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Over the years, I’ve trialled, tested, loved and hated an astonishing amount of tech, landing with a stack of really cool tools which work efficiently and cost-effectively together. You know how on social media, people lose themselves in those Get Ready With Me (GRWM) videos? I’m the same when people share their tech stacks. I’m such a curious so-and-so and relish hearing about what tech other creatives are using.
If there’s tech that’ll make my life easier, streamline a process, talk with another tech thing so I can automate things, reduce the tech I use and help me spend more time being creative, I so so so want to hear about it. With that in mind, I’m sharing my current tech stack with you in case you’re into the same geekery as me.
This Website – Design and Hosting
There are so many great options opening up the accessibility to website design and e-commerce, such as Squarespace (which I used to create Floe’s website) and Shopify. Still, my absolute favourite stack is WordPress because I’m a tinkerer and enjoy being able to customise my website fully. I wrote about how to get started with my stack in a cost-effective and quick way.
My go-to for beautifully designed customisable templates at purse-friendly prices. Sososo many gorgeous Canva templates! This website’s theme is from Creative Market – Birthday Cake. It cost $65 and I absolutely love it.
I always buy my domains from Google Domains as it’s easy to then set-up Google Workspaces where your email address is then firstname.lastname@example.org – it looks professional when you’re doing outreach to brands or clients.
Having been through the mill with several different server hosts, I’ll never use any other than Cloudways; 1-click install for WordPress, has responsive customer service, and is cost-effective with free SSL and back-ups built into the cost. I pay $11 per month for this website – you can receive 15% off for 3 months, using this link.
Writing and Editing
My husband introduced me to these Pentel Brush pens, and I’ve never looked back. I can just about get my writing to keep up with my brain with these, and they make my writing look all fancy-schmancy too. Has to be blue ink though, always.
It took me some time to land on this notebook system by Atoma. It’s refillable, which is what I love about it. This is the notebook I journal in each day, and once it’s full, I can neatly remove the pages, archive them, and refill them.
I’m a visual thinker, which means I need to mind-map projects. I *could* use an app for that, but there’s something about analogue that helps me connect to the ideas. Seeing the mind map on my wall makes it easy to grab a sticky note and add to it and move the bits about.
Whilst I like to think my grammar and spelling are fit for purpose, there’s no denying the comfort of having Grammarly installed on my MacBook as a safety net. That means, wherever I write – WordPress, Google Sheets, in emails – Grammarly will pick up on grammatical misfits and suggest improvements. It’s like having a real-time-editor helping you.
Because I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I also like to run my copy through Hemingway. It’s a free app which highlights complex sentences, the use of passive voice, and the number of adverbs used. Hemingway colour-codes each instance so you can work through bit by bit. It often catches things Grammarly did not, and vice versa. Hence why I double-stack these.
When I was writing my recent book, I needed to find a copy-editor and proof-reader to join that book’s team. A few people I contacted and wanted to work with, couldn’t fit me in and they suggested using Reedsy. The two people I found through Reedsy were incredible to work with; professional and talented. If you’re an author looking to build-out your publishing team, I’d highly recommend.
Blogging on WordPress
If you’re serious about growing your blog, then the Yoast SEO plugin is definitely needed. It makes mince meat out of SEO with its simple traffic light system, guidance and tutorials.
The Click to Tweet plugin is an effortless way to encourage readers to share a link to your blog post on Twitter. It’ll tag your Twitter account, too, making it easy to retweet to your followers.
Install Sumo, and you can access a vast array of free tools. Those social sharing buttons to the left of this post? Sumo. The pop-up which asks if you’d like to receive emails from me? Sumo.
Unsplash has been my source of blog images for years and years. Beautiful hi-res free images add a professional zing to blog posts if you’re not a very good photographer – I’m a rubbish one!
Whenever I’ve offered products and services, the e-commerce function has always been built with Woo. I find it intuitive, customisable and there are endless extensions.
The Add Widget After Content plugin has saved me countless hours. You can edit the content in the widget whenever you want, and it’ll automatically update all of the blog post footer content on all of your blog posts.
There was an HP laptop which was ex-display and ‘blue-screened’, regularly losing my work. There was the other HP that’d overheat and just switch itself off. Then there was this beautiful beast. I’ve written all of my books on a MacBook and I’ll never ever go back. It’s just so reliable, portable, compact and everything loads really quickly.
I’m on my MacBook for most of the day, so it’s crucial that it’s comfortable to type, but also that I use this stand to prevent the laptop from getting too hot. It’s a no-nonsense stand, very lightweight and easy to transport in my rucksack. Fun fact: I have never tried to store my laptop upright in it like they have in the picture!
These headphones have been terrific. I’ve had them for a year now and there’s hardly any signs of wear and tear. They’re super comfy when worn for extended periods of time (I usually get headaches when I wear headphones, but not with these). They have got a noise-cancelling feature which is used often and I love that when I take them off, they automatically pause whatever it is I’m listening too (usually binaural beats for focus).
