Resources

Welcome to the resource page where I have put together a list of my favourite books, tools, websites, and applications I strongly recommend for personal use and developing, building and optimising your weblog. I have read and tested every recommendation on this page, of which many I’m still using.

This list is constantly being updated, so check in every now and then to find my latest recommendations. Before going straight to the list of resources, please read my disclosure.

 

1. SiteGround

SiteGround logo

I am not the most technical person to set up a WordPress weblog. I have spent a lot of time to find the easiest and convenient WordPress hosting, and I decided to go with SiteGround which I am so pleased about.

It is such a solid hosting company with innovative server features and solid hosting performance. They provide unique in-house WordPress speed and security solutions to make your site as fast and secure as possible. I think it is suitable for both new and experienced users who want a premium hosting solution. Their price is a little steep at renewal, but believe me, you'll get what you paid for:

  • Getting WordPress up and running with the built-in installer took just a few clicks. There really isn’t anything more to say here, because the installation process really was as seamless as possible. During this setup process, you also get to choose your server location – in the USA, Asia and Europe.
  • SiteGround offers what they call “unmatched” support (via chat, phone, tickets, social media), and it’s hard to argue with that, honestly. They are known for the best 24/7 support in the industry which is why they're an official 'WordPress' recommended hosting provider.
  • Apart from being able to access your account and fix any issues, the support agents are also knowledgeable about WordPress and can help you out with a range of other issues that might not be strictly hosting-related. They have helped me out so many times and saved me from so much headache that I’m not considering any other WordPress hosting companies.

 

2. Jevelin Multi-Purpose Premium Responsive WordPress Theme

Jevelin

I had a hard time picking the right theme for my weblog. I wanted to go for a theme that is easy to install, able to test different designs, and requires NO coding. So, I ended up choosing Jevelin and I absolutely love it.

It’s a multi-purpose WordPress theme with unique features and unlimited options regarding web design. You can create the most complex website with Jevelin or you can go as minimal as you want. What I like the most is when it comes to Jevelin theme, you need zero prior website building knowledge – it is a flexible tool ideal for both beginner and advanced users.

I mentioned that it has unique features, so let me present you with a list:

  • A helpful video tutorial that shows how to install Jevelin theme, demos and content. They have over 20 demos to test from varying from blog, shop and landing to corporate, sport, wedding and photography. One-click install makes your website look just like theme’s demo in seconds.
  • Benefit from more than 50 elements and custom styles along with more than 40 custom shortcodes. Simple to use and efficient Element Editor for customising and editing content.
  • Create mind-blowing slideshows with Slider Revolution which you get with the Jevelin theme. Parallax effects, testimonials carousel, smooth scroll, social icons and full video background support.
  • SEO optimization has already been sorted out, so you can focus on seeing the organic traffic coming in.
  • Contact Form 7 integration allows you to craft contact forms like none out there.
  • Compatible with mobile devices, retina screens and modern browsers. It works flawlessly with any language.

 

3. All in One SEO Pack

All In One SEO Pack Logo

Before I started to use All in One SEO Pack from Semper Plugins, I used Yoast SEO. What made me switch over was the annoying screen showcasing all Yoast SEO’s and readability recommendations, which makes the readability often just plain and fall flat. As a blogger, I never want that to happen.

So, I switched over to All in One SEO due to its simple and clean interface. Here’s what I like about All in One SEO:

  • XML sitemap support
  • Easy Google Analytics integration
  • Support for custom post types
  • Canonical URL support
  • Free WooCommerce integration (most plugins make this a premium feature)
  • Automatic or manual meta information
  • And it doesn’t enable every feature by default. You can go in and turn on or off modules so that you only use resources on the features you care about.

All in One SEO is another SEO plugin that is fine for both beginners and power users. If you go pro, you’ll get advanced support, SEO options for taxonomies, and a video SEO module, which will help you to rank higher on Google.

 

4. MailChimp

MailChimp logoMailChimp is a great tool for email marketing, which means engaging with your audience via the use of email. This involves sending out a regular email newsletter with updates, special offers, information and advice, which is the key to reaching your potential customer base.

