Stuff We Love
Below you will find a list of tools and services we personally use – ourselves and on behalf of our clients – and heartily recommend. Got a question about one of them? Drop us a line.
If a product or service is on this page, it means we personally have tested it or use it, recommend it, and endorse it.
Top-shelf hosting for your main, do-or-die website:
If you have a flagship WordPress website for your business – the one that loads with blistering speed and absolutely must stay up and running like a top no matter what – choose WPEngine. For less than $30/month, you get to completely forget about your website security and performance, because they’ve got you covered.
Cost-effective and reliable for DIYers:
Hands down, we recommend HostGator for cost-effective shared hosting. We run all of our sites on HostGator, and have never been disappointed by their 24/7 live chat and email support – and we use’em a LOT to help manage our clients’ websites. We recommend the Baby account for unlimited websites as low as $7.95/month. Use coupon code rowboatmedia and get one month free.
Domain Name Registration
We recommend Hover for domain registrations. They have a simple interface and they don’t hit you with upsells at every turn like other big names do. Don’t use Network Solutions – they charge an insane $35/year for a domain name. Mindboggling. At current prices, a year’s worth of registration should only run you around $12-$15 without add-ons.
While we have the capability of building our WordPress themes from scratch, we prefer using the Thesis and Genesis frameworks because they keep the underlying code future-proof – every time WordPress updates, the developers of these frameworks are right on top of making sure that they keep up – so it’s easier for us to support the many sites we create that way.
While we prefer the above for custom designs, we’ve done a few on Headway, which also never stands still in its constant improvement, responsiveness to users, and reaching for excellence. We’ve recommended them to several folks who didn’t have budget for a custom design, and they were happy to report back and share the designs they did their very own self. A website that doesn’t exist serves no one, and Headway’s drag and drop functionality is a boon to those on a small budget.
Customizable Website Forms
Putting contact forms and other types of questionnaires on a website used to be a choice between flexibility and complexity – since Gravity Forms came along, that’s all in the past. If you can drag and drop, you can create a custom form that looks like a thousand bucks.
Pimpin’ Out Your Photos
If you happen to own Photoshop and want to add a little extra oomph to those photos, check out Totally Rad Actions by primo wedding photographer Doug Boutwell. We use these actions daily in our business for everything from slurpy color to black and white conversions to making that sky look as blue as you really saw it with just a few mouse clicks.
Writing Good SEO Copy – Keywords and Such
Does the thought of doing your own keyword research make your eyes cross? When you’re writing a page for your website, do you wonder how the heck it’s ever going to get found? Just flat out stop worrying with Scribe, the awesome SEO plugin for WordPress – it will analyze your content for you, tell you what phrases people are looking for before you start to write, and help you kick your backlinks into overdrive. Everybody loves Scribe – it shone a bright spotlight on where WE were missing opportunities!