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50 Non-Joomla tools to make your agency more profitable


This is the second part to my original blog post Ways to become more profitable as a Joomla! Agency. This part focuses a lot more on the tools than the processes that we use. I would love to hear in the comments if you have any other suggestions, better suggestions, or you take my suggestions and find them useful. 

a stamp with the word disclaimer on it


I talk about and link to a lot of 3rd party tools in this document. When I have a suggestion I make it. This is based on personal opinion and preference as well as habit or in some cases blind loyalty. Please do your own research and make the best decision for you, your business and your clients and please do tell me if you find better tools. I want to make it clear that I have no affiliation with any of the products other than personal preference. None of the links are currently affiliate links BUT I think they should be so I have asked the project if anyone would create a list of affiliate links and link to them so the project can make money. In short… this article attempts to be unbiased but probably contains biases. It’s a personal opinion.

Other tools that can help you to be more profitable?

Up until this point I have mainly talked about tools that can help you to charge more. But in this section I am talking about things that can make you more productive or save you time.

post it notes with words relating to agile project management such as Scrum, Epic, Kanban, Product Owner, Scrum Master

Project Management tools

For project management we use ClickUp, which I LOVE. But here is a list of other tools you could use instead.

  • Teamwork – a strong contender to ClickUp and as an additional benefit they are an Irish company (I did mention bias at the beginning of this article). So please give them your money. Honestly a great tool, well worth considering and it has great customer service. 
  • Monday – A nice looking project management tool with fantastic advertising. I think ClickUp is better but I haven’t used this yet.
  • Jira – A favourite amongst dev teams, plays well with the other Jira products and also Github. 
  • Kissflow – I haven’t used it but it’s another option.
  • Trello – a simplified project management tool based on boards. Definitely worth looking at if you have simple needs.
  • Asana – another one that is boards based. 

The word communication with other words surrounding it with arrows pointing to the word and fingers pointing to the word.  The surrounding words are things related to communication such as phone, media, sender, internet

Communications tools

The next point is communications. I HATE email, but I love Slack. Especially as there is a free version. But you can also use comments in Clickup to keep things in the right place. The most important thing is you have a rule or precedent so everyone knows where to find stuff.

Here are some other options that we use from time to time.

  • Mattermost – the official Joomla chat channel.
  • Discord – Popular amongst gamers and seems to be increasing in popularity for other reasons/uses.
  • WhatsApp groups (because our clients won’t usually sign up for Slack)
  • Telegram – an alternative to WhatsApp which seems more popular in Europe.
  • Signal –  A messenger with a focus on privacy. 
  • Viber – an alternative to WhatsApp which seems more popular in Ireland.
  • Zoho Mail – seems like a combination of email and Slack, but I haven’t used it.

A sales funnel with the words leads, prospects, customers on it

Sales tools

We use Pipedrive to keep a list of our leads and make sure we haven’t forgotten to follow up with anyone. It’s quick and easy to use, but not the cheapest. But it saves us time and makes sure we don’t lose any money. It’s also got an API so we can integrate it with Joomla quite easily using Convert Forms or any other forms component and Zapier or Make or Pabbly (which has a lifetime deal). 

We also use Better Proposals to send our proposals. The reason being we can boilerplate and template our proposals pretty easily so it’s quicker to build them out. Plus it tells us when people have opened them so we can call the customer at that point and ask what they thought. Timing is everything when it comes to sales. 

Here are some other options for you.

  • Pipeline Pro - one off fee. They absolutely bombard you with messages, calls, emails, texts, snail mail. They contact you in every way possible. If you hate that sort of thing, avoid it, but if you can overlook it, the one off fee should save you money.
  • Salesforce Sales Cloud.
  • Insightly CRM.
  • Microsoft Dynamics 365 Sales.
  • Zoho CRM. Be cautious; I heard they had a data breach. Check which country they hold their data in and that they are GDPR compliant.
  • Companies house search – we use this to find people in our niche; if you are UK based it’s really useful for your sales team.
  • Proposify – an alternative to Better Proposals. We picked Better Proposals over this because it had a Go Cardless integration for Direct Debits. If you aren’t in the UK, you may prefer this.
  • Iwoca – Ok, I’ll be up front, they say they charge only 3% interest. But I think it’s 3% per month over 3 months. So 9% in 3 months which is very high. However… they will pay you out 100% of your fee immediately and the interest is the client’s issue. I’m not a huge fan of this, but it’s better than sending a PayPal invoice to be paid by credit card and then you swallowing 6% of the bill or whatever it is they charge. I also worry about chargebacks with credit cards, but this may be a solution. I think this is probably only available in the UK.

a warehouse with shelves stacked high with boxes


I’ll keep it brief as I’m sure people are using one or another, but most have a free option if you want to use multiple.

