Updated: November 17th, 2020

I have been blogging for 11 years now, the last 4 of which being my full-time job.

I have experimented with all kind of setups, tools… both for creating a better website experience for my readers and for improving my productivity or simply make my workday better. Here is a list – which I will keep up to date – of all the tools I use.

Computer Hardware

It all starts at the computer. Yes people say you can blog with an iPad from the beach… I tried, but I am nowhere as near as productive as I am with a proper set up on a desk. Here are the computers I use.

  • Apple iMac 27″ 5K Retina Display.
  • I love this computer. I was never a Mac guy, but once I started working on this screen no other screen since has been able to wow me as this one does.

    The Mac is my main desktop computer. I have a Core i5 version with 40GB (FORTY!) of Ram. This allows me to do everything from editing videos to create music to program in Python.

  • HP Spectre X360 13″
  • When I am not at home, this laptop is what I use. It’s very compact, quite powerful with its Intel Core i7 processor and very versatile. I can use it as a tablet with a stylus to jot down my notes or make some wireframe sketches. I can do some video editing and in general is another pleasure to work with.

  • Samsung T5 external SSD
  • Do you know what you can never have enough? Disk space. Especially if you work with photos and videos.
    This portable drive is an SSD – so it’s blazingly fast – and it connects via USB-C to both my Mac and my laptop.

  • Synology DS 220j
  • This little NAS unit contains backups of almost everything: my computers are backed up here, my photos, the website… stuff on the cloud is lovely – but nothing beats having also your own backup.

    Computer software

    These days you could do almost everything using free tools on the internet (and I do), but there are some software I use every day that make a massive difference in my workflow.

  • Adobe Creative Suite
  • I subscribe to the Adobe Creative Suite. This means that I pay a monthly amount and in exchange I have always the latest version of A TON of tools that I use. From Adobe Premiere Pro to edit videos to Photoshop for photos and graphics. I also use Adobe XD to make website designs.

  • Private Internet Access (VPN)
  • This website shows different content (mainly prices) to visitors from different parts of the world. Links to American stores are of little help to my UK readers and so on. But I need a way to be able to check what visitors in any part of the world see when they visit the website.

    I discovered that what I needed is a VPN (virtual private network) – where I can trick websites, including mine, to think I come from a different country.

    But a VPN is much more and I started using it almost constantly. It’s true encryption and protection. For somebody like me who does everything online, from banking to pay people and be paid, the peace of mind of that extra security online is well worth the small monthly price I pay for this service.

    I tested a few VPN services and PIA is the one I prefer (easy of use, anonimity, speed).

  • Dropbox
  • Our team needs to constantly share (large) files. Reviews, videos, photos… Dropbox allows us to share and access all these files in a safe, efficient way. It’s a cornerstone of the website and couldn’t imagine working without it.

  • AirTable
  • AirTable is the secret glue that makes all the internal processes we use work.

    Essentially it is an online database with a friendly interface and infinite customization options. I use it to keep track of what shoes are releasing, to assign them to a reviewer and follow all the stages from ordering the shoe to publishing the review.

    Add some Zapier integration and some custom Python scripts and it’s hours and hours of tedious work saved every week.

    Plus, it keeps a tidy order and history of everything we do.

  • One Note
  • Are you familiar with Bullet Journals? I have been using this method for more than 2 years and it works for me. If you want to know about the method, here is the original website.

    But guess what? I started using OneNote – which I can use on any computer, tablet and phone I have – and it’s like a Bullet Journal on steroids! Highly recommended!

    YouTube Channel

    Since 2020 we invested heavily on videos. We publish 4 or 5 videos a month which can seem like not much, but believe me there’s a ton of work involved with shooting a video!
    This is what I use.

  • Canon SL3
  • Quite an entry-level DSLR camera, this Canon has a decent price and shoots incredible photos and videos. I am no photography expert, but I did ask for the help of a photographer friend while choosing my first camera and this one ticked all the boxes: 4K video shooting, one of the best auto-focus in the business, swivel touchscreen, mic input…

    Highly, highly recommended.

  • Sony RX100 v3
  • A DSLR camera is a great thing to have – but sometimes not the most handy for daily use. The RX100 is a famous series from Sony for compact cameras that pack a 1 inch sensor. Long story short, you’ll never get such great pictures/videos from your phone. The RX100 is expensive for a compact camera, but the quality of the photos is simply stunning.

