We all need some tools and services to organize and manage things in our lives. I get questions about some of the resources I use and so, I decided that I should probably share this list with you.
A list like this is never static and I know I will update this list many times as I live my life and experience more changes.
But, I am eager to document here some of the important tools, products and services I use in my personal and professional life. This list is not just for your reference, but my own reference document for future as well.
I intend to share the entries in the list in the order of their importance within their category from my perspective. The idea is to give you an idea of importance although it’s not a rule to follow.
If there’s a tool I should add to my toolbox or one you think is better than the one I am using, please let me know through your comments.
You may have your own blog and if you do, I know you are already using some of these. But, here are the tools and services I use as my journey continues with my blog:
GoDaddy – When you start any website, the first thing you need to buy is, your domain name. I have used GoDaddy over the years for purchasing all my domains and managing them. They offer some great discounts on all their products and services and I make sure I use them when I am planning to buy/renew domains.
Before buying anything at GoDaddy, you may want to search for their discount coupons. I know you will thank me if you did this step.
Shared WordPress Hosting
In the order of my preference, here are a few top shared hosting companies I recommend. By the way, I am affiliated with them. That means, I will get paid by these companies if you do your purchases using these links.
- BlueHost – They are officially the #1 WordPress Recommended shared hosting service provider. You should consider BlueHost if you are new to WordPress hosting. I have clients who have been happy there for years.
If you are budget conscious and also looking for a world class and reliable service, BlueHost is definitely your goto shared WordPress hosting company. They also have a very prompt customer support.
- InMotion Hosting – I have used InMotion Hosting in the past and I was very satisfied with their service and server performance for as long as I was hosting there. The only reason I moved out from there was because I decided to have my own server since they started to complain about my website’s need for more resources.
- HostGator – They are another popular choice when it comes to shared hosting providers. Although I have personally never hosted any of my websites, some of my clients use them and they seem to be very satisfied there.
- iPage – The only reason I recommend them is, they are the cheapest service providers in shared hosting space. They offer shared hosting sometimes in $1.99 a month very frequently. A great place to try hosting some test sites or smaller blogs. I recommend them to people who are not sure if self-hosting is for them.
Managed WordPress Hosting
- Krishna World Wide Hosting – As the name suggests, this is my company and we offer managed WordPress hosting and support to our clients. This is where all my websites including this blog is hosted. You can learn more about our hosting and why you should consider a managed hosting service for your WordPress hosting by clicking here.
Although I use Standard Theme on this blog and I absolutely loved this theme when I purchased, they sold their business and closed the shop. So, no more I can recommend them. However, for most part, these are the places I go to and recommend others when someone needs a theme. I think you will find what you are looking for at one of these places:
- Themeforest – This is a theme market place. Just like eBay, it is full of all sorts of themes from different companies and individuals. You can pretty much find a WordPress theme for everything here, I mean great themes.
However, support is offered by individual sellers of the themes and usually, they do give a great good support. I have purchased many themes from here.
- StudioPress – Based on Genesis Theme framework, themes from StudioPress are a bit more expensive when compared with most others. But, their themes are very lightweight and therefore your website will load faster. Plus, they are continuously making improvement as technology changes. So, your theme will live longer than others who sell you a theme, close the shop and run away.
- Elegant Themes – They have some great looking themes as well. In fact, I have purchased a few themes from there as well and used on my websites.
WordPress is a great content management system because of its plugins and the flexibility which comes with it. Well, instead of listing all the plugins I use and recommend, I have a post which keep up-to-date anyway. So, I rather encourage you to check out my post and get to know the list of plugins I recommend to you:
Miscellaneous Blogging Tools
- GetResponse – It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that you need a good, solid, scalable and easy to use email marketing tool with an Autoresponder to empower your blog to collect email address from people who like your content. I use GetResponse as my email marketing software and highly recommend it although I used to use Aweber earlier. Aweber is a good company although I had to move away from them when I realized they also charge for unsubscribers.
- ManageWP – I have many websites to manage and I find it very easy to clean them all, back them up all and keep them all updated from one single place. ManageWP does a great job of letting me manage all my websites (including backup) from one place without the trouble of logging into each website individually and checking. It is a premium service but it is worth it.
- Better WP Security – This is one of the best security plugins for WordPress available for free. I have used this plugin on many client websites to tighten their WordPress security and lock down some of the vulnerabilities. A great plugin to have if you haven’t implemented important security measures so far.
- Sucuri – This is an internet security company dedicated to provide security monitoring and malware cleaning services to webmasters. The team at Sucuri are experts in cleaning up hacked sites. Usually, for a yearly fee you will get malware monitoring and malware removal services with them.
For our clients, we provide a free server side scanning and monitoring services by Sucuri. That is another good reason why our Krishna World Wide Hosting service stands out!
- MaxCDN – You need a CDN (content delivery network) service when you need to provide a uniform browsing experience to your visitors around the world. I use MaxCDN on this website and I have been extremely satisfied with my site’s performance since then. You can lean about my experience with MaxCDN by visiting this post I write a few months ago.
