Blogging can seem so overwhelming sometimes, especially when you’re just starting out. If it weren’t for all of the amazing tools and resources out there, my blog would definitely not be up and running today.
I’ve gotten a few questions about what specific tools I use to run my blog, so I’ve put together a list of helpful resources and tools out that make my blogging life a little easier (and hopefully yours, too!).
These are all resources that I have either used before, am currently using, or have been highly recommended among the blogging community. If you’re feeling lost in your blog, these are all amazing tools that can help you!
Don’t have a blog yet? Read this helpful guide!
Whether you’re thinking about starting a blog, or are in the very early stages of your newly-formed baby blog, these tools are essential and I highly recommend them!
How to Start a Blog
- How to Start a Successful Blog and Make Money– If you haven’t started a blog yet, start with this post. If you’re feeling a little overwhelmed and unsure of how to actually tackle starting your blog, this step-by-step guide will go over everything you need to know, like deciding what you want to blog about, how to set up your hosting account, and how to install WordPress.
- Bluehost– If you’ve already read this post, you know I love Bluehost and it’s the only hosting site I’ve used. If you decide to go through Bluehost, you gain access to 24/7 customer support, a FREE domain, 1-click install of WordPress, and a 30-day money-back guarantee! Click my link to get Bluehost for as low as $3.95 a month!
- Siteground– I’ve heard pretty good things about Siteground, although I personally haven’t used it before. Siteground tends to be a little bit cheaper than Bluehost, but I don’t think the quality is quite the same.
These two hosting sites are the only ones that I can really attest to being great hosting websites for a new blog. Still unsure about whether you should go self-hosted? You can read my thoughts on that in this post.
As far as website design goes, I’m not a big fan of spending crazy amounts of money on a theme. With that being said, however, if you’re looking to make your blog a business, I don’t think the free themes on WordPress really do anyone justice.
For my blog, I bought this theme on Etsy for about $25, and I love it! I think that’s a pretty decent price, and it was totally worth it to me. There are plenty of places to find a beautiful theme, although some are more expensive than others. Here’s my current fav: Hello You Designs
Again, some are more expensive than others, it just depends on what you want out of your blog. Before choosing a theme, I’d definitely look into the brand you want to create for your blog first.
Grow Your Audience
If you’re looking to increase the traffic coming to your blog, these tools are game-changers. Seriously, my blog couldn’t survive without some of these!
- Tailwind– Tailwind is probably the most useful tool I’ve ever used for growing my audience. Seriously, if you’re looking to increase your page views (and therefore also increase income) Tailwind is a great place to start. It’s basically a Pinterest scheduler, and helps your pins reach more people. If you’re unsure, you can use my link and get a free trial! (They don’t take your credit card info or anything, so you don’t have to worry about being charged!)
- Boardbooster– I’ve only just started using Boardbooster’s free trial (click my link for 100 free pins!), but I’ve seen so many people use it and it seems to be a great tool. I’ve heard that Tailwind is better at increasing your reach on Pinterest, but that doesn’t mean Boardbooster isn’t good!
- Asana– This is something I actually stumbled upon thanks to Krista from Reroute Lifestyle. In this post, she mentions how Asana helps her keep track and schedule her posts, so I though I’d give it a shot, and I’m already loving it! The calendar feature is the only thing I’ve tried so far, but it’s so simple to use and a pretty great organizational tool!
- Mailchimp– This is a great site if you’re just starting your mailing list. It’s free to sign up, although eventually you do have to start paying for it, once you’ve got more subscribers. But again, it’s a great tool when you’re just starting out.
- Mailerlite– Mailerlite is another option for an email subscriber list. This one is much more user-friendly (and again, it’s free to sign up!)
I’ve actually got an account with both of these companies, and I definitely like Mailerlite much better. It’s just an easier program, in my opinion.
Monetize Your Blog
If you feel that you’re ready to take that next step in your blog, whether you’re looking to earn a side income or start a full-time business, these resources are a great place to start.
- Amazon Associates– Most of my affiliate income comes from Amazon. My favorite part of this program is that it’s super easy to use (some affiliate programs are not so simple). All you have to do is find a product you want to include in a post, get the link for it, and include it into your post. Easy peasy!
- Awin– There is a $5 fee to join this program, but it is credited back to you. This is the affiliate program used for Etsy.
- ShopStyle– Okay, this one is really cool and great for fashion bloggers.
While I’m currently a member of these programs, I haven’t actually started a campaign for any of them because honestly, I think the best way to collaborate with brands is to contact them directly. But if you’ve got a pretty good following on a few different platforms, it’s an easy way to make money and there are tons of options!
- Etsy– At the moment, Etsy is the only source that I use to sell any products/services. You’ve probably heard of Etsy before, but it may surprise you what you can sell here. For example, in my shop I sell bullet journal printables. You can also sell WordPress themes, branding kits, etc.
Great photography is pretty much essential to having a successful blog. Even if you’re photography skills aren’t the best, you can still use stock photos! Here’s everything I use:
- Nikon Coolpix Camera– Honestly, I haven’t fooled a lot with photography on my blog (yet). It’s something I definitely want to work on, but for everything I do take photos of, I use this camera. There are a lot of high-quality cameras out there, and this one is pretty nice without being too expensive.
- Canva– Canva is a free software that I use for pretty much everything photo-related. This is what I use to create pinnable images, cute graphics, and even freebie opt-in items!
- Unsplash– This is where I get a lot of my stock photos for my blog. Occasionally I’ve used some other stock photos (like from Blog Boss Babe, which I’m not currently a part of anymore) but typically this site has what I need. I really like the vibe this site has, and its pictures! Great for minimalist bloggers.
Helpful E-books, E-courses, and Other Learning Resources
- Sticky Blogging Formula– Of every free blogging course I have taken, this one has really stuck (no pun intended) with me the most. If you’re looking to create content that readers cannot get enough of, and keep coming back to, this is the course for you! I’ve
- How to Make Your First Affiliate Sale in 24 Hours– If you’re looking to make more money from your blog, this is a great tool to use! This e-book goes over everything you need to know to make your first affiliate sale, and bonus- it’s super affordable! Someone described it as costing ‘less than one date night’ and it’s so true!
I’ll definitely update this as I find more helpful resources! Hopefully this is a great starting point for you whether you’re just starting out as a blogger or have been blogging for years and want to really grow your blog. Be sure to contact me if you’ve got any questions!
What’s your favorite blogging tool? Tailwind is my best friend at the moment!
This post may contain affiliate links. This just means that I may receive a small commission for products/services bought through my links. This does not increase the price for you, and in some cases it may even save you money! For more information, click here.