The Tools of the (WordPress Freelance Development) Trade

I’ve been freelancing for a while now. I’ve also been developing WordPress sites for a while. In that time I’ve used many different tools. Some have been great, and some less great. Here I share a list of the tools that I’m currently using:


I use the excellent FreeAgent* to keep track of my estimates, invoices, expenses, bills, tax and more. FreeAgent actually makes filing expenses, dare I say, fun!

You can get valuable overviews of your business, so that you can finally feel in control. To check out FreeAgent click here*.

* Those are affiliate links, but guess what, if you follow those links, not only do I save some cash, you do too!

Time tracking

I’ve been using Toggl for years now. It’s a really simple time tracking tool with some clever features (here’s a good review: It also integrates with my favourite project management tool…

Project management

The mighty Basecamp has been an industry standard for years now. I haven’t updated to the ‘new Basecamp’ yet, I find that Basecamp ‘classic’ still does everything that I need it to, with all the integrations that I need.



I’ve faffed about for too long trying to keep up with free wireframing tools. So, I’ve just signed up to Mockingbird, which is an online wireframing tool. It’s not free, I pay $9/month for the ‘Personal’ plan. There might be better ones out there, but this does the trick for me.


I’ve been using Adobe’s Photoshop for years. It’s probably time that I upgraded though, I’m still on CS3.

Web development

Text editor

Coda, by Panic, has been around for ages. I started using it because Chris Coyier did and I’ve stuck with it. There are some nice features beyond what you would expect (including a WordPress plugin for code completion and syntax highlighting). I hear that there is even more fun to be had with Coda2.

Local development environment

I’m on a Mac, so I started off using MAMP. MAMP makes it pretty easy to set up and run a local Apache, MySQL and PHP stack. This allows you to install websites on your machine, making development much quicker and safer. If you aren’t doing this already, do it now!

I’ve since upgraded to MAMP Pro, which allows me to easily create local domain names. So, instead of using localhost/, I can use (or anything else for that matter!). MAMP Pro also allows you to access your local server remotely, although I haven’t tried that yet.

FTP client

FileZilla is my FTP client of choice. I can’t compare it to others, but it’s always done the job for me. It’s free.


If you’re not using Google Chrome, chances are you should be. I’ve found it to be quicker than Firefox, and I prefer the developer tools to Firebug.


I hope that helps. If you have any thoughts or suggestions, I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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