We've got a bunch of resources at our disposal on the internet.
Web Design & Development
As a web designer/developer there are a lot of things that need to be designed and developed from the ground up. There are also resources that we use on a regular basis to help us get that little something extra.
Stack Overflow - One of the most helpful forums on the web, Stack Overflow is a great community of developers that are happy to help you figure out some tricky code.
Webflow - We use Webflow to build all of our websites. It offers an in depth designer for code-oriented development, a clean and easy to use CMS for clients to log in and update their sites, easy to use API integrations for all major third party platforms, easy to add custom fonts from Google or Typekit, form builders, and comprehensive site backups and restores.
Optimizilla - Have some gorgeous photography, or some great design that was exported at 300+dpi for printing? Great! That's going to look awesome on your site, but it's going to cause loads times to be ridiculously high. We use Optimizilla to compress our images to reduce page and email load times without having to lose photo quality.
There are a million and one tips of the trade for email marketing. There are so many ways to get started, and so many ways to damage what might have been great marketing. We use some of these tools to keep things moving.
SharpSpring - As a SharpSpring certified partner, this is the primary tool that we use for CRM. SharpSpring is a full suite of tools that allows for email creation and tracking, form building and hosting, social media management, and so so much more. On top of that, it provides a gateway for sales and development to work together in contacting and working with potential customers.
Litmus - Afraid your email is going straight to the spam folders? Or do you want to make sure you haven't made a small mistake with large effects on your design? Maybe you just want to make sure your campaign soars through approval. Litmus is here to help you. Think of it as a wellness checkup, but for your emails. Litmus works to find and provide solutions to problems that could otherwise slip by.
Mailchimp - While less present in our workflow now, Mailchimp is a very powerful tool we've used in the past with success. It lets you manage small campaigns with ease and can even tackle some larger jobs well. Customization may be a bit more limited than other options, but for the price (which starts at free) it's hard to beat.
Imagery can make or break a project. You don't realize just how important a good photograph is until you're staring at a bad one, but sometimes you just don't have the tools, models, or budget on hand to take that perfect picture you know you need. When those situations arise, there are a few nifty places that can fill the niche.
Shutterstock - Not quite as good as that picture you know you could have taken if circumstances permitted, but pretty darn close. Shutterstock is a household name in the photography world, and as overhyped as it may seem sometimes you don't get word-of-mouth like that for no reason.
Unsplash - They say good things don't come free, but that isn't always the case. Unsplash is a database of professionally shot photographs by independent artists, and best of all everything posted there falls under the public domain meaning you can use it for whatever you need without any issue. Though if you're feeling generous, it never hurts to attribute the artist (even if you aren't required to).
Pexels - In the same vein as Unsplash, Pexels also gives you a vast array of public domain imagery. The quality of the shots may not be as consistently high as Unsplash, but it makes up for that in variety! If you're having trouble finding a free image to fit your needs elsewhere, Pexels may be a solid choice.
Social media, the lifeblood of a generation. Everyone's on it, but how does it REALLY operate? What makes it tick, and what gets a click? Here are some of the assets we use to make a mark in what sometimes seems like an endless sea of updates, articles, and ads.
AdParlor - Never underestimate the importance of a good mockup. When an ad goes live is not the time to catch a mistake in the formatting, and that's where AdParlor comes in handy. Whether you're working on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or all of the above, AdParlor gives you the tools to lay out your posts and view them exactly as they'll appear on the day you push them live.
Todoist - Organization is key. You can plan to post, but sometimes keeping track of everything yourself can be overwhelming. Todoist helps escape that by giving you the foundations to make a solid game plan that you can use to keep yourself on track.
Canva - Nothing can replace good graphic design. Using a drag and drop program instead of a design department is a one way ticket to disaster. Canva does help bridge the gap between those left and right brainers in your circle, though. When it comes to those simple posts, the tools are complex enough for a creative to make a template they're proud of, but simple enough for an accountant to update the info without issue.
Native Analytics - Third party programs are fantastic, but sometimes you just can't beat the source. Taking full advantage of the integrated analytics within Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter can play a huge part in successfully using these mediums.
Efficiency & Communication
A major portion of being efficient relies on how well you communicate. Nothing beats sitting face to face with your coworkers, but for those remote situations where we can't sprawl everything out over a desk there's an assortment of fantastic tools that we use to ensure we keep things moving and ideas flowing.
Slack - Slack is so many things, and each one of them is amazing! It functions as a company wide, departmental, AND individual chat interface, and that's just scratching the surface. Along with that Slack provides a platform for document sharing, both natively and by integrating platforms like DropBox and Google Drive, lets you create public links, has features to SHARE FORMATTED CODE, and facilitates announcements that can be addressed to departments, teams, and even individuals specifically.
Zoom - Even if you can't actually sit across the table from the person you're working with, a good video chat platform can make it feel almost like you are. Zoom is the best platform we've found for hosting personal discussions, remote meetings, and even large-scale webinars.
TeamGantt - We hate it, we love it, we wouldn't be anywhere near as efficient without it. If you know what a Gantt chart is, then imagine that but digital, interactive, and loaded with features ranging from checklists and individual discussions channels per job to timers and workload management. If you don't know what a Gantt chart is, we're jealous.
Notetaking & Records
It may seem minor, but keeping organized and accessible records of information, or even just having a personal database of your creative ideas, can do wonders in helping you improve your process. These are just some of the things we love to jot things down with.
Pages - We know, we know. It's the default, often overlooked, Mac word processor. But Pages really does pack some insanely cool features. From a clean UI to cloud syncing throughout multiple devices, it makes a strong platform for cataloguing your work and ideas. Not to mention if you're on a Mac you already have it, so why not?
Evernote - Always the helpful green elephant Evernote is great for notes, but that isn't how you should look at it. Instead, imagine a personal database of your creative (or non-creative) process documenting all those things you'd otherwise forget. It's less for cataloguing and saving info, and more for helping your brain stay on track.
Google Docs - At this point pretty much everyone knows about this one, but if you don't you should definitely hop on board. Google Docs is unrivaled in the realm of collaborative writing and notetaking making it possible for anyone with access to the internet to take full advantage of its tools.
Work is hard. It can be taxing and sometimes make your brain feel more like a potato sack full of jello than the most advanced computational marvel the universe has ever seen. When those moment hit, it can help sometimes to just take a few minutes and reset. Here are some things to help with that.
Rakko Ukabe - There's a bit of a language barrier in the translation, but come on. It's otters. On a beach. In your phone. If that's not calming, what is?
Handheld Consoles - These aren't free and games may seem childish, but come on. You know they're a fun distraction. Might we recommend a Nintendo Switch? There's not much a quick 3 minute round of Splatoon can't help.
Chill Playlists - Music and mood go hand in hand. Maybe you don't have time to set work aside and pick up a game, but you do have a second to slip on some headphones and get a better vibe going while you toil away. Musical tastes may vary, but this playlist is on our radar.