I don’t do a lot of printing as I try to keep a paper-free office space, and, as a result, our home printers tend to last a really long time. Our Epsom XP-442 died on us recently, and it’s been discontinued, so we replaced it with this Epson 4200, and we really like it. It’s quiet and compact, the ink isn’t ridiculously expensive, and it’s connected to Wi-Fi so we can print from any device and anywhere in our home, and it prints fast.
This is the printer that I use often. It’s the Zebra GK420d thermal printer which means there’s no ink to run out of nor replace. You can also order the thermal rolls for free from Royal Mail. When I create a postage label in Click + Drop, I can print the label directly to this printed which is connected to my MacBook. This set-up saves so much time! Easy to set-up, robust and time-saving.
The light in my office isn’t the best and without this camera, my videos would be dark and blurry. The Razer Kiyo Pro is an excellent camera, I plugged it in, didn’t mess with the settings and ended up with crisp picture quality – even when the light source isn’t brilliant. The camera itself comes with a cover and, whilst on the heavy side, sits on top of my MacBook steadily.
While I initially purchased this Audio Technica microphone with a podcast idea in mind, it’s instead been used to record sound for my courses. It’s a plug-in and-play microphone that doesn’t need anything else to get it set-up quickly. The sound quality is top-notch. I will *absolutely* eventually get around to starting that podcast…
A companion to my microphone is this foam shield. Don’t be fooled by its lightweightedness, it’s really effective at decreasing echo in my office which is full of hard sound-bouncing-around surfaces. I love how it folds up to save space too.
My Kindle is one of my favourite material possessions because it opens my world right up. I read fiction before bed, but arguably, my most favourite thing about the Kindle is the access to learning. The sheer amount of free non-fiction books available, often as part of my Kindle Unlimited, subscription, is just wonderful. I really wouldn’t be able to keep up with my thirst for books and knowledge otherwise.
Admin and Finance
Using Google Workspace combines all of the commonly-needed administrative tools you’d typically need; Gmail inbox but for your custom email address, access to Google Drive, Calendar and Storage. All for just £5.66 per month. I love using email aliases so that I have hello@, Jayne@, and finance@, for example – all heading to one central inbox where I can use labels to organise it all.
I used Mailchimp for years, but designing beautiful emails wasn’t easy without some coding knowledge. Enter Flodesk, where functional beauty is at its essence. It also works out to be much more cost-effective than Mailchimp. It’s the same recurring price regardless of how many emails you send and the growth of your list – no complicated tiers to navigate. If you use this link, you can get 50% off for a year too.
I trained to be an accountant in pre-Xero days, and I wish it existed then. Fret not, you don’t need bookkeeping experience to use it – it’s really simple, and the knowledge centre is legendary. Not only that, it integrates with tons of apps, aiding automation and saving time. I love that I can keep track of all of my finances, all in one place. Use this link if you’d like to receive 50% off for 6 months.
I do a fair bit of freelance work; copywriting and content writing. Clockify allows me to log the time by client and by task so that I can keep track of my costs for invoicing. That said, I typically log my entire working day, including when writing books, so that I have an understanding of where my time goes so that I can make data-led decisions. Clockify is so easy to use and it has a mobile app too.
A hero addition to my tech stack because it links all of my techs together. By creating ‘Zaps’, you can create an automation which eradicates the need for manual administrative work. Whether that’s in blog promo, or adding those who book a workshop to a segment in Flodesk, Zapier‘s capabilities are endless. It’s truly a gamechanger once you get to grips with it.
My meetings and workshops all typically take place with Zoom. The record feature allows me to send a replay to those who attend my workshops or book a 1:1 session with me. It’s made my life so much easier as it integrates with all of my other apps, including Zapier.
Click + Drop allows me to integrate multiple eCommerce sites (my website, Etsy, eBay, etc.) into one postage/shipping hub. From there, I can batch-create shipping labels, pay for the shipping, and arrange a usually-free from-home collection. It’s the quickest and easiest way I’ve found to handle the process whilst I’m shipping relatively small quantities.
I’ve tried many project management tools and find myself returning to Asana. There’s a free plan, you can choose to view your projects in a task list, kanban-style, and in calendar view. It’s searchable, the views are customisable (I only have incomplete tasks in due date order on my task list) and you can create tasks straight from emails with the Gmail + Asana integration. Fun fact: press Tab + V when in Asana to fill your screen with dogs.
There’s always a tab open on my MacBook for Canva. I use it daily to create digital assets for my blog, workshops, digital downloads, etc. The new AI feature helps to mock-up product photography, and I truly think this is a tool featured in many people’s tool stacks – no matter their industry.
This is a stack built up over a considerable amount of time. There were times when it was just me and my trusty MacBook. Before that, a pen and notebook. Other tech and tools have found their way in, as and when needed and wanted. Putting this together made me realise that it’s quite a towering stack, and that’s because I value time spent writing and creating, so I add tools and tech in if it saves me time spent on the more boring administrative-type tasks. I look for tools which will integrate with one another and take me out of processes. Please feel free to share your favourite tech in the comments!
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