As bloggers there are lots of different tools out there to help make our life easier. We want to create amazing, traffic-driving content but it can be stressful to do it all by yourself without some extra help. As much as I love to do everything myself, I realized to grow my blog, I needed to use different resources, some are free and some are not.
I believe education is very important in growing a successful business; thus, you need to invest and spend money sometimes to make money. Not every resource will be free, but the plethora of knowledge and assistance you get from these tools is worth every penny! Here are some of my favorite resources for blogging that I use.
This will be an ongoing list of resources that I use and love, and every time I encounter something new I will add it on!
This post contains affiliate links.
Get Started Blogging:
- Bluehost: This is where it all started, with a few dollars and a dream! For new bloggers, this hosting site is amazing! The prices are unbeatable, and it is so easy to set up! Think of a domain name(your personal URL) and its onward and upward from there!
- WP Engine: Another amazing WordPress hosting site. Especially, if you get loads of traffic a day, or you know you want to expand this is perfect for growing your biz.
- WordPress: Once you have your domain name, you come here to make the magic happen. WordPress is the largest self-hosting blogging tool in the world. I love it, and it is what I am currently using. I think it is pretty simple and easy to learn.
- DropBox: Once you create a blog you need to save all your files just in case anything happens to your website. DropBox is a great resource to back up your website, which you should do frequently.
- Beautiful Dawn Designs: After you get your website up and running, you need a beautiful theme to accompany it. Aesthetics are everything, and how your website looks can determine whether people stay or leave. And you want people to stay and even come back! These beautiful feminine themes are provided by Tiffany Griffin, and she does a great job. (Click the image below to learn more!)
- Etsy: Etsy is a wonderful online marketplace for entrepreneurs to sell their products. There are so many amazing wordpress themes on here, and I am currently using one by Studio Mommy! I have used two themes from Easy, and I love them because they are so affordable and beautiful! Both of the themes I have bought have been under $30!
Graphics/ Stock Photos:
- Ivory Mix: Besides having a beautiful theme, it is important to have high quality photos! Blogging is as much a visual art, as it is a written one. People want to read amazing content, but what draws theme to a site is also beautiful photographs. You can take your own photos to use as the background for your images, or you can use free stock photos. Ivory Mix has a wide variety of free stock photos that are stunning!
- Tora Carter Media: I first found her images on Instagram, and I immediately fell in love. I love all of her layouts, and I use many of her images on my site.
- Pexels: Pexels has a great variety of free stock photos. Sometimes you need more than a simple layout, maybe you are looking for a holiday- specific image or you want to focus on the workplace and have people in your images, Pexels has stock photos for every category.
- Canva: One of the first things I noticed when I started blogging were all the amazing graphic designs. Stock photos are great to add photographs to site to break up content and place behind your graphic designs. People are much more drawn to a call to action when it is engaging and aesthetically pleasing. I thought it would be difficult to create such amazing photos, but with Canva it is super easy. I currently use the free version, and it is amazing. I use Canva to create ALL of the graphic designs for my blog and social media accounts. The more I use it, the better I get at it. I use it to create all of my Pinterest, Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook graphics as well as the featured images and thumbnails on my blog. Eventually I would love to use Adobe InDesign, Illustrator, and Photoshop but it is quite expensive, until I am ready for that upgrade Canva does the job!
- PicMonkey: This is another photo editor/ graphic design creator website. I don’t use it as much as I use Canva, but I use it when I need to resize a photo, like the headshot on my blog to make it circular, or create a collage. If you hit Edit at the top you can use it for free.
Tools To Help You Grow Your Blog:
- Building A Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook: Remember when I said it is important to invest in education so you can grow your business? Well, this eBook really helped me understand everything I needed to know as a new blogger. I decided to purchase an eBook to learn about how I can create, cultivate, and expand my blog into a business, and Abby’s book is definitely worth it. She is an experienced blogger that shares tons of tips on how to become a successful blogger, and most of the things I know today I would not have known if I did not read her eBook! She is so generous with her knowledge, and I really appreciated that. She recently added a course you can follow online and a section of her book that is specifically devoted to new bloggers!
