Blogging is similar to motherhood, in that there are a million little jobs that make up the big title -blogger or business owner.
Here I have put together a list of blogging resources that I’ve used to grow my a small idea into a growing online business. Use it to help you along your blogging journey.
There are affiliate links in this post. Please see my disclosure policy for more information.
Your domain name is basically your website name. It’s your address on the internet. Choose wisely but don’t get stuck. When you have a name you feel represents what you are trying to achieve and how you want to be known by your community purchase a domain name.
There are tons of places to buy domains but I use and recommend Hover.com.
*Note: There are companies like Bluehost that offer a free domain name for the first year when you purchase their hosting.
Before you get confused, let’s talk about hosting now.
If you want a profitable blog, you will want to be self-hosted. This gives you full ownership of all your content and you are essentially renting your little piece of the internet.
Bluehost. This was my first blog host ever. Lots of bloggers recommend this host and it’s a budget-friendly option for new bloggers. Although there are quirks, it is inexpensive and works for getting your blog started.
SiteGround. As I learned more about blogging and hosting, I started to hear about SiteGround and I decided to give them a try. I found them to be another good option for blogging newbies. The service itself is fast, reliable, and anytime I had issues, their customer service was great.
BigScoots. When I finally learned the importance of speed and had some good website growth, I moved to this host. The customer has been top-notch and my site speed has increased dramatically. It is the highest-priced hosting I’ve had but the value has been worth the increased cost.
If your goal is to blog and earn money, you are essentially starting a business and I recommend investing in yourself. This doesn’t mean you need to spend lots of money; however, you will want to avoid the free website builders.
WordPress.org. I started my blogging journey years ago with a free WordPress.Com blog and when I decided to get serious about blogging, moving over to WordPress.Org was a no-brainer for me. I was already familiar with the platform.
Squarespace. While many bloggers will suggest you use WordPress, I’ve learned that several profitable bloggers enjoy using SquareSpace. They offer an all-in-one-solution to website building and hosting. I personally love how beautiful and responsive the theme templates appear on their sites. But my heart blogs to WordPress.org self-hosted websites.
Social media has never been my strength or interest, and it’s still not. But, as you will learn, blogging isn’t about you. It’s about serving people and people are on social media. Get set up on a few social media sites but don’t try to grow them all at once – that’s overwhelming. Focus on one at a time.
How do you know where you should focus first?
Ask yourself where the people who want and need your content hang out. If they are on Facebook, that’s where you need to be. If they hang out on LinkedIn, well invest your energy there. If you aren’t sure where your people hang out, it’s time to do some market research, my friend.
Google + Pinterest
It’s great to start getting familiar with your audience via social media but the real traffic will come from search engines like Google and Pinterest. Create traffic that comes from both of these and you’ll have a great foundation for blogging success.
People use search engines to get answers to questions – not to see what you ate last night or what you are doing this weekend. This means if you can answer a question a user has about a topic with tons of value, you can get tons of free traffic from people who want to know exactly what you are writing about.
There are several available ESPs to choose from.
If you are a new blogger, do what’s right for your budget. But, don’t skip out on email marketing. Getting access to your reader’s email inboxes allows you to send content directly to them without interference. It’s essential because each social media platform has algorithms that can prevent people from seeing your content. Invest in building your email list as soon as possible.
MailChimp. Currently, MailChimp is free for up to 2k subscribers, after that, you’ll need to upgrade to a paid plan.
MailerLite. MailerLite has a free plan and reasonable prices as your list grows. I love the ease of creating forms with this platform.
MadMiMi. An affordable ESP option that offers pricing low as $10/mo.
ConvertKit. I don’t love the price tag but I love how easy it is to create forms and pages and embed them on the website.
My writing skills can use improvement (yes, I know this), I don’t let it stop me from blogging. The great thing about blogging is that you are always learning and improving and you can go back to rewrite, rewrite, and rewrite. You grow and improve with practice. Until then, try Grammarly.
Grammarly. It’s an app you can install on Macs or Windows to help you with spelling and grammar as you are writing. It has some quirks, but it’s helpful and free.
Social media has never been my strength or interest, and it’s still not. But, I want to serve people with my content which means I need people to see my content. Instead of focusing on Instagram, Twitter, or Facebook, I invested in learning Pinterest and it’s paid off.
Pinterest works because it’s essentially another search engine. People use the platform to get answers to questions, not to see what you ate last night or what you are doing this weekend. This means if you can answer a question a user has about a topic with tons of value, you can get tons of free traffic from people who want to know exactly what you are writing about.
TailWind. I love pinning as much as the next girl but it can get time-consuming. I used to use BoardBooster (RIP) but I’ve made the transition to Tailwind for scheduling posts to all my boards. It takes some time to get used to but it’s worth the effort.
Canva. It’s a free platform for creating all types of visual products for your website. It has paid plans but the free version has worked for my needs. I use it to create pins, printables, and worksheets. It’s the easiest platform I’ve used to create visual content and opt-ins.
PicMonkey. I have used PicMonkey and it’s another inexpensive tool to create visual content. They have free trials, so you can give the platform a try before making an investment.
Adobe Creative Cloud. Lightroom & Photoshop. Adobe products come with so many features, it’s crazy how much you can do with these platforms. Lightroom allows you to edit photos and has helped me level up my photography skills. I love how easy the app works on the phone and desktop. Photoshop is a more advanced platform to create pins and other blog graphics. I wouldn’t say it is for beginners but when you are ready to spend time learning about photography, I highly recommend Photoshop and the other programs in the Adobe Creative Suite.
If you want a professional blog apperance, you will absolutely need quality photographs.
People are visual and you don’t have long to impress them. If you are a photographer, you can use that skill to stand out will nice unique photos.
If you are like me and still learning the ropes, consider stock photos. Do not use photos that aren’t stock or your own without permission; there are huge penalties for these actions and it’s stealing. You wouldn’t want people to steal your photos.
I use some of my own photos on the blog and I don’t own a DSLR, shocking right? With all the other tasks involved with blogging, I tend to lean toward stock photos. When I do take my own photos, I’m using an iPhone or my favorite Sony Mirrorless camera. The photo quality and video quality are great and it’s not bulky. I plan to upgrade eventually but until then, my Sony camera will do.
If you want to DIY your branding, there are resources to help you get it done. I recommend some DIYing so that you don’t have to always pay when you want to make changes.
Creative Market. I heart creative market for the fonts, quality branding tools, and weekly freebies.
OK. There it is my go-to resources for blogging and running an online business. I am a true advocate of ‘never stop learning and growing’, so be sure to visit occasionally to see additional resources that I add over time.
Do you have blogging resources that you love, that you’d think are valuable for blogging? If so, let me know in the comments.