geeked design uses a number of tools for our own business and for our clients. Here are some that we tend to reach for over and over again.
(Heads up! Some of these links are affiliate links. You can read more about our affiliate policy below; if you choose to purchase, know you don’t pay a cent more.)
Your site needs a name! geeked uses Namecheap^.
Your site has to live somewhere. We rely on a few; Dreamhost^ is great if you need an all-in-one (emails and multiple sites). WP Engine^ and Flywheel are amazing for site owners who do not want to handle the tech stuff.
CMS (Content Management System):
We are heavy WordPress fans around here! Most of our personal sites and many client sites are built with it. (While we also use Joomla and “straight” HTML/css on the reg, the rest of the list will be WP-leaning.)
Terri researched for about 2 years before settling on not a theme, but a framework (this was before child themes were even a twinkle in their parents’ eye…). Started with Genesis^ and hasn’t looked back.
(in no particular order)
- Backups. CYA and keep a backup in your back pocket. We like UpdraftPlus (free or premium) because you can save a copy right to some of the most common cloud storage solutions, like DropBox, AWS, or Google Drive.
- Comment De-spamming. Askimet (free for personal use) is the plugin to take care of nasty click-baiters.
- Blocks. geeked uses both Qubely (free or premium) and Genesis Blocks (free or premium; formerly Atomic Blocks) on our site.
- Analytics. We ran an experiment; Hotjar vs. Google (via MonsterInsights). They are each good in different ways, so we stick with both…
- Forms. We use a CRM called Dubsado^ for our Project Inquires and Ninja Forms (free or premium) for everything else. Our clients like Ninja too.
- SEO. Jetpack (free or premium) or All-In-One-SEO (free / premium).
- Images. We either take our own or use Instant Images (plugin, free) -they also have a website.
- Image Compression. We don’t use one! ??? Instead, we upload images that are already optimized (most themes will tell you the dimensions – resize, merge / flatten any layers, use 72px resolution and you should be pretty good).
- Site Caching. To help speed up a site, we use best practices first and then fancy tools like WP-Optimize and Cloudflare for the icing on our cakes.
- Donations. Many of our clients are nonprofits, which means they need to be able to accept donations. GiveWP (free or premium) and PayPal for nonprofits (this is hard coded) are good starting points.
- Memberships. Many of our clients have memberships (as in, annual donors who receive membership benefits). We use a variety of tools to protect content and access (Restrict Content Pro, MemberPress, Easy Digital Downloads).
- eCommerce. Many of our clients sell products (digital / physical) or services. They need a way that integrates with their physical storefront. We like WooCommerce (free or premium), BigCommerce (need a paid plan), or WooCommerce + Square. We just started research on BigCartel.
Whew! Sorry about that – I tend to go on + on about things I love. As you can see, I use a variety of tools to get the job done. Not all tools listed get used in a project; sometimes we don’t use any of these and just hard code it. My grandpa always said “the right tool for the job will take you farther and with less fluff than a whole toolbox of …” Since he grew up during the American Depression and was in the military and built his second home (and most of my Christmas presents) with his bare hands, I figure he knows what he was talking about.
Affiliate Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links which means if you click a link and then make a purchase, I’ll get a commission at no additional cost to you. I try to mark them all with a (^), but sometimes miss them in final publication. Like all products I write about, I absolutely love + use this one in my personal + / or work day-to-day (I write about non-affiliated and FREE products too!).