Here’s what makes Mailchimp so great:

  • Their “Forever Free” account is perfect for new businesses or those just starting out on their email marketing journey. You get a subscriber list of 2,000 and a monthly send limit of 12,000 emails. If your email list grows beyond this, you can easily upgrade to one of their paid accounts.
  • They’re user-friendly. We love that it’s been designed for non-technical people, so anyone can send out professional looking emails without needing a marketing degree. You just choose a template and then set your layout and text using their simple drag-and-drop design feature.
  • It’s packed with useful features to make email marketing easier, such as email scheduling, list segmentation for the right audience, reports on clicks and performance, and integration with other apps and services.
  • And let’s not forget about their amazing customer service. Rather than offering free accounts with no support options to get people to sign up to their paid services, MailChimp has actually made free premium customer service a key part of their business model.

1. Flipboard

Flipboard banner

There are multiple ways to get you started on creating content by using Flipboard. But let’s zoom in on using Flipboard to find competitors, what they write about, and latest trends. Search for something about your niche, for example, “home decorations” or “coffee.” You’ll be given an extensive list of content ideas to choose from within seconds.

This is one of my content development tools I check regularly for fresh inspiration. And hey, it’s free!

 

2. Quora

Quora banner

Many content creators are already familiar with the reason to use Quora, which is to find out what your audience is asking about and create content about it. This is great and all, but you’ll be limiting yourself if you only use it to find ideas to write about and not actually write about your content.

When you go on Quora and you decide to comment on a topic or question, you’re immersed in this topic and bringing forth new ideas for blog content because you’re forcing yourself to write about a specific topic and share your opinion.

So, don’t only search for questions, but also answer them. Then, look for the content ideas that come from your answer.

 

3. AnswerThePublic

AnswerThePublic is the latest tool I have been using for content creation. It helps you to find questions online and it quickly became is one of my favourite tools.

You simply have to enter a keyword and you can find all the questions your audience are asking about it. How awesome is that!?

When you have no idea what to write about, then this tool will be your best friend, because the best course of action here is to be broad. Within no time, you’ll find a question that interests you and your target group.

 

4. Pocket

Pocket banner

How often are you busy and forget to save that great content you saw online? Pocket won’t help you find topics, but it sure does a great job in helping you save the content that you always forget about. It stores content, so you can come back to it later.

1. Udemy

Whether you want to gain more knowledge on a subject, learn a completely new skill, or help upgrade the skills of your employees, then online courses can truly help you on your way.

Udemy has over 80.000 online courses and still adding an average of 800 new courses every month. This makes Udemy is a bit more expensive than its competitors. Costs are ranging from $10 to $500 for different courses. Fortunately, you can read the reviews of former students before signing up to any of the courses, so you can make a more informed decision.

 

2. Coursera

Coursera partnered up with top universities around the world to offer online courses covering different subjects; everything from data science to musical theory. They also offer “specializations” – 10 different course pathways that will lead to an official certification from an associated university.

As Coursera identify itself on being accessible to everyone, many of the courses are either free or very cheap to take, with only the official certification at the end having a higher cost involved.

 

3. Lynda.com

Lynda.com banner

Lynda.com offers a subscription-based video tutorial collection. A great option for people who are visual learners, and at a reasonable price of $25 per month with unlimited access to over 80,000 videos on a broad range of different subjects.

 

4. Khan Academy

Khan Academy banner

Khan Academy is a non-profit online platform providing a completely free library of educational “micro-lectures.” They focus on more traditional academic subjects, provides a mix of video and text-based materials in math, science, economics, humanities, and computer programming.

Since Khan Academy is free for anyone to use, it’s a great way to try a subject before moving onto a more advanced course elsewhere.

 

5. Skillshare

Skillshare banner

Skillshare is a community marketplace for new skills. Skillshare offers an online catalogue of video-based courses as well as in-person workshops in cities like San Francisco and New York.

Many classes are available to take without a membership at a cost of around $20 - $30 each, but top classes, which are taught by industry leaders, are only available with a Skillshare membership. Membership costs $9.95 per month. While it doesn’t get you any free content, it provides 20 per cent off of all classes instead.

