Resources

Resources

I created this list for you!  This resource list shares some of my favorite (and most used products). It can be tough to discern if a product is right for you and getting a good recommendation from someone you trust is invaluable.

I will continue to update this list as I learn more and try things out. I recommend you bookmark this page for convenience and easy access. Enjoy!

Disclosure: Some (not all) of the product or service links are affiliate links (with no additional cost to you) meaning I receive a small commission when you purchase them. I only recommend products and services that I use and find helpful (and not for the small amount of commission I receive). These products work for me, but may not work for you. I recommend that you purchase only items that are right for you and will help you.

Blogging Tools

  • WordPress: this is my blogging platform of choice. It is open source and highly customizable. All of my blogs are built on this platform.
  • WPCurve: I am not a WordPress, CSS, HTML, PHP or some other programming language guru, but this service takes the struggle out of maintaining my blog. I use WPCurve to maintain this blog site and fix the little CSS issues I would spend hours trying to fix. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this service for your WordPress support.
  • Grammarly – I love this tool! This tool has single handily helped me become a better writer. There is a free version and a paid version. Grammarly corrects my spelling and grammar (i.e. squinting modifiers, unnecessary ellipses, etc.) and can even check for plagiarism. This tool runs in my web browser as I write and alerts me to corrections. I use the premium or paid version, and it has improved my writing dramatically, and it can help you too!
  • CoSchedule: CoSchedule helps me manage my editorial calendar for my blog. The calendar view allows me to see my upcoming blog posts as well as any schedule social media items from older blog posts. This simple WordPress plugin saves time for me in my content curation process. The app also works great for teams of writers as well.

 Hosting

  • Media Temple: this is my current hosting solution, and I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them. I use them for all my hosting needs. They have excellent customer service and include a 1-click option for installing WordPress. I started with Media Temple, and I am still with them today!
  • BlueHost: I use BlueHost to host Dave's Blook Club. They provide excellent support and easy WordPress installation. If you are looking for a simple, no-nonsense WordPress installation and hosting company, check out BlueHost.

 Email Services

  • ConvertKit – Nathan Barry developed this email tool for professional bloggers because he was fed up with complicated systems. You can create segments, tags, and it connects with multiple platforms. The best part is…you only get charged for your total subscriber count versus being charged for the same subscriber over multiple lists. If you want to grow your platform, then check out ConvertKit.
  • Mailchimp: I use Mailchimp for all my email newsletter distributions, book club announcements and sending my blog feed to subscribers. It has a simple to use interface, and I created my 40 for 40 campaign on this platform. The best part is…it is free for the first 2,0000 subscribers.
  • LeadPages™this is the industry leader in lead generation landing pages and optin forms. It integrates seamlessly with WordPress and non-Wordpress sites. I use it to for converting visitors of Dave's Book Club into subscribers. Click here to see it in action.

 Social Media Tools

  • MeetEdgar: this is my go-to social media scheduler. I load up quotes, bible verses, past blog posts, helpful tips and more right into Edgar's library. I then set up a social share schedule, and Edgar makes sure my posts go out on-time. This service is currently an invite-only service, but you can request an invite. I love this service, and I add new content to it daily.
  • Later: this tool helps me push out pre-designed Instagram updates at specific times. It can be hard to create Instagram updates with beautiful quotes or sayings every time you want to…so I create them using Canva and then upload them to Later. Later's iPhone app sends me a notification when it is time to post, and then with a few simple clicks I have posted to Instagram. This is an excellent tool for someone who does not have a social media team but wants to post to Instagram.

 Photos / Illustrations / Images

Not all images and photographs on the internet are created equal, check usage rights with the photographer before posting any images that are not your own.

  • Unsplash: when I don't use my photographs, this is my go-to resource for high-quality photographs over a variety of subjects. And, they are FREE. That's right, they are free. You can use the photographs for any purpose. I typically include an attribution and link to the photographer so others can find their work.
  • Lightstock: this is a great faith-based stock photography house, and the images are royalty-free. The images are high quality, and I highly recommend them. As part of giving back, Lightstock supports the following charities.

 Design / Photography

  • Design Suburbia – Design Suburbia is currently designing my new company logo and other media. Gina's designs are created to fit the organization and bring their personality to light. She has worked with large companies and small companies and treats each client like they are her neighbors. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND Design Suburbia for any design work you have to complete.
  • Anacleto Rapping Photographs: Anacleto took my new headshots and some supplementary photography for this blog.  He has traveled the world, worked for the L.A. Times and taught at Brooks Institute.  Everything I know about photography I learned from him!
  • Canva: Canva is a quick and simple design creation web app that will help you create Instagram postcards, Facebook covers, Twitter headers and so much more – all for FREE. I use this tool to create most of my Instagram cards as well as my featured images for my blog. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND this web app.
  • 99Designs.com: this is a great place to get all things designed on a budget. I have used them to run two design contests including my current site logo. I HIGHLY RECOMMEND them, and it is a great place to crowdsource your next logo.

