Below is a collection of resources I have used to build my business, used in my traveling, and developed for my teaching. Many of these links are affiliate links that benefit me at no extra cost to you. I hope you find this information helpful.
BlueHost – provides web hosting services for your blog. They offer a one-click installation for WordPress, inexpensive monthly hosting, You can also get unlimited subdomains added at no cost to your initial domain, which can be used for different websites. I have personally found their customer service – both over the phone and via text chat – to be outstanding.
Lisbyn – provides hosting for your podcast program. While Blue Host is for your blog, it was not designed to host your podcast. Lisbyn can install WordPress, which can host your podcast and push it out to iTunes and Stitcher via RSS after the initial set up is conducted.
Blubrry – also provides podcast hosting. An alternative to Lisbyn.
Pretty Link – My new favorite plugin for my WordPress site, Pretty Link creates URLs that not only look nice, but use your blog’s domain name to redirect a reader on Twitter, Amazon, or elsewhere to whatever site you want them to go to. For example: edjourneys.com/smm looks like it goes to my site, and it does – instantaneously – but then redirects the user to my Amazon page for my book. That link also happens to have my Amazon affiliate link on it, thereby preventing me from violating terms of service on Amazon Affiliates for cloaking my code behind a URL shortener, as this is my URL bringing users from my site and then on to Amazon.
Social Media Tools
HootSuite – a program that allows you to manage multiple social media accounts at the same time, send content from the web directly to your social media platforms without leaving the page you’re on, and provides a scheduling service so you can plan all of your social media status updates and tweets for months ahead of time. It’s the one I use, is super user-friendly, and surprises me sometimes with the “Hoot This!” button in various places around the web.
Formatting your Kindle eBook – Formatting your manuscript for upload to Kindle can be a real pain! You are often left with the choice of ugly spacing and wacky script or paying for someone else to do it for you. The latter option means that any time you need to update your book, you have to pay someone else again. Good news! I have put together a simply step-by-step guide for formatting it yourself. It’s not hard. Click here.
Leslie Bowman, editor – Prof. Bowman is an accomplished writer, instructor, and editor. She edited my book, Daily Actions for Social Media Mastery and Daily Actions for Social Networking Success. She is thorough in her work, and reasonable in her rates. Highly recommended!
Go on, Write – If you are writing an ebook, it makes sense to have a decent cover that will attract buyers. This website offers attractive, professional, pre-made book covers that the designer will modify for your title, name, etc. There are packages available for discount purchases.
Expert Girl – If you need a Facebook cover image made from your ebook cover, or if you need an ebook cover, she’s your girl. While I recommend Go on Write for ebook covers, Expert Girl took my cover and made it into my cover photo for my author fan page. Lovely! See it here.
AWeber – Email collection and marketing services for your website. AWeber provides the user with the capability to create multiple email marketing campaigns, and sign up forms to place on your website.
MailChimp – A free option for collecting emails and conducting email campaigns. Limited in the number of emails you can collect, and limited in how you can monetize your marketing. Otherwise, this may be a good start for your website.
Yeti Microphone – this is the microphone that I use and love. It gives a great quality sound without requiring me to be right on top of it. I just place it on my desk on top of a book or other object to absorb sound, set the gain, and I’m ready to go.
Logitech Webcam – this is the camera that I use for recording all of my videos. It is inexpensive, portable, and provides options for zoom and direction.
ImageMonthly – This is a monthly photo service that provides you with a collection of cool things in your inbox every month. Get royalty-free images, chat bubbles, quotes, backgrounds, and more. The best part? It’s only $10/month.
BigStockPhoto – This is a stock photo website that I use almost exclusively for any images I did not photograph myself. Their terms are great: 1 week trial period with 5 downloads of high-quality images per day. After that, the cost is $69/month, with 5 downloads per day. Images include vectors, photographs, illustrations, celebrity photos and more.