1. Unsplash

Unsplash

My favourite website for free images. What I love most about this resource is the uniqueness of the photos. The pages are filled with breath-taking photos. Every photo published on Unsplash is licensed under Creative Commons Zero, which provides users with the freedom to copy, modify, distribute, and use of all the photos without permissions or attribution.

View their full license details here.

 

2. Pexels

Pexels

My second favourite website Pexels provides high quality and completely free stock photos licensed under the Creative Commons Zero license. All photos are nicely tagged, searchable and easy to find through their discover pages.

View their full license details here.

 

3. StockSnap.io

StockSnap.io

StockSnap.io has a large selection of stunning free high-resolution images. The site has a search feature making it easy to browse through the thousands of images available. In addition, the site tracks views and downloads so you can find the most popular photos available, which are all under creative commons public domain – no attribution required.

View their full license details here.

 

4. Reshot

Reshot

Reshot is an enormous library of handpicked free stock photos. Built for start-ups, freelancers and creators who are sick of messy stock photos. Free to use commercially and editorially – no attribution required.

View their full license details here.

 

5. Foodiesfeed

Foodiesfeed

I think this website speaks for itself. Foodiesfeed offers beautiful realistic free food pictures in high resolution. It’s the perfect stock photo site for food bloggers.

View their full license details here.

 

6. Burst

Burst

Burst was launched to help entrepreneurs make better products, websites, and marketing campaigns. Burst is a resource from Shopify that provides free stock photos for entrepreneurs. Some photos are licensed under Creative Commons Zero while others fall under Shopify’s own photo license.

View their full license details here.

 

7. Gratisography

Gratisography

Gratisography is another awesome website serving up high-resolution photos covered under the Creative Commons Zero license. All the photos are taken by Ryan McGuire, a creative visual artist, based in Ithaca, New York. While these photos are a bit quirkier, they are entirely usable for the right project.

View their full license details here.

 

8. Picography

Picography

Picography contains beautiful free stock photos submitted by Dave Meier and various other photographers. Majority of the photos are from different sceneries and are all released under Creative Commons Zero.

View their full license details here.

 

9. freestocks.org

freestocks.org

Freestock offers a wide range of high-quality photos, especially of nature, all released under Creative Commons Zero.

View their full license details here.

 

10. Pixabay

Pixabay

Pixabay offers a ton of quality photos that are released under Creative Commons Zero. The site is clean and intuitive, making it easy to navigate your way through the 800K+ free photos, vectors, and illustrations.

View their full license details here.

1. A New Earth: Awakening to Your Life’s Purpose

by Eckhart Tolle

This was the first book and the first “self-help” book I have ever bought in 2008. I was searching for ways to reconnect myself with life and purpose. For many years, I have felt lost and unmotivated, until one day, that one moment when I turned my head towards the television and I saw Oprah Winfrey holding the book ‘A New Earth’ by Eckhart Tolle. A wake-up call I couldn’t ignore.

So, in this book, Tolle describes how our attachment to the ego creates the dysfunction that leads to anger, jealousy, and unhappiness. At the same time, Tolle shows readers how to awaken to a new state of consciousness and follow the path to a truly fulfilling existence, which is illuminating, enlightening, and uplifting.

 

2. The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment

by Eckhart Tolle

After finishing “A New Earth,” I went and bought “The Power of Now.” Until I read this book, I never noticed how insane my mind can make me if I choose to let it. My mind was everywhere except for the present moment.

In this book, Tolle implores the reader to take the reign of our own minds, and to focus on the beauty and love around us, just like we all did when we were children and the world was full of wonder. We are still in that same world, but our vision has been clouded by meetings, appointments, debt, ticking time, approaching deadlines, past frustrations, future worries and the list goes on and on if you let it. Tolle advises that we have the power to focus on this very moment, as it is the only one we really have. The past is past, and the future is not here, and may not ever come. I highly recommend it to anyone who would like to improve the quality of this moment of their life. A very enlightening book.

