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Resources

Here are some of my favorite blog, photography, and tech resources. I’ve been blogging since 2006. I’ve tried many plugins, templates, platforms, cameras, and other blogging resources. I currently use or have used everything listed below. If I have used something, stopped, and no longer recommend it, I’ll do my best to blog about it like this. This page will be updated frequently, so please check back often.

Please note: Some links below are affiliate links. If you use one of these links, I’ll make a small commission to help pay the blogging bills and all that fun stuff. If you prefer to not use the affiliate links, I haven’t hidden any info, so you should be able to copy/paste and search for the resource you want. Thank you for your support!

Blogging Resources

Over the years, I’ve run my blogs on BlogSpot, TypePad, and WordPress. Hands down, WordPress is my favorite. Once I migrated to WordPress, I never looked back. All my sites are now on WordPress. The below blogging resources are WordPress-oriented.

Hosting

 Web Hosting

  • Good – BlueHost: Nice starting option for beginner bloggers or those looking to keep expenses as low as possible. You even get a free domain with your account. I’ve used this since 2009. In 2016, I migrated my two main sites to the next two options.
  • Better – SiteGround: *My top choice for new bloggers* I believe this is a stronger host option while being only a little more expensive. You also get a free domain with your account. I’ve used this since 2016.
  • Better (and Best for some) – Synthesis: Best for those using WordPress with the Genesis framework – it’s tailored for this set-up. I’ve used this since 2016.

Domains

Some of you may want to purchase your domain separate from your hosting. While you can sometimes save money doing this, in a recent cost analysis, it appears you may only save $1 or 2. Though it truly depends on which extension you’re getting (.com, .co, etc.) and what the current specials are. Not to mention some hosting companies offer free domains with hosting. For simplicity’s sake, I typically prefer to keep my domains and hosting together.

  • NameCheap – If I’m going to purchase a domain on its own, a good friend recommended NameCheap to me. I’ve purchased a couple domains with them and have enjoyed their services. I’ve used this since 2017.

Templates/Frameworks/Themes

StudioPress Premium WordPress Themes

Photography

Cameras

I currently use two cameras:

  • Canon PowerShot G7 X Mark II – this is the latest version of the one I have, they didn’t have Mark II when I bought mine
  • Nikon D7000 DSLR camera, but I also really like the Canon Rebels (Xsi and higher)

Lenses

If you’re using the Canon G7X, you won’t need additional lenses.

For DSLRs, and for food bloggers especially, I think the 50mm f1.8 lenses (Canon and Nikon have good options) are great and really affordable, and you can get some great shots with them! I actually wouldn’t waste my money on the 50mm f1.4 (learned this the hard way). Bigger (aperture) isn’t always better.

Photo Editing

I use Adobe Lightroom to edit my photos. I edit every single photo before they get published on the blog. Most of the edits I make are pretty minor. Lightroom makes this easy and fast.

Making Videos

Video Editing Software

I currently use either iMovie or Final Cut Pro to edit my videos.

Graphics

Graphics (Desktop/Laptop)

  • PicMonkey: Great for making collages or adding text to your photos. Not my favorite for editing photos (see Photography section for my choice). Has a free option. I recommend starting there. If you want more, you can try the Royale for about one month for free. The paid option has nice additional features, and I personally use it and love it. For less than the cost of a cup of coffee per month, you can make sweet graphics. Click here to sign up. I’ve been Royale since 2015.
  • Photoshop: Designed for the professional. This is  (to me) the Mac Daddy of photo editing software. I first used this when I was the web designer/developer as a college intern and have depended on it over the years to create quality graphics. I especially love their Save for Web feature that lets me help make my file sizes smaller (for a faster site). I’ve used this since 2003.

Graphics (iPhone)

I primarily use these for making photos for Instagram. But, I’ve made graphics for my blog on these too.

  • Afterlight: I use this one the most. Not just filters. Has great tools to edit your photos (make them brighter, rotate a little or a lot, change tones, etc.). Does have filters too if you like them.
  • Picfx: Crop photos to squares and my favorite features – add bokeh (the little circles that look like sparkles on photos).
  • WordSwag: Add cool text to your photos. Great for making quotables and text-focused graphics.
  • Pic Stitch: Don’t love the annoying ads, but this is useful for making collages. Has lots of templates.

Learn to Code

As a computer scientist, even though I don’t do full-time development today, I do like playing with code. Since I don’t work as a developer, I like to play around with the online learning tools readily available to stay fresh on the latest best practices. Having been out of coding for awhile, I have a lot of catching up to do, but I’m having fun working my way through the many different course. My favorites are:

  • Team Treehouse: Costs money, but I like how they feature informational videos followed by simple quizzes.
  • Codecademy: Free, and lots of great courses. I haven’t seen videos here yet. It’s more of an interactive kind of site. I love earning the badges.
  • Code School: Lots of great course options. This one has some free and some paid tracks. They’ve done some cool features before like Summer Camp with special pricing and offers (found out about this one in their email newsletter).

Thanks for stopping by!