Blogging Tools and Resources to Launch & Maintain a Professional Blog
Sharing the valuable blogging resources and tools I use for my two blogs and online business. These are tools I personally use today and highly recommend – therefore feel free to ask questions in the comments 🙂
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Setting Up A Blog
Hover | Domain Names. I have used Hover to purchase the domains for both of my websites, plus websites I might want to launch in the future. They are a reputable company with competitive pricing. You simply enter the name you wish, i.e. ‘myblogisawesome’ and it will show you what’s available. Price range: $12.99 – $15.99 to own the domain name for 1 year. Get $2 off your first purchase with this link.
Siteground | Website Hosting. The main reason I use Siteground is for their customer service and strong technical skills to help me with anything. Their live chat is fast and the technicians will walk you through EVERYTHING. Pricing: Starts at $3.95 US a month for one website. Learn more about Siteground hosting here.
Pretty Darn Cute Design | WordPress Themes. A theme is your website design. It’s responsible for the overall look and feel of your site from the layout of the pages to your fonts. I have used Pretty Darn Cute Design themes for my two websites. Pricing. Themes range from $50 to $75 US. Have a look at the themes here.
StudioPress | Genesis Framework. This is the technology behind your WordPress.org site. Many premium themes (including mine) run on the Genesis Framework. It’s SEO optimized, turnkey responsive designs for cross browser compatibility, automatic updates, airtight security and more. If you purchase a premium theme from Pretty Darn Cute (above) or other reputable theme designers the majority is built on Genesis Framework which you need to purchase separately – Learn more here.
Chapter 2 Creative | Logo Designs. I have worked with Corey at Chapter 2 Creative to design my logos for Full Circle Digital and Put The Kettle On. She is fantastic to work with and develops creative solutions to help you have a professional looking brand.
Autumn Lane Designs | Logo Designs. Before I worked with Corey (above) I created a placeholder logo for Full Circle Digital. Their pricing is very good – logos from $17 US. They provide hands-on, professional service and have 1100 ‘premade’ logo designs that you can customize for your website. Check out their affordable logo designs here.
- Check out the legal template shop here and get 15% off with my promo code: Ridley15
- Learn more about legal guidelines for your blog in my Interview with Mariam (lawyer & blogger).
I’m not listing all of my WordPress plugins, but I am listing the plugins I think love and wouldn’t want to live without!
Yoast SEO | SEO. The Yoast SEO plugin gives you pointers within your WordPress blog post on how to make your content more readable and SEO friendly. I highly recommend it solely for the purpose of giving you tips and the format it provides to add your alt text, meta description, Facebook and Twitter descriptions. Definitely a helpful tool.
WP Tasty Pins | SEO & Pinterest Optimization. I purchased the WP Tasty Pins plugin for $29 to make it easier for me to add the Pin description when uploading an image, instead of having to use html code. You can also disable certain images from being pinned in your blog post. It’s a handy tool that saves a bunch of time! Learn about WP Tasty Pins features here.
Shareaholic | Social Share Plugins. Using the right sharing plugin is essential to make it easy for your readers to share your content. I really like Shareaholic. The main reason I went with Shareaholic is I changed my website from HTTP to HTTPS and Shareaholic allows you to keep all your share counts – adding up both the HTTP and HTTPS number. If you don’t have this your numbers will go back down to zero when you switch over. I’m also a fan of the customization they offer with their sharing buttons. Create a free account to get started.
Making Money | Affiliate Marketing Programs
When you sign up to this affiliate company you have access to promote thousands of different products and companies. This is ideal when you want to write a post about gift ideas or share some key blogging resources like Tailwind, PicMonkey and Grammarly
If you want to promote products on Etsy, you must sign up to Awin. Awin is the exclusive partner to Etsy for affiliate marketing.
If you are interested in sharing other bloggers ebooks or digital products SendOwl is a great place to start. This is a perfect strategy if you have taken a course or bought a digital product you love and you want to tell others about it (and get paid a commission to do so)! Even if you don’t write about the content in your blog you can share these products in blogging Facebook groups.
No matter what your blog content is about Ultimate Bundles will have amazing content for you to promote and make 40% commission on every sale. These bundles are essentially huge bundles of eBooks and other resources for a heavily discounted price. For example, a productivity bundle worth over $1500 (if you were to purchase each eBook separately) is sold for just $37 for a limited time.
What’s cool is there are all sorts of bundles you can promote such as: productivity, blogging, meal planning, healthy living, herbs & essential oils, photography and so much more – all launched at different time throughout the year.