Crashplan I will touch on because it’s less commonly heard of. It monitors your files in real time and backs them up to the cloud. It’s VERY reasonably priced. Don’t use it for sharing or teamworking but DO use it for backup and disaster recovery.

a keyboard with a search bar above is containing the word admin

General Admin

  • 1 Password. Allows you to store passwords and share them with your team. 
  • Last Pass. Recently had a hack. Their security wasn’t as strong as 1 Password, but please do your own research.
  • Doodle. A really useful tool if you are trying to organise a meeting with multiple people and you are trying to find availability. Just suggest multiple free dates and everyone can vote on the date that works for them. I also use this in my personal life when organising nights out or family events.
  • Bit.ly – track link clicks on 3rd party websites. We use this to track clicks when running social media campaigns because Google Analytics is not always accurate. It also shorten links which has the side benefit of masking them. Sometimes you can use a keyword in the shortened link which might make it more clickable. I don’t know if this is the best solution out there but I have been using it the longest and have a grandfathered account. So please do your research.
  • Tiny URL – as with bit.ly shortens links and allows tracking.
  • We Transfer – use this to send big files such as design files or artwork, large batches of images or other large files.
  • Transfer Big Files – similar to We Transfer
  • Moxo – Transfer big files and also have some other benefits
  • Dropbox Sign – use this to get documents digitally signed. Although we now use Better Proposals for this. One upside to Dropbox Sign is that they email you a PDF of the signed document. Better Proposals you would have to continue to use their service. In cases where you run into a dispute it’s really useful to have a copy of the digitally signed document.
  • OBS Studio – I use this ALL. THE. TIME. I mainly use it for screen recordings.  I use it to train my staff so they don’t have to ask me how to do things a second time.  I use it to record helper videos for clients and then embed them in the Joomla Admin as a module so they can always find them without asking.  I upload these videos to my YouTube channel as unlisted and then use Embed Responsively to easily copy and paste the code so thet videos are responsive.

    I use it for videos that I use to help others around the web.  I have a tonne of Joomla videos, IT how to videos, and I can tell you, the speed of OBS is the main reason I can create these videos.  Some of these videos have tens of thousands of hits and some of them generate me sales leads.  I cannot recommend this tool enough to help you deliver quicker video marketing.  Yes, it’s marketing.  Creating a video on something you do every day and find easy, will help someone who doesn’t know how to do it.

    I can’t believe how good it is and the fact it is free. It’s GREAT. A big thanks to Gary Barclay for showing it to me and helping me to set it up. Hopefully I can pay it on somewhat, here is a tutorial I created on how to set up OBS Studio.

    Don’t forget to like and subscribe 😊.

a pretty girl with a thought bubble saying


Images make a website. Here are some tools you can use to either get free images or create images quickly/easily. 

  • Canva - use it to create nice designs. Use it to create videos too. Add music with beat sync. We use it to create social media posts. It’s quick and easy once you have your templates set up. The pro version is £99 a year (at the time of writing) which I think represents excellent value.
  • https://lickd.co/ - use this for licensing music
  • Unsplash - Free images/photographs. Canva also uses this to pull in free photos for use in their designs.
  • Pexels - Free images
  • https://smartmockups.com – Useful to make mockups of websites etc. It’s a bit more visually interesting than simply a flat screenshot. Also for products etc if you are doing branding projects. Not always useful if you create bespoke packaging because you won’t have the packaging you created, better to use real life pictures in those instances.
  • Adobe Creative Cloud
    • InDesign – use it to design layouts. Perfect for books, magazines but also great when combined with Photoshop or Illustrator to create posters etc.
    • Photoshop – Use it to edit photography. Also use it to create parts of designs to go with other assets such as part of a poster, or a hero image with a gradient or colour effect. Also use it to cut out backgrounds or parts of the image that don’t fit and fill them in using AI.
    • Lightroom – use this to quickly edit the lighting in photos without doing advanced editing. Great for batch editing large swatches of photos after a photo shoot. Used for Colour Grading.
    • Illustrator – use it to create vectors. Perfect for icons and we use it a lot for logo creation.
    • Premier Pro – use it for video editing.
    • After Effects – use it for cool editing of videos to do special effects. Great for motion animation.
  • Affinity – a cheaper alternative to Adobe Creative Cloud. Not quite as strong but still excellent. If you can’t afford Creative Cloud this is a really great option. It doesn’t have the monthly subscription which is a huge benefit. 

