When I first started blogging there was very little information out there on how to blog as a business. I spent hours researching online and following successful bloggers to see what tools they were using. Sometimes they were forthcoming with their information and other times I had to ask or do some stalking.
I knew that using the best tools, resources, platforms and providers would go a long way in propelling my business to be successful.
I’d love to share my own personal favorite blogging resources with you today. It’s a small way I can give back to new bloggers that are trying to find their way in the blogging community!
My Top 4 Blogging Resources
Golly, I wish all of these resources had been around when I started blogging. I have some amazing blogging friends that have graciously shared their knowledge in different areas of blogging. To have them all listed out in front of you? – well, it’s a gold mine! Once you get your blog set up, you’ll want to begin diving into these various aspects of running your new business well.
- Elite Blogging Academy – Do you wish there was a college degree for blogging? Well, you’re in luck! The TOP notch program for learning in-depth about building your blog as a business is right here. Ruth does an incredible job of covering all of the aspect of blogging and sharing the ins and outs of how she grew her blog to a booming business that supports her family. EBA is only open for enrollment a few times per year. Sign up for the waiting list to be notified when the next one will open.
- Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers – when Tasha realized that she was making $1,500+ each month from her affiliate marketing strategy, she started to ask around to see if other bloggers were finding the same success. To her surprise they weren’t! So, she spilled her secrets in this fantastic master course. My personal affiliate sales have grown by 224% since I started implementing the tactics Tasha lays out in her easy-to-understand course. (Read more here.) The master course was revamped in mid-2018, so it’s very current!
- How to Style Your Brand – This workbook has everything you need to know to create a distinctive brand identity. It will walk you through all of the aspects of styling your brand. I highly recommend working through this at the beginning of your blog. And then revisiting it every year after that! It’s that good. Her latest book, Brand Brilliance, her next book, came out in May 2017! It looks like a fantastic tool!
- Getting Noticed – This book is AHHHH-mazing for cutting to the chase of how to present yourself on social media. No fluff and straight to the point. My kind of book! I wish I’d had this book YEARS ago! I’m applying her principles to all of my businesses, not just blogging, so it’s incredibly helpful. The tagline is: A No-Nonsense Guide to Standing Out and Selling More for Mompreneurs Who ‘Ain’t Got Time for That’! Exactly what I need.
Recommended Blog Hosting
- SiteGround: If you are just starting out, I recommend starting with SiteGround. They are inexpensive and I’ve never had an issue in my 4 years of using them on a smaller blog I run. When your page views get beyond 100,000 page views a month, you will need to switch to a more robust host. But until then, SiteGround works great!
- BigScoots: In November 2018 I was forced to find a new web host because my old host was shutting down. I heard nothing but good things about BigScoots. They were recommended by my web tech guy and my SEO tech guy, so I knew I would be in good hands. And I have loved them ever since I switched. They are affordable, wonderful (& quick) customer service and a fabulous host. They’ve been nothing but terrific!
Recommended E-mail Service Provider
- ConvertKit – I started using ConvertKit in February 2016 and wish I had just started out with them! Your e-mail list is your most valuable asset, so trying to save pennies by trying out a “free” e-mail service provider will only slow you down in the long run, in my opinion.
- The great thing about using ConvertKit from the start is that you will be able to segment and tailor your list from the beginning. And that’s invaluable. Some of the other services that offer free e-mail subscriptions up to a certain number get abused because they are free. This means that Google is sometimes more suspicious of the e-mails sent through them. So using ConvertKit will allow your e-mails to be more deliverable, which is awesome for your growing business! And honestly who wants to fool with having to move e-mail subscribers when you reach a certain point. I would rather you focus on building your e-mail list as big as possible as quickly as possible so that your business will grow!
- As you grow in your business you will learn about things like opt-in forms and rules and automations. These are so easy to create in ConvertKit. I love how easy it is to keep my e-mail list organized and growing with ConvertKit.
Recommended Social Media Scheduling
- Tailwind – This is the best Pinterest scheduler out there and is the ONLY one that is Pinterest approved. I use tailwind for schedule my own pins as well as the pins of others. The new SmartLoop feature is the best out there for keeping your evergreen content pinning year ’round. You can also use it for scheduling Instagram posts. But I have switched over to using Plann (next up!) for scheduling my Instagram, content.
- PLANN – I have tried so many Instagram schedules over the years and have finally found one that checks off all of the boxes for me. I LOVE this service because it is budget-friendly, they offer a visual planner so you can see how your new posts will flow aesthetically with your feed and there are unlimited saved hashtag sets. The analytics are super helpful too. That only touched the tip of the iceberg. I use the basic plan for about $4 a month and it’s worth so much more than that! LOVE me some Plann!
Recommended Photography Help
- Camera & Lenses – Taking beautiful photos is a huge part of home decor, food, crafts and DIY blogging. Without pretty pictures, it’s hard to share your awesome content on social media. I started out with a little point and shoot camera and quickly realized that I needed something a little more substantial. I highly recommend the Canon T5i. It’s an investment, but it will do wonders for your photography. I also have the 50 mm lens, which will give you the beautiful detailed shots and the blurry (bokeh) background.
- If you want to learn more about how to use your camera, I love the Photographing Interiors course by my friend Rachel at Maison de Pax.
- Photo Editing – It took me a long time to figure out how to take a decent picture and even longer to figure out how to edit them correctly. But I will tell that Adobe’s Lightroom editing software has been a life SAVER. At one point I individually edited and uploaded each and every photo from my shoots. But now, in Lightroom, I can edit them and upload them all in one whole batch. Saves me no less than 5 hours per post – I’m not joking! I learned everything I know about Lightroom from my friend Beth at Unskinny Boppy. The Lazy Girl’s Guide to Lightroom will teach you all of the shortcuts Beth has learned over the years to take photos for her blog. (She’s an amazing photographer!) And I know you’ll learn a ton from her, just like I did.
Recommended Graphics & Stock Photo Sites
- Creative Market – I love, love, love this site for stock photos and graphics! Most of the free printables that I’ve created have used graphics from Creative Market. They are fantastic!
- SC StockShop – This is another great place to find awesome stock photos for Pinterest graphics when you don’t have your own photography to use.
- 123rf – One more great place to purchase stock photographs at a good price!
- Haven Blog Conference – For the first year and a half of blogging, I felt like I was blogging on an island. Then I went to Haven in the summer of 2013 and met my people! Fellow bloggers who totally get me and my passion for blogging. It was an amazing, life-changing experience. I’ve met some wonderful friends through blogging, which is absolutely, hands-down the best part of this business. If you are ready to have your mind blown, I highly recommend Haven. Read my recaps here, here, here and here.
Recommended Business Podcasts
- The Storybrand Podcast with Donald Miller
- The Goaldigger Podcast with Jenna Kutcher
- Dais Podcast with Rachel Hollis
- How I Built This with Guy Raz
I hope this helps you on your journey. Let me know if you have any questions about any of this, or if something doesn’t make sense. 🙂 I’m happy to help point you in the right direction. And I’ll update this list if I find any more awesome resources!