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Tools and Resources

These are my favourite tools, software and other resources that I use all the time

A lot of the links below are affiliate links. If you click on one of these links and make a purchase I receive a small commission that costs you nothing. I’ve used these products myself and am recommending them because they’re useful, not because of the commission. Please do not feel any pressure to purchase any of these products unless you feel they will be helpful.

Bluehost Web Hosting

Bluehost: Fast, Professional Web Hosting Services

Bluehost is my number 1 most recommended resource. If you’re going to be running a blog or doing any sort of online business you’re going to need web hosting.  At $3.95 a month it’s incredibly affordable, very easy to set up, includes a free domain and their support is fantastic.

The first website I ever built was hosted with Bluehost and I still use them to host most of my websites today. I highly recommend you use Bluehost when you create your first website.

Easy Mode Blogging

Easy Mode Blogging

Easy Mode Blogging is a service I started where we’ll set up a brand new blog for you so you can start blogging even if you have no technical background.

We’ll set up your web hosting, install WordPress, install the Genesis Framework with your choice of theme (a $100 value), install 5 essential plugins and send you a collection of blogging guides and resources. Most importantly we’ll do all this absolutely free as long as you sign up for Bluehost’s web hosting through our referral link!

Templates and Graphic Design Resources

From WordPress themes to stock photos to print designs and much more, there are templates created by amazingly talented designers for pretty much anything you need.  Buy buying a template for your project and customizing the content you can get an amazing professional design at a tiny fraction of the cost.

Genesis Framework

Genesis Framework

If you’re building your first ever website or blog and you’re not quite sure what you’re doing then I highly recommend the Genesis Framework.  Genesis is a fantastic foundation for your WordPress site.  It’s super secure, easy to use, mobile friendly and search engine optimized.

You can further customize the design of your site through the use of child themes and there are child themes for all kinds of businesses.  Some of my favourites are Parallax Pro, Altitude Pro and Ambiance Pro.

Themeforest

ThemeForest: Website Templates and WordPress Themes

ThemeForest is one of my all time favourite website and has the absolute best collection of WordPress themes I’ve ever seen.  This site is using a theme I purchased from ThemeForest for $49.

If you’re a little bit more experienced with web design and you want an incredible looking design for your website then you need to check out ThemeForest. If this is your first time making a site though I recommend you use the Genesis framework instead though as themes from Themeforest are a little bit more complicated to use.

GraphicRiver: Design Templates

GraphicRiver is an amazing resource for any kind of design template you could imagine.  You’ll find templates you can customize for brochures, posters, product mock-ups, presentations, resumes, ebooks and much more.  The templates are incredibly affordable, usually only a few bucks and made by professional graphic designers. My personal resume is made with a template from Graphicriver.

Please note that some of these templates will require software like Adobe InDesign, Adobe Illustrator or Adobe Photoshop.  If you’re unfamiliar with these programs you might have a difficult time customizing the templates.

PhotoDune: Royalty Free Stock Photos and Stock Images

PhotoDune is my favourite paid stock photo site.  If you need images to use commercially you can’t just pull images off of a Google image search.  Most stock photo sites charge ridiculous amounts for their photos or have some kind of stupid subscription or credit system.  PhotoDune has a great selection of images and you can download an image for just a few bucks.  It’s definitely the most affordable stock photo site I’ve found and the selection is great.

Kaboompics

Kaboompics – Free High Quality Photos

Kaboompics is a site I found recently and it’s amazing!  It’s run by one person who uploads the awesome photos she takes free for people to use on their website or in their business.  All the photos are super high resolution and there’s a lot of them.  A lot of the images that you see on this site came from Kaboompics.

Unsplash

Unsplash – Free High Resolution Stock Photos

Unsplash is my new favourite stock photo site. It has a huge amount of stock photos and pretty much every single one of them is fantastic. They add 10 new photos every 10 days and all of them are free to use any way you want, even commercially.

Social Media

If you’re managing social media accounts across several different social networks these tools can help you take care of everything a lot more efficiently.

Hootsuite

Hootsuite: Social Media Management

If your business or website has any sort of social media strategy then you pretty much have no excuse to not use Hootsuite.  For $10 a month Hootsuite lets you schedule posts to multiple social media sites, easily engage with followers, set up feeds to monitor keywords and topics, track your social media analytics and a lot more all from one dashboard.  They also have a free 30-day trial.

Training and Tutorials

Pretty much whatever you want to learn you can find tutorials, training videos and courses for it it on the Internet.

Lynda.com

Lynda.com: Online Video Tutorials and Training

Lynda.com is my favourite site for learning technical skills and software.  I used the site to teach myself Adobe Illustrator and Adobe InDesign.  It has a huge library of video courses on a wide variety of topics from photography to 3D modelling .  You can download the project files and then work along with the videos as well.  It’s also incredibly affordable with plans starting at $24.99 a month.

Software

These are the programs that I use every day and I highly recommend you check them out.

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe Creative Cloud is a subscription service where you pay $49 a month and get full access to the entire library of Adobe creative apps including Photoshop, Premiere Pro, InDesign, Illustrator and a lot more.  I use Photoshop every day and use other programs like Illustrator, InDesign and Dreamweaver very often as well.  With Creative Cloud I always have the most up to date version of the software and even though it’s a subscription service I’m not dropping thousands of dollars on a version of the software that’s going to be out of date in a year.

Evernote

Evernote

Evernote is a note taking app which is incredibly useful.  Any sort of notes or important information you want to keep you can store in the app and easily find it later.  Evernote has desktop and mobile apps and your notes sync across all your devices.  It’s free and it’s a fantastic way to keep all your notes, ideas, documents and to do lists organized.

A Few More Awesome Things

These are a few other awesome free tools I use to help out with my work.

If This, Then That

If This Then That

IFTTT is a pretty fantastic little service that connects almost 300 different sites and apps so that if you do a thing in one app it’ll automatically do something else in a different app.  This improves your productivity and can save you a ton of time.

For example for one of my websites I post a bunch of pictures I see on Flickr to the site’s social networks.  With IFTTT when I favourite a photo on Flickr that photo, along with a description and photo credits automatically gets posted to the site’s Facebook page, Twitter page, Pinterest page, Tumblr page and a subreddit I created.

Compress JPEG and PNG

Compress JPEG and PNG

Images definitely make your website look more interesting but large images can definitely impact your site’s load speed which hurts user experience and your site’s SEO rankings.

Compress JPEG and PNG is a fantastic tool where you can upload your images and have them compressed usually saving 70% to 80% of the file size.  99% of the time you can’t tell the difference between the original and the compressed image.  All of the images on this site were compressed with Compress JPEG and PNG before being posted on the site.

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