You can find a full list of free (and royalty free) stock photo websites on a blog we made on our website.

a blue image with lots of hexagonal icons

Tools to get Icons for your website

Icons can make your website look more professional, here is a list of sites to help you find more icons. Just make sure you are consistent with your use, if you pick an icon set, use all the same e.g. line drawings, or clipart. Whatever they are, try to find a set big enough to use for your whole project rather than mixing and matching artists or styles.

Use them to get a consistent style across your site. Icons can really make your site pop and often they are SVGs or fonts which means they resize without degrading. This easy tip can make it look like you spent hours stylising the site. Usually, I am up-front with the client about the fact I didn’t create them myself in case they ask us to create more icons. I have a few illustrators I can use if I need bespoke icons too.

an abstract illustration of a pink flower with pink water colour petals surrounding


Illustrations are another way to make it look like you took a long time to professionally craft a website to be perfect for your target audience. In some cases it’s a really nice way to make it fit and in other cases it’s just nice to have a really consistent style that doesn’t use photographs. This can be especially true if the client doesn’t have any photographs of their business or for a new startup.

Great for if the client is shy and doesn’t want to use photos of them or if you feel the stock photos in that industry are too cheesy or overused. As with the icons, try to be consistent with your style. Make sure you have enough for the whole website so you don’t have to mix and match or pay an illustrator to get you the perfect look.

An abstract blue and black background pattern


Backgrounds are a great way to add texture to your website. If you want to find backgrounds and you are having trouble with searching try searching for textures instead of backgrounds. 

Use them to add variety to your backgrounds rather than using flat colours all the time. Do be careful that it doesn’t affect the contrast of your website. 

Useful tools for Marketing

Marketing is a vital component to any business. BUT it’s also a nice service to offer because it goes hand in hand with website design. If you build a website for your client as part of the conversation you should be asking “how do you plan to market your website afterwards”. You can then make money either from being a consultant (you give advice, someone else does the work) or from being a consultant and implementer (get paid for doing the work too), or from referring another business to do the work and getting a financial benefit. There’s no right or wrong answer to which way you should go with this, I’m simply offering a way for you to add an extra income stream into your Joomla agency.

A laptop with a man holding a phone resting his hands on the keyboard.  There are icons floating denoting like, message, email, heart

Social Media

How often to post?

If you post 3 times a day you will get more traffic than once a day. That’s not an upper limit, the more you post the more results you will see.

Where to post?

Share to Facebook groups that are active. You can easily get 8,000 views per month using this tactic for organic social media. 

Find local groups, find groups in your niche, also post to larger groups too so you get a combination of high engagement and relevance (niche groups in your industry) and high reach (larger groups, they may be more geographically spread out, so consider this if you or your client’s business is geographic).

Make a list of the groups and the days they allow you to post. We keep them in a spreadsheet. Don’t click the links in the spreadsheet to get to the groups or Facebook will block you. Just use the Facebook search and copy and paste some text with a link to the post you are sharing.

What results can you expect from social media advertising?



  • Eclincher – we use this to schedule posts and get approvals. We love the fact it has an approvals process because our insurance company requires us to get sign off for all marketing or else it’s invalidated. It also gives us a good counter argument if the client is unhappy. We’re all human, mistakes can happen, but if the client has approved it you can push back with “please check more thoroughly and reject the post at the approvals stage before it goes live”. Clients can edit the text or date and time of the post easily themselves. Or they can reject the post and ask you to do it, which is sometimes unavoidable if the image or video needs to be changed. Use the RSS feeds section to include your clients blogs and then you can schedule posts about them when they write a new blog. Eclincher has a monthly payment. 
  • Hero post - schedule posts but one off payment instead of monthly.
  • Meta Business Suite - totally free and can schedule posts.
  • LinkedIn Sales Navigator - use this to identify LinkedIn leads. It’s a tool from LinkedIn and it’s a good way to connect with people on LinkedIn.
  • Dripify - use this for LinkedIn outreach. NOTE: Be aware that LinkedIn does NOT allow 3rd party tools so you could get banned by using this. Dripify can set lower limits to avoid you getting hurt. You can also do this activity manually by connecting with people and sending messages. 

