. This link gets you 2 sqm of bonus Conceptboard space.
MindMeister – Plan and brainstorm online with the free mind mapping tool MindMeister.
File Sharing and Syncing
Dropbox – Easily sync your files across multiple computers and share with your team. Sign up for a free account with this link and get 500 MB of bonus space.
Getting Into the Zone
Coffitivity – Re-create the sensation of being in a coffee shop to boost your creativity, focus, and productivity. Great for those working from a home office.
Stock Imagery and Media
Camera+ – This has been my go-to camera app on my iPhone and iPad. I’ve tried others but I always come back to this one. It has the exposure and focus controls I want with just the right amount of features I’ll actually use. I’ve used this app to capture beautiful photos and even make “eh” photos look amazing.
Scanner Pro (iOS) – When I need to “scan” a paper document on the go, Scanner Pro makes it fast and easy with it’s live and auto edge detection – I rarely need to manually adjust the edges. It also cleans up the scan to make it as readable as possible and enables you to easily share to other apps.
ScanSnap Scanner – This scanner is just right for the desktop. It’s small enough to take it with you and big enough that you can scan multiple sheets at a time. This is the scanner I personally use and recommend.
Google Apps for Work – When you’re ready to take advantage of Google Apps with your domain name email, I recommend using Google Apps for Work. It’s an industry standard and makes collaborating with others easy.
MailChimp – This is the email newsletter service I use and I’ve found their user interface to be clean and friendly. Start with a free plan if you have fewer than 2,000 subscribers. If you have more subscribers or want the premium features, you can upgrade to a paid account. This link will get you $30 in Monkey Rewards if and when you upgrade to a paid account.
Moo – Design and print customized business cards with a different image on each card. Use this link to get a 10% discount on your first order.
Wave Invoicing – Wave’s invoice tools make it easy to bill your clients and get paid. Lots of great features, with no limits on how many customers or invoices. The invoicing web app is free and you just pay the standard credit card processing fee for each card transaction.
HelloSign – Get your contracts signed fast with HelloSign. Your clients can sign off on the agreements you send them from anywhere, at anytime, on any device. HelloSign is compliant with all major eSignature laws and is free for the first 3 documents each month.