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Tools I Recommend for Startups & Product Managers 2019

People ask me to recommend tools all the time, so I made this page as a reference point for my most recommended software and tools for startups and product managers.

People ask me all the time what I recommend as great tools for startups, and there are some things I get asked about all the time (like email marketing tools).

So I’m publishing this page as a go-to place to see all the stuff I think is awesome and worth checking out if it matches your needs.

Keep in mind, I don’t know your business so can’t promise it’s the right tool for you but I can promise it’s worth looking at and deciding for yourself.

If there’s something I haven’t mentioned, send me an email or tweet and let me know.

Email Marketing

  • Drip – a full-power email marketing solution that’s super visual without being slowed down by drag and drop. Integration with lead pages is an awesome perk.
  • Klaviyo – comes with a huge amount of ready-to-go campaigns that have been proven to work, you can’t go past Klaviyo for eCommerce businesses (or anything else that’s transactional in nature)
  • Autopilot – another awesome email tool that’s minor downfalls are it’s drag and drop editor (which gets a bit challenging on complex sequences) and the fact it’s basically unusable on mobile. Its epic features include direct integration with Segment and Heap analytics – making it a great option for SaaS businesses or those already using Heap.

My Stuff

  • UTM Link Manager – finally an easy way to create and manage your UTM tracking links.
  • Seed The Change – plant trees, grow profits. This one helps eCommerce businesses grow their bottom line while making the world a better place
  • How to kick ass at email marketing [course] – this ~60 minute course goes through my top strategies for crushing it with email marketing, it’s free if you’re a SkillShare member (or if you’re on their 2-month free trial – two whole months to take my course and any of the other great courses on SkillShare!)
  • WPMedium – this very WordPress theme is for sale, go grab it for your own blog if you want to own your own audience (instead of giving it all to Medium)

Learn To Code

As a self-taught engineer and technical product manager, I’ve taken a load of coding courses and from all those, I can’t recommend Wes Bos’ courses highly enough!

If you’re looking for something free and just want to get started learning Javascript, you can’t beat his Javascript30 course. Another free course which helps you get comfortable using the command line which is a huge productivity booster is the Command Line Power User Course.

If you’re looking to get serious about Javascript and be able to build your own stuff I’d highly recommend all his premium courses, especially:

  • ES6 – which is will make you a pro at all the new features of Javascript – so much better than only reading the docs
  • React for Beginners – an awesome intro to React (which taught me enough on its own to build 2 production React apps)
  • Advanced React & GraphQL – I’m still working through this one but loving it so far
  • Learn NodeJS – a great course about Node which I found way more helpful than any tutorials which really didn’t explain how everything works together in a REAL production app (I went and rewrote my whole backend service for one of my projects after doing this course)

Conversion Optimization & Experimentation

  • ConversionXL – when it comes to CRO, there’s a lot to know and many opportunities to get it wrong – so I’d highly recommend investing in some good training if you’re going to take CRO and Experimentation seriously (and don’t have an experienced CRO to learn from directly. ConversionXL has probably the best in-depth blog in the CRO industry and their courses are truly world class.
  • Optimizely – if you’re looking for world-class split testing software, you can’t beat Optimizely. I’ve used it for years and it’s in a different league to all it’s competitors (unfortunately)

Hosting

  • WPX Hosting – highly recommended if you’re running WordPress, their staff are super helpful for getting things done and the whole system is engineered for WordPress speed. Plus it’s really reasonably priced (at least for now). I use this for all my WP sites, and all my clients’ too.
  • Shopify – if you’re running an eCommerce site, I personally think there’s no other option worth considering. Bonus, if you’re looking for a top quality theme make sure to check out Out Of The Sandbox (they’re expensive, but worth it if you’re serious about your site)
  • DigitalOcean – if you need something a little more custom for your hosting, I’d definitely recommend checking out DO. Their user experience is amazing too!

WordPress stuff

  • ThemeForest – it’s amazing how much you can achieve with a WordPress site, I’ve seen some pretty amazing MVPs built using a cleverly repurposed WordPress theme, there’s no better place to find WP themes an plugins than ThemeForest. Be careful though, it’s addictive…
  • ConvertPlug – this is the most reliable non-subscription popup manager I’ve come across. It comes with all the features you could want and sets up easily with your WordPress site (I use it on all of mine). The only downside is that it’s not amazing for your Google SiteSpeed score.

Outsourcing

  • 99Designs – great place to get high-quality design work done at a fixed price. I’d recommend making the competition private though, otherwise, you tend to end up with a bunch of designs that all the same. Particularly great for logo design but I’ve used it for business cards and even landing pages.
  • DesignCrowd – very similar to 99designs but a great alternative and better value for certain things such as websites (starting at $199 last I checked). Used to work in the same office as these folks – great people.
  • Fiverr – great place to get all sorts of random things done without spending a fortune. Everything starts at $5, but can scale up for more premium services. I use Fiverr for voiceover work quite a lot. Wouldn’t recommend using it for things like SEO where you don’t want to be cutting costs!

Desktop tools / Mac apps

  • Backblaze – I’m a huge advocate of the need for non-sync’ing backups, Backblaze is the best offering at the moment in my opinion (I use it myself and have pushed my family to all do the same). You can read why here.
  • Screenie – this thing saves me time about 50 times a day, it’s a super simply mac app that puts all your screenshots right at your fingertips! (formally called QuickShot, this is a bargain at $9.99)
  • Grammarly – awesome tool that makes it way easier to write well and engage people with your writing. I’ve used the premium version for years and can’t imagine writing without it. The free version is great too, but the premium features help take your writing up a notch (rather than just saving you from mistakes)

Also published on Medium.

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