3. The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life

by Mark Manson

A good friend bought me this book, which recommends us to get to know our limitations and accept them. Once we embrace our fears, faults, and uncertainties, once we stop running and avoiding and start confronting painful truths, we can begin to find the courage, perseverance, honesty, responsibility, curiosity, and forgiveness we seek.

Manson makes clear that there are only so many things we can give a f*ck about, so we need to figure out which ones really matter. While money is nice, caring about what you do with your life is better, because true wealth is about the experience. A much-needed grab-you-by-the-shoulders-and-look-you-in-the-eye moment of real-talk, filled with entertaining stories and wicked, ruthless humour, “The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck” is a refreshing slap for a generation to help them lead contented, grounded lives.

4. The 5 Second Rule: Transform your Life, Work, and Confidence with Everyday Courage

by Mel Robbins

I came across a video from Impact Theory, hosted by Thomas Bilyeu interviewing Mel Robbins. The day after, I ordered her book right away. Robbins spreads awareness of the rule, she defines it as follows: “If you have an impulse to act on a goal, you must physically move within 5 seconds or your brain will kill the idea.”

In this book, Robbins explains the power of a “push moment,” by using the science of habits, riveting stories and surprising facts from some of the most famous moments in history, art and business. Then, she’ll give you one simple tool you can use to become your greatest self. It takes just 5 seconds to use this tool to increase productivity, collaboration, and engagement. If you’re sick of telling others and yourself you’re feeling “fine,” when you’re clearly not happy with where you are in life, then this is a must-read for you.

5. Crushing It!: How Great Entrepreneurs Build Their Business and Influence-and How You Can, Too

by Gary Vaynerchuk

Now, I’m a fan of Gary and all the content he’s putting out there. This book was recommended to me by a good friend and entrepreneur. Yes, you’ve guessed it. So, in this practical and inspiring book, Gary explains every current major social media platform so that anyone will know exactly how to amplify his or her personal brand on each.

The great thing about his book is that he offers both theoretical and tactical advice on how to become the biggest thing on old standbys like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, Pinterest, and Snapchat; podcast platforms like Spotify, Soundcloud, iHeartRadio, and iTunes; and other emerging platforms such as Musical.ly.

For those with more experience, “Crushing It!” provides innovative tips and clever tweaks proven to enhance more common tried-and-true strategies. Simply put, it is an up-to-the-minute guide to building your own path to professional and financial success, but it’s not about getting rich. If you want to live your life on your own terms, then this book is your blueprint.

6. Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action

by Simon Sinek

Who hasn’t heard of Simon Sinek’s? Ever since his speech on TED about the Golden Circle model, I have been touched by his idea to start with “why,” which started a movement to help people become more inspired at work, and in turn inspire their colleagues and customers.

In this book, Sinek shows that the leaders who've had the greatest influence in the world all think, act, and communicate the same way, and it's the opposite of what everyone else does. Sinek calls this powerful idea The Golden Circle, and it provides a framework upon which organizations can be built, movements can be led, and people can be inspired. And it all starts with WHY.

7. The Power of Positive Leadership: How and Why Positive Leaders Transform Teams and Organizations and Change the World

by Jon Gordon

From Simon Sinek’s book “Start with Why,” I got interested in leadership and especially positive leadership. As I was scrolling through the bookstore, I came across this book by Jon Gordon. Gordon explains that there will be times when it seems as if everything in the world is conspiring against you and your vision seems more like a fantasy than a reality.

Gordon further explains in his book that we are not positive because life is easy. We are positive because life can be hard. Being a positive leader is not just a nice way to lead. It's the way to lead if you want to build a great culture, unite your organisation in the face of adversity, develop a connected and committed team and achieve excellence and superior results. A must-read for those who are aspired to become great leaders.

1. Moleskine Classic Notebook - Large, Dotted, Soft Cover (5 x 8.25), Black

Moleskine Classic Notebook

If there is one lesson that has kept me on schedule, well-ordered, and highly productive, it would be: “Always, and I mean ALWAYS bring a notebook and make notes.” I always keep a notebook with me for when I have sudden inspirations pop-up or have unexpected meetings. I even keep a spare one, just in case I run out of pages.

