Tools and Recommended Software
After years of speaking to fellow lawyers about what software and tools we use each and every day at the office, I thought it would be a good idea to make a list instead. This isn’t a list of tools and software on my wish list, these are tools that we actively use in our office. These are tools that help make use productive and profitable.
While this list represents those tools and software that we currently use, I want to point out that we are constantly exploring new and exciting apps. Also, the items on this list may change from time to time as we find and adopt new software or our needs shift. Regardless, I find myself recommending the tools from this list time and time again. I trust their features, functionality, and security and I am sure that you will too.
Web Hosting and Platforms
- Bluehost: Bluehost is one of the largest and most reliable web hosting companies in the world. Their close ties to WordPress and commitment to open source software make them ideal for hosting new websites and blogs.
- Linode: Another great web host, Linode is known for being both fast and flexible. They use all SSDs in their servers and make it exceedingly simple to scale a project up as application demands and site traffic increase.
- WordPress: WordPress is THE blogging platform. While not known for being the simplest solution, WordPress’ open source code base and massive community of developers mean that you can do just about anything with your blog. It is currently being used by more than 26.4% of the top 10 million websites as of April 2016.
- Leadpages: Leadpages combines great design and powerful marketing features into effective landing and sign-up pages. They integrate with a number of other services to track performance and lead generation, and they make A/B testing your designs simple.
- Themeforest: This marketplace, as well as the larger Envato network, houses all the creative assets you could need for your websites. As the name implies, Themeforest is home to thousands of themes and templates for every type of website or blog.
- Fotolia: Owned by Adobe and home to 60 million royalty-free images, vectors, and videos, Fotolia can help you fill out your site with beautiful photography.
- Google Apps for Work: Google Apps is such a large and full-featured suite of applications, you will always be finding new products to use and features that will make your life easier. The highlights are of course Gmail (with custom domains), Drive (with unlimited online storage), and the suite of Microsoft Office replacements. While not as full featured as Microsoft Office, Docs and Sheets can often do the job when you want to make quick edits, while maintaining compatibility with Word and Excel when you need to do some heavy lifting.
- RingCentral: A powerful and flexible VoIP platform. With RingCentral, you get advanced routing, logging, and remote access apps and plugins so you never have to miss a call.
- Dropbox: If you don’t want to use Google Apps for whatever reason, you will still need a service to backup and share files across computers. Maybe you just need more/segmented storage. Either way, Dropbox is a great choice.
- Stamps.com: Being able to print your own postage is a huge time saver. No need to stand in line at the Post Office.
- Envelopes.com: Custom envelopes can make a great impression on potential clients, and obviate the need for return address labels.
- Primo Print: Not only can you get your business cards printed here, but also a number of other printed materials, such as brochures, signs, and banners.
- Thumbtack: One of the many places you should be offering your services.
- MailChimp: MailChimp is great for sending out newsletters and marketing campaigns.
- Google AdWords and Google Analytics: Google is the goliath they are because of one thing and one thing only: search ads. With these tools, you can advertise based on targeted search words and also analyze the visitors coming to your site.
- Yoast: Yoast provides a WordPress plugin and several other tools to analyze your web pages and make sure that they are optimized for Google’s indexers. The better your content, the higher on search results you’ll be.
- Moz: Moz has specialized SEO tools to help you find untapped keywords.
- Market Samurai: Another tool for helping you find niche markets and maximize your online visibility.
Other Web/Development Tools
- Bitbucket: If you have multiple people working on a website or app, you’ll want a tool like Bitbucket to track changes and issues as they come up. You can also assign tasks, so no one tries to do the same work twice.
- Social Networks Auto-Poster: This WordPress Plugin can completely automate your social network presence by automatically posting to Facebook, Twitter, Google+, and a couple dozen other sites whenever you publish a new post on your blog.
- Smart Podcast Player: A simple, but attractive podcast player you can easily embed in a blog post.
- aMember: This plugin lets you synchronize membership databases across a number of services, so if a user creates an account on your blog, they automatically become a member of your phpBB forum.