Here, I am sharing with you some of the tools/resources that I have used and currently using. Please check this page often, because I will be updating the list from time to time.
- Graphics, UI/UX Design
- Blog / Web Design and Development
- Cloud / Web Hosting
- Search Engine Optimization
- Social Media Management
- Payment Services
Canva (free) – Canva is a simple graphics design tool where you can create beautiful designs for web or print in minutes! You don’t have to know Adobe Photoshop to make professional-looking graphics. A lot of templates are available: blog graphics, book covers, flyers, logos, Facebook ads, newsletters, infographics, invitations, media kits and much more!
Balsamiq Mockups – You can use Balsamiq for creating wireframes of the individual screens of your app. You can just drag and drop the UI elements, then add hyperlinks to simulate the workflow of the app. One of my favorite features is the ability to export the wireframes in PDF format. Balsamiq has 30 days trial version. Afterwards, you’ll need to buy a license for $89 for a single user.
InVision – With InVision, you can upload your design (image) files, then add animations, gestures, and transitions. Your ordinary, static design files will then become clickable. Since the prototypes are now interactive, collaboration becomes so much easier. This is free for 1 prototype and paid 3 to unlimited prototypes.
AxureRP – AxureRP allows you to create wireframes and mockups (and more). It has built-in UI elements which you can drag and drop to the editor to easily create your prototypes. Once you are finished, you can publish it on the web by just clicking a button. You will then have a link which you can share with others so they can try your project in a browser. This is not free but there are 30 days free trial.
Google Fonts (free) – Massive collection of fonts. All Google fonts are free! Yey! Check it out.
DaFont (free)– DaFont is an archive of free fonts (for personal use) which you can download. But you need to check the individual license if you want to use the fonts for commercial use.
CreativeMarket – CreativeMarket is a great marketplace for a lot of design assets like photos, fonts, website themes, icons, brushes and other graphics. You can open a shop so you can sell your work. I love their free goods of the week.
Blogger (free)– Blogger.com is a blogging platform from Google. You can easily create a blog, and it’s free. You just need a Gmail account. Then, you’ll have a blog address like “myawesomeblog.blogspot.com”.
WordPress.com (free) – Like blogger.com, you can create a free website or blog here. You can select a lot of free, customizable and mobile-ready designs and themes. Then, you’ll have something like “myawesomeblog.wordpress.com”.
WordPress.org – or simply called WordPress. This is a free, open-source content management system (CMS) that is really popular. Most bloggers and even top companies in the world use this CMS. WordPress is more advanced than WordPress.com. Use WordPress if you are serious about blogging or you want an online store. You can also use for building a mailing list or a directory, and many other services.
Genesis Framework – The Genesis framework is one of the most popular WordPress theme frameworks out there. It is highly recommended because the base code is clean and well-built. It is lightweight so the websites have better performance. It is well supported, secured and regularly updated by its creator. It is not free, though. Price starts from $59.95.
GeneratePress (free and paid) – GeneratePress is loved by a lot of designers because it’s fast, responsive, lightweight, easy to use, and most of all free! If you want more features, you can buy the PRO version.
Elementor (free and paid) – Elementor is a drag and drop page builder for WordPress. It’s free and no coding is required. It comes with pre-made templates which will let you start building in a jiffy. You will also get the columns, YouTube, Tabs, Toggle, Accordion, Progress Bar, Icon List and many more elements. For other UI elements, such as Price List/Table, Forms, Slides, Nav Menu etc, you have to avail their PRO version. I am personally using this with GeneratePress theme.
Avada Theme – Avada theme is another popular theme. They even claim that they are the number 1 selling WordPress theme on the market. Avada Theme’s appeal stemmed from being a multi-purpose theme, and that you can build a simple to advance, responsive website without any coding knowledge. You can also easily import their demos so you won’t have to start from blank. Regular License is $60 and can only be used for one website.
Snapwidget (free and paid) – Use SnapWidget to display or embed your Facebook, Instagram and Twitter photos to your website or blog. You can choose from different widget styles such as grid, map, slideshow, scrolling and much more. You can even filter your posts by your username and hashtag.
