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Okay loves, I have had quite a few people reaching out to me, asking about how I stared blogging, what I used for hosting, what tools I recommend to get started, etc.
I figured the easiest way to keep answering these questions, is to have a post that I can direct people to when they are reaching out to me with questions. Having a post which lays it all out clearly, and in an easy to understand manner, will be much easier for someone to follow along, rather than me trying to explain everything in Facebook messages or email.
What I am going to do is break it down into categories so it is easy to follow, or to scan through if you are looking for something specific! I hope this is a helpful post for my readers who are also starting their blogging journey!
**Please be aware that this post does contain some affiliate links. What that means is, when you click on certain links and make a purchase, I may receive a small commission. Please also know, I would never promote a product that I did personally enjoy or find helpful. For more information check out: A2A Disclaimers & Policies
DOMAIN + HOSTING
I personally use Bluehost for my website hosting. The reason I chose Bluehost was because they had a great deal on their annual price, you get a free domain name with your annual purchase, and they install WordPress and do all the technical stuff for you. It took me 15 minutes to get my website set up and running, and it was SO easy.
- Interested in starting a self-hosted WordPress blog? I recommend Bluehost. I even put together an easy to follow guide that shows you the exact steps you need to take to get set up! They also have a fantastic deal on right now!
Studio Press – I love Studio Press. They have such an amazing variety of themes for every niche and blog type. You can also purchase the Genesis Framework through Studio Press, which I highly recommend. The Genesis Framework makes it so easy to customize your theme, and make your blog uniquely yours. Once you have the Genesis Framework you can purchase amazing child themes which are only available with the Genesis Framework. All the themes have full customization and are search engine optimized.
- The theme I use on Adjusting to Adulthood is called Pretty Chic. You can purchase the framework + the pretty chic theme HERE
Restored 316 – This is my other go to website for beautiful themes. I love how feminine their themes are. All themes are also compatible with the Genesis Framework, and allow for customization.
HELPFUL RESOURCES, COURSES and GUIDES
Building a Framework – I cannot recommend this e-book enough if you are a new blogger. Abby Lawson lays out everything you need to know from picking your domain name to monetizing your blog. I love it because all the questions you will have over your first few months of blogging, are put together in one place. I still reference Building a Framework after 6 months of blogging! Totally worth the $25 I paid for the e-book. Check out all the details here.
Wonderlass – This blog has helped me so much on my blogging journey. Allison has a whole bunch of amazing FREE courses that will help you take your blog to the next level. to check out the courses, click here! I recently enrolled in the “Strong Brand Mini-course” and the workbook that comes with it is amazing!
Blog Inc. : Blogging for Passion, Profit, and to Create Community – A great book for any stage of blogging. I read this book when I began blogging, and found it to be rich with information and helpful knowledge. I ended up highlighting half the book and would definitely recommend it to new bloggers and experienced bloggers alike. Grab it HERE!
Canva – I love Canva for creating blog graphics and I actually use it for so much more as well. I created my Workbook “Twenty Something & Killin’ It” completely in Canva. They have a free option, or a paid option which has more features. I use the free version currently, and I find it great.
Pic Monkey – I love pic monkey, and I actually decided to invest in it recently because the variety of fonts is amazing. It is fairly cheap, and in my opinion worth the investment for amazing blog graphics. They do allow you a free trial to test out the product before purchasing.
Grammarly – Grammarly is an awesome website that involves a writing app ensuring everything you type is easy to read, effective, and mistake-free. As you type, Grammarly checks your text against grammar rules to insure your content is correct and grammar free! All you have to do is upload your document and Grammarly checks it and points out appropriate changes. I have just started using Grammarly and I am finding it so helpful!
List Building + E-mail
MailChimp – Mail Chimp is the e-mail provider I use for my newsletters and subscriber e-mails. I found them to be easy to use and they offer a free option for up to 2000 subscribers. I used the free option until very recently. I only upgraded to the $15 a month plan because I created my free e-mail course “Actually I can”, and I needed the Automation option for my course to run effortlessly. So, depending on what your needs are, they have various options to make keeping in touch with subscribers a breeze.
Sumo Me – Sumo Me was a game changer for building my email list. After I installed Sumo Me, my e-mail subscribers grew from about 100-150 to over 700. This is in a matter of about a month & a half. Sumo Me has customizable opt-in pop-up’s and I believe those are what increased my e-mail list so much. That is just one of the many amazing features Sumo Me has! They also have awesome social sharing buttons, and heat maps to show you where people are clicking on your blog. They have a free option and a premium paid option.
Google Analytics – Google Analytics allows you to track your page views, traffic, users, etc. easily and accurately. A must have tool for bloggers.
Yoast SEO – Yoast SEO is a must have tool. What this plugin does is create Search Engine Optimization for your blog posts, so that people are able to easily find your post when they do a web search. Yoast SEO makes it super easy to Optimize your blog for search engines, because they include a Key Word feature, and provide you with tips until your key word is the best it can be. Free & premium features available.
Board Booster – Board booster completely changed my Pinterest game. My Pinterest grew 120% in followers per month when I started using Board Booster. It is also a huge time saver because it will loop and schedule your pins, meaning you do not have to spend hours on Pinterest daily to see results. With my Pinterest growth, I also seen a huge increase in my Page Views on my blog! The best part is, you can begin with a free trial to see if it works for you, and if you want to continue using Board Booster, their plans starts at only $5 per month!!
Hootsuite – Hoostsuite is a scheduling tool that you can use to schedule your Tweets, Instagram Posts, and Facebook Posts. It is a huge time saver, and is super easy to use. It is a great way to ensure your active on social media without having to spend hours a day tweeting and posting.
BLOG INCOME TOOLS
Share A Shale – This is a great program to get started with if you’re a new blogger, but also equally as great for a seasoned blogger. How Share A Sale works is, you sign up, and then apply for the various merchants who work with Share A Sale. Then, once approved, you are able to post links or banners from the merchant, onto your blog. When people click the links and make a purchase, you receive a commission and are paid out by Share A Sale. It is super easy to use and has a ton of merchants to choose from!
Amazon Associates – I love amazon associates! This affiliate program allows you to post links on your blog to ANY product on amazon. When people click the link and purchase not only that specific product, but any product on Amazon, you receive a commission. The commissions are not the largest percentage, but if you utilize this tool properly, they can add up very quick!
Link Share – Similar to Share A Sale, Link Share is an amazing affiliate program that allows you to sign up for various partner merchants and earn commission’s from the links you include on your site. I just recently started using Link Share, but I am loving it so far!
Courses & Digital Products
Teachable – I used teachable to host my “Summer of Self Improvement” course. It is SO user-friendly and easy to use. You can build your course step by step on Teachable. They also make it super easy to build a sales page, webinar to promote your course, and they also take care of all of the payment details so you do not have to worry about any of that. If your planning on creating an online course, I highly recommend Teachable. They have both free & paid options.
Send Owl – Send own is great for selling digital products. All you have to do is upload your file, and set the price. You can also bundle products, create an affiliate program, and create discounts. Send Owl is very user-friendly and easy to use. It has a clean layout & dashboard, and is an inexpensive option to host the sales of your products. They literally do everything for you, once someone purchases your product, Send Own send the customer the download link. All you have to do is set it up, and your done. Try it out Here.
Well, there you have it! That is my ultimate list of blogging tools. I will continue to update the list as I find or use other tools to share with you.
What are your favorite blogging tools? What programs or plugin’s do you recommend? Leave me a comment below!