September 18, 2009 Tony Morgan

7 Non-free Web Apps I Couldn’t Live Without

As you might guess from following my blog or Twitter feeds, I’m a big fan of free. I use a number of free web and phone applications to manage my life. However, not everything I use is free. There are a few applications for which I’ve been willing to lay down some cold, hard cash. When I looked at the price tag, I determined the added value was worth the expense.

With that in mind, here are the current apps I’m using that were not free:

Dropbox – This web app syncs all my files across all my computers and then allows me to access the files anywhere there’s an Internet connection. No more worries about whether or not the backup really worked. No more fears of losing music or family pictures. No more complicated migrations when I get a new computer. All my data is available to me all the time. Love this app!

Eventbrite – Until someone develops a free alternative (I’m pulling for you Joshua), Eventbrite is the best solution I’ve found to process registrations for events. If your event is free, so is the service. If you charge a fee, they’ll grab a small percentage. It’s worth it, though, for the integration with PayPal and all the additional functions if offers to communicate with registrants.

Salesforce.com – I played with Highrise and a couple of other free solutions, but Salesforce.com won me over when it comes to a web solution for managing ministry relationships. I’m juggling dozens of conversations each week, and there’s absolutely no way I could keep it all straight if my assistant and I weren’t tracking it all through Salesforce.com. It’s a powerful tool.

Things – This is the newest tool in my arsenal. Until Google improves the task manager in Gmail and in the Google Calendar, Things will probably be my task manager of choice. You’ll only find it for the Mac, and it fully integrates with iCal and Mail. I really like the quick entry feature that can be used in whatever application I have open.

WordPress – Ah…this is a trick. The blogging app is free, but it’s really not. I’ve paid for design, development and hosting to use WordPress. At the end of the day, though, I think I’ve ended up with a better product than when I was using TypePad. Much more flexibility with WordPress, and it’s a lot easier to manage content.

WorldMate – This may be my favorite app for my BlackBerry. Now that I’m traveling more, I rely on it to sync my itineraries with my online calendar and my phone. WorldMate pushes flight status updates directly to my phone. The coolest feature, though, is the ability to just forward email confirmations from airlines, hotels and car rental companies, and then the app automatically translates the confirmations into new itineraries. Can’t imagine traveling without it.

Wufoo – I’ve tried several other options to create online forms including Google’s free form editor, but Wufoo is still the easiest solution around. Any web novice can customize their own forms to add to their website. I’m using several Wufoo forms to make connections with folks on my site. And, it’s the tool I use to collect the answers to the comprehensive survey I offer prior to consulting visits with churches.

If you have a free app you think I should be considering instead of one of these, I’m all ears. And, if you have another app you think I should consider buying, I’d love to hear about it.

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Tony Morgan

Tony is the Chief Strategic Officer and founder of The Unstuck Group, theunstuckgroup.com. For 14 years, Tony served on the senior leadership teams at West Ridge Church (Dallas, GA), NewSpring Church (Anderson, SC) and Granger Community Church (Granger, IN). He's written several books and articles that have been featured with the Willow Creek Association, Catalyst and Pastors.com.
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