Best Resources (and Time-Savers!) for Your Design Business

When I started my web design business, I began with one client and built my entire business through word-of-mouth referrals.

I believe in the power of referral and word-of-mouth.

So I share resources that I really like, that I personally use or have heard good things about from trusted sources, to help your business grow.

If they’ve helped me, I know they can help you too!

I know first-hand that your job will be easier and your business more profitable if you find the best resources possible, so consider this my personal referral list.

Please note that many of the links below are affiliate links and I may earn a commission if you click them and make a purchase. This is, of course, at no cost to you.

WHAT RESOURCES SHOULD YOU USE?

You need a good web hosting service, but probably don’t have time to do the research, so here’s a list of my favorites.

Do you want a handy list of ALL my favorite business resources in one nifty PDF document? Download it here right now!

Design Business Resources List

Domain Names + Web Hosting

If you are an entrepreneur, buying web hosting and a domain name (or a dozen) is essential.

Dreamhost


I’ve been using Dreamhost for years and the good news is they’ve gotten better over time. I strongly recommend Dreamhost now more than ever.

Here’s what I like:

  • Easy one-click installs of WordPress.
  • DreamPress: a special WordPress hosting service. (I use it for this blog.)
  • I also like their chat support feature. They’re super helpful and I’ve been very happy with their service.

If you need web hosting or to purchase domain names, I highly recommend Dreamhost.

Bluehost 

Bluehost Logo
I don’t personally use Bluehost but many of my clients do. Bluehost is a leader in the industry and if you’re a beginner, you may find Bluehost easier to use than Dreamhost. The web hosting service is very inexpensive and right now they’re offering a free domain with web hosting.

WP Engine

WP Engine
If you’re looking for web hosting for WordPress, this is another the way to go. WP Engine is the industry leader in managed WordPress hosting. I’ve been considering making the change to WP Engine but can’t seem to leave Dreamhost. 🙂

WordPress + Squarespace Themes

I’ve built many sites in WordPress, but Squarespace is a fierce competitor and is really gaining traction in the market. Here are my favorite resources for WordPress and Squarespace themes.

ThemeForest

ThemeforestI’m a loyal ThemeForest customer and have been buying WordPress themes for years. I spend hours looking at WordPress themes. Geeky, right? 

Here are a few of my favorite themes. (I’ll try to update these when I can!)

My Favorites right now – PiñataCapriNoémi

Station Seven

Station Seven logoWhen I looked for a theme for this site I ran across Station Seven and fell in love with the Monstera theme. Love.love.love.it! The designers at Station Seven do exquisite work that I really admire. If you like minimalism, they’re perfect for you! They have beautiful WordPress themes, Squarespace templates, and design kits for social media posts.

Be sure to sign up for their freebies: https://stnsvn.com/library/

StudioPress

StudioPress logoBefore finding the Monstera theme, I looked at this Creative theme at StudioPress.

I’ve heard great thing about StudioPress. Their themes run on the Genesis Framework. Without getting terribly technical, the Genesis framework offers features to make it simple to set up your site exactly the way you want it. And if you change your mind later, you’re just a few clicks away from creating new sections and functions.” That’s the easiest way to say that it’s easy to customize and a robust framework. Check it out.

Best Resources for Your Design Business

Download FREE Design Business Resources
Download FREE Design Business Resources

WordPress Plugins

Finding the right plugin for your WordPress project can be the secret to a successful design! (Well, it sure helps!)

CodeCanyon

CodeCanyon logoI find great WordPress plugins on Code Canyon. Here are some of my favorite:

Visual Composer: Page Builder for WordPress
Final Tiles WordPress Gallery
Responsive FlipBook Plugin
Colio – Responsive Portfolio WordPress Plugin
Essential Grid

Slide Deck Presentations, Mockups + Other Graphics

When I make a presentation, it helps to have a nicely designed slide deck and other graphics. When I don’t have to create a deck from scratch, it’s a BIG time-saver. Below are several nice ones!

GraphicRiver

Slide Decks

GraphicRiver logoBe. Keynote Presentation
Black & White – Creative Clean Powerpoint Presentation
Prism Minimal Keynote Template Builder

All time favorite! A classic!
Swiss Style

Creative Market

Creative Market logoMark04-Minimal Powerpoint Template
Neue Minimal PowerPoint Template

Graphics

Here are graphics I wish I could find projects for!

25 Beautiful Women Silhouettes Set
Vector Mexico icons
Vector characters <- Good for personas
People outline icons <- Good for personas
Night City Landscape
Alphabet letters
The Beatles – Paper
Frida Khalo – Paper
Geometric Photo Masks

Don’t miss this free download! Do you want a handy list of these business resources as a PDF? You can download it right now!

Design Business Resources List

TIME SAVERS FOR YOUR BIZ

I’m obsessed with making my work more efficient and streamlined.

I’ll write more about productivity soon, but here are a few tools I have found to be the best:

Trello

Trello logoCannot.live.without.
My entire life is in Trello. I love, love, love it.

Try it. It’s a great organizational tool and I’ve used it as a project management tool for team projects and it’s excellent for that too. Try it and let me know what you think!

ConvertKit

ConvertKit logoIf you haven’t started an email list, please start now! (I’ll write more about this in the near future!) I gotta admit, I’ve always loved MailChimp. It’s an excellent product and an example of a brand with personality. But while MailChimp is fine if you’re starting out and your needs are simple, when you become serious about your business and your email list ConvertKit is a much more robust tool.

FreshBooks

Freshbooks logoIt wasn’t that long ago that I used an Illustrator file as an invoice template. (wee-ow!!) Using cloud accounting is the way to go. Create online invoices, estimates, expenses, and even time tracking. I’ve been trying out FreshBooks and so far I like how it works. It’s easy, intuitive and affordable. Runs around $15 to $25 per month depending on how many clients you have.

Okay friends, I hope this post of my favorite business resources helped out! 🙂

What are your favorite resources and times savers for your biz?

Leave a comment — let’s chat!


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