At some point I’ll release a video on our approach to marketing using some of these tools. They will probably be released on my LinkedIn so please do connect with me if you want to hear what I have to say.

The cheesiest photo I could find of a girl on a digital whiteboard with illustrations denoting Joomla! SEO

Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

There are a few good articles about SEO on the Joomla magazine already, if this subject interests you I would recommend checking out Dan Atrill’s article on SEO in the core

Search engine optimisation is the process of optimising your website to appear at the top of the organic Google rankings. Briefly… there are a few sections to the Google rankings as defined in this video.


For the purposes of this article I will briefly note what SEO includes. The very first thing it includes is Keyword research. After that you are pretty much writing content around those keywords. Finding ways to write interesting content; that content is the trick.

What does a keyword report look like?


On-Site SEO

Technical SEO

This is the process of making sure your website is built properly. This will mean you include things like Schema tags, the ability to update your title tags and meta description and things like ensuring your website is fast, has a small footprint, images are sized correctly and quite a few other factors. If you want to check your website you can use a tool like https://pagespeed.web.dev/ or if you use Google Chrome you can “inspect element” (or hit CTRL + shift + i) and then press “lighthouse”. This will give you a list of things you can improve on your website.


Content is vital and this includes what’s on your page, so things like the titles and body content are very important. As well as those two points, ensure you have nailed your meta title (page title in Joomla) to be descriptive and potentially cover some keywords. You should also consider your meta description, although this is not a ranking factor, so you don’t need to include any keywords, you should make sure it encourages people to click through to your site.

Off-Site SEO

Anything not on your site that affects search engine ranking. Typically this is backlinks from other websites that are seen as votes of confidence by Google.

There are various other factors (hundreds) that affect ranking too, things like your search history, bookmarks, the types of sites you have clicked on in the past, and much of this is determined by Google’s AI.

The overall message with SEO? 

“Write good content and then share it around the web.”

Generally write over 1,500 words to show you are an expert on the subject. Google gives you some guidance on what to do or not do but Google doesn’t tell you absolutely everything it does. But one thing is for sure, if Google says “don’t do this”, you shouldn’t do it. BUT… if Google says “you don’t really need to do this” it doesn’t necessarily mean don’t do it. Lots of times Google has said you don’t need to do it, and then we find out and prove that if you do it, it makes a difference. But it’s probably a small difference if Google is saying that, or else in some cases Google’s search advocate John Mueller may clarify his comments so we better understand what he means. It’s well worth watching his Webmaster Hangouts if you are interested in learning more about SEO.

Here are some other tools you can use to help you on your SEO journey. Remember… these are just tools, you still need to do the learning and the hard graft. You still need to write the content, these tools just give you suggestions to help you on your way.


  • SEM Rush – very cool, an all encompassing tool. It’s not cheap but it is powerful.
  • AHrefs – another excellent tool that has been around for a long time.
  • SurferSEO - one of my copywriters uses this tool to help with SEO suggestions in the content.
  • https://moz.com/ - Moz has been around for ages as authoritative voice. It also offers some free tools.
  • https://ads.google.com/home/tools/keyword-planner/ - a free tool from Google themselves. This tool was made to help with Google Ads (so you spend more money) but it gives you data on keyword usage which is useful for SEO too.
  • Answer the public – When you search on Google it starts to auto populate the answer. Answer the public is those auto populations. Useful to help to find what people search for so you can write articles around that content. 
  • Google My Business – This is imperative for ranking in the Google Map Pack (or less jargony, to rank on Google Maps and in local searches). Aim to get above 60 reviews to start seeing traction. You can share posts regularly to Google My Business so whenever you post a blog post here too. You can’t use links in your posts though, so be aware of that. It’s free, it’s from Google, you would be a fool to ignore it.
  • Google Lighthouse / Google Pagespeed Insights.

a man on a phone with icons suggesting lots of emails have arrived.