Shutterstock – This is a more advanced stock photo website that includes the royalty-free images of BigStockPhoto, but also includes royalty-paid images.
Camtasia – Camtasia is the industry-standard program used for creating screencasts and videos from your PC or Mac. Jing is the free version of this software; Camtasia is the upgrade.
Screenflow – Screenflow is the program that I use to create screencasts and videos on my Mac. It has a high-end quality with easy user interface and direct upload to YouTube. I love this program!
Adobe – Adobe now offers the Creative Cloud suit of programs on a monthly subscription basis, giving users access to Photoshop, Acrobat, Illustrator, and much, much more. If you are an educator or student, you can get a steep discount so that the cost is $29.99/month.
Jing – Jing is one of my favorite free programs on the web. It will create short 5 minute screencasts as well as capture images very easily. I keep Jing as an active icon in the top corner of my screen so that I am ready to use it anytime I want to create quick screencast.
Cellomobile mifi – Cellomobile is a great company, and one that I highly recommend that you connect with when you are planning a trip out of the country. You can rent a phone for use in the country or countries where you are traveling. The phone is shipped to you at your home, and all you have to do is turn it on when you arrive at your destination. It will be ready to go!
If you need to access the internet while abroad, rent their mifi. This device is smaller than a smart phone, allows you to connect up to five internet devices at one time, and can be used while you are walking around a foreign city or driving and needing directions with your map program on your smart phone. Connecting to the mifi is simple, and makes accessing the internet while traveling so easy.
ExclusiveEDU – This is the networking group that started it all. Led by Dr. Dani Babb for online college professors, this group opened my eyes to the power of social networking to get contacts and opportunities. Plus, developing an online community of support has been invaluable.
Self Publish on Demand – Kristen Eckstein owns a publishing company that empowers authors to publish and monetize their content. She offers boot camps, related Facebook communities for her students, and step-by-step guides and coaching to help you achieve your goals.
Online courses enable you to take courses at a time and place of convenience to you. Once the domain of colleges and universities, robust online courses are now available on the web from some excellent providers. Please see courses and recommendations below.
Udemy – Offering thousands of courses to nearly a million students, Udemy is one of the major players in the online course delivery market. The reasons for this include not just the diversity of courses offered, but the simple user interface one experiences when taking a course. Lessons advance automatically or on cue, you can take notes in the side bar while the lecture or screencast is occurring, and you can ask course instructors questions while inside the course. Ongoing coupons that reduce the price of the classes make the cost affordable as well. Here are some courses that I recommend:
HTML and CSS for Beginners – from uploading a Kindle book, to optimizing your website, to creating apps for sale, understanding HTML and CSS is a must. Taught by a top Udemy instructor, the course is great for those just starting out.
Publish your Book on Kindle – by the estimable Cathy Presland, this robust course walks you step-by-step through the writing, editing, publishing, and marketing process for that eBook you’ve always wanted to write. I know Cathy personally, and cannot recommend her course to you highly enough.
Publishing Prodigy – Outsource and Self-Publish Kindle Books – A different take on publishing Kindle books, and actually may be the new model for publishing in the 21st century. Dan Schwartz walks you through each step in outsourcing the writing, editing, and publishing process of your Kindle product.
How to Create Bestselling Kindle eBook Covers – You DO judge a book by its cover, and so it’s important to have a quality one. This course skips over the boring stuff about how to design a cover, and gets straight to modifying the templates provided so that the process is greatly reduced for you.
Adobe KnowHow – New to the online learning market for courses outside of the adobe suite of products, Adobe KnowHow provides training in technical skills from Microsoft to Photography, and yes, Adobe.
Apps I Love
Some are related to travel, others related to productivity, and still others related to blogging. See my collection of favorite apps below:
Emotional Marketing Headline Analyzer tool – This quick and free tool will analyze the emotional impact of your title and give you a rating. Work to get over 50% and closer to 100%.