- Streamline Your Side Hustle– If you are like me then you love to blog, but it is not your full time job. In the first couple months of my journey, my biggest concern was figuring out how to balance this new hustle. How do I balance dance, school, work, and blogging. I knew it was not impossible, but it was not always easy either. I came across Erin‘s book, and the title immediately caught my attention. Erin is huge on organization and productivity, and she gives great tools to whip any busy blogger in shape. (click on the book below to learn more!)
- Google Analytics: This is probably THE best free tool ever! If you don’t have Google Analytics yet get it right now! You can track everything like page views, most popular mosts, and which social media accounts/ websites get you the most traffic.
- BoardBooster: PINTEREST. PINTEREST. PINTEREST. I am sure you have heard, or you will hear now that Pinterest is a gold mine for bloggers. Pinterest is not just a social media network, but it is a search engine. The same way people search google for topics, is how people search Pinterest for inspiration and education. It’s great! I love Pinterest as a blogger because I can find an article on any topic I need help with. Boardbooster is a great scheduling source for Pinterest. Scheduling tools are great because you don’t have to manually pin all of your posts. You can schedule your posts or other people’s posts using its campaigns or scheduler. You will find that as a blogger scheduling posts across all social media platforms will help you save time and drive traffic to your blog! Tailwind ,Hootsuite, CoSchedule are also great scheduling tools. (I read Erika’s How To Use Board Booster blog post to help me understand BoardBooster, and it was so helpful!)
- Buffer: Buffer is another amazing tool I use to schedule your posts across all of your social media accounts. You schedule in advance when you want to send your posts out, and Buffer will do the rest for you. Buffer also tracks analytics, so you can see how your posts are doing.
- Mailchimp: Something you will keep hearing is to grow your email list! Everyone says social media is great to drive traffic to your blog, but it is constantly changing and it is not in our control. Building your email list is important because it is only thing we have control over. Mail chimp is great for beginners because they have a free version, which I used to use, and once your subscribers past 2000, you will have to upgrade. If you haven’t started to build your email list, Start Now!
- ConvertKit I currently use Convert, and I love it. I wanted to send out weekly newsletters, set up a welcome series/ email course, and have automated emails, and it was all so simple with ConvertKit. You can create as many forms as you want to pull people’s emails from your site and include a content upgrade with every form. I have different forms for different blog posts, content upgrades, and courses. I love the sequence feature because I use it for my email course: The Ultimate Guide To Managing Your Finances in 2017. It is great feature to send multiple emails to your subscribers if you want to do a series. Automations was extremely important to me because it makes emailing so much easier! You can tag different groups of subscribers or create segment if you want to email a specific group of subscribers.
- ThriveThemes: I used to hear a lot about LeadPages, which creates awesome landing pages, but it is too pricey for me right now. I decided to start with Thrive Landing Pages because the price was affordable and I loved all the videos on the site that made it look so simple to use. I use Thrive Landing Pages for all of the landing pages on my blog. Landing Pages are great to promote courses or products because it directs your audience attention straight to the source without the distractions of a sidebar or header, and you can customize them anyway you want.
- Evernote: I liked to write all of my posts in Evernote because it keeps all of my posts in one place. I keep my blog mission, bio, categories, and posts all in Evernote. Evernote syncs on all devices so you can start writing post on your computer and then continue later in the day on your phone. I also write all my weekly newsletters on Evernote first before I transfer it to ConvertKit, so I have a copy of all of my newsletters.
- Izea: Of course our number one goal is to share our amazing content with the world, but why not make money while doing it? I love creating a business online because there is room for all of us to make money, and there are constantly new platforms on the come up for us to make money on! Are you unsure of how to connect with brands? Create an account on Izea, and it will merge that gap for you! Now you can be on your way to making money with sponsored posts.
- Amazon Affiliates: Who doesn’t use Amazon now in some way or another? So, why not optimize on it and become a partner with Amazon.
There is more out there than this (for example there are multiple plugins you can install that are a great asset to your blog), but I think this is a great list to start out with. Remember, as much as we love to be independent individuals, we have to know when to accept help from others. One doesn’t become a successful blogger overnight, but with the right tools and education, we can all be on our way to the top!
Hope this was a helpful list! Please comment with any other resources you love to use!