Business Tools

Keep reading if you’re interested in finding out about the tools I use to run my business, which includes building websites for small businesses, helping people learn and understand WordPress and running a small portfolio of niche websites.

Some of these are free tools, and some come with a one-off, monthly or annual fee.

DISCLOSURE – This page contains affiliate links, so if you buy a product or service using one of my links, at no cost to you, I may earn a commission.


WordPress is our go-to platform for building websites and blogs. We first started using it in 2006 and have watched it evolve over the years. It’s a powerful content management system with a huge community of developers building plugins and creating themes.


Namecheap provides web hosting and domain name management services. We use this company to manage all our domains and to host our websites aimed at a US/global audience.


Guru is the company we use to host our websites aimed at the UK market. We’ve been with Guru since August 2018 and have nothing but praise for them. Their support is awesome and each of our websites loads fast. Hosting starts at £5 per month.

WordPress themes


Kadence is a freemium theme (free, with a paid version) that looks great straight out of the box. You can have a smart-looking website live on the internet in just a few minutes. Kadence also has a dedicated blocks plugin for working with the Gutenberg editor.


Astra is another freemium theme that looks okay out of the box. To make a smart-looking website, though, you’ll need to install Astra’s block plugin, which is called Spectra. Once you have this installed, you can create some inspiring designs.


GeneratePress is the third freemium theme we use. Much like Astra, it looks okay out of the box but requires some customisations to look special. We have paid for the premium version of GeneratePress but find it the least easy to use, especially if you’re not a developer used to working with WordPress blocks.

Genesis Framework

For many years the Genesis Framework was our default theme. From 2010 right up to 2020, it never let us down. The framework used to cost $59.95, but now you can get it for free. To upgrade to the paid version costs $360 per year, which is just a tad expensive for our needs.

Affiliate programs and ad networks

All the income from our sites comes from display ads and affiliate commissions. The majority of affiliate sales are from Amazon.

Free stock photos and images

If you’re looking for paid images, check out Shutterstock.

  • Pixabay – The first place we visit when we need an image.
  • Death to Stock – New themed pack available each month.
  • Unsplash – Very similar to Pixabay.
  • Flickr – Not a service we use very often these days but when we do, we only use photos with a Creative Commons license that can be used commercially.

Business tools and software

We use a few tools on the backend of the business to run it as smoothly as possible.

  • Chromebook – In October 2022, we bought an Acer Chromebook on which to do the daily grunt work. The old Windows laptop is used for work that can’t be done on the Chromebook.
  • Evernote – Our favourite place to make and store notes and ideas. Prettier than Google Docs and easier to use.
  • G Suite – Google Docs, Google Sheets, Google Drive, and email
  • FileZilla – FTP program for accessing web servers
  • Asana – Project management software that’s simple to use, packed with features and easy on the eye
  • Trello – Board-based project management software
  • LastPass – Password management app
  • Google Analytics

WordPress plugins

We try to use as few plugins as possible on our websites. Usually around 15-20 per site. Here’s a list of the ones we typically use across.

  • AAWP – Our favourite Amazon plugin
  • Ad Inserter – This one handles AdSense ads and the affiliate disclosure at the top of each post
  • All in One SEO – Never liked Yoast
  • GDPR Cookie Consent – For gaining permission from European visitors to use cookies during their visit
  • Helpful – A nice and simple plugin that adds a couple of feedback buttons at the end of each post giving readers the chance to say whether or not they liked the post (removed from WordPress as of 26 August 2022)
  • Insert Headers and Footers – Used for adding code such as Google Analytics to the head section of your pages
  • LiteSpeed Cache – Caching plugin for LiteSpeed servers
  • ManageWP Worker – Offsite backup service by ManageWP
  • Post Type Switcher – Convert a post to a page or a page to a post*
  • Pretty Links Lite – Used for making affiliate links look prettier than the naked links provided by affiliate partners
  • Redirection – Handles redirects from one page or one site to another
  • Remove Category URL – Automatically removes the /category/ section of WordPress permalinks
  • The SEO Framework – Alternative SEO plugin
  • WP Word Count – Tracks the number of published and unpublished words across the site
  • WPForms Lite – Creates nice contact forms
  • XML Sitemaps – Used on a site that doesn’t have an SEO plugin installed