This page covers tools, services, and other things I use and regularly recommend.
// It’s a good idea to have your domain names and web hosting at separate companies. If you don’t like one of them, it’s easier to switch to a different company when the services are managed separately.
Hover — I have purchased and dealt with domain names at most of the major registrars over the past several years (GoDaddy, Namecheap, etc). I like Hover the best. They have all of my domains now. They only do domains, and that’s why they do them well.
// Where to put your website files.
Bluehost (for newbies) — If you’re new to this, start with Bluehost. They’re huge, so if your website goes down, so will half of the internet. Support is available 24/7 via phone, chat, and email — something that smaller hosting companies can’t afford to do. Yay economies of scale!
MDDHosting — Michael Denny (CEO) personally responds to my support requests when I work over holidays. They host this website, and I use their reseller hosting too.
// For your own website, or for client websites if you freelance or run an agency. Skip Wix and Squarespace. Go straight to WordPress.
StudioPress — This website uses the Genesis sample theme from StudioPress. The Genesis Framework comes with an additional learning curve to WordPress, but their documentation is thorough and the themes look great with minimal customization, so I can throw together a polished website in a single weekend.
StudioPress got acquired by WP Engine and integrated their services. I haven’t used them, but only hear good things from those who do.
// Send emails in bulk.
AWeber — I like Mailchimp, but Mailchimp doesn’t like affiliates. I’ve never had a problem with AWeber. Their service is simple and straightforward.
// Create display ads, graphics for blog posts, etc.
Canva — Fast, professional image editing for social and other large display ads.
Piktochart — Better than Canva for making infographics.
Paint.NET — Watered-down Photoshop or Microsoft Paint on steroids? Either way, it’s awesome. When Paint.NET dies I’ll learn GIMP. Until then, this is my default image editor.
// Because Google Analytics is one-sided and ugly.
Raven Tools — Raven makes sweet reports. They’re highly customizable and integrate with all of the major players. Their SEO tools are a nice bonus. It’s ridiculous value for the money.
I am not a digital nomad, but I do work when I travel. You’d think ergonomics for mobile work would be a hot topic, but I rarely hear about it. This is my setup.
Kensington Expert Wireless Trackball Mouse + Case — The exact opposite of what you would expect for a travel mouse. It’s huge! But it’s a trackball and works with either hand. If your wrists hurt, you’ll make it a priority.
Tablio Mini Desk — Portable lap desk to place your mouse and keyboard at waist-level. I was going to have one custom-made until I found this. Highly underrated.
Roost Laptop Stand — Raises your computer screen to eye-level. Overhyped? Yup. Overpriced? Probably. Any decent alternatives? Not really. So suck it up, buy it, and save your neck.
GORUCK GR2 Backpack — Everything fits in the backpack. I’ve heard other travelers say GORUCK’s bags are overkill. Good. If you don’t like that, buy a Tortuga or Tom Bihn.
// Books that made me a better marketer, or a better human.
Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini — A classic that marketing and advertising textbooks reference but few people ever read. This is Marketing 101.
On Writing Well: The Classic Guide to Writing Nonfiction by William Zinsser — Half of copywriting is writing, and the first half of this book is gold. Forget everything you were taught about writing in school and read this.
The Boron Letters by Gary Halbert — Letters from prison by a father to his son about life and copywriting. Bury what you learned in On Writing Well. Write to sell. It’s slow to start and politically incorrect. Still, worth it.
Breakthrough Advertising by Eugene Schwartz — The hype surrounding this book is legitimate. It is dense. If you try to take notes, you’ll end up rewriting the whole book.
Rework by Jason Fried & David Heinemeier Hansson — I’m a fan of the Basecamp guys. The concepts in Rework aren’t as novel anymore, but they’re still important.
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas (Robin Buss translation) — Stick it to your haters (my desert island book).
The Unbearable Lightness of Being by Milan Kundera — Our lives can be unbearably light or unbearably heavy depending on the choices we make. Either way, we have to live with them.