Welcome to the Roger Reads Resources section!
I am regularly asked for recommendations on different tools, resources, and services I use for writing, running a business and blogging. As a result, I’ve put together a curated list of the tools and services I’ve personally used and strongly recommend. I have thoroughly tested and/or regularly use every recommendation on this page.
Be sure to check back often as I update this page regularly with new resources that I came across.
Before diving in, an important disclosure:
Some of the links below are affiliate links, meaning that if you choose to make a purchase using that link, I will earn a small commission. This commission comes at no additional cost to you. Please note that I have experience with all of the companies on this page, and I recommend them because they are helpful and useful, not because of the small commissions I make should you decide to purchase something.
Building a Blog
All of my websites are hosted on WPX Hosting. Why? Because their website loading time is super fast, their customer services is outstanding and they make it incredibly easy to get a new site up and running with their one-click automatic WordPress Blog installation.
For $24.99 per month (or $20.83 per month if you pay yearly), you can use your WPX Hosting account to host up to 5 domains—no need to pay more for hosting when you’re ready to start another website. They’ll even move your existing website over to them for free. How awesome is that?
I highly recommend using WPX Hosting for your first website and I couldn’t be happier with their service.
Check out WPX Hosting HERE
AuthorPro Theme & Genesis from StudioPress
A few years back, I decided to use the Genesis Framework theme for my WordPress blogs because of the flexibility and ease of use. I also typically use a Child Theme that works with Genesis. I do have a tendency to switch them around but at the moment, I’m using the AuthorPro theme. There are many others that you can check out at the StudioPress website. Their themes really are easy to use and look great.
Check out the Genesis Framework theme HERE
Check out the AuthorPro Theme HERE
AWeber Email Marketing
AWeber is an email marketing service provider which runs an opt-in email marketing service used by over 120,000 small businesses, bloggers, and entrepreneurs worldwide. I’ve been with AWeber for quite a while and use it to build several of my email lists. AWeber helps you to keep in touch with your subscribers, all while upholding email marketing best practices.
It is wonderfully customizable, and it has some excellent features like broadcast messages, send follow up messages, reports, segmenting mail lists, building an email sequence and managing subscribers. It’s worked great for me over the years.
You can check out Aweber HERE
Namecheap Domain Registration
Namecheap is an ICANN-accredited domain registrar and this is where I manage all of my domain names. You can search for and purchase new domain names, manage existing domain names, add an email account to your domain, add SSL security certificates to your site, add WhoisGuard privacy protection and transfer domains to or from another provider. They also offer fully-featured hosting packages, including Managed WordPress. In addition to reasonable prices, Namecheap offers awesome customer service. I’ve been with them for many years and have never once had a lick of trouble.
You can check out Namecheap HERE
Dropbox has been my main cloud storage solution for many years now. What I like about the service is that it not only allows you to safely and securely store your personal and/or business files, it also makes it super-easy for you to collaborate on shared documents or share a document with others.
You can check out Dropbox HERE
I have recently begun experimenting with Google Drive for a cloud storage solution (which will be renamed to GoogleOne shortly) and so far, I’m really liking it – especially since they’ve upgraded their plan to all for 2TB of data for $9.99 a month. I haven’t seen anyone try to beat this deal yet.
You can check out Google Drive HERE
Canon EOS 80D
This is the camera I use to record videos that are not screencast tutorials such as vlogs or informational videos. While I typically recommend starting out that you shooting video with your smartphone, when you’re ready to upgrade to a DSLR camera, this is a great choice. Great battery life makes this an ideal camera for video creation.
Logitech C930e Webcam
This is the camera that I use when recording Screencasts with myself and the computer screen. In addition to excellent video quality, what I especially like about this particular webcam is are the pan, tilt and zoom functions as well as the advanced light-correction technology. I use this webcam for both my Mac and Windows PC recordings. It’s a favorite!
You can check out the Logitech C930e Webcam HERE
Rode Lightweight On-Camera Microphone
This microphone plugs in directly to my camera and I use it for recording vlogs or any non-screencasting videos. It is compact and super light-weight which makes it ideal for traveling and it delivers clear, crisp, directional sound. The best part, is that it’s affordable.
You can check out the Rode Lightweight On-Camera Microphone HERE
Camtasia (Mac and PC)
This is my go-to screen recording and editing software when I’m working on a Windows PC — and it works on Mac too! It offers many of the same features as ScreenFlow (below) but is designed for both PCs and Macs. With Camtasia, you can record anything — your whole screen or just a window. Additionally, you can add video, images, audio, and PowerPoint presentations that you already have. I find the software intuitive and easy-to-use.
Check out Camtasia HERE
Screenflow (Mac only)
This is the screen recording and video editing software I often rely on to create high quality, tutorial videos for my business. ScreenFlow is an award-winning and easy-to-use video editing, screen recording, and sharing tool put out by the fine folks at Telestream.
Check out ScreenFlow HERE
Blue Yeti Microphone
Blue Yeti is the Microphone I use for all my video creation (and it works great for Skype calls as well!). It’s a USB microphone that produces great professional recordings. Great for recording vocals, podcasts, interview, voiceovers, musical instruments and more. I’ve been using this for many years and haven’t had a lick of trouble with it. If it ever died, I’d probably purchase the exact same microphone again.
