I love discussions about tools—”Who do you host your websites with?” “What tool do you like for SEO audits?” “How do you send your email newsletter?”
I want to share exactly what I pay, so you know the real costs of doing business. I hope it helps you make some decisions about tools you might like to try to streamline, automate, and serve clients better.
My Exact Monthly and Annual Recurring Costs
No, I’m not sure how this got over $10,000/year, but I feel like I love everything too much to cancel ????♀️
A Few Favorite Tools, Explained
Tools that help me and my team do the work
Basecamp – for project management
I absolutely love Basecamp 2 and have used it since 2014 to manage almost every web design and SEO project. It is so simple, and does everything I want but nothing more. I actually tried to switch away from it to something more feature-rich (Teamwork) a couple years ago, and found it too overwhelming for me and way, way too confusing for my clients.
You may not know that Basecamp 2 is still available for $50/month for 40 projects, which is what I use and love. Basecamp 3 is $99/month for unlimited projects and a lot more features, which I don’t think I need.
Flywheel – for website hosting
We host almost all of our websites and clients’ websites on Flywheel. The only sites that aren’t there are ones on cheap reseller hosting I bought before we started with Flywheel. I’m so committed to it, I require web design clients to host with us or on Flywheel, or we refer the work to someone else.
I jumped on board with Flywheel early on, in 2014. I absolutely love their simple and well-designed dashboard, single FTP login, one-click SSL, and friendly support team. The 50-site bulk plan we have with Flywheel is the single most expensive thing I buy in my business every year.
In the last year, I have been feeling that they’re growing faster than they can perfectly manage. I’ve seen some missed backups and heard of a few random issues from friends. I’m not as over-the-top of a Flywheel fangirl these days, but I still can’t bring myself to switch—I think their dashboard and ease of use for designers and web service providers is unmatched.
If you have any questions about my experience with Flywheel, please feel free to contact me.
Sales & Admin Tools
Tools that run the back-end of my business
ActiveCampaign – for email automation, sales tracking, and CRM
Possibly one of the best tools no one has heard of. ActiveCampaign is what I use for my email newsletters for this site and my niche site, plus email automation sequences. When I was working long sales cycles for big website deals, I also used AC’s sales pipeline features.
Acuity – for call and appointment scheduling
As a mostly solo business, I don’t have time to go back and forth about availability for calls. I don’t even have time to stare at my Google Calendar and figure out when I’m available. So Acuity does it for me.
I love Acuity’s separate appointment types. I have private scheduling links that I send to clients for 30 or 60-minute project calls. I also have a public “15-minute Consult” scheduler that shows more limited availability (check it out here).
Acuity is probably my favorite tool I’ve purchased in the last year.
Codeable – to refer work to
As a niche business, I get a lot of inquiries that don’t quite fit the type of work I’m looking for. If I don’t know anyone personally to refer the prospect to, I generally send them a link to Codeable. There, they can post the job and get multiple bids from vetted WordPress developers.
More coming soon! Let me know which tools you want to learn more about.
PS: You know it, many of the links on this page are affiliate links. That means I may make a small commission if you click through my link and buy these tools. Know that these are tools I really use and pay for myself and wouldn’t recommend otherwise. Plus, I feed Jetta a cookie every time we get an affiliate payment, so don’t deny her her joy.