  • iPhones
  • Yes we shoot with the DSLR and we shoot with the Sony camera. But most of our photos and videos are shot with iPhones – just because the quality is good and everyone has one. If you are thinking of starting with videos, before you splurge on a big camera I recommend using the functionalities of the iPhone.

  • Gimbal for the phones
  • A Gimbal is something that looks like a selfie-stick, but it’s much more.

    It’s a selfie-stick with sensors and motors and what it does is to stabilise your camera (or phone) while you take pictures but especially when you shoot videos. You can run behind somebody running to shoot a video of their shoes, and the resulting video is silk smooth.

    Cheap but amazing, you have to try one!

  • Lavelier Microphones
  • LED lights
  • Tripods
  • Hosting

    Now to enter the slightly more technical aspect of running a website, here are some of the companies I use to host and serve Running Shoes Guru to almost 1 million people every month.

  • Linode
  • Linode is a hosting company that allows you to get hosting packages for as little as $10 per month – enough to run a small but active website – to potentially massive website such a newspaper or an app.

    I have changed at least a dozen hosting companies while running this website and when I finally landed on Linode I could not believe the deal I was getting – such a powerful server at a fraction of the costs elsewhere.

    The downside is that although their customer service is top-notch (and I pay extra for their “managed” service), you need to be quite technical in order to set up and manage your hosting from there.

  • Siteground
  • Linode is great but it’s definitely over-kill for smaller sites. I have tried every shared hosting under the sun, from Bluehost to GoDaddy… Siteground is on a completely different level. I still host Running Shoes Guru Italia on Siteground and a few other small sites.

    It’s fast and reliable, it has wizards and other tools that make it extremely easy to set up and use. If I were to start a new site today, I’d go to Siteground 100%.

  • NetDNA (StackPath)
  • I use NetDNA for my CDN. CDN means Content Delivery Network and what it does… is to store a copy of my websites most requested assets (images, pages…) on its servers around the world.

    Running Shoes Guru lives on a server in Texas (USA). But if you are an Australian visitor you don’t have to wait for every image to travel across the world each time. The CDN makes sure that Australian visitors receive files from a server close to them. Same for Europe etc…

    Website Tools

    These are software that either add functionality to the site or that help me integrate the site better with other services. Each of these has been selected after years of using them vs their competitors.

  • MailerLite
  • I have been using Aweber at the beginning. When it was time to change I tried almost every competitor under the sun: from Constant Contact to Active Campaign, from ConvertKit to Mailchimp.

    Nothing has proven more enjoyable to use than Mailerlite. I use this to manage my 80,000+ subscribers, to send all our newsletters… at a good half of the price that I was paying before switching.

    If you are planning to start a newsletter, Mailerlite is my recommendation – and I tested LOTS of other providers.

  • Gleam
  • All those giveaways where I give away a pair of shoes every month? It would be EXTREMELY complex to manage it by myself.

    Gleam is a software that makes sure that people don’t cheat, ensures privacy is taken care of and all the other aspects: from integrating with our Email Service Provider (MailerLite, as above) to keep track of referrals and so on.

    It’s costly – but I rather spend and have this done right.

  • Zapier
  • Zapier is an automation tool that allows you to become a programmer without ever writing any code.

    What it does in a nutshell is to connect two or more (web)apps so that when something happens in one, an action is triggered in another one.
    One example: I assign a shoe to a reviewer in AirTable, Zapier automatically sends an email (through Gmail) to that reviewer to inform them of the shipment. Another example: a new video is posted on the YouTube channel, Zapier creates a Tweet on Twitter to let people know about the video.

  • Buffer
  • Buffer is what we use to post on social media. Every time there is a new post Buffer makes sure it’s formatted in the perfect way for each social media then proceeds to share it at the most appropriate time for my audience (based on their enormous data).

  • Motion Array
  • If you do or plan to do videos, Motion Array is definitely what you can call a Super Power. For a small monthly fee I have access to literally thousands of effects, animations, templates, sound effects and music tracks. The selection of music tracks alone is worth the whole price of the subscription!!

    This page is a constant work in progress. When I test or change tools I will come here and make sure it’s up to date.

    What about you? Do you have tools that you feel I could benefit from? Do you use any of the tools I mention? Let me know in the comments!

    Some of the links on this page are affiliate links - meaning I might earn a small commission at no cost to you

    As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases

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