I thought that it would be useful to have a page that you could always use as a resource for the products and services that I use. This page will serve as a living document that I will add to and remove from as my needs and the products themselves change. I hope that you can glean some helpful tools from these resources.
Disclosure: I use affiliate links when available. However it does not in anyway impact what I use or recommend. I have personal experience with everything listed below and recommend them because I believe that they would be helpful to others and not because of any commissions associated with them.
- Backblaze: I believe that remote backups are important. I have tried several other provides such as Mozy and Carbonite, but Backblaze has worked out the best for me. It doesn’t bog down my system and is incredibly reliable.
- Evernote: Anything that I might want to refer to later I keep in Evernote. I syncs everywhere and there free version is very generous in it’s functionality. See Michael Hyatt’s posts for thorough tutorials for using Evernote.
- Harvest App: I have dabbled with Harvest for a few years. They have a decent free version for a freelance with only a couple clients. Eventually I upgrade to a paid plan so I could track more projects. It is priced better and I have the software to be more versatile than FreshBooks, which I was previously using and would still recommend taking a look at.
- Downcast: Podcasts are my new classroom, but iTunes was not handling them very well. Downcast makes it very easy to rank your podcasts, set download rules, and has enhanced playback features. Definitely worth the cost.
- Freshdesk: This helpdesk / support service is great. I wrote this post on why I love Freshdesk. It’s a great offering at a great pricepoint, and it makes it so easy to keep track of communication with clients.
- 1Password: There are too many sites being broken into to use only a handful of passwords. Take the advice of security experts and use a password manager so you can easily give every account a unique password. 1Password is available across most platforms: Mac, iOS, and Windows
- DropBox: Not the cheapest option for file synchronization, but it is pretty universal, reliable, and secure. Many apps will integrate with DropBox for file sharing and app data synchronization. Definitely not a service I could live without. The free version will handle basic usage.
- Asana: There are a ton of project managers out there, but I have found Asana to be the best balance of features. It has workspace, projects, and you can group tasks (which I do according to status, i.e. todo, doing, holding, etc.). It integrates other services including Harvest. Only thing it is lacking is better mobile apps.
- Bitly: Bitly lets you shorten URL’s on social networks like Twitter. What I find most useful about it is that it provides statistics on how many times links have been used and when they were used. Also functions as a decent bookmark library.
- Chime Squirrel: Yes, this is my app, but I literally use it everyday, so I have to mention it. I use it for productivity at the office during the day and for exercising at night. I also using it for timing my french press coffee on weekends 🙂
- Webfaction: I have a thorough review of WebFaction. A lot people recommend BlueHost, which is a good service, but I think WebFaction is an easier service to use and have a better product.
- Shopify: I have recently helped a couple people setup an online store for their small businesses. I have been very pleased with the value that you get for the price with Shopify. It’s very customizable, and yet users find it very easy to use the day-to-day functionality.
- Sublime Text: This is a great editor for coding. It is highly customizable and has a good free option. I think the paid option is a little overpriced, but not prohibitively.
- SourceTree: I love Git and I use it a lot on the command line. However, SourceTree makes is much easier to view diffs and history. I find myself using this daily.
- Vim: I have started a new adventure into Vim, and I quite enjoy it. It’s pretty much standard on most Unix machines, including Mac. It has a learning curve, but it is well worth the effort to learn it even if you don’t plan on using it full time.
- Xcode: I think Xcode is a pretty good IDE. I wouldn’t use it for non-Apple development, but it’s pretty sweet for iOS programming.
- WordPress.org: There is no better way to have a blog than with a custom WordPress installation. This blog is running on it as are a majority of blogs on the internet. It can be as complicated or as simple as you need it to be. I recommend staying simple if your are starting out.
- Headway Themes: This blog is currently designed using Headway Themes. It is what-you-see-is-what-you-get design software in the form of a WordPress plugin. I have had it for quite a while. I don’t think it necessarily does as good as a developer could do, but it is pretty close. More importantly it makes it quick and easy to see results.
- Draft: Draft lets you write collaboratively with other people using a markdown editor. I write my posts using it, and Nathan Kontny has done a superb job with and continues to grow it. It consistently gets new features every few weeks.
- ScreenFlow: Screen capture software. Great tool for doing demos and tutorials.
- MailChimp: Every blog needs a mailing list. If you don’t have one you need to start one. MailChimp is my choice because they have a good free plan and plenty of room for growing into a paid plan.
- Google Adsense: I don’t server too many ads, but I use Adsense over at 52Chevy.com. Adsense is a good place to get started with ads, but if your blog is bigger you can find better services.
- Google Analytics: Everything needs to be tracked. You need to see how your blog is doing, where your readers are, and what content people find useful. Analytics will tell you all that and more.
- Adobe Lightroom & Photoshop: I have been using Lightroom since pre-1.0 and love it. At $9.99/month I felt it was a price point that was fair, and so I currently am doing this. If they raise the price after a year I’ll probably jump to something else though.
- Unsplash: I recently discovered this site. Every ten days they put out a new batch of photos that are completely free to use for whatever you want. The pictures are high quality and worth downloading if only to put on your computer for your screensaver.
- Blue Bottle Coffee: I got hook on this back when they were Tonx Coffee. Then Tonx got bought by Blue Bottle Coffee and I have remained a fan. They now have 4-week subscriptions which is perfect for how much I drink at home (pretty much only weekends).