These are some of the resources that I love and highly recommend. Note that some of these are affiliate links: it costs you nothing more to purchase these resources via my links, but I get a bit of commission, which helps pay for the costs associate with running the Aliventures blog.
Resources for Creating a Website
Webhosting: Dreamhost (going via my link gives you a $50 discount on a year’s hosting)
I’ve been using Dreamhost since late 2007, and their webhosting has been consistently excellent. I also use them to register domain names. I like that they have good green credentials (including a carbon neutral policy) and that they make installing WordPress a doddle! Their tech support team is great, too.
Website Building Software: WordPress (.org)
Most webhosts will let you easily install the WordPress software: with Dreamhost, you can do it as you’re signing up for an account, or with a couple of clicks from your control panel after that. The software itself is free.
If you prefer not to purchase hosting, then you can set up a site at WordPress.com for free: you’ll need to pay if you want to use premium features, though.
Graphic design: Canva
The basic version of Canva is free: I pay for the premium version so I can easily create graphics using my brand colours and fonts. If you’re creating online products or courses to sell, or if you simply want to create images to use in your blog posts, Canva could be invaluable to you.
Resources for Staying Focused When You Write
Time tracker: RescueTime
While I’d like to say that I always remain effortlessly focused when I’m supposed to be writing … that wouldn’t be entirely true! I know how easy it is to get distracted, or to “quickly” check Facebook only to end up wasting half an hour. The RescueTime app, which I’ve installed on both my computer and my phone, keeps silent track of everything I’m doing … and looking at the daily stats pushes me to be more productive. I’m currently subscribed to the premium version, which I think is well worth the monthly fee; the free version, though, may be all you need.
While I’ve used plenty of online timers, I find that they don’t always sound alerts when they should, and they can be a bit too easy to shut off with a click. They’re also not particularly helpful if you want to unplug from the internet, or if you’re writing on paper. This cube timer isn’t the cheapest option, but I use it a lot — not just to keep me on track during writing bursts but also for housework (I do “five minute cleans” of several rooms in a row) and for helping the children take it in turns with toys! We have a yellow version (5/10/25/45 minutes) that doesn’t seem to be currently available on Amazon, but there are lots of other options to pick from.
Resources for Editing Your Writing
Automatic editing tool: Grammarly
I’d always been a bit sceptical about editing tools: surely they don’t do anything that writers can’t do themselves? I’ve started using Grammarly as an extra back-up to my own editing of my work, though, and I’ve been surprised by just how many little mistakes or inconsistencies it catches that standard spell-checkers ignore! It’s free at the basic level, or you can pay for the premium version if you want more features.
Automatic editing tool: ProWritingAid
ProWritingAid has similar features to Grammarly, but also includes some really handy reports: while Grammarly is a great all-rounded, ProWritingAid is particularly geared up for fiction-writers or people producing more in depth content. I particularly liked the reports on frequently used words. Like Grammarly, there’s a free and a premium level.