Resources and tools for blogging
Since I launched this blog, I have learned such a great deal about blogging and I’m so glad I finally took the plunge and got it going.
Recently, I started earning a side income through this blog. You can read my recent income report here.
Blogging is not hard, but I found the time before I launched this blog the hardest.
There was so much to think about in terms of choosing hosting, themes, social media marketing and much more (along with the all-important task of actually writing content).
So, if you’re about to start a blog or just launched one recently, THIS is for YOU.
I’m going to be sharing all of the resources that have helped this blog to grow (faster than I expected) and to go from a brand new blog to a profitable online biz.
You will notice, I have also included other options you might be interested in based on my knowledge of the popular services and resources for bloggers.
And of course, I’ve also listed FREE products and services you can use because I know investing financially as a beginner blogger is tough when you don’t know how it will go.
As always, I’m here to answer any questions and help you out in any way that I can. Enjoy!
This post contains affiliate links. See full disclosure policy here.
Platforms & Theme Frameworks
If you haven’t already, the first thing you will want to do is choose a platform for your site. WordPress.org is my number one choice for building a self-hosted site.
Pin It for Later!
If you want managed WordPress hosting (not having to worry about updating and maintaining your website yourself) with no downtime whatsoever, then WP Engine will do this but it is much pricier than the options below.
I started off with Bluehost because I found it to be one of the most popular hosting services at the time that I was looking for hosting.
I have recently heard some bloggers complaining that Bluehost’s customer service is poor. I have had a few issues addressed by Bluehost through their 24/7 live chat support, and to date, they’ve been super helpful and prompt. So, I speak highly of them.
I also love the fact that Bluehost gives you:
- a FREE domain
- 1-click WordPress install
- 24/7 live chat support
- 30-day money back guarantee
Another reason I signed up with Bluehost was for their super cheap pricing, in comparison to other hosting providers such as Siteground.
Plus, I did not want to invest more than a few dollars a month when I first started out, because I just didn’t know whether I would enjoy blogging and stick with it at the time.
A lot of people recommend Siteground for their site speed and great support. They charge about $4.95 per month in the first year, which is slightly pricier compared to Bluehost. Siteground is my backup plan if things go sour with Bluehost. But for now, I say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.
Another option that’s even cheaper than Bluehost is iPage. They have good reviews and word of mouth referrals. So you could check them out if you are looking for the most affordable hosting option possible without compromising on quality.
These three web hosts are the ones I can confidently recommend at the moment.
As mentioned earlier, going cheap is not always a good idea, and while we’re on the topic, personally I would stay away from very cheap hosts such as GoDaddy.
Well, the fun part starts here. Choosing a great theme is one way to create the unique look of your website and to customize everything as you wish.
Currently, I use Simply Charming Theme by Restored316 Designs, which I absolutely love.
Restored 316 have a huge range of WordPress themes that are mobile responsive (you want that!) and plenty of options also for those looking for a clean, feminine design.
Stock photos & graphic design
High-quality images are a must-have for promoting your content on social media, especially for Pinterest.
Eye candy pins along with quality content on Pinterest is like having a magic wand for increasing blog traffic (seriously!).
And to do that, you need great images, your choice of fonts and a little bit of work to find your favourite look and design.
Here are my recommendations (free as well as paid). You can also use your smartphone or digital camera if you are good at taking photos and editing them. I don’t have the time to do that, so stock photos it is!
Affiliate Marketing Programs
These are the affiliate programs I absolutely love and the first three I have listed are suitable for almost every niche.
These affiliate programs are all free and easy to join. Clicking on the links below will take you straight to the corresponding affiliate sign up page.
Email Marketing Systems
Creating an email list should be one of the top 10 things on your to-do list as a newbie blogger. I wish I had started an email list right from the start. It’s such a great way to learn about your readers and connect with them.
I use MailChimp at the moment, which is free until you hit 2000 subscribers and you get 12000 emails per month with the free level. They’ve also recently introduced landing pages, and that is really awesome my friends.
The only problem I am aware of is that if you decide to switch to ConvertKit later on, it’s a pain to transfer your established subscribers from MailChimp to ConvertKit.
And then there is Aweber, which is another very popular email marketing solution. If you are looking for a cheaper option with the perks of a paid email system, Aweber is a really great choice. Click here to check out their pricing.
Pin Scheduling for Pinterest
If there is one thing I have learned, it’s that as a blogger, you wear so many hats. It’s quite hard to find time to do everything in a day, and scheduling your pins on Pinterest is one way to save time on promoting your blog.
I went from getting about 40K monthly views on Pinterest to 340k per month within 2 months. Yep, it blew me away! And as a result, my blog traffic also saw a huge increase.
With a new blog, you really only get traffic from social media in the beginning until you start getting organic traffic (which can take 6 months to a year). I get 80% of my traffic from Pinterest so I wholeheartedly invest in all things Pinterest at the moment.
While you’re here, the best tip I can give you for increasing Pinterest traffic (and clickthrough rate) is to find out how your pins and boards are performing.
Then, use that information to guide what kinds of pins you should be pinning and which boards you should prioritize.
One of the best features of Tailwind is their detailed statistics to help you analyze your Pinterest account. BoardBooster has similar analysis tools, though I find they’re not as thorough as Tailwind.
Other amazing tools I recommend
Yoast SEO – This plugin has a free version and it’s an awesome tool for writing neat SEO-friendly content. It makes my life so much easier.
Social Warfare – Social media sharing is a must if you want to boost your blog traffic. Social Warfare is a great plugin that allows you to create attractive social media icons and buttons making it easier to share your amazing content.
Grammarly – It’s free and very useful even if your grammar and spelling are out of this world. Sometimes, I’m just exhausted and those typos are inevitable, so I love Grammarly.
And that’s it for now. I hope you found my roundup of the ultimate resources and tools for new and aspiring bloggers helpful in some way.
I will be updating this in a few weeks, so please check back then for more resources.
Don’t forget to subscribe to my email list for more blogging tips and access to the Happy Nifty Life exclusive library for bloggers.