- Feedburner – I use Feedburner to manage my RSS feed. It is a free service owned by Google. It is easy to set up and it just gives another tool in your toolbox to market your blog to some RSS feed directories while pleasing some people who only like RSS feeds.
- Google Analytics – As a lot of people say it, this is the gold standard when it comes to analytics on your websites. Interestingly, the more you use it, the more you love it. If you want to track your unique visitors, page views, bounce rate, and many other metrics, you definitely need to sign up for a free account with Google Analytics and start using it.
- DepositPhotos: If you want your blog posts to get noticed and ranked higher in search engines, you need to use photos in your pages. Remember, a picture speaks more than a thousand words?
Pictures pull people into the content and therefore, you should use them as much as possible. While I also use Flickr.com like websites for free images, it takes a lot of time to find a good one in free repositories. So, I go straight to DepositPhotos where I know I will get a picture which fits my criteria and I will find it quickly.
- ShareASale.com – This is an affiliate network that basically allows you to find products that you can promote and make affiliate income. Also, if you have your own products you can use it to setup your own affiliate program. I find them very intuitive and easy to use.
- Popup Domination – This is another very popular popup plugins used by many top bloggers around the world. It comes as a plugin and presents you with a very nicely design set of popup forms you can show to your visitors at different times and prompt them take action. I use this plugin on this website as I find it appropriate.
- DropBox – This is the application I use (and probably you use already too). This a great way to store your files on cloud, share them with family, friends and business associates. As a blogger you can use it to store your website backups so you can get to them anytime you need from anywhere.
If you haven’t signed up for DropBox yet, Sign up now for free in 2 minutes and start synching important files from your local drive to the cloud right away.
- Evernote – This is my digital diary. I store everything here: notes, blog post drafts, meeting notes, recordings, receipts, shopping list – pretty much anything which could be stored digitally to access from my iPhone.
- Genius Scan – This is how I convert all paper to my digital world. This is a phenomenal App on my iPhone which I simply use to scan any document and inserts it into Evernote as PDF or JPG or, send it to myself as an email.
- Google Calendar: This is a no brainer. Especially since iPhone days, we all use calendars more of less on a daily basis. Google Calendar provides all the functionality I need in terms of making it accessible by people who matter to me. Not just that, I use Google Calendar for maintaining my blogging schedule as well.
- Wunderlist – This is my task management system for most part. I have tried many task management systems from simple ones to some of the most complex ones. But Wunderlist is where my search stopped. This gives the functionality I need and for more, refer to my post on Wunderlist I shared sometime ago.
- Trello – This is another task management system I use (in fact I love using) where I know that my tasks are repetitive in nature (such as grocery list- I need to buy some and then also know what I already have and then repeat the process) or cases where the task takes longer to do (so it goes into work-in-progress mode). Trello does a great job of providing that real life experience of maintaining task lists in real way. Try it and you will know what I am talking about.
- Pocket – This is an excellent application where I store websites (something like delicious of old days) which I want to refer to a bit later. That’s exactly this app is supposed to be used for. You can easily add URLs to your pocket and read them later when you have time.
- Buffer: This is such an easy to use Twitter management app that it became popular very fast. Well, I loved it the moment I saw it and since then I have been using it.
The ability to define your own sharing times and then let the tool spread out the tweets you add to the queue is simply elegant.
The only thing is, they only allow you to add 10 tweets in your queue at a time when you are using their free version.
- HootSuite – Of course, like many entrepreneurs online, I love HootSuite too. This is my Twitter dashboard in true sense although I also use it for Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn as well.
It allows me to monitor direct messages and especially mentions making my life easier when it comes to dealing with Twitter.
Note: I wrote a post comparing HootSuite and Buffer a few months ago seeking opinions from others. But the reaction was mixed. People seem to love both just like I expected. Check out the post by clicking here.
- JustRetweet – This is something I use to collaborate with other bloggers and content publishers on social promotion of my blog posts. It works out great because I tweet their posts (you have the ability to evaluate if you want to tweet something or ignore it) and offer my tweets for others to do the same.
When you tweet somebody’s content, you get points and you can use those points to encourage others to tweet your content. You should try this if you haven’t.
Books I Must Read Every Year
This is not a normal list of books I recommend. You already know that I read everyday and once in a while I also write some reviews on books I find very interesting or those who added an amazing value to me.
But, this list is a special list of books that I make a point to dedicate some time to each year of my life. These are like text book to me which I must read every year to make me feel I did spend time refreshing my brain with the nuggets of wisdom that comes through these books:
- Bhagavad Gita
- Think And Grow Rich
- How To Win Friends And Influence People
- The Greatest Salesman In The World
I have not included a link to these books on purpose because I want you to do your own research and see if you would like to get them for yourself in any format. In case you want to find it on amazon, here is a search box you can use to find these on Amazon:
What Tools Do You Use?
What are some the tools that you use and recommend? Is there a tool in blogging/social media/productivity or even books area which you would like to recommend?
Please share your thoughts in your comments. Click here to go to comments section or simply scroll down. Thank you kindly!