I keep this as a resource and I’ll add to it as I find new tools that bring me great results. Some of the links below are affiliate links, and I’ll earn a cut of the sale. Although on certain sites of mine I use affiliate links even though I’ve never used the product, never here. All the affiliate links on gotbrandy.com are tools that I use and recommend.
Basic Blogging Tools
WordPress: It’s free and easy and I can install it pretty much wherever I want. Yes, there are successful bloggers that use Blogger (and to be honest, those blogs are fast & reliable and get a great boost in search results). But I prefer control over my end product and you can’t get that on anything but a self-hosted solution.
Genesis Framework: Love Genesis. It’s so easy to customize. You don’t really need to know PHP to hack around and get the results you want.
Bluehost: I like Bluehost for a starter plan. It’s crazy easy to get your blog set up and going.
Dreamhost: I’ve been a customer for 11 years. Some reliability issues but manageable. I prefer the Dreamhost interface over Bluehost.
MediaTemple: What this site is hosted on. If you’re planning a big time blog you need big time hosting. MT does the job right. You can save the hassle of moving sites around and choose this one for any high traffic site.
Essential Premium Plugins
Social Networks Auto Poster (SNAP) by NextScripts: Automagically posts to your social networks. Buying the upgrade is essential if you want to automate G+ (both profile & pages) and Pinterest postings. I sure do.
I use a variety of tools to help my photos be the best they can be. Photos sell! I mostly use iPad and iPhone apps for my photography. You don’t need anything special for great looking pictures. I use these apps daily for photos for my main blog.
Rhonna Designs: Make buttons, add text, and designs. Optimized for square photos. This is perfect for a more personal touch.
Over: Also a great text and design overlay app, this one won’t hold you to a square.
You’ll find that I’m a Mac user. Sorry, I don’t have recommendations for PC users because I don’t use one. On GotBrandy.com I don’t present anything I can’t personally recommend.
Text Expander: The tool that keeps me typing fast. Take a few minutes every day and make your time count by automatically expanding your own snippets. If you code and/or type all day, you need this. Period.