While you can get away with doing a lot of things on the cheap, there are some resources that you will need to invest in if you are going to take this online biz thing seriously. At the very least, you will need website hosting and a good theme.
There are some tools though that will help make running your website much easier such as automation tools, stock photos and organisational tools. Other resources are designed to help you figure out this online world much faster than if you were to Google everything such as ebooks and online courses. In this post, I go through the best resources that have helped me personally both with the running of my websites and the know-how behind them.
Please note that this post may contain affiliate links, this means that in the event of a sale I may make a small commission. Don’t worry, this won’t cost you any extra and I only promote products I have used personally and can standby 100%. Your support is appreciated!
The first thing that you need to do once you have decided to get into the Bloggin’ Game is to decide which web host provider you are going to go for. The two names that you will hear being thrown around will be Siteground and Bluehost. These are two on the most popular ones. I personally use Siteground but have also used Bluehost in the past.
Having your site self-hosted will make it much easier to personalise, monetise and grow your website in the long run.
Read More: Siteground vs Bluehost.
If you want your blog to look Slick and Professional you are going to need a paid theme. While there are many free themes out there, they just don’t cut the mustard when it comes to professionalism, customisation, speed and responsiveness. You can find many great themes out there if you do a quick Google Search (mind you don’t find yourself on a tangent looking at photos of Red Pandas instead).
However, I am going to save you the time (and the very real Panda searching threat) and point you in the direction of Bluchic. They have beautiful, feminine, clean, professional looking themes. I use the Isabelle theme installed on this website and love it.
Automation tools, well, automate your website. With these tools, you can ‘set and forget’ things such as social media posts, Pinterest, emails, blog posts and such forth. This cuts down the time you spend on your computer. Or at least, on the things you don’t like doing as much so it frees you up to do the more fun tasks. Like getting lost in the Google Vortex.
Automation Tools that you can use:
- Tailwind for Pinterest
- Planoly for Instagram
- The content calendar plugin on WordPress for blog posts
I love lists. In fact, I love lists so much I will often write a list for the lists I have to create.
- Trello is a free tool that allows you to be an Organisation Queen (or King), you can create cards, lists, collaborate with others. All your tasks in one organisational space.
- Evernote is a free note tool that you can take anywhere. Sync all your notes between your phone, computer and tablet and you’ll never lose a note again.
- All You Boo’s Goal Planner is a (another) free planner that will help you set your goals annnd slay them. Boom!
Ok, here’s the bit you really want to know, right? How to monetise your blog. There are a few tools around that help you monetise your website that wee bit easier.
- Send Owl is a site that you can sell your digital products from. It also enables you to set up an affiliate program so others can promote your awesome products as well
- You have probably heard of Amazon Affiliate Program, amiright? This affiliate program allows you to promote products and earn a small commission. Easy peasy!
- Shareasale is another affiliate program, this one allows you to connect with merchants and promote their products.
I use two tools to create graphics. Canva and Photoshop. I use Canva for social media graphics such as Pinterest Pins and I use Photoshop mainly for my travel blog to edit photos. Canva is a free online tool with hundreds of templates and free stock photos you can use. The templates are easily customisable to your brand, what could be easier?
I have been blogging for coming up 4 years now when I first moved to the UK for 18 months. In all that time I never used stock photos. Don’t ask why, the answer has eluded me. However, last year I discovered the many many styled stock photo websites out there. Now I am hooked. I literally have hundreds of folders on my hard drive filled to the brim with styled stock photos. I may have gone a little overboard. Though, maybe I was making up for lost time? Who knows? Anywho, styled stock photos are the bee’s knees.
Why? They give your website a much more professional look and save you time (you don’t have to spend hours arranging random household items on large bits of white card then spend even more hours swearing at photoshop). For me, it’s a no brainer. I would rather keep my computer inside on my table than outside in the garden sitting on large shards of glass.
Some stock photo websites that are sweet as:
Read More: The best styled stock photo websites
Ebooks for Learning
Learning is fun, well unless it is linear algebra (if anyone is a linear algebra pro, I need your help!). Blogging and starting your own online biz has a huge learning curve. There are a plethora of ebooks out there designed to help you master the online world. I have read a few (ok, more than a few) and the ones that I found the most helpful are:
As you can probably guess, I am a total She Approach fangirl. When she followed me back on all my social media platforms I literally did a victory dance (it wasn’t pretty).
Courses for Learning
Ah, courses. If you’re not careful you can get suckered into hundreds of courses on everything from how to set up MailChimp to how to use Trello to how to start your blog from scratch and everything in between.
Courses I have taken:
- Dare to Conquer, Paul Scrivens. Technically, not a course but a membership site buuut there are loads of courses within the membership so it counts. You can read a DTC review right here.
- The Complete Online Business Blueprint, Allison Marshall. I love Allison Marshall, she is one of my favourite bloggers because she is quirky, fun and knowledgable. A fab combination. For more information about COBB read this review by yours truly.
- Ready Set Blog For Traffic, Elna Cain. Pinterest, SEO, content creation and fundamentals, this course has all you need to know about generating that much sought after traffic.
- Turn Your Dreams Into Money, Emma Drew. Growing and serving your audience, email list building, blog basics and much more are covered in Emma’s course.
- The Blogging Blueprint, Tiffany Griffin. This course is a blueprint from starting your website to making money with your online biz.
- Be Your Own Blog Boss, Chelsea Clarke. From self-hosting to branding to social media marketing and everything in between, learn how to be your own blog boss. Or you can check out Chelsea’s free courses and learn SEO or drop shipping.
- Pins to Profits, McKinzie Bean. Master Pinterest with this course from setting up your account to growing your pageviews.
See, I told you I have taken a few courses.
Phew, that’s a lot of information in one post huh? If you feel overwhelmed, just tick off one box at a time. You will get there!
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