I have had many different notebooks, but the Moleskine Classic Notebook has been my favourite for many years. The cover is flexible yet sturdy that adapts to the movements of the body and fits comfortably in any bag, and pocket with smaller sizes. This is a reliable travel companion, perfect for writings, thoughts and passing notes. If you travel a lot, get random inspirations, and jump from meeting to meeting, then this is the notebook I highly recommend.

2. Kindle Paperwhite E-reader - 6" High-Resolution Display (300 ppi), Built-in Light, Wi-Fi, Black

Kindle Paperwhite E-reader

I have been minimising all kinds of stuff to own for a few years now. The only thing I keep buying or borrowing are books, which I barely have space for it. I bought a kindle for the sake of convenience and I love it. At first, I was sceptical, because I prefer to hold a book and feel the pages as I flip through. Luckily, that wasn’t the case. This Kindle reads like paper with a comfortable one-hand hold, that is lighter and smaller.

Another thing that I like is the design. Kindle Paperwhite is purpose-built for reading and creates a sanctuary, so I can lose myself in a book. Unlike tablets and phones, Kindle doesn’t distract me with social media, emails, and text messages. The biggest win is that it doesn’t tire my eyes. I could read on for hours without eyestrain. I can certainly recommend this to any readers since it gives more benefits compared to buying physical books. Click here for more technical details.

3. Fresh 'n Rebel Clam - Wireless over-ear headphones with ANC

Fresh 'n Rebel Clam

For some time, I was looking into wireless headphones for whenever I’m blogging or freelancing. I’m usually more focused and productive when I put on music, but knowing how picky I am, I haven’t found one that’s worth it until the smooth design of these headphones caught my attention. I knew I had to try them on and I was not disappointed at all. I didn’t think twice before I bought it.

When I have set these up with my phone and laptop and put on my playlist, I got completely absorbed into the vibrant sound. The noise cancellation quality is something I did not expect for the market price. It feels as if the headphones are pressured to my head perfectly and are beyond comfortable. Click here for more technical details.

4. ASUS Zenbook UX430UA-GV445T - Intel Core i3, 8GB RAM, 128GB SSD, Windows 10, Gray

Asus ZenBook UX430UA-GV445T

The 14-inch Asus ZenBook UX430UA-GV445T is a laptop that I can easily take with me wherever I go. This ZenBook has everything I need, weighing only 1.3kg with its 128GB SSD drive boots this laptop in about 15 seconds, enabling me to take quick note whenever unexpected inspiration kicks in.

The keyboard is backlit, letting me type just as flawlessly in the dark as I do in daylight. Should too much light hit the screen, the anti-glare screen provides relief, ensuring that the Full HD panel remains easily readable.

The main reason is the VERY affordable price for what I get in return. It has the power of an everyday laptop and compactness of an Ultrabook! It's the ideal laptop for daily computing and entertainment. Click here for more technical details.

1. Wunderlist

Wunderlist logo banner.

Wunderlist is a cloud-based task management application. It allows users to manage their tasks from a smartphone, tablet, computer and smartwatch. Wunderlist is free; additional collaboration features are available in a paid version known as Wunderlist Pro.

Going digital with my to-do list makes sense because I can edit and rearrange my to-dos based on changing priorities, share lists with family members or other collaborators, and get reminders for upcoming deadlines, no matter which device I have on me now.

I think Wunderlist is one of the best productivity apps for task-management out there, especially if you don't need every feature and are hoping to keep your costs to zero. The free version is giving you all the essential features you need to get your stuff done.

 

2. WordPress.com

Wordpress.com apps

WordPress app connects to your WordPress site. WordPress app allows me to create posts, upload photos, and moderate comments from my devices on the go.

It comes with a built-in reader that shows the blogs I have followed on WordPress.com. I can catch up with my favourite sites and join the conversation anywhere, any time.

I can keep up with my site’s activity and check my notifications to keep conversations flowing with my followers and engage with the community I’ve built with just a touch on my screen.