Listed below are the tools and resources that I personally use to run my blog. If I find an incredible new tool, I will update this list!
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Hosting & Domain
BlueHost I signed up for a 12 month hosting plan that included a free domain and I couldn’t be happier with their service. It is so easy to sign up and they are quick to respond if you need customer support. There are 3 different plans to choose from . They currently have a special price starting at $2.75/mo! You can have your blog setup in 3 steps.
StudioPress gives you the Genesis theme, and is THE theme to use for any blog or business. Genesis is one of the most compatible themes out there that is also one of the most recognized by Google. The Genesis theme is the parent theme, which is the backbone of your website.
Restored 316 Designs is a perfect place to find your theme. These beautiful child themes are purchased separately and are responsible for your site looking customized and unique. They are applied on top of the Genesis theme. I am currently using the Tasteful theme.
Fiverr is great resource for projects you need help on. With projects starting at $5, I can get assistance with customizing a layout or editing an image size. Fiverr has nearly unlimited options to help you make your site the way you want it. Get your first $5 gig for free!
Google Adsense This is the first company you should use to to earn an income from your site. It’s easy to join once your ready to start monetizing. I would wait until you have a couple hundred page views a month before applying to have a better chance at getting approved. Payout is made when $100 is reached.
Amazon Affiliates when you sign up to become an affiliate, Amazon gives you a special link to products you choose to market on your site. Each time someone buy using that link, you get a percentage of that profit (even if they end up buying something else). The percentage of profits are between 4-6% depending on volume of items.
MediaVine is my current ad network. You need to have a minimum of 25,000 sessions to sign up. Highly recommended over Adsense as their RPM’s are higher. Once your traffic reaches the minimum, switch to Mediavine. It quadrupled my adversing income and they have an incredible support team to assist with anything you need.
PicMonkey is in my opinion, the easiest image editing program to use. It is what I use to do most of my editing. They have a free or paid plan to choose from. I highly recommend the $5/mo paid plan to access the library of extra fonts, layouts and editing options. PicMonkey allows you to cancel at anytime, with no fee.
Canva is another program I use to edit images. They have a free or paid plan option. Canva provides a variety of great design options to use for social media, which is what I mainly use it for.
Organization & Automation Tools
BoardBooster This is my favorite Pinterest Scheduling tool to use for my blog. It saves me HUGE amounts of time by letting me schedule all my pin in advance. BoardBooster should be the first thing you sign up for when you start to use Pinterest for your blog or business.
MailChimp is what I use to log new subscriber information and sending monthly newsletters. Its free and one of the easiest systems to use when you new to blogging. An email list is very important in the first stages of your blog, especially if you intend to sell your own products/services in the future.
ConvertKit I’m still experimenting with ConvertKit, as MailChimp is my main resource for capturing subscriber information right now. So far ConvertKit has everything and MORE that I am really excited about trying out.
Buffer saves me so much time by letting me share my latest post across multiple social media platforms at the same time. I like using it for Twitter, Facebook, Google+ and Pinterest. Both Twitter and Facebook can be created in one screen instead of individually. There is a free trial period, after which you will need to pay $10/month to continue using the Pinterest function of the program.
These are the only two blogging books I have read when it comes to blogging. I also still refer to both of them when I am trying to brainstorm or need a refresher on how to do something.
Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook by Abby Lawson. This digital handbook has 200+ pages of valuable content that covers everything a blogger would need to get started and grow their blog. She even has step-by-step video tutorials that are incredibly helpful. There are 3 different course options to choose from starting at $25. This guide is well worth the money!
Bonus: The program also includes a Facebook mastermind group that you get access to once you purchase the handbook. It has opened a whole new community of blogger friends that are on the same journey as you. You throw out a question and you have other bloggers there to help you.