WordPress.org There’s a .com version, but it’s for middle school girls. You want the real deal: the robust WordPress software that you install on your own server, and tweak to your heart’s content. It’s the industry standard, because it’s the best. WordPress is so ubiquitous, most hosting companies now offer a one-click install as a standard feature.
Site5 I’ve had some issues with hosting companies through the years, but think I’ve finally found a home at Site5. Their prices are competitive, and their support is fantastic. There’s a giant company called Endurance that’s buying up all the well-known hosting companies, and NOT improving them (in my opinion). So far, Site5 has remained independent, which I appreciate.
StudioPress I purchased the premium theme for Maturity Is For Suckers! from StudioPress, and I’m glad I did. They’re produced by the best designers in the business, and utilize the latest technology. For instance, if you look at this site on your mobile phone, tablet, or desktop… it automatically adapts and looks great regardless. StudioPress is owned by Copyblogger Media, and that means you’re dealing with some trustworthy folks.
Aweber I’ve been using this company to manage my mailing list for years. They’re not cheap, but also not outrageously expensive. If you’re serious about blogging, you’ll want to step up to a premium service like Aweber. It’s tempting to go with one of the cheap (or free) options, but it’ll turn out to be one of those “learning experiences” we’ve heard so much about. I suggest you cut out the middleman.
Dropbox This is a free service that kicks massive ass. It adds a new drive to your computer, where you can store important files — and access and edit them from any computer, or even your phone. There are tons of things you can do with it. I have this website backed-up to my Dropbox, for instance, and can share specific folders with friends or business partners. It’s one of those things that didn’t exist ten years ago, yet I can’t imagine living without. And did I mention it’s free?
Evernote And this is another one… Evernote is a place on your computer and phone where you can store random notes, internet articles, photos, etc., then access them anywhere. It’s a tool designed to organize your online/creative life, and I freaking LOVE it. The basic service is free, and it’ll make everything better. It’s not as simple and straightforward as Dropbox, but equally as kick-ass. You need it.
Amazon How could you not love Amazon? Good god, I visit their site a dozen times per day. And I’ve participated in their affiliate program since dinosaurs roamed the earth. It remains a significant hunk of my yearly income. If I ever get the chance, I’d like to shake Jeff Bezos’ hand. He’s improved my life, from multiple directions.