Today I’m going to share some of the tools and applications that I use as a blogger and web designer. Maybe you’ll get some ideas for new applications to try out!
The Quick List
If you just want a fast overview, here’s the list of all my tools:
- Two 23″ monitors
- Kindle Paperwhite
- Adobe applications
- Notepad++, Textwrangler, and PhpStorm
- Bitbucket and SourceTree
Two 23″ Monitors
Once you have two monitors, you can never go back to one! This particularly comes in handy when I’m coding a new website. I can have the Photoshop mockup on one screen and the code/web page on the other screen. Then I can quickly compare the two side-by-side.
Or, I could even put a movie up on one screen and web browse on the other.
JPEGmini is an image compression tool. It can reduce the file size of your photos by up to 5x, while still maintaining the same quality!
When making any kind of website, page speed is important. You want your site to load as quickly as possible. Large images can easily slow down your site’s load time, so anytime I upload an image to my site, I first run it through JPEGmini to compress it. This was particularly helpful when I used to make slider images (which are often very large).
For example, see the monitor image above? That was originally like 550KB. When I ran it through JPEGmini, it became 158KB!
Well this one needs no explanation! I have a Kindle Paperwhite. This was a must-have for me because I love being able to read in the dark, but it’s still important that I have E Ink technology for when I want to read in the sun.
I have Adobe CS5, but I only really use three applications on a regular basis:
I usually use Photoshop for graphic design, blog images, and web design. I use Illustrator for opening vector files (I don’t personally create anything in Illustrator—I hate it!). And I use Lightroom for editing the photos I take.
I use Dropbox to store all my important files. All of my client works are in there for safe keeping, along with my own blog design files and assets.
Notepad++, Textwrangler, and PhpStorm
I need a text editor to do all my coding. Up until recently, I used two programs religiously:
But recently, my fiancé has been nudging me towards PhpStorm. PhpStorm is an amazing text editor, I’m just really set in my ways and it’s hard for me to transition into a new program! But I’m slooowly working my way over there. It’s cool how you can import entire libraries (like WordPress) then it can auto-complete the functions and fetch documentation for you.
Bitbucket and SourceTree
Bitbucket is what I use to store and manage all my coding projects (like the Ultimate Book Blogger Plugin). In short, it allows you to upload “copies” of your coding projects. Then you can view and roll back to previous versions at any time. So in my Bitbucket panel I can see version 2.3.1, version 2.3.2, version 2.3.3, etc. And for each one of those, I can see the changes I made.
SourceTree is an application that allows me to upload my changes straight from the files on my computer to my Bitbucket account.
WampServer allows me to have a web development environment straight on my computer. More specifically, it allows me to have a WordPress installation on my computer. This is where I develop and test all my themes and plugins!
I also have the Mac equivalent—MAMP—on my Macbook Pro.
Shutterstock is basically a huge image database. You can download THOUSANDS of stock images.
I mostly use Shutterstock for client projects, but I do occasionally use an image or two on my blog. It’s an amazing resource, but it is really expensive so it’s hard to justify using it for only a blog.
Every girl needs her fix. For me, it’s Starbucks hot chocolate. It’s part of my morning routine. Sit down, check morning emails, sip hot chocolate. Delish!
I actually only just got TweetDeck recently. I’m probably the last book blogger to start using it. I mainly got it when I created my third Twitter account. Previously I’d have my @NoseGraze Twitter up on Chrome (my primary browser) and @BloggerDB up on FireFox. That way I could easily manage both accounts.
But then I created my THIRD Twitter account, @BookHosting. Using a third browser just seemed silly. So I migrated to TweetDeck, which allows me to easily manage multiple Twitter accounts in one application.