There are different affiliate programs for each country. I recommend signing up to the country where most of your audience lives. You can find this data in Google Analytics. *For example – I live in Canada, but I have my main Amazon Associates account set up as US. Once you are approved, you can then apply to Amazon’s One Link program. This basically means that you provide one affiliate link (in your blog post), but if someone outside of the country clicks it will redirect to their local Amazon site. This just means you will still get commission outside of your primary ‘Amazon country’.
MailerLite. This is the email marketing program I use for both of my websites. The account is free up to 1000 subscribers and after that, the pricing is very competitive. The email tools and setup of Mailerlite is also very easy to implement. Learn more and sign up for free here.
101 Fill in the Blank email templates. If you have trouble trying to figure out what to say to your email subscribers this is for you. These easy email templates are a lifesaver with 12 sequences, 26 solo emails and 5 subject lines per email. Get $20 off with my coupon code: FULLCIRCLE
Social Media Scheduling Tools
Tailwind is an approved vendor for Pinterest and Instagram and the preferred choice to schedule content by most bloggers. You can start a free 30 pin trial and if you want to upgrade to the paid version (which I use) I have a $15 discount for you! Start your tailwind free trial or get $15 off Tailwind Plus (paid account).
Buffer is designed to manage accounts in social networks, by providing the means for a user to schedule posts to Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and Linkedin. I personally use Buffer to schedule all of my Twitter content, which helps me release content at optimal times.
SmarterQueue works with your favourite social media networks to schedule your posts, analyse competitors and find great content to share. Try their 30 day free trial– no credit card needed.
MiloTree is a smart popup and an extremely helpful tool that converts your blog visitors into social media followers and email subscribers. Try MiloTree free for 30 Days.
Creative / Graphic Design Tools
Canva | Graphic Design Tool. No matter where you are in your graphic design experience, Canva is a fantastic tool that allows you to quickly create images for your blog posts and social media accounts. They have a free or a premium account called ‘Canva for Work’. I personally use Canva for Work as it allows me to save custom fonts, set up folders for my work, get access to premium fonts and images. Saying that the Canva free account is a great place to start.
Pinterest Templates. I offer a variety of Pinterest templates which give you a hand if you are looking to save time, need a little help designing high performing pins, or if you just want to release more Pins to Pinterest with new designs. Check out these 10 Feminine Pin Templates and these 25 Pinterest Templates. If you’d like to try some free Pinterest templates sign up here…
Stock Photography. Check out the top stock photo sites I use: 17 of the Best Free Stock Photo Sites for Bloggers
*Note: Check out the free graphic design mini-course in the courses/eBooks section below…
Blogging Courses & eBooks
5 Day Traffic & Monetization Mini Challenge | Free Course. Five days of simple tasks to increase your traffic & income! It takes just 15 minutes a day and you’ll come out with tips you can implement to make an impact. Click here to learn more & enroll in the course for free!
Affiliate Marketing for Bloggers | eBook. I loved the strategies Carly shares that really help you write blog posts in a way that will encourage way more clicks on your affiliate links. She also goes deep into how important email marketing is with generating affiliate sales. I highlight recommend everything in this course! Grab the course info here.
Easy On Page SEO | eBook. This course says it’s for beginners, however, I disagree as SEO moves so quickly I strongly believe that anyone taking this course will learn a lot and be able to make numerous changes to optimize their website for SEO. I loved how easy this eBook is to navigate and the strategies used to get started with right away. The course is currently on sale for $1o off! More details here.
Adventures in SEO | Course. Extremely detailed course and substantial online training with videos, worksheets and impactful tips. The materials are focused on SEO for Google and Pinterest and give amazing tactics you can implement to make Google and Pinterest work together to drive even more traffic to your website. Click here to join the waiting list. The next available course opens in August 2019.
Pinteresting Strategies | eBook. 30 lessons that walk through how Carly, the course creator gets over 200K page views a month from Pinterest! This course provides comprehensive information on how to make manual pinning work best for you. Learn more about Pinteresting Strategies here.
Make sure to save this blogging resources page as I’ll be updating it whenever I make new discoveries!
Let’s connect on social media!
Related Blogging Resources:
- How to Design High Performing Pinterest Pins
- How to Make Money Blogging – Tips for Beginners
- Improve Your Website or Blog with these Free Feedback Tools
- 10 Examples of Facebook Posts to Share on Your Business Page
- Best Facebook Groups for Bloggers – Your Key to Traffic Growth
- How to Grow Your Instagram. Advice from the Experts.