You can check out the Blue Yeti Microphone HERE
Office & Writing
I’ve never felt comfortable using email services on someone else’s domain such as gmail.com or outlook.com and have always opted to use my own domain on a third-party email provider. My email provider of choice has been Fastmail for many years now, which offer the ability to use your own domain or theirs so in this way, it’s truly flexible. Additionally, it’s fast, dependable and affordable with no data lock-in. It also has an excellent Spam filter!
Check out Fastmail HERE
TextExpander, put out by the folks at Smile, is one of my essential apps that probably saves me hundreds of hours a year. TextExpander allows you to quickly insert “snippets” such as email addresses, signatures, code chunks, phone numbers, form letters, images – as you type, using a simple keyboard shortcut, or custom abbreviations that you designate. In this way, TextExpander is about increasing your efficiency.
You can check out TextExpander HERE
Get 20% off of TextExpander HERE
PDFPen (Mac only)
Another Smile product that is part of my arsenal is PDFPen. With PDFPen, you can edit and add text to PDFs on your Mac. Options include the ability to insert new text, add signatures, change fonts, rewrite copy, correct typos and change names are just a few of the other things you can do.
I use the Pro version of PDFPen which allows you to build interactive forms with text fields, checkboxes, radio buttons, interactive signature fields and submit buttons. Additionally, you can export your PDFs in Word (.docx), Excel (.xlsx) and PowerPoint (.pptx) formats.
You can check out PDFPen HERE
You can check out PDFPen Pro HERE
Microsoft Office Suite
I have a Microsoft Office 365 subscription in which I get Microsoft Word, Excel, Access, PowerPoint, OneNote and Outlook for about $80 or so a year, including 1TB of cloud space on OneDrive. What’s nice about the subscription I have is that I can install it on up to 5 machines and this includes either PC or Mac. Since I create books and courses for the Microsoft Office applications on both the Windows and Mac platforms, this subscription is one of my essentials.
You can check out the Office 365 and other Microsoft Products HERE
Wacom Intuos 5 Tablet
The Wacom Intuos 5 is the pen and tablet that I use to draw on the screen and have long since replaced my mouse with it. I find that this helped to reduce wrist and hand pain that comes from excessive mouse use. It also comes in handy if you edit a lot of images in applications such as Lightroom and Photoshop, but I use it for everything.
You can check out the Wacom Intuos 5 Tablet HERE
In an effort of trying to attain my goal of having a paperless office (I’m almost there!), I use a Scansnap Scanner by Fujitsu. The latest (as of this writing) is the Fujitsu ScanSnap iX500 Color Duplex Desk Scanner for Mac and PC. It creates searchable, multi-page PDF with the click of a button and offers double-sided scanning.
What’s especially handy is that you can scan your documents to cloud services such as Dropbox, Google Drive, and Evernote, enabling you to access your files from anywhere. Fujitsu offers several different-sized scanners for a variety of needs and budgets.
You can check out the Scansnap iX500 scanner HERE
Logitech K810 Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard
You might think it’s strange for me to include a keyboard here but I absolutely love this one! Its easy-switch technology allows you to press one button to instantly switch between typing on your PC, tablet or smartphone. I have it paired with my iPad, iPhone, and Mac (it can be paired with up to three devices) and it’s snap to switch between devices. It also has bright backlit keys so you can type even in the dark if need be.
You can check out the Logitech K810 keyboard HERE
Scrivener (PC & Mac)
Scrivener is my go-to application for longer, book-length form writing. I’ve written a few full-length novels using it and I find it essential to the writing process. What I love about this app is the ability to compose my text in any order with the ability to rearrange it any way I like later one. Other helpful tools include document outline, cork board and a special place for research.
You can check out Scrivener for Mac HERE
You can check out Scrivener For Windows HERE
Ulysses (Mac only)
I use Ulysses for most of my shorter form writing such as articles, blog posts, video scripts, ideas, notes and more. What won me over to Ulysses was the unified library which stores all my writing projects in one place. There’s also the ability to export to a variety of formats.
You can check out the Ulysses app HERE
Todoist (PC & Mac)
I’ve used a variety of to-do apps and project management apps over the years to help me stay organized, and Todoist is the only one that’s stuck. Not only that, I find it a joy to work with. Todoist offers a free version and which will be plenty for a lot of people. But I loved this app so much that I went premium, which provides some impressive extra features.
You can check out Todoist HERE
Grammarly (PC & Mac)
One of my favorite utility apps is Grammarly. What Grammarly is, is an only grammar checking, spell checking and plagiarism tool which ensures that everything you type is clear, effective and free of error. This tool can help you no matter what kind of writing you do. If you make your living with the written word, then you may wish to check out Grammarly.
They offer a free version and a paid version. I opted for the paid version because it has become such an essential tool for me.
You can check out Grammarly HERE
Even though I have a separate Windows Machine that I use, I also have a virtual machine version of Windows on my Mac using VMWare Fusion (currently version 11). VMware Fusion provides Mac users the power to run Windows on Mac along with hundreds of other operating systems side-by-side with Mac applications. And the best part, is that you don’t need to reboot your machine to switch operating systems. I also love how seamless it is and it’s been a favorite of mine for many years now (since version 5, I think).
You can check out VMWare Fusion HERE
The most popular service for processing online payments for your personal brand business. They’ve been around for a long, long time.
You can check out PayPal HERE
Another payment processing service that’s gaining in popularity. I personally use both PayPal and Stripe.
You can check out Stripe HERE