toolbox of destiny

In my house we do this silly thing were everything gets a “of destiny” modifier. I’m not really sure when or why we began this practice but I tell you it never gets old when trolling my kids. The clicker of destiny, the towel of destiny, the backpack of destiny…you get it.

As a consultant and an educator one of the most common questions I get is about TOOLS.

What should I use? What do I need? Where do I start?
Here is a roundup of tried and true tools and a few that I am taking for a spin.

The TOOLBOX OF DESTINY! 

Hosting: Dreamhost (Tried and True)
I’ve been a Dreamhost customer for more than 13 years. They are cost-effective, user friendly, and the right amount of power for most cases. Easy one-click installs for WordPress and unlimited accounts for all those domains you collect. Packages as low as $3 USD a month is a price point that is easy to swallow.

Click here and you can get $50 off the shared hosting package – I get $50 too.

Forms: Wufoo (Tried and True) 
This is another one I have been using for a longtime. Easy to setup and easy for other less technically inclined people to use. Has a free option all the way to an enterprise style package. Lots of custom options including payment integrations and minimal branch logic. This is my go to for a basic signup for or small feedback survey. 

Forms: Typeform (New Fav) 
I wanted a bit more of a custom experience and like the way the pagination works on this tool. It is a bit more sophisticated than Wufoo so might be a steeper learning curve. It is much more lovely though to experience as an end user. Pricing is reasonable and there are a few cheap and cheerful packages to get you started. 

Research: Survey Gizmo (Tried and True)
Use this when forms just aren’t sophisticated enough and you need to collect and sort more information. Lots of integration options and easy to set up and correlate. Price point is great for a research tool and powerful enough for enterprise usage.

Social Quizzes: Qzzr (Tried and True)
Social quizzes as research are fun and good for community building. Those, “which Harry Potter character would you be?” or “what kind of dog mom are you?” are a great way to get into the minds of your consumer/potential consumer. Price point is a bit high for what it is but worth it as a different way to collect data (socially) about your target.

Email Marketing: Mailchimp (Tried and True)
I haven’t yet tested the expanded offering at Mailchimp but for email marketing, it can’t be beat. I love the template and custom options, just about everything you will need to get started. One note of warning, if you are using Shopify it doesn’t integrate well. Just about anything else, works great. Pricing is established per seat so that larger you are the more you pay. It is a great option for small to mid-sized businesses. As a large business, it may be time to graduate to a more expansive system.

Mandrill, which is the answer to transactional emails, can solve many larger marketing challenges. These two together make a great pair for most projects.

CMS Websites: WordPress (Tried and True)
This one is core infrastructure for me for many many years. I’ve tried other systems (Squarespace and Wix) but none compares to the beast that is WordPress. I mean WordPress.org NOT .com btw. Free to use and as mentioned about easy to install with Dreamhost. I highly recommend this solution as a scalable platform for growth.

Custom WordPress Themes: Themeforest (Tried and True)
Cost-effective and vast range options to customize your WordPress site without hiring a developer. These themes range in cost but with so many options you are guaranteed to discover a design you like. Protip – when selecting a theme make sure to look at the reviews and for the “power elite authors”.

This site is built using the Jupiter X theme, purchased from Themeforest.