Email Marketing

Is email dead? I’ll admit there has been a lot more spam since the GDPR rules came out. A hilarious side effect of people finding out what was allowed. In any case, if you want to market this way it’s worth considering. Use it effectively for customer retention, to stay in touch and front of mind, and also use it for cold outreach. Be careful with cold outreach and learn the rules first, and think about whether you can combine cold email outreach with something like a telesales approach or a LinkedIn campaign. 

I could talk about email for days, but here’s something someone once said in front of 100 people at an event I was talking at… “use people’s names in the subject because that’s what spammers do so it must work”. To counter that: don’t copy spammers unless you want to look like one, I have found that using people’s names in the subject works less well but please do your own research as trends change over time (including spammer trends). For cold outreach in particular: keep it short, don’t do heavily styled emails, just plain text, and give them an easy way to accept for example a free lead magnet.

Email Marketing Tools

  • Acy Mailing (extension for Joomla). A powerful Joomla based tool, it can be cheaper than some of the mainstream providers. 
  • Brevo (previously Send in Blue). A mature platform with email and SMS campaigns available.
  • Send Fox - one off cost if you prefer that to monthly.
  • MailChimp – An excellent tool with a great automations part to it. There’s still a free version and it can also integrate with social media, paid ads and postcards too.  If you are a European user you should check whether MailChimp is compliant with GDPR as they store their data in the USA.  If you are a UK user you should check whether MailChimp is compliant with GDPR in your jurisdiction for the same reason.
  • Active Campaign – a powerful alternative to MailChimp.
  • Sendy - uses Amazon SES so the cost per send is really cheap. You can add multiple client accounts, but there is a slight setup technical cost. The actual cost is very cheap.

Make templates for your standard email responses such as for proposals. Use your email signatures better, include a link to a video testimonial, tell customers what services you offer etc. The email signature is a much underrated marketing tool. How many times have you heard “Oh sorry I used company X because I didn’t realise you offered that service”.

A robotic arm touching a human arm denoting artificial intelligence

Artificial Intelligence (AI)

There is a great article from Philp Walton on AI extensions you can use in Joomla, if this interests you I recommend you check it out. 

My main points with AI are:

  • Google has said it wants user generated content. When John Mueller was asked: “does this mean we should not use AI to create content” he replied, “that would mean you should not use AI to generate entire articles, I would think it would be useful to come up with article ideas or titles”. When pressed “does Google know that an article is AI” he didn’t clarify enough for my liking, even so: if John Mueller says Google don’t want you to do this, my advice is… don’t do it!
  • Use AI to generate ideas for content.
  • Use AI to do the research for you before you write the content.
  • AI can be a great time saver and can help with writer's block.

Chat GPT

Chat GPT is a great tool, use it wisely. It’s great to generate ideas for content creation for social media. Try this:

  • Ask it for 10 content ideas for Instagram Reels around your subject.
  • Before you submit that sentence, think about how you could improve it. What further information could you give it to help a human or Chat GPT to get the right information. Include information about your target audience, your niche, your best customers, the things that have worked in the past, things your competitors are doing. Try to write 3-4 sentences instead of just one.
  • Now pick your best answers and ask Chat GPT to storyboard those reel ideas.
  • Now comes the human element, think about how you will come up with a good way to present those ideas in 45 seconds or less. 
  • Now you have used AI, but you are still the human making the content.

AI Tools

A picture of Eoin Oliver and his team discussing a marketing project


That’s all for now folks, I hope I have managed to provide you with some value in this article and given you some ideas for how you can use these tools and your skills to improve the efficiency of your business and your customers business.  There are so many ways we can charge for the work we do and find ways to add extra value to our customers, there’s no reason why we shouldn’t all be able to make some extra money using these techniques and improving our profitability and that of our clients. I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments. If you would like to hear me talk in more detail about any of the things I have covered in this presentation please let me know and I will do my best to accommodate you.

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Comments 2

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Allan Dowdeswell on Monday, 21 August 2023 16:21
Good stuff in here

I always enjoy seeing what's in other people's toolbox, thanks!

I always enjoy seeing what's in other people's toolbox, thanks!
Eoin on Friday, 03 May 2024 16:47
Thanks Alan, sorry I missed this comment.

Would love to hear what you're using too. It might benefit the community or anyone reading.

Would love to hear what you're using too. It might benefit the community or anyone reading.

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