Namecheap – having your own domain is a MUST if you want your site to give a professional impression. If you are a blogger, you will be perceived as serious one. Your site would also have a better position in some search engine listings. I recommend Namecheap as a Domain Name Registrar if you are planning on running a website for more than 2 years. You’ll get a .com for $10.69 per year – inclusive of WHOIS Guard and an email address. That’s pretty competitive. I have also tried Namecheap for shared hosting for less than $10 for the first year (up to 3 websites) – just to evaluate the speed and performance. I have encountered some down moments, but it doesn’t take that long to recover. I am satisfied so far, given the price. And Namecheap is even faster than GoDaddy’s shared hosting.
SiteGround – After reading a lot of reviews online on web hosting, I have found out that SiteGround is the most recommended hosting provider. So, I personally tried the StartUp plan for $3.95/mo. And, I was blown away by the speed and performance. The customer service is amazing too. I could not agree more with most of the web designers that vote for this. The catch is, SiteGround is quite pricey compared to others. But, you will be satisfied with the performance.
InMotion – Next to SiteGround, I would probably choose InMotion. I have tried its VPS hosting and I can say that it’s also fast. What I love the most is their support via Skype Call. Every issue I had before was resolved via a simple Skype call. I don’t have a personal account with InMotion, though. I have just tried this through one of my clients.
GoDaddy – GoDaddy is the first domain registrar I have known. When it comes to the credibility of registering domain names, GoDaddy is the leading one. You can even buy .ph and com.ph domains, unlike in the other registrars. I don’t recommend GoDaddy though, in terms of shared web hosting. I have availed of their Deluxe plan, for 3 years and I find the site really slow, like infuriatingly slow. I can’t even install Avada theme. If you want to contact support via chat, it’s not readily available via GoDaddy PH, you have to go to GoDaddy US.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) – The Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers cloud computing services. So, in terms of hosting, you get cloud hosting with AWS, not the traditional hosting we know from Namecheap, SiteGround, and GoDaddy. (Unless of course they also have cloud hosting). Cloud hosting is whereby your website is hosted on a cluster of servers instead of just one server. In case of any problems, your site can be migrated to another server. The advantage of this is more speed, reliability, and flexibility. You can host your WordPress site in AWS EC2. They offer free one year where you can try most of their products.
Google Analytics (free) – Google Analytics is a very powerful tool that is a MUST for tracking, monitoring and analyzing your website’s traffic.
Yoast SEO (free and paid) – this is actually a WordPress plugin that helps you optimize your content. It’s free and considered as #1 WordPress SEO plugin.
Buffer (free and paid) – you don’t want to be infinitely online in social media platforms, really. That would not help your productivity. The best thing to do is schedule and automate your social media postings. Buffer does the job.
Hootsuite.com – as it lets you manage your social media channels, you can also use HootSuite to delegate tasks to other users.
Grammarly (free) – Grammarly is a free grammar checker which examines your grammar and spelling in real-time. As you type and Grammarly encounters an error, it will automatically highlight the error and provide the correction. It really helps you a lot in blogging and writing to make it clear and effective. If your primary browser is Chrome, you may want to add the Grammarly for Chrome, so that all the messages and information you type there are free from errors.
Hemingway App (free) – The Hemingway App helps you be a better writer. I just love how it checks your work as you type. It indicates the level of readability of your work and the number of words. It also shows if your paragraph or sentences are hard or very hard to read, if you are using passive voice and using a lot of adverbs.
Aaahh, payment. One of the questions of new online workers is “How do I get paid from my online job?” There are many new payment platforms that sprout out there, but here’s the two that I have personally used:
Paypal – With Paypal, you can receive, send money and make an online payment conveniently and securely. Just create an account, then link it to your local credit card or bank account. When the client sends you money through your account, you can withdraw your specified amount to your linked bank account. It is free to withdraw from Paypal to your local bank for amounts of Php 7,000 or more. For less than Php 7000, Paypal will charge you of Php 50. Also, your local bank may charge you for a specific amount. On the other hand, if you want to purchase online, make sure that you linked your credit card to your Paypal account.
Payoneer – Payoneer is another way to receive client payments or your freelance income. What I love about Payoneer is the lower payment fees compared to others. You can also directly transfer your Upwork’s earnings to Payoneer after you have set it up. Payoneer also provides you with your own MasterCard that can just use and swipe in different establishments (that accept MasterCard, like supermarkets, gas stations, airlines etc).
More to come! Stay tuned!