 Mac Tools

  • 1Password: this is the one program that is present on all my devices (Mac / Windows / iOS devices). I never leave home without this program. It stores all my passwords and even helps me create complex ones. If there is one product you need for all your devices, this is it! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND 1Password – be safe in this digital world!
  • Desk: this is my go-to writing and publishing platform. I use this tool to write all of my blog posts, and you can quickly and easily send all your posts to some platforms including WordPress, Blogger, Facebook, SquareSpace and more.
  • Grammarly – the single best tool for helping me improve my grammar and my writing. The tool is web-based and sits in the background analyzing all of my writing. I can also upload a document to its desktop app, and it works its magic on my grammar. This is the single best tool I have used to improve my writing, and it can help you too.
  • Code Editors: My go-to code editors are Sublime Text and Coda. I use Sublime Text for quick HTML fixes for blog posts and Coda for adjustments to my website. Both handle a variety of programming languages.
  • TextExpander: this program helps me get more margin in my life!  When I find I am writing the same thing over and over, I create a TextExpander snippet to save me time. I type a few characters, and the snippet expands with just the right text. David Sparks and Brett Terpstra have made their snippets available to the world.

 Windows Tools

  • 1Password: this is the one program that is present on all my devices (Mac / Windows / iOS devices). I never leave home without this program. It stores all my passwords and even helps me create complex ones. If there is one product you need for all your devices, this is it! I HIGHLY RECOMMEND 1Password – be safe in this digital world!
  • Autodesk Building Design Suite: I use this suite of products in my day job, and it helps me deliver stunning project documents and meet the requests of my customers on a daily basis.
  • Configura CET Designer: I use this product and CANVAS, a Haworth extension, to deliver real-world concepts and renderings of commercial grade furniture for the workplace. This tool helps me bring furniture concepts to life right before my customer’s eyes. Note: this product would best serve facilities planners, architects, furniture designers and interior designers.
  • RescueTime: this product helps me see where I am spending my time. I use this product on both my Windows (non-day job) and Mac machines. I can track web traffic, email, programs, etc. If you need to track your time for clients, this is a great product to support you.
  • SnagIt: I use this product on both my Windows (day job included) and Mac machines for capturing ideas, concepts, designs, bugs and anything else that I want to use or save. This product has an easy learning curve.

 Books

  • Join My Book Club!: Each month, I share a book that has changed my life or that I have found interesting. I cover mostly non-fiction books, but occasionally, I will review a fiction book. I read books covering business, writing, publishing, history, biography/ autobiography and personal development.
  • Audible.com: These days I tend to listen to more books than I read. Audible makes it easy to purchase, download and listen to your books. Their accompanying app even tracks your listening behavior, and you earn badges for your progress.  Try Audible Now and Get A FREE Audiobook!

Business Tools

  • FreshbooksMy simple and easy to use accounting software for keeping track of all my business income and expenses. This web-based software works great for invoicing clients, tracking your expenses and collecting payments via credit card. You can easily share this information with your CPA at tax time. If you want to ditch your spreadsheets for a simple accounting platform, check out Freshbooks today!

Exercise / Running Tools

  • Garmin 920XT WatchMy secret weapon for half-marathon training is this watch. The data coming from the watch and heart-rate monitor allow me to figure out when I am over-training or not hitting the mark. The watch measures  heart rate, cadence, stride length, length of time on the ground and more. If you are looking to amp up your training for running, biking or swimming – this is the watch for you!

Charities I Support

  • Agoura Bible Fellowship: this is my local church, and I am committed to supporting the mission and purpose of my church to spread the Gospel of Christ.
  • Encouragement International: I have traveled the world with this organization as a visual storyteller, and they support church planting, training and discipleship of pastors and leaders in the Slavic region.
  • Lifechurch.tv: I support the digital missions area of this church that brings YouVersion to millions of people all across the globe.
  • Pencils of Promise: Pencils of Promise funds the building and education in underdeveloped regions of the world. They are a For-Purpose organization and 100% of online donations go to these programs!
  • World Teacher Aid: This organization brings education to rural parts of Africa. They build schools and provide teachers for hundreds of thousands of children who would not have access to education. This charity was